• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Here she comes, GI Jane

Well, here we go. I knew this was coming, but I didn't expect it this soon. The Marines are apparently ready to roll out a plan to evaluate women in combat roles:

In combat, the No. 4 cannoneer on an artillery crew must heave 100-pound rounds, one after another, into the loading tray of a 155 mm howitzer.

In the North Carolina woods these days, the job sometimes falls to a crew member who weighs just slightly more than the artillery shell she has to lift. “Everybody thinks that we’re not good enough and can’t do everything males can do,” said Marine Lance Cpl. Vicki Harris, a 4-foot, 11-inch, 110-pound military clerk from Cambridge, Ohio. “I want to get out there and prove them wrong.”

Lance Cpl. Harris is part of a large-scale Marine Corps experiment intended to settle the question once and for all: Can women fight in ground-combat units alongside men? The Marines have gathered 400 men and women for a unique experiment to find out.

After the group finishes training next year, researchers will observe the men and women during a series of live-fire attacks and, with high-tech sensors, assess how troops of different sizes and sexes perform together in combat.

One big concern, of course, is whether training standards will be reduced to accommodate women, resulting in inadequate training for everybody and a military not up to the task of protecting us. Since this has happend in public safety departments all across the country, it's a legitimate worry that the military might be guilty of it as well, especially since it's already happened in basic training. I guess if I trust anybody not to screw it up, it would be the Marines.

The other concern is, I suppose, a philosophical question about whether we're ready as a society for women to achieve that ultimate equality, the right to die alongside the men. You know that in today's climate, a draft could absolutely not be reinstated without including women -- the forces of progressivism simply would not be permitted. That means if you sign off on women in combat, you might be agreeing to women ultimately being drafted and send to their deaths. I wonder if people calling for absolute equality are OK with that?

On the other hand, the fact that women would be included in a draft makes it less likely that we'll ever have one again, unless there is absolutely, positively a national emergency that the commander in chief can convince us is real. Certainly that is not a bad thing. A draft confiscates freedom, and short of killing us outright, that is the most serious thing a government can do to us.