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

Band of brothers and sisters


 The Navy is on track to open up its storied SEAL teams to women, a top admiral said in an interview with a military-focused publication, the latest sign of a movement to widen access to roles long forbidden to women across all branches of the military.

Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, the chief of naval operations, told Defense News that women would be allowed to serve as long as they pass the grueling six-month training regimen.

Admiral Greenert said “there is no reason” that women who measure up should be barred.

"As long as." That's a pretty important caveat, no? It's worth worrying about whether they will, in fact, keep the tough standards they have, since we have seen many examples in civilian of standards being relaxed to accommodate the women. Perhaps, though, there is reason to be optimistic because of hte military's historic commitment to meritocracy. Two women (out of 19 enrolled)  have just made it through the Army's grueling Ranger School, and as far as I can tell from the stories, the standards were not lowered from them. It took them more that one try, but they toughed it out.


So it is fair to say, I think, that women can qualify for the toughest combat positions, but a lot fewer of them than men, So more power to them.How co-ed combat units will perform is another question. The best case study is Israel, which has had a universal draft for years and women serving in a variety of combat roles. And the evidence seems to be mixed at best.

Moot point, I suppose. The two female Rangers are in limbo now, since women are still forbidden to participate in direct ground combat. But that's going to happen -- the trend has accelerated to the point where there's no stopping it. Somewhere along the way, we forgot to finish the debate that was started about what women in combat would do to the culture and how it would forever change the role of women and how they are viewed. Too late for that now. We have achieved final and unalterable equality. Get used to it.

Our people in uniform will, I suspect. "You got my back, I got yours." As long as a soldier can live up to that requirement, that's all most brothers and sisters in arms care about.