Should women be allowed to serve in combat roles and what are the ethical implications?
Based on the book:
WOMEN IN COMBAT Civic Duty or Military Liability? by Lorry M. Fenner and Marie de Young
Since World War II, women have been serving in dangerous positions within the military. Although technically women cannot serve in combat roles, “more than 800 women have been wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan alone, and more than 150 have been killed” (Domi). The policy banning women from serving in combat roles is antiquated and only prevents women from getting the promotional consideration and recognition they deserve. The fact is that women are already dying in war zones, so to continue a policy which denies them the right to serve in any position they are qualified for, is unfair and goes against the very nature of the democratic philosophy we are trying to protect. The policy of restricting the role of the female in the military is based on societal ideals about the role of women in our culture. War is ugly no matter how you look at it, and being able to say that it is necessary to protect the women and children brings comfort to the establishment. We live in a society that has long thought of women as unequal to the majority male. From Rosa Parks to Hillary Clinton, women have proven themselves as equal to their male counterparts in nearly all aspects.
There are several popular arguments used to try and justify the prevention of women in combat roles. It is my intention to address each of these one at a time. The first argument is that women are not physically strong enough for the rigorous tasks involved in jobs such as infantry. Along with that statement, follows the idea that women are not emotionally strong enough to face the horrors of war. This argument is void right on its face. Not all women, just as not all men, are physically qualified for all jobs. I see no problem with certain standards being set and everyone meeting those same standards, but to use a blanket statement that women are simply not strong enough is a stereotype. “Women, too, have proven by their performance that they are generally strong enough for most jobs; emotionally stable enough to cope with wartime stresses; more than smart enough for military work” (Young). Women at least deserve the opportunity to apply for these positions and be given a chance to meet the physical standards. Not all women will succeed, but not all men will either.
The physical standards that are required for war are ever changing and policy needs to follow suit. We live in a time of significant technological advancements. The face of war has changed dramatically over the last hundred years. In the past, we saw troops storming beaches with fixed bayonets. The future of warfare is even more different. The days of hand to hand combat and intense on the ground fire fights are becoming more and more a thing of the past. In 50 years we will likely be facing war with more “remote-controlled” technology. Looking at the recent events that took place in the manhunt in Boston, you see the use of infrared technology. Eventually this type of technology will take over for having massive numbers of ground troops.
When looking at the emotional issue, some tend to wonder whether women are emotionally strong enough to handle the stress involved with wartime violence. As women are already actively involved in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is important to point out that they are already bearing witness to plenty of horror. The suicide rate among service members is at an all-time high. There were 349 service members who took their lives last year. This statistic was more than the number of causalities of the Afghan war for that same year. The statistic is staggering, but “most of those committing suicide are young men, 18-24," (Chappell). This evidence would lead one to believe that the stress of war are...
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