Women in Combat

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Anna Mulrine, staff writer for The Christian Science Monitor, explains the Pentagon's decision to open up combat roles to women in the military.


Anna Mulrine

Comments [33]

Linda from NYC

Nelson Demille wrote a very profound book, The Lieutenant's Daughter. It is a novel but one has the feeling it's
based on reality. It was written about 15 yrs ago. It's hard to believe that book didn'tt have more of an effect then.

Feb. 13 2013 01:32 AM

dboy - I agree that overall women are less "physically" violent than men. but that "mothering" demeanor you are talking about... how does that translate to wanting to be on the front lines of a war? And likewise - a woman who is "mothering" - does she want the headache and long hours of leading a nation or large group? Being female as we see - doesn't always mean "motherly". Again - another not too far in the past example (as opposed to the long ago examples I used earlier)... Condi (sorry don't recall how to spell her first name) Rice was lock step with the rest of the Bush Adm. to go to war in Iraq... the lone dissenting voice was a male - Colin Powell - who himself was a former general.

Jan. 24 2013 01:28 PM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

ANOTHER one-sided, predictable Kumbaya segment from the mail-in-the-usual "progressive" lefty blather from the producers and host at BLS.

Jan. 24 2013 12:59 PM

I'd argue that women (in the collective) are far less inclined to violence than men are. See the predominance of male violent criminals.

I'm just saying, if there were more women in positions of power, perhaps some of that "mothering", nurturing predisposition might find its way into the decision making process. Maybe a second thought when placing our sons and daughters in the position of killing and being killed...


Jan. 24 2013 12:40 PM

@ Andre

Yes, the Pentagon has already stated that women would be required to register for Selective Service.

Jan. 24 2013 11:52 AM
Lynn from New Jersey

Oh my goodness! Women should indeed stop and think about the topic of the Pentagon's decision to open up combat roles to women in the military. Would the next topic slated be the inclusion of women on the draft rolls? Is anyone thinking about what really makes men and women equal in the eyes of the DRAFT BOARD? Are women acknowledging that they too may be required to register for the draft. Let us not forget that it is a requirement, of men, upon becoming eighteen years of age? How is that for equality.

On a personal note, I am a proud mother of three grown children. My son is with the military twelve years strong. I have two daughters in their early twenties. I am patriotic, but do not feel our proud nation needs to include women in combat! I hope I never live to see the time that women are included in the draft.

Jan. 24 2013 11:51 AM

dboy - yes margaret thatcher is an example too. and you see as secretary of state hillary clinton has no problem talking about using force. the point is that any person who would take up that responsibility to be a leader - can and would use that military to exert influence... it doesn't matter if it's male or female. many women (including my own mother) would have no desire to be in such a position... For a person to have a desire to be a "commander in chief" means they know part of the job is being willing to go to war... just like these females who want to have the "equality" of combat... they are willing to kill just as their male counterpart.

Jan. 24 2013 11:46 AM
Lisa Ogle from New york

Women in combat,I have looked at this question from several view points. I am female. I have been married 30 years to a now retired Navy Chief. I am the proud mother of a young Marine Lance Corporal. Yes woman should be allowed in combat ,but not all woman. Women who have been held to the exact same mental and physical standards as a man and met or exceeded these standards have earned the right to be combat soldiers. No special standards can be allowed this weakens our military and puts soldiers at risk.

As an aside female biology can be manipulated so a women can have as few periods as she wishes over the course of a year...Seems a simple enough thing not to schedule it for when you're deployed. Problem solved.

Jan. 24 2013 11:40 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Is it not true that female American soldiers have different physical standards of mastery than male soldiers?

Should female soldiers have the same physical, strength requirements as male soldiers and are they up to the task?

Jan. 24 2013 11:37 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

"Your mother wears combat boots".

can be a true statement.

Jan. 24 2013 11:31 AM


Sure we can find examples of women crossing over to the male dominated preoccupation with war - Let's not forget how much Margret Thatcher enjoyed the killing process. These are the exceptions.

Unfortunately, the activity of war is solidly within the domain of men.

Jan. 24 2013 11:30 AM

I recently saw an MTA service poster that referred to "pregnant persons"

Jan. 24 2013 11:30 AM

For those whining about selective service - just who do you think determines the requirements? You can't argue "women are nurterers/men can't help themselves but to protect or rape" from one side of your mouth while complaining about the officials who control these decisions, since they agree with you.

Jan. 24 2013 11:29 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

The comparison to how blacks and other ethnic groups were treated in the military years ago is reasonable to some degree, but also misleading. It covers irrational prejudice, but in the case of women, there ARE real differences, physical, emotional, and societal, which we more and more deny.

Whether those differences are insurmountable is another question, but we cannot simply make believe they don't exist.

Jan. 24 2013 11:26 AM
desdemona finch from Brooklyn

They allow women in combat roles in Israel and other countries. Why not the US? Aren't we all about "freedom"?

Jan. 24 2013 11:25 AM
Stew from Manhattan from Manhattan

WOW. Not a single dissenting commenter. Not a single combat veteran. Not a single MALE commenter. Well done, WNYC, well done.

Jan. 24 2013 11:25 AM
Karen B from Budd Lake

In terms of feeling protective toward women, how does this situation differ from women in police and fire departments?

Jan. 24 2013 11:25 AM

I'm a woman, and have always believed that selective service should be required for everyone. This along with women in combat would make the US more judicious in terms of choosing battles.

The evolutionary psychology arguments are lazy and ridiculous.

Jan. 24 2013 11:25 AM

Can you really remove the element of testosterone from the theater of war??

Maybe, women in combat roles will reduce the inanity of the killing machine.

What about more women in leadership roles - a female Secretary of Defense??? A female President??

Jan. 24 2013 11:24 AM

Nick - I agree with you... but to think female rulers are less inclined to war is not a true testament of history. If you look in history you see they were just as apt to send armies to war as the men. There are many examples - but I will use the example of the "Candace" rulers of Ethiopia. European monarchs are also examples.

Jan. 24 2013 11:24 AM

What about the selective service? Are women going to be required to sign up now? Wouldn't that make them totally equal, not only giving them the opportunity to serve but also requiring them do so if the need were to arise just like we ask of our young men?

Jan. 24 2013 11:22 AM
Nick from UWS

To James from Brooklyn: I would think of women as lesser humans exactly BECAUSE they want to go into combat.

Jan. 24 2013 11:21 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

... and let's not look down our noses at the long tradition of keeping women out of combat and harm's way. There is probably evolutionary forces at play, because for the maintenance of the population, it is females that are necessary, given the reality of procreation. One man can inseminate many women, but each child still takes 9 months to produce.

Hence, the tendency to protect the females.

Basic nature is not to be taken lightly.

Jan. 24 2013 11:19 AM

The chance to hear (caller) Pat's POV, and link her w a professional reporter = BL Show and journalism at its best. Thanks!

Jan. 24 2013 11:17 AM

so will women be required by law to enroll in selective service like men? and if it's about "equality" then there should be more women on the front lines since they are a larger share of the population. How does that sound? well i'm just glad none of my sisters want to be in the military. they have no problem calling me to do things for them they see as "masculine". they don't see themselves as "less" than me - their brother.

Jan. 24 2013 11:17 AM
Nick from UWS

What a shame that women want to go into combat, and throw their inherently nurturing and life-giving qualities into the toilet. Why they want to be like men in this respect, "God" only knows. Our chance to reduce war on this planet is an ever receding horizon. Disgusting. I always viewed women as an essential counter balance to the perverse and idiotic war generating characteristics of men. I guess I was wrong.

Jan. 24 2013 11:14 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

A few months ago, I read an article that reported that during the mass shooting at that late-night showing of the Batman movie in Aurora, CO, that 3 or 4 men who placed themselves over their girlfriends/wives to protect them, were either killed or injured.

The "instinct" in men to protect women who are close to them to a greater degree than they might for other guys, is not to be dismissed out of hand.

Certainly, there will be instances of this occurring if it hasn't already.
What the implications of this might be, I don't know. Certainly men have also sacrificed themselves to protect their buddies as well.

But we DO have a strong tendency in contemporary society to suppress truths if it doesn't fit politically correct tenets.

Jan. 24 2013 11:14 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Great! Women should fight and if necessary die in equal numbers to men if they want to be taken seriously as full equals. Men have had to fight and die alone too long to defend the domain.

Jan. 24 2013 11:12 AM
Timo from Wilton

I hear the "chivalry impulse" excuse all the time, but is there any data to support it? Will trained soldiers really lose their heads when they see a women in danger? As Mr. Lehrer points out, women are already "on the front" in insurgent warfare - do we have documentation of soldiers losing it? Or is it a bigoted excused to keep women out of combat with no basis in reality?

It seems we hear heroic stories of soldiers on the front risking their lives to help their male colleagues - protecting each other is what they're trained to do and it seems like a disservice to suggest they're not disciplined enough to handle serving alongside female soldiers.

Keep up the good work Mr. Lehrer!

Jan. 24 2013 11:11 AM


Now, even women can kill and be killed in all the unjustified wars we decide to initiate!!

What a GREAT day!!

Jan. 24 2013 11:10 AM
Elsie from Brooklyn

The only reason this is being done now is because the army is desperate for recruits. The only time women get equal rights is when it's economically beneficial to men.

Jan. 24 2013 11:10 AM
hmi from Park Slope

Two things I have not yet seen taken up in re women in combat positions:

1) Will women be assigned and required to move into combat positions, or do they have to volunteer specifically for combat?

2) If yes to #1, are women presently serving (who may have enlisted because they knew they were comparatively safe) also required to take combat positions?

Jan. 24 2013 11:10 AM
James from Brooklyn

I think this is a great thing, NOT because I want any man or woman in combat, but because it's one more step towards gender equality. We can't have any hope of progressing as a society until women are no longer thought of as lesser humans.

Jan. 24 2013 11:09 AM

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