Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Women Soldiers Revistited

Somebody just posted a comment to a post I did in March 2007 called, "The Women Soldiers" I felt as a response to this comment I needed to revisit that post. Check the link and read my musings but in short, I addressed the woman now in 'combat' positions regardless of the DoD ban on woman in "direct combat positions." Also focused on the dramatic increase of sexual assault of deployed military women.

The "anonymous commenter" wrote this:

The last entry is correct.[my note: referring to the previous comment about women being able to serve in combat 'limited' positions] Women have been in combat roles for sometime. The Air Force and Navy have allowed them to serve as figher(sic) and bomber piolts(sic) for sometime, and those are combat positions. Also the Army allows women in quasi combat(sic) roles, such as Military Police (they patrol Iraq and guard convoys). I spent a year in Iraq and saw female turret gunners in convoys and female gunners on choppers. One of my female sergeants was a turret gunner and was wounded when her convoy was attacked back in 2004. She recovered, has a Purple Heart and contiues(sic) to proudly serve her country.

I have to laugh at all the lefties who left anti-military comments. Sure some women may face harassment in the military, just as they face it anywhere else but lets not take a few isolated incidents and generalize.[emphasis is mine] Also, remember that these women warriors are armed to the teeth (see the Blog photo, one of the woman is sporting an M16 with grenade launcher), so they are more than capable of fending off anyone who tries to get too fresh.

My response follows:

HopeSpringsATurtle said...
Dear Anon:

On October 1, 1994, the Defense Department issued a policy that rescinded the so-called "risk rule" that gauges the specialties to which women can be assigned. The policy was backed strongly by Secretary of Defense Les Aspin and was the extension of the changes made in April 1993 that opened most aviation specialties, including attack helicopters, to women (Army, March 1994). The policy emphasized that no job will be closed to women just because it is dangerous, but fails to open direct offensive ground combat jobs to women (Army, March 1994). Even today, though, the official policy of the Army and Marine Corps excludes women from combat which precludes 12 percent of skilled positions and 39 percent of the total positions (GAO Report, July 1996).

One more casualty of the war in Iraq brought home to Decatur, Illinois, last weekend. In this case, the soldier's vehicle was hit in Baghdad on June 21st by a rocket-propelled grenade. But this death is one of those that makes this war unique, for it was a woman, 22-year-old Army Specialist Karen Clifton.

She is one of the most recent of more than 80 women (including a friend) who have so far been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, a figure nearly double the number of American military women killed in Desert Storm, Vietnam, and Korea, combined. Some 500 have been wounded, many grievously.

American women are serving in the U.S. military today in ways and numbers unthinkable a few decades ago. They are now eligible to fill more than 80 percent of military jobs, 250,000 different assignments, often serving side-by-side with men.

So far, women have served some 167,000 tours of duty in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, more than four times the number in the first Gulf War. They are not assigned to infantry units, to tanks or submarines, and Pentagon policy officially precludes them from serving in so-called "combat occupations." But in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, where no clear frontlines exist, such distinctions are often hard to make.

Women in both theaters today drive Humvees and trucks, escort military convoys, serve as military police, even pilot helicopters and planes on the battlefield, all of it done under the very real -- and constant -- threat of attack. And like men, many women of the U.S. Armed Services have by now served several tours in the war zones.

Insofar as rape and sexual abuse, one doesn't typically have to sleep with one eye open and armed, on a US military base, in order to not be raped or sexually abused. The incidents of such violence are at an all time high--and most of it is covered up. Your assumption is naive and uninformed, regardless of your "year served in Iraq."

When was the last time you heard of male soldiers having to wake up another soldier in order to go to the bathroom after dark as to no be raped? Waking another woman as an "escort" is the standing order for women while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, many women choose not to disturb the already less-than-advantageous sleep schedule of others, and "hold it." This has caused a precipitious increase in urinary tract infections and dehydration among other maladies.


Cujo359 said...

Perhaps it's not the same in the other services, but in the Army the women tend to be the brains of the operation. They're often the ones doing the mental work in headquarters and other units.

If women don't feel like they can be safe in the Army, they're not going to be as willing to enlist, or re-enlist. I suspect that's one of the reasons why the DoD's been so willing to cover things up. If so, it's the wrong strategy. They need to look like they're dealing with this problem, and fixing it.

HopeSpringsATurtle said...

No shit. Women are brave. Women are survivors. I think women will always be willing to serve their country, but in light of the abuse and denial of it, one has to inquire, where are the men and where is their honor?

Pandabonium said...

These people are so sick. So, according that, having women used as canon fodder in addition to men is considered "progress"? How about progress being measured by FEWER people being involved in war, rather than more?