Where the Personal becomes the Political at our whim...
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:: Thursday, April 03, 2003 ::
Women In Combat Reader Mark Jankus emailed us today with a request for our opinions on women in combat in light of the POW videos and rescue. Most of us have at least a little something to say:
Baby: I can't believe that she is only 19. I'm 19. I am the same age as her and yet she seems so much older because of this life experience. Craziness. While I personally would be scared shitless to have to go to war, I admire anyone, men or women, who do this service to us and should (forbid it!) the draft be reinstated in my drafting years and women were made a part of it and I was called, I would go and not skirt around it.
As for women being in a situation where they can be captured by Saddam's or any other enemy regime, if it is their duty to be there, then so be it. I don't want to see a young man of 19 become a POW any more than I do a young woman of 19. I would say that anyone of that age will be equally terrified and yet equally trained by the Army on how to handle the situation, but on a second thought, I think anyone of any age would be fearful in a situation like that, but trained to "handle it" as best they could. Being a POW is a very real possibility but one I imagine many don't think about when they join up. Besides all this, if we're worried about women being taken hostage by Saddam's "thugs" (hehe. had to throw that one in there), can we also worry about women being abducted every day here. I mean, it's not every day that young American women are taken up by Saddam's folks and put in a POW situation, but it is everyday that young American women are abducted or raped or killed or something... just a little something I wanted to throw out there. Why don't we be "emotionally against" that, eh?
As a final thought, Mark asked us as women what we thought about the Jessica Lynch situation and said that he felt emotionally against it. After reading the story on CNN about the rescue, I would ask that as men, do you think that you would feel differently about rescuing a young female POW than a young male POW? Is there some sort of inherent chivalry involved here? (Not that chivalry is a bad thing) This whole thing is like the ultimate rescuing the princess from the tower mission except that the princess isn't dainty and could probably kick serious ass if her legs weren't broken... And that thought that men would act differently seeing a woman in said situation or in another situation of danger is an argument that I have heard to say that women should not be on the front lines because it would effect the performance of the male soldiers. Anyway, just some food for thought and I would appreciate some male answers.
America's daughters fight hard and they fight well. It's disingenuous and wrong to say that women like SPC Johnson and PFC Lynch don't belong at the front lines. They've earned the right to be there, and so far in our war, they've proven their ability to stay here.
As a woman about the same age as Pfc. Lynch, it's certainly something interesting to think about. I'm certainly proud of all those that serve in the military, women included. (Plus, aren't these chicks hot?) It's hard for me to say that they shouldn't be there.
The first time I thought about this issue for more than 2 minutes was a couple of years ago when one of my floormates was signing up to serve. She told me that she always wanted to be a Ranger. She's one tough cookie, so I have no doubt that she'd succeed. Except she has a vagina. She can't even try to succeed because of her gender, something she has no control over. I can't say that the idea of that kind of discrimination sits well with me. I have a few feminist tendencies, I will admit. I will also say that there are a few arguments against women serving that hit home with me. I don't buy the arguments that we'll be a distraction, nor do I believe that we are physically incapable. Hell, even the NYTimes op-ed from March 24 that got some people up in arms over the issue of women in combat roles said that with the sophisticated machinery and weaponry of today, women can hold their own against men bigger than them.
I do understand the rape problem. It's something that is one of the first things likely to be done to a female POW. However, it happens everyday here. Does that justify women being deliberately put in positions by our government that make it more likely to happen? It's hard for me to say that I support it when I know that the regimes we're going to fight in the future will torture men and women they capture. I can't imagine too many world situations now that will have us going against a regime that will agree treat anyone decently. I mean it's not like we haven't learned to put up with political bullshit. (We haven't bombed France yet.) Our enemies from now on (at least I believe this to be true for my lifetime) will be terrorists or countries that aid them. Right now these enemies just happen to hate women and all the freedoms they enjoy in our country. They have a history of raping the wives and daughters of their own citizens. What the hell will they do to ours? Rape isn't a one-time thing. It's not like a gunshot wound that can heal relatively quickly with proper medical care. It's a wound that lasts a lifetime. I know far too many rape survivors for me to take it lightly.
It's obviously not an easy issue. Because our military is voluntary, in the end, I think women should be able to volunteer for these kinds of risky positions. If a draft that included women were to ever occur, I might feel differently about it. I will still be concerned about anyone, male or female, that has been captured. It will just be a little harder for me to think about the women that have been in a POW situation.
On a side note, there was one thing about that NYTimes article that caught my attention. If women are able to take on men equally with the weapons available to them today, shouldn't these feminists then celebrate women using firearms as a tool of self-defense in the real world? Yay, guns! :)
Look for additions to this post from Spooky and possibly other Bitches later today.
:: Multiple 1:34 PM [+] ::