Chicks Are Cool, ‘Long As They Know Their Place

Only in America’s Army:

KHOST, Afghanistan — Pfc. Monica Brown cracked open the door of her Humvee outside a remote village in eastern Afghanistan to the pop of bullets shot by Taliban fighters. But instead of taking cover, the 18-year-old medic grabbed her bag and ran through gunfire toward fellow soldiers in a crippled and burning vehicle.

Vice President Cheney pinned Brown, of Lake Jackson, Tex., with a Silver Star in March for repeatedly risking her life on April 25, 2007, to shield and treat her wounded comrades, displaying bravery and grit. She is the second woman since World War II to receive the nation’s third-highest combat medal.

Within a few days of her heroic acts, however, the Army pulled Brown out of the remote camp in Paktika province where she was serving with a cavalry unit — because, her platoon commander said, Army restrictions on women in combat barred her from such missions.

It’s difficult to find a better summary of some of the fundamental contradictions of the Army today. Women can serve, and valorously, so long as they’re not lauded for it—then, they must be taken away from their units. But it’s the same thing for gays, too—serve your country, just don’t ever let anyone know what you really are. Sad.

I can remember being about 10 or 11 and hearing arguments about how we can’t use the military for “social engineering.” This was during the days when Bill Clinton was pushing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, when Tail Hook was the End of the Navy, and so on. I would think that same logic should apply now: the rest of society has moved on: like it or not, women are serving in combat duties, and they are doing so valiantly. The restrictions on their service, and in this case punishment for being too brave, make less and less sense every day.

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5 Responses to “Chicks Are Cool, ‘Long As They Know Their Place”

  1. on 02 May 2008 at 6:23 am Keith_Indy

    Bruce over at QandO has a post up on “Rethinking Women in Combat” that’s related.

    I’ve always been in favor of an anyone who’s qualified to serve should be able to serve policy.  Now, that doesn’t mean everyone is qualified for every occupation specialties.  And I can see the stalwarts points about unit cohesion and moral.  But, there shouldn’t be any discrimination other then being physically and mentally fit to serve, and there should generally only be restrictions on behavior while on duty.

  2. on 02 May 2008 at 10:51 pm synova

    I’ve sometimes referred to it has having the right to bleed for your country.
    There are a lot of people who don’t want to allow women that right.   Which is silly, I think.  I understand the macho notion (and respect it, too) that men are supposed to protect women and children and this puts that basic biological drive in a twist.   But women are protectors, too.   Always have been protectors.   Ideally in concert with men, be it loading the rifles or shooting from the cabin windows…  we’ve been fighting the bad guys with our men for millennia.
    Consider that men take risks to protect their families… but part of their risk taking is based on the knowledge that there is a second line of defense, a second protector, and that is their wife.    If she can’t do that, he has no business putting himself at risk at all, biologically, because then if he fails it’s *all* over.    The protective roles aren’t the same, but they *are* both protective roles and they are *both* potentially extremely violent roles.   So get over it already!
    Women are, however, smaller than men.    Women are not as physically strong as men.
    If we could accept that a woman has the right to bleed for her country, that she is capable of sacrifice and honor… then we can start to seriously talk about the physical limitations involved.
    I don’t and haven’t suggested that women should be infantry or SF or any of the jobs where pure physical strength is a necessity… where not even all men can make the grade.    But women should be trained to fight, to defend themselves and others, or even take it to the enemy.   Because without training they *are* a liability.    Women in the military should know that they *are* military… because you can’t get your mind in a place where you’ve never been told it needs to go.    We’ve several wonderful female combat role models to help that along…  and the military has always been about setting up heroes to emulate, hasn’t it?
    We need to put women where they need to be without getting bent up about physical risk.
    There is another biological liability, which is that the prime years for military service are also the prime years for child-bearing.   I think it would be entirely acceptable to require women joining the military to have something like Norplant for the first four or five years as a condition of enlistment.   If that’s not okay for whatever reason… well, joining the military isn’t a right.

  3. on 03 May 2008 at 4:00 am Joshua Foust

    Oh my God… we’re in agreement!

    I just snorted my orange juice onto my MacBook. And then a little got on my pancakes. Now the pancakes are soggy.

    Still — I’m glad we’re on the same page here: the restrictions against women and gays are just plain old dumb.

  4. on 03 May 2008 at 6:10 pm Peter Jackson

    That’s the part I liked best about the movie version of Starship Troopers: physically beautiful men and women soldiers fighting and dying side by side. No one cared that there buddy was smokin’ hot, even when they’re out drinking and getting tatoos, and God knows the bugs sure as hell didn’t care. I’m not exactly sure why I find that aspect of the film so compelling but I do. I hope our military gets to that point sooner rather than later. In many ways they’re already very close.

  5. on 03 May 2008 at 6:14 pm Peter Jackson

    “their” buddy. 
    @#*&?% phonics.

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