So there was an interesting post in the NYT Home Fires blog today from a woman named Catherine Ross, a Civil Affairs soldier who served in the Army Reserves for eight years. She basically makes the argument that women in the armed forces should be allowed to serve in combat MOS (Military Operations Specialty, basically your job in the military), as well as the support MOS roles that they already fill. Taking the Israeli Defense Force as an example, she does a pretty good job making the case for women being just as combat -able as men. I’ve heard the arguments that lower level enlisted male soldiers would have a difficult time adjusting, or that we just don’t have the right military culture for such a sea change; but pardon me if I dismiss out of hand the same arguments used to try to keep the military racially segregated.
Ms. Ross’ post comes at an interesting time, with “don’t ask, don’t tell” being questioned. I don’t think one argument should overshadow the other though. With only one percent of the American population willing/able to serve in the two wars that we’re fighting right now it seems stupid that anyone physically able would be turned away. I’ve served with women who were unofficially put into combat roles out of necessity, as well as with closeted homosexuals, who served capably and honorably. I feel that more of us veterans should speak up on their behalf.