The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Politics

January 26, 2013

Commentary: They’re tested in battle



By William Saletan

Slate


WASHINGTON — Nineteen years ago, when the Department of Defense considered whether to let women serve officially in combat, opponents said it might weaken the military. They called it a dangerous “social experiment.” And they won. The Defense Department issued a decree that “women shall be excluded from assignment to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground.”

Now, as Defense moves to rescind that rule, defenders of the 1994 policy are sounding the same alarm. “Our military cannot continue to choose social experimentation and political correctness over combat readiness,” says Penny Nance, president of Concerned Women for America. “This kind of a social experiment is a dangerous one,” says Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness. “The people making this decision are doing so as part of another social experiment,” says retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council. “Is the social experiment worth placing this burden on small unit leaders? I think not.”

But this time, the scare campaign isn’t working. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell are lying low. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and other Republicans who set the party’s tone on defense issues are endorsing Defense’s decision. Why? Because the women-in-combat experiment has already happened. It was conducted in Afghanistan and Iraq by the administration of President George W. Bush. And it worked.

Today, women constitute about 15 percent of the active-duty military. More than 20,000 have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 800 have been wounded, and more than 150 have died. Insurgents and roadside bombs didn’t care whether these women were officially in combat roles: They killed them all the same. As Iraq War veteran Kayla Williams explains, the reality of war overwhelmed the Pentagon’s attempts to segregate female service members. Women fought, died and were mourned, just like men. No cultural crisis ensued.

Text Only
Politics
  • With 1 week to go, Sanford subject of attacks

    CHARLESTON, S.C. — Former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford can’t seem to escape attacks on the extramarital affair that derailed his political career, which he hopes to revive in a special congressional election that is now a week away.

    May 1, 2013

  • Bombing shifts Mass. Senate race before primaries

    BOSTON — Even before the explosions, polling suggested that Massachusetts voters weren’t excited about the looming special election to replace former U.S. Sen. John Kerry.

    April 28, 2013

  • In a first, black voter turnout rate passes whites

    WASHINGTON — America’s blacks voted at a higher rate than other minority groups in 2012 and by most measures surpassed the white turnout for the first time, reflecting a deeply polarized presidential election in which blacks strongly supported Barack Obama while many whites stayed home.

    April 28, 2013

  • Senate Democrats put off vote on Labor nominee

    WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats have delayed a confirmation vote on Labor Secretary-nominee Thomas Perez after Republicans threatened to use a separate hearing to criticize his handling of a whistleblower case.

    April 24, 2013

  • Sen. Baucus' decision to retire sets stage for majorlegislative changes

     Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., one of the most influential congressional figures of his era, announced his intention Tuesday to retire, a move that could produce sweeping changes in the political and legislative landscape over the next two years.

    April 24, 2013

  • Senate friendship born of tragedy beat partisanship

    These days, most dispatches from Washington focus on petty partisanship, posturing, impasses and a political culture that rewards confrontation.

    April 22, 2013

  • Rubio rising

    If Marco Rubio helps pass comprehensive immigration reform, he will have accomplished more as a senator than Barack Obama did.

    April 22, 2013

  • Gun Bill's Failure May Help Immigration Legislation

    WASHINGTON — Here's an odd political reality: The collapse of the gun bill in the Senate last week may well make the passage of immigration reform legislation slightly easier.

    April 21, 2013

  • Senate Planning Vote on Internet Sales Tax

    WASHINGTON — The days of tax-free online shopping could finally be numbered.

    April 21, 2013

  • Advocates of Immigration Reform Fight Back Against Push for Delay

    WASHINGTON — The Senate's leading supporters of overhauling the nation's immigration system sought Sunday to blunt a conservative effort to slow the pace of debate over their bill, saying the Boston Marathon bombings are a reason to move quickly to make changes.

    April 21, 2013

Featured Ads
Politics Video