Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ma'am, Yes, Ma'am

Interesting story in the WP about Brigadier General L.E. Reynolds today--the first woman to command Parris Island.  The base serves as one of the two principal training bases for the Marines and has been featured in heaps of movies (unlike the one in San Diego).  I love how matter of fact Reynolds is about her status.  She says it is "2011."  Yep, enough progress has been made that the folks taking remarkable steps are able to depict their situations as unworthy of remarking. 

Women still cannot serve in infantry, artillery, or armor, but it seems this will change in the near future, after the end of don't ask, don't tell is absorbed into the system.  With women now allowed to serve in submarines and the head of special operations thinking about women in the elite forces, the various restrictions are following as they are exposed as most problematic in contemporary warfare. 

Women have been hurt and killed in combat despite their designated positions as combat support, as the battlefield does not discriminate by gender as much as legislators would like to think.  The dynamics of fighting in an Islamic country also make women more necessary since it is hard/impossible for the male troops to interact with the female citizens and trainees.  Plus there is the reality that if you discriminate on the basis of anything other than talent, you will probably have less talent in the pool.  Just as there was less talent in baseball before Jackie Robinson, there has be less talent in the combat arms of the US military if one half of the population is not allowed to do it. 

Not all women will want to serve in combat, but I would guess that many women who want to serve their country would prefer to do it without restrictions based on gender.  And their time is already here.  We just need to recognize the reality.

No comments: