Can someone give me his/her opinion? Women Should Be Exempted From Serving in Combat during Wartime.

Expert Answers
litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, women should be allowed in combat in the military.

Whether or not women should serve in combat, the United States has to let them by 2016. The truth of the matter is that any role a woman serves in a war zone is dangerous.  Women have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Women are killed just driving trucks and guarding supplies.   Granted, infantry is quite different.  It puts a woman on the front lines, where she will be in more danger.  However, forbidding a woman to serve in a combat position belittles the danger women are in every day in the other roles they serve in.

Women can fulfill these roles just as well as men.  Some of them have already successfully completed the training under an experimental pilot program.  It is experimental because we are still trying to figure out how to usher women into our narrow view of equality.  For decades, we have been slowly opening up the ranks of society to women.  In the seventies, a woman needed her husband’s permission to get a credit card.  Now she can become a police officer, a firefighter, a paramedic, and finally, with this new Pentagon mandate, she can have equal footing in the army.

Women risk their lives every day in the military.  Maybe it is time that we finally gave them the respect they deserve, and let them take whatever risk they want.  Putting any kind of barrier in their way, just because they are women, tells them that they are not equal, they are not worthy, and we do not trust them.  If I do not trust you in the infantry, then I do not trust you do drive that truck.  It’s a slippery slope.

A woman has never been president.  A woman makes seventy cents on the dollar that a man makes.  It’s time to end this, and let women in the military.  Let’s bring down this one last barrier.

caledon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"Exempted" is a loaded term, and the answer to this question depends most crucially upon what moral terms we are attempting to satisfy. For example, should women be exempt because they are physically weaker, or should they be allowed because our culture triumphs the breaking of gender barriers?

Take, for example, the case of Kara Hultgreen, the first female fighter pilot in the US Navy. Shortly after being certified for combat, Hultgreen crashed and died. Two separate investigations were conducted; the "official" JAG report concluded that the crash was a result of mechanical error, whereas the incident report concluded that Hultgreen had performed numerous errors that led directly to the crash. The release of these reports highlighted the extreme degrees to which the Navy had overlooked errors and warning signs during Hultgreen's training, supposedly in the rush to satisfy the demands of the media and administration that a female pilot be certified.

This highlights what I believe is the greatest obstacle facing women in combat; not the inability to perform, because there are certainly women that can, but the perception that we MUST have women in combat roles is almost certainly going to affect the way that we certify them for it. I believe the idea of exempting women from combat is an untenable position because it cannot withstand the scrutiny of modern media and women's rights criticism, but the costs of this policy will, I believe, be euphemized or hidden, just as Hultgreen's was.

kipling2448 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Women should not have a choice as to whether to be assigned to combat or combat support positions in the military.  Providing such an option takes one inequality -- the denial of such opportunities for women -- and replaces it with a worse one.  Men do not enjoy the right or freedom to opt out of combat assignments.  They go where they are sent.  Women who serve in combat units, especially in the infantry, who are permitted to opt out of combat missions both weaken the unit, usually squad or platoon, by leaving it undermanned, and present a grossly unfair situation to their male counterparts, who do not enjoy such freedoms.  Unit cohesion is essential to military effectiveness.  While that concept has been abused in the past when social issues are introduced into the military, the suggestion that women trained in combat arms should be able to decline to participate in conflict for which they are trained would be grossly unfair.  That said, women do perform combat and combat support missions, and generally do quite well.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It seems hard to imagine how a 130 pound woman could be able to rescue a fellow soldier who has been injured in combat if he weighs 235 pounds, for example. Is not the presence of women in combat a possible endangerment to fellow soldiers? No matter what year it is or what cultural beliefs there are, undeniable physical and psychological differences exist between the sexes that cannot be denied. It is a fact of nature that females in general are not as strong as men; often,they cannot carry such extra weight as rockets, machine guns, and heavy gear. This, then, must be distributed among the male soldiers, giving them further burdens.

In addition, the cogent points made in post No.2 about the exceptions made for females in the effort to satisfy the demands of media and the public are cause for concern as too often such exceptions endanger other soldiers.

William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If enough women insist on serving in the military and engaging in combat roles, it will set a precedent that a great many women will not like. It is but one step from there to passing a law that all women, as well as all men, must register for the draft when they are eighteen. Then a great many young women will find that they have no choice in the matter. iIt will no longer be a question for opinion and debate. They will have to go out and kill people, and wear uniforms, and take orders, and become robots, and risk their lives, like men, whether they want to or not, whether they believe in the current war or not. A lot of women don't realize how well off they are.

carolinesmiths | Student

You're right in a way. But I'd beg to differ. As you have put it

A woman has never been president.  A woman makes seventy cents on the dollar that a man makes.  It’s time to end this, and let women in the military.  Let’s bring down this one last barrier.

Why the hurry to get that last barrier down. Do you think enlisting more women in the army would break the corporate glass ceiling, would Americans finally elect a woman president. Are you eager to get women in the army just to prove a point that they are equal to men... perhaps then, we need to also ensure a woman is sent to the Moon. Agree or don't the way men and women look at things is different. I see no hurry in getting women enlisted in the military.

glendamaem | Student

In my opinion, women should not be exempted. But it does not mean that they are obliged to go, even men. It is still up to a person if he/she wants to join unless the government wants everyone to do it.

vancali | Student

Women should able to be in combat if they are willing to serve in the same way. I do not believe that we should force women, or men, into combat if they are not willing to pay the price and know that danger, unless it is absolutely necessary. A woman can fight just as well as a man and may hold some power in combat, depending on how the enemy feels about fighting a girl, though that is less likely to occur. Women are known to have a higher pain tolerance than men and that may prove to be helpful. If men are uncomfortable with this, they need to get in check with reality and realize that women can do anything a man can, and in heels at that.