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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Women’s freedom to fight

In 2005, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester won the Silver Star for leading her team through a kill zone and saving the lives of many convoy members. In 2008, Army Specialist Monica Lin Brown also received the Silver Star for rendering aid to the injured while under attack. In 2006, Chief Warrant Officer Lori Hill was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for her heroism.
All were distinguished members of the armed forces. All women.
The decision by the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in January to lift the ban on women in combat — giving them the right to serve in the front lines — has been met with much controversy for several different reasons; however, these arguments are weak at best because they all assume that the military will be considerably weaker with the addition of women.
What they fail to recognize is that women like Hester and Brown and Hill have already been serving in the military as underrated add-ons who continue to put their lives at risk with little acknowledgement.
Opponents of opening combat positions to women say women are biologically weaker than men. That may be true, but women aren’t asking for the creation of a separate and perhaps more lenient standard for their sex; they are asking to be judged at the same standard as men. Sure, many able and fit women will not pass this test, but those who do deserve to fight for their country.
Another common argument involves the idea that women can’t help but get pregnant, and many in the early months of pregnancy will be putting their unborn fetuses at risk. This argument seems to ignore the basic fact that it takes two to make babies — a woman, yes, and  a man. 
So, why are women the only ones to be punished for this? Shouldn’t the male involved take some sort of responsibility? Maybe even a ban on sexual relations between soldiers during times of combat would be more effective, and if such a ban is breached, both sexes should pay for the transgression.
Those who oppose women in combat also believe that women serving in combat positions alongside men destroys group cohesiveness, because apparently there’s no way males and females can enjoy any sort of platonic camaraderie. It’s not the women’s fault that some men cannot deal with the fact that they have to interact with members of the opposite sex and consider them equals. 
The same reasoning applies to men who refuse to be under the command of a female officer. How are women at fault when it’s the chauvinistic male soldiers who can’t seem to get past the idea that they have to be led by a woman? 
Not all male soldiers think this way and not all women soldiers are trustworthy, but automatically assuming that women cannot be trusted is flat-out sexist.
Then there’s the idea that women are fragile blossoms who need to be sheltered from the harsh winds (and definitely from whizzing bullets).
Just stop right there. As intelligent, autonomous humans, women cannot be prohibited from serving in frontline roles because others believe it is not in their best interests. Allowing women to enter the combat forces will not weaken the military, as the standards will not change. 
Like the men who apply for such a position, a woman will also put much thought and research into deciding whether it is something she wants to pursue. It is her decision as to whether or not she wants to risk her life out in battle — her decision and hers alone.
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