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January 27, 2013, Sunday

Women in combat

Hurray!!! American women have finally gained true equality. Now there is greater opportunity for participating in combat.

Last Wednesday, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced that the military’s official ban on women in combat will be lifted, and this will open up thousands of additional frontline jobs.

Until 1994, women in the US Army could only serve in positions that carried almost no risk of combat, but the Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule allowed women to fill any position in the military except those directly involved in ground combat on the front lines, among other limitations. Women have often served in support roles that carry significant risk, however. Now with this revolutionary decision their opportunities will be expanded even further, potentially including even special operations forces.

The decision obviously fits into President Obama’s extensive and determined liberal agenda. It goes particularly well with the matters of equal opportunity that he just emphasized in his inaugural address. It seems, however, that the decision was made by the military itself, and while it does not require action by Congress and didn’t have to be authorized by the president, it must have met with his approval.

According to military officials, it’s about time to withdraw the direct combat elimination rule for women and to get rid of all avoidable gender-based barriers to service. Also, this action was meant to guarantee that women are given the same opportunities for professional advancement.

Moreover, as Elisabeth Bumiller and Thom Shanker indicate in The New York Times: “Public opinion polls show that Americans generally agree with lifting the ban. A nationwide Quinnipiac University poll conducted a year ago found that three-quarters of voters surveyed favored allowing military women to serve in units that engaged in close combat, if the women wanted to.”

Yet, I don’t understand why they want to send women into direct ground combat when they can’t even protect the women already serving in the military. The number of rapes and sexual assaults within the American armed forces climbs every year. Existing problems need to be solved before creating the potential for more.

Yes, it might be seen as a step for women towards equality. However, generally speaking the good jobs still go to men, and they receive higher pay. Instead of discussing if women should go into combat or not, maybe the US should discuss why there are seven members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff but not even one woman in that group.

In Turkish and Islamic history it’s not a surprise to see women in combat. In different periods of history we can find many examples of women leading troops, and during Turkey’s War of Independence we had many nameless women heroes who worked hard and sacrificed to defend the country. Just one remarkable example is Aisha, the widow of the Prophet Muhammad, was the commander of an army in the Battle of the Camel in 656 when they sought justice for the murder of the prior caliph, Uthman.

No one told those women they could not direct a war just because they were women.

Israeli women, too, have taken part in Israel’s military since the founding of the state in 1948, and their role includes infantry combat service.

Women fighting in war is not a new concept, and it can be necessary in some circumstances. However nowadays, governments create wars for reasons other than national defense, and many innocent people that we call soldiers or warriors kill and die to serve their government’s dirty politics, and then we glorify murder.

Call me a pacifist, but I do not believe in war because it takes everything from humanity. It takes our lives, youth, dreams and future. Everything changes with every war. War is a bad idea and the idea of having women in combat cannot be good. Thus I wonder how many women are applauding this decision? Is that really what we want for our daughters? Is it really something we can get excited about in the name of equality of the sexes? Come on, ladies, don’t you think we deserve much better than a “be all you can be” cliché?

I have no disbelief in G.I. Jane’s inner strength. However, I can’t imagine a woman taking up weapons to kill others. She cannot be a woman then, she possesses the mind of a man. Women are on earth to give life, not death.

Women make sensible leaders of our civilization because they are full of love, merciful, tolerant and communicative. Women are nurturers. Our true mission in life is to raise our children of both sexes in peace and love, and to avoid violence. Our goal should be to teach them to respect everybody equally.

Our planet is in danger just because of mankind’s neglect and greed. Instead of discussing whether or not women should go into combat, maybe we should discuss a policy of “equalizing the field” to eliminate males from combat?

Women are in true combat every day to earn a living, to raise their children, to get their rights, to eliminate gender-based violence and unfairness everywhere in the world. They can choose what to fight for; can’t women make a better choice for the survival of all humankind?

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