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Reducing conflicts in the Middle East and reducing the “The Ugly American” image in the area are important pieces of handing off a better world to our Grandchildren.
On July 27, 2011 I blogged on Women in Combat Roles. After reading an article about the death of Army 1st Lt. Ashley White, I am revising (not reversing) my previous opinion. In today’s asymmetrical warfare keeping women “behind the front” becomes almost meaningless because there is no “front line.” We saw this in the guerrilla tactics of the Viet Cong 40 years ago, and we see it in terrorist tactics of today’s Middle East conflicts. Also we realize today that we must win the emotional and psychological war (win the hearts of the people) if we are to defeat terrorism. We can not win in the long term on brute military strength.
Enter special operations women combatants like Lt. White. They are essential for interactions with Islamic women. They are essential for tasks like frisking Islamic women for weapons and sorting out woment from men disguised as women. This is not an “as good as men” situation. This is a “women are superior” situation. Just as women police officers produce better results (less confrontation) in certain domestic situations, women soldiers produce better results in certain political-combat situations. [Note: I will make the assumption that the women in these combat roles must meet appropriate physical performance criteria.] While we could continue the brute military force method and have our male soldiers conduct these friskings (for example), it will so enrage the people we are trying to “win the hearts of” that cooperation will be impossible. Long-term “victory” will be harder, if not impossible.
Let’s be glad that there are women brave enough and fit enough to perform these duties, and give them due credit and honor.
We want to hand off the best (though different) world we can to our Grandchildren. One way to do this is put the most capable people in the critical positions.