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Tammy Duckworth
Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who lost both legs
serving in combat even though women
don't serve in combat.
Republicans are in disarray—again.

This time, the party of whiny old white male chickenhawks are having a devil of a time figuring out what they think about Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta's decision, announced earlier this week, to finally lift the ban on pretending that women aren't serving and dying in combat. (Because, you know, they are.)

On the one hand, we have Sen. John McCain, who said he respects and supports the decision. And everyone knows that when it comes to military matters, you can't argue with McCain because he's crashed more planes for the Navy then you'll ever fly, son.

Then, on the flip side of the crazy coin, we have noted ex-Rep. Allen West, who thinks women serving in combat is a horrible idea because "GI Jane was a movie and should not be the basis for a policy shift." Also, if there's one dude who understands military policies, it's the guy who was kinda sorta kicked out of the military for, you know, violating its policies.

We also have various conservative pundits, who've never actually served in the military but are quite certain that women shouldn't either because all of a sudden, they are very concerned about protecting women from violence. Which is cute, considering this is the same party that keeps blocking the Violence Against Women Act. Because violence against women is perfectly okay—as long as they haven't volunteered for it in service to their country.

And now we have Sen. Jim Inhofe, the pride of Oklahoma and ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, threatening to have himself a hissy fit:

Because that policy has worked so well for so long, I am concerned about the potential impacts of completely ending this policy. [...]

But I want everyone to know that the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which I am the Ranking Member, will have a period to provide oversight and review. During that time, if necessary, we will be able to introduce legislation to stop any changes we believe to be detrimental to our fighting forces and their capabilities. I suspect there will be cases where legislation becomes necessary.

“Women have made incredibly valuable sacrifices in service to their country. One such example is Oklahoman Sarina Butcher who was killed in combat – a position she volunteered for – while serving in Afghanistan for the Oklahoma National Guard. We are forever indebted to her and others like her.”

So then. The current policy of pretending women are not already in harm's way—thereby denying them the proper training and opportunities for advancement as their male counterparts—works just fine, thank you very much. And Inhofe sees no reason to change that because it might "be detrimental to our fighting forces and their capabilities." Apparently, Inhofe has not yet had a chance to meet his new colleague over in the House, Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who lost both legs serving in the Iraq War under the current policy that totally protects women from being harmed in combat.

But, you know, it's not like Inhofe is unappreciative of the "valuable sacrifices in service to their country." One of them even came from Oklahoma! So, thanks, ladies, for your service. But please note that Republicans would prefer to continue ignoring your service. For your own protection.


Originally posted to Kaili Joy Gray on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 10:43 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  DADT! (8+ / 0-)

    Worked supergreat!

    •  Kaili - you are the best (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hnichols, KenBee

      Thank you for all your words.  They often bring me to tears, tears for women, tears of:
      hope, rage, fear, courage.

    •  actually it did (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It was a necessary step to get to where we are today.  Had there been no DADT some would have been able to pretend that there were no gays in the military.  Instead it became a parlor game of "who isnt telling?"  After a few years that got boring and more importantly people figured out that you couldnt tell the difference when things really mattered - when the shooting started.  Once we got past that, full integration was easy.  But it took DADT.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:01:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Did This Man Serve In The Military (7+ / 0-)

    If he didn't he should STFU.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 10:53:53 AM PST

  •  For their own protection (12+ / 0-)

    and to keep them from getting equal pay for equal work as well as to keep them from sharing the opportunity for advancement that equality would bring. "Brilliant Inhofe, Brilliant"

  •  Lifting this "ban" actually behind the power curve (11+ / 0-)

    women started fighting in US forces when there started being US forces -- documentable to before the commissioning of Betsy Ross' flag.

    What this lifting does is allow them to advance in rank and be recognized for the work they've been doing in reality anyhow.

    Kudos to Secretary Panetta, VP Biden, and President Obama for letting the truth not just come out but have a light shined on it.

    LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

    by BlackSheep1 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:15:08 AM PST

    •  'you're being killed by a woman! Give up!' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      with flecks of Afghani culture, that was approximately what Warlord Dostum said to the Taliban he called up on a cell phone.

      He let them hear via his cell phone the US woman fire control officer raining hell on the Taliban position...

      He's probably pals with Inhoff for all of that...

      This machine kills Fascists.

      by KenBee on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:52:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Females have lived in a war zone as long as (9+ / 0-)

    there has been life on earth. It just makes the ones who have relied on brutalizing them to make them compliant and appeasing nervous to actually arm and train them. They had the same fears about arming blacks. Unearned domination is hard to keep the regressives supplied with easy targets if they learn they can fight back.

    Fear is the Mind Killer...

    by boophus on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:16:26 AM PST

  •  They're equal-opportunity asshats (6+ / 0-)

    they're opposed to anyone getting Veterans Benefits, because you know, Budget!  Entitlements!  47%! Takers!

    But they love them some troops when they're 'over there' keeping their own sons and daughters from having to put on a uniform, pick up a weapon and stand a post.  

    A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. -Carl Sagan

    by jo fish on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:35:49 PM PST

  •  Inhofe is an asshofe. (7+ / 0-)

    but i'm sure that's been said before....  

  •  Women at War versus War on Women (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, JeffW, LilithGardener

    The contradictions and fantasies that fill the conservative mind are a pathology all their own.

    So concerned about women - except when it comes to rape, health care, equal pay, discrimination...

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:39:38 PM PST

  •  Foreign combat vs. domestic combat? (9+ / 0-)

    So the conservatives don't want to let trained, professional soldiers who are women engage in combat with foreign forces.  But they're all in favor of arming our teachers (who remain mostly women, especially in the elementary and middle school grades), not really given them much training, and allowing them to engage in domestic combat with folks armed with assault weapons and 30+ round magazines.  Makes a lot of sense, don't you think?

  •  GOP excells at Empty threats (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, JeffW

    See President Rand Paul

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:40:00 PM PST

  •  I'll bet $10,000 women are more suited for combat (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hnichols, JeffW, lorell, Calamity Jean

    than Inhofe is suited to fly planes.

    Fox News: "Fare Unbalanced."

    by here4tehbeer on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:45:10 PM PST

    •  I can't image that a woman at (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lorell, LilithGardener, NancyWH

      the controls of an airplane of any kind would ignore the posted warnings that said Runway Closed! and land on the runway, endangering workers there.

      Of course, Inhofe walked away with his pilot's papers intact because he is, at least in his own mind, a BFD. The FAA should have grounded him then and there.

      We are often so identified with whatever thoughts we may be having that we don’t realize the thoughts are a commentary on reality, and not reality itself. -- Gangaji

      by Mnemosyne on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:33:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Would it be a terrible idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    To allow soldiers to volunteer for combat assignments?  That is, allow young men and women to enlist, either in a potential combat role or support role?

    Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

    by Helpless on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:45:21 PM PST

    •  Yes it would (0+ / 0-)

      You volunteer to serve.  If you happen to go into combat or not is luck and timing.  Letting people pick and choose would be horrible for discipline and cohesion.  

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:34:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That sounds like the terrible idea to me (0+ / 0-)

        Why not let people volunteer to be clerks, cooks or medical personnel?  Leaving it to luck and timing must end up with some bad mismatches.

        Isn't it controlled by superior officers today?

        Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

        by Helpless on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 11:37:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  So an Oklahoma woman has died in combat (6+ / 0-)

    but women shouldn't be allowed in combat?  OK.

    So we should continue to send women to their death in combat but just not recognize them for it?

    Classic Inhofe who lands on closed runways and then blames the FAA.

    One of the biggest assholes around.

  •  If the Senate could be described (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, JeffW, KenBee, NancyWH

    as a compost heap, and I think it could, then Inhofe is the biggest weed growing out of it.

    So he is what? Proud of one of his citizens for dying in combat, but refusing to allow their combat to be recognised?

    The man is a charlatan

    "and we elect 'em, again and again" - Seeger

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:46:32 PM PST

  •  Now, let's be honest.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, slothlax, NancyWH
    Because violence against women is perfectly okay—as long as they haven't volunteered for it in service to their country.
    The truth of it is that those screeching little chickhawks are just fine with violence against women --- until the women are walking around with more military hardware than a Ted Nugent "Red Dawn" wet dream.  Imagine the misogynist's squeals of "tyranny" when he and his AR-15 are being repressed by a lady-type person with a Panzer....

    Proponents of gun violence own guns. Opponents of gun violence do not own guns. What part of this do you not understand?

    by Liberal Panzer on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:46:36 PM PST

  •  glad I'm not a whiny old white male chickenhawk (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, kurious, Eric Nelson, NancyWH


    Homie, this is pitch perfect!

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:47:03 PM PST

  •  "Ex-Rep Allen West" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksuwildkat, Calamity Jean, NancyWH

    Sort of rolls off the tongue. I just love hearing and reading that. Maybe someday I can read about Ex Sen Jim Inhofe. But this is Oklahoma, so probably not.

  •  Very Republican. Don't serve, just opine as though (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lorell, NancyWH

    you were an authority.

    Great writing, KJG !!!!!!

    Another soul, a Republican actually, said:

    "It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat." Teddy Roosevelt, "Citizenship in a Republic," - Speech at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910
    The conservative world, inhabited almost solely by chicken shits hawks wouldn't realize this.

    I think that Republicanism is revealing itself as a personality disorder, not so much an ideology." -- Naomi Klein

    by AllanTBG on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:57:01 PM PST

  •  Fuck. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Batya the Toon

    It's 2013; we shouldn't be having this conversation!

  •  As a former Infantry officer... (6+ / 0-)

    I would like to thank Rep, Duckworth for her service. If it were not for people like her, I would not have lived.

    There were never any good old days, they are today, they are tomorrow! It's just a stupid thing to say, cursing tomorrow with sorrow! (Eugene Hutz)

    by Kalong on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:02:12 PM PST

  •  You guys say "combat" as if it's all the same, no (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ksuwildkat, slothlax

    better than the GOP in that regard.

    There's a world of difference between serving in the infantry, the SEALS, flying choppers, bombers, fighers, piloting droves, working radar on a combat ship, nurses and doctors, etc.

    Women have been in combat in a variety of roles for years.  Women have been in the line of fire and put their lives on the line for years.
    Women are grown-ups who have the right to determine if they want to risk life and limb for country.

    It's fair to be concerned about fitness for certain roles that require strength, stamina, etc.  Gender's the wrong test, however.  Strength, stamina, whatever are the right test.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:02:53 PM PST

    •  It is fair (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ksuwildkat, dinotrac

      And civilians in general just won't get the difference between combat arms, combat support, and combat service support.

      But as you say, gender is irrelevant.  Either you as an individual can do the task required or you can't.  If you can, you're in.  If you can't, come work in the supply cage.

      There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

      by slothlax on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:14:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And, let's be honest -- not only do logistics (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        win or lose as many battles as fighters do, they face many of the risks, because -- the other side knows that logistics win or lose battles.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:50:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I gave the student address at Ft Lee (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dinotrac, NancyWH

          I started out in logistics.  In my little address, I summed up logistics like this:

          "Without us, the Army would consist of a bunch of sweaty, naked men and women running around the desert fighting each other with sticks."

          And yeah, the other side knows that too.

          We don't talk about "lines of supply" much anymore, but it used to be perhaps the biggest obstacle to the ambitions of armies.

          There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

          by slothlax on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:00:41 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I studied McCain's military career. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurious, Calamity Jean, NancyWH
    you can't argue with McCain because he's crashed more planes for the Navy then you'll ever fly, son.
    Two of my very first diaries, written during the 2008 campaign, caused me to do substantial oppo research into McCain's alleged hero credentials. The story presents a pretty mixed bag, and there are some stories about his time in the Hanoi Hilton that some find inspiring.

    But it's hard to over look the fact that John McCain was a piss poor Naval aviator. It seems like he crashed damn near every plane the Navy gave him. That's not just the one he crashed over North Viet Nam (almost immediately after arriving in the war zone), but also in training and, once, on a pleasure trip to the Army-Navy foot ballgame, McCain crashed his Navy jet on the way home. The man was menace.  

    Aren't you glad that the clueless won't get a chance to run the country again, just yet? Yeah. Me too.

    by LeftOfYou on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:09:33 PM PST

  •  I love that Tammy Duckworth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Batya the Toon

    doesn't try to camouflage her prosthetic legs, but wears a skirt for all to see what she gave in her service.


    [McCain has] crashed more planes for the Navy then you'll ever fly, son.
    LOL. And heh.

    We are often so identified with whatever thoughts we may be having that we don’t realize the thoughts are a commentary on reality, and not reality itself. -- Gangaji

    by Mnemosyne on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:36:41 PM PST

  •  Not entirely wrong (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slothlax, lorell

    I am loth to agree with anything that comes from Republicans these days but there is a point to what he is saying.

    #1 - the current policy really is working.  We have women in leadership positions from 4 Star to squad leader.  Women serve in combat now and receive the exact same awards, tour credits and recognition that their male peers receive.

    #2  - contrary to many reports, women are not being excluded from hundreds of thousands of jobs.  They are restricted from Special Forces, Armor, Infantry, Artillery and a small number of Engineer jobs in the Army and similar jobs in the Marine Corps.  The Navy and Air Force restrict them from Special Operations.  It is unlikely the ban will be lifted in Special Operations.

    #3 - The number of women who can meet the physical requirements for Infantry in particular is extremely small.  Heck we have a shortage of men who can meet them.  The Army is knee deep in the child obesity fight because we are staring down a future where there wont be any fit teens to turn into soldiers.  Now from that handful of women who meet physical requirements they still have to:

      a - Want to join
      b - want to go into infantry
      c - make it through training

    Believe it or not, Infantry is not the most desirable job in the military.  It always has been and will remain where soldiers who cant qualify for any other job go.  In fact, right now if a woman scores that low on our version of the IQ test, they cant join.  One of the changes that we will need to make will be to accept less intelligent women.  I guess that is progress.

    #4 - Succeeding as a woman in Infantry is going to be extremely hard.  It will be made even harder because any woman who joins now will "miss" combat in Afghanistan (assuming we draw down on schedule).  Until you actually fight, its all just theory.  I feel for that first woman because she is in for hell and some of that hell is going to come from other women.

    Having said all that, I think Artillery and Engineers will integrate the fastest.  Women are already there so it will just be putting them in all units.  Armor, like Infantry will be a fight but not as bad.  Infantry?  I think it would be best to leave it all male.  

    It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

    by ksuwildkat on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 06:53:07 PM PST

    •  Highest officer ranks (0+ / 0-)

      For the enlisted, Infantry may be less desirable.  But for an ambitious officer's career, combat arms has power.  Keeping women out of that pipeline diminishes the chances of women in general reaching the highest ranks.  Or so I've read, I'm just a Specialist.

      Just wondering out loud, I'm wondering if fraternization policy would have to be a lot tighter in combat arms?  If there's one female soldier in a platoon or maybe just five or six in a company, I could see that being a problem.

      There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

      by slothlax on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:30:01 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually I think it will be worse (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        First, any Infantry officer who aspires to command at any level has to be a Ranger School graduate.  Of the handful of women who could make it through to become Infantry Officers an even smaller could make it though Ranger School.  And even if they could make it physically, the chances they would actually make graduation are close to zero.  They will get "peered" and recycled until they give up.  Not right, just the truth.

        Second, any failure by a female Infantry officer will be magnified and will hurt ALL female officers.  Female officers in other Branches could find their promotions slowed because "you want to be equal, go to Infantry."  Again, not right but truth.

        As for fraternization policy I cant see how it could impact anything.  We have had women in platoons for a long time.

        It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

        by ksuwildkat on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 08:01:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It may start out that way (0+ / 0-)

          I think time will erode whatever institutional resistance there is.  There will be enough people sprinkled through the chain of command who support the policy that there won't be anything like a revolt.  But there will be challenges and the women who choose that path better be ready for them, especially the first few cadres.

          Perhaps working in Civil Affairs shades my view, I don't think the challenges will be has great as you seem to think.  Even if women have been restricted from certain job categories, a lot of women in my unit went on patrols with infantry guys. There are a lot of men combat arms throughout the services who have gone outside the wire with women. Sure, they were attachments and I know the grunts saw all of us attachments as outsiders, but they saw women working in battle.

          I imagine that, unlike the men who get shoved into Infantry because they can't do anything else, just about any woman who wants to go that route will be more motivated and self selecting, thus better prepared to meet the standard.

          I'm not all that concerned about fraternization, just worried about not having a "critical mass" of women in any particular unit.  I have an assumption that Infantry platoons are larger than most, so instead of three women in a supply section of fifteen people, you have one or two women in a platoon of forty.  Add in the more aggressive nature of combat arms and it seems like there is potential for a different kind of equation than we are used to.  Not enough to change department regulation, commanders further down the chain will probably be able to deal with whatever issues come up.

          There is truth on all sides. The question is how much.

          by slothlax on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 08:38:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you! (0+ / 0-)
    when it comes to military matters, you can't argue with McCain because he's crashed more planes for the Navy then you'll ever fly,
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.


    "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." ~ Steven Biko

    by Marjmar on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:24:36 PM PST

  •  I swear to god, I heard a guy say (0+ / 0-)

    on public radio, that "men get their honor from being soldiers and killing people and that women can't get honor from killing people because women get their honor from being chaste and virginal when they get married." He was an American, but had one of those fake-British accents. He sounded like the ghost of William Buckley.

    I think it might have been Talk of the Nation with Warren Olney. But it might have been one of the local shows.

    “If you misspell some words, it’s not plagiarism.” – Some Writer

    by Dbug on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 11:16:23 PM PST

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