serving in combat even though women
don't serve in combat.
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.