Analysis of Women in the Military

Women have been compared to the frailty and beauty of ripe
apricots in modern poetry; the reference could be construed as sexual.
However, in spite of their frailty and beauty, women have served in
combat positions in one capacity or another since the beginning of the
United States, long before the establishment of the Army Nurse Corps
in 1901. Many women willingly entered the pits of battle, disguised
as men and using male names in past wars. With growing numbers of
women in the military and their roles in Desert Storm, the Persian
Gulf War, Somalia, and Bosnia, there is increasing interest regarding
their full integration and future role in combat. There are still US
military women who strive to be allowed to serve their country in
other capacities during war time since the first deployment of women
on combat ships in 1995.

Most people have trust in their armed services to protect and
uphold the ideals in which their country was founded. Allowing women
to enter the armed forces represented the ideal that everyone should
have equal opportunities to pursue happiness. Within this silver
lining there is the contention by some that in letting women serve,
especially in a direct combat role, we are defeating the primary
purpose of the military: to protect our mother country. This view
could be considered to fall in unison with the ancient double standard
that women are the weaker gender. But what is combat specifically?
Combat is about being exhausted, hungry, and living in the mud for
long periods without access to clean water for drinking or bathing.
Its about long periods of boredom interrupted by violent interludes
of jolting fear, mingled with the agonizing cries of wounded, and the
piercing sound of artillery. Its about the flesh burning stench from
napalm or watching as fellow comrades gasp a last breath. Its about
extreme discomfort and random degrees of emotion coursing through your
being with no way out. Women in military specialties that are closer
to the action would result in the likelihood of their becoming
casualties just like men. Does this relevant factor elude those who
want to be in combat? During Desert Storm five women were killed by
hostile action, while two were held captive.

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Some women in the military maintain that service in combat
means more promotions for them; thereby attracting more women to the
service. Has combat been reduced to an opportunity? Does this
contingency sound similar to the propaganda and glorification of war
arranged to intrigue the naive into conflict? Surveys claim that some
military women do not think of war as such. A 1992 survey concerning
differences among Army personnel found that only 12 percent of Army
enlisted women would volunteer for combat arms if it were at all
possible. Critics claim physical standards for combat training are at
risk and will be compromised if women are allowed into combat
positions. Physical standards are critically important in such
occupations as the infantry and in special operations units. There is
contention regarding the disruption of the militarys mission when
female troops allowed in combat
become pregnant. It is thought by some, the relationships that would
inevitably develop would induce new and greater risk for men who acted
differently in combat toward females than they do toward males.
Homosexuality in the military offers additional biased credence to
this theory.

But the most damaging instance is thought to be the
devastating impact on the morale, team cohesion, and fighting spirit
within the armed forces. Combat is known to be a team activity which
regiments soldiers. Some women may indeed be as physically and
mentally capable as men to perform combat duties, but what matters
more in combat is not so much individual ability as teamwork. It is
presumed the presence of women in combat would disrupt the basic
teamwork that makes a difference between victory and defeat or life
and death on the battlefield.

And finally, there is the rising of the old argument that
female soldiers will be taken prisoner and sexually abused by enemy
forces. Major Rhonda Cornum who was taken prisoner by Iraqi forces
after her helicopter was shot down over Iraq


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