19. May 2005 · Comments Off on Memo: Not the Ladies’ Auxiliary · Categories: General, GWOT, Military

To: The Senate Armed Forces Committee
From: Sgt Mom
Re: Military Women & Combat Support

1. My dear ladies and gentlemen, at this point is a little late to be coaxing the horse of “No Women in Combat!” back into the barn and locking the door. This would require the military to reverse nearly thirty years of placing military women— who are volunteers, mark you— in specialties which do not permit them to go out deliberately looking for combat, but which do put them out where combat might, in theory, come looking for them. This was a great change from the previous system, in which military women were stationed either in the continental United States performing various support functions a long, long way from what was clearly understood to be the front, or as nurses and clerks in a handful of rear-echelon areas where it was devotedly hoped that in case of defeat and capture that the Geneva Convention and the enemies’ chivalric sensibilities would afford some kind of protection.

2. Alas, only one country that we have fought since 1941 has given more than lip service for the Geneva Convention, the forces of militant Islam would appear to have about as much use for traditional chivalry as Orky the Killer Whale has for a stair step machine, and it is abundantly clear that in this war, there is no front line, there is no safe area. When an enemy can take a clear shot at the Pentagon, and kill civil servants sitting quietly at their desk jobs— well, that should make it pretty clear that there is no rear in which to park the gear and the ladies’ auxiliary safely out of harms’ way… even if going back to the old way were still even possible.

3. Many of the necessary combat-support jobs in this war are being done by soldiers, airmen, sailors and Marines who just happen to be of the female persuasion. They have volunteered for the military, they have trained to do their jobs, they have been leaders, supervisors, commanders, and as such they are essential. As professionals, I am sure that most of them had a pretty good idea of what they were getting into… and for those who didn’t the ambush of a certain Army maintenance unit convoy in 2003 served as a wake-up call. This for real, and this is for keeps, and those who do not have a sword may still die upon one.

4. I would agree that seeing the mothers of small children coming back from Iraq in a coffin is a heartbreaking prospect; so are the accounts and pictures of military women who have lost limbs, been horribly scarred, who have been injured and face a long recovery… but how can it be any less horrible for the mothers of sons to face the same? We all hold a stake in this; we are all at war, no matter where we might be, and no matter if it is a son or a daughter, a wife or a husband serving. Please don’t patronize us by deciding that one or the other of them should be protected right out of what they are doing in our service. Do what you can to see that every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine has what they ought to have, now and in the future to do what they need to do.

5. Finally, I derive a great deal of mental satisfaction in imagining a particularly odious Baathist— perhaps one of Saddam Hussein’s official rapists— or an especially misogynist Al-Quaida operative being cuffed by a female SP, or tapped at a good distance by an expertly shooting woman Marine. I would ask rather that you do what you can to see that this happens… soon and often.

Sgt. Mom

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