Patch's Poll: Should Women Serve on the Front Lines?

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta plans to lift the ban.

Following a recommendation by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has decided that the military will allow women to serve in combat units.

According to the New York Times, "Panetta’s decision came after he received a Jan. 9 letter from Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who stated in strong terms that the armed service chiefs all agreed that 'the time has come to rescind the direct combat exclusion rule for women and to eliminate all unnecessary gender-based barriers to service.'"

The decision, which does not require action by Congress, will be implemented over several years by different branches of the military, the Times said.

How do you feel about this decision?

Take our poll and tell us in the comments.

Phyllis Johnson January 25, 2013 at 09:19 AM
It's about time women are allowed to serve in combat officially! Women should have the right to pursue this option if they want to... it's about choice!
Richard Poulton January 25, 2013 at 12:52 PM
I agree Phyllis it is all about choise. But do we lower the standards to accomplish this new politically correct stance by this administration. Do we lower the standards for special ops like SEALS or Delta Force schools, which by the way only 10% of men who start ever finish. Do we end up with a SEAL TEAM 6 no longer as effective as before because of the loward standard so women can be part of this group of highly trained killers, which by the way that is what they are. There are plenty of highly skilled positions within the services that women have served and are still serving with destinction. Front line combat soldier is not one of them. Sorry. As one who was in the hell hole called Viet Nam and witnessed first hand the carnage of combat I don't believe this is a place for women just to be politicaly correct. Again this is my opinion and my opinion only.
Hank Petroskey January 25, 2013 at 01:14 PM
I don't see why not. As part of full equality, it makes sense.
Richard Poulton January 25, 2013 at 02:14 PM
My comment is in no way meant to give the impression that women don't belong in the military. Just the opposite, but not in every position. Hank were you ever in the military? Not the USN or USAF, but in a rifle platoon in the A or MC? There are just places in life that are designed by the nature of the beast better suited for man then women and yes women better the a men. But not in a front line rifle platoon. I'm sorry, I've been there and would not want a women in that situation. Yes there are those that will say it works in other countries, where every adult over 18 has to join the military for a minimum of 2 years in some cases. But do you see these countries having combat troops placed all over the world as we do? This country is being taken down the wrong road.
Daria Novak January 25, 2013 at 02:41 PM
I believe in equality but want your opinions. The US & Israeli military did a significant joint study on the psycho-biological aspects of gender-integrated forces. It affirmed serious issues remain that we have been unable to overcome due to human biology & having no correlation to the strength of the typical female soldier. The problem discovered is much deeper (in our genes). The parameter of the study... 3 soldiers (1 female, 2 males) are put in a serious combat situation. The group leader is male. He must choose whether to help the female or the male soldier. The female soldier is not in a life-threatening position; the male is in grave danger. The soldiers all were trained to assist immediately the person in the most serious situation and then rescue those in the less threatening environment. In a real life scenario it doesn't operate as on paper. Neither the level of training nor length of service impact the scenario outcome. The male inevitably helps the less-threatened female first, even when she is combat hardened. Our human biology is the attributed cause of this behavior. My question is -- If the Israeli Army can't train this instinct out of a male soldier, can our military maintain today's standards with women fighting alongside males? I am NOT stating I am against women in all positions. I simply am asking how our government plans to alter the biology of human nature effectively enough to achieve it goals of full integration in life & death situations.
thomas January 25, 2013 at 02:48 PM
there were female warriors in the bible , as in the book of judges, barak the warrior would not fight unless deborah theprophetress was there. i am all for it
Flowers January 25, 2013 at 02:54 PM
This change will now allow gender confused females to rise to the rank of General/Admiral. As long as combat is optional and woman are not drafted is there still equality? This change brings into conflict the traditional beliefs that females are not suited emotionally or physically for combat and current trends in PC/everyone is equal thinking.
Richard Poulton January 25, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Great comment Daria. Like I said and I will repeat, I have no issue with this other then don't lower the standards just to be politically correct. That will cost lives.
Tim January 25, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Gender confused females? You mean like women who don't know which side of Kohl's to shop on?
Jim Soderberg January 25, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Phyllis - Hank: when did combat become a matter of choice or equality? It's "combat", not a game. It seems Richard has a better perspective on this than you both do. Perhaps as a trial, and this would not really come close, women should play one season in the NFL. No special privileges just complete full contact football. Frontline combat is no place for a woman. Jim Soderberg
Phyllis Johnson January 25, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Richard, Thanks for your comments. I agree completely that combat is NOT a place for ANYONE to be just for the sake of political correctness. STANDARDS should NOT be lowered even a bit... NO! You mention the SEALS... they are an elite group... highly trained, yes? Very few MEN can be SEALS. I would NEVER want a women... or a man... to be a SEAL just to be politically correct. And Richard I do believe that a woman who wants the opportunity to be in combat, etc... needs and WANTS to prove herself able to do that. I did not serve myself I am sad to say. Viet Nam was my war as well. I wish I had. I wish this country, like many countries, had military service that is MANDATORY for ALL... male and female. I simply believe that a female should have the choice to TRY. Thanks again! Good comments!
Tim January 25, 2013 at 03:43 PM
I'll counter your NFL trial argument with one that makes an equal amount of sense: didn't you see Lord of the Rings? A woman killed Sauron!
Richard Poulton January 25, 2013 at 03:58 PM
And I will counter with this. Watch just 4 war movies, Saving Private Ryan, Full Metal jacket, Platoon, and the oldie but goodie The Longest Day. Now invision your daughter going thru the opening scenes in Private Ryan, where bodies are torn apart being hit by rounds and artillary shells. That is what happens to the body. Want to feel what it was like in the jungles in VN watch Jacket & Platoon. As real as it could get without being there. Yes this is Hollywood, but it took me a long time just to get the courage to watch Platoon when it first came out, never mind FMJ. Oh, I forgot, watch We Were Soldiers, a fact based TRUE story. This will show you what you want your daughters to expierence just to be politically correct. There are 26 occupations in the Army, called MOS's. These range from Interprater/Translater (09) all the way up to Missile Maintenance (94). So why the need to have women in a classification of an 11A or an 11B, a front line rifleman, who by the way are the first to take the bullit?
Mitch January 25, 2013 at 04:11 PM
I have 2 major concerns about this: (1) this will put more women in a position to be captured by the enemy. As has been seen by the relatively few women troops that have been captured in the past, rape, sodomy and other gender-related torture has been inflicted upon them. When the rate of this type of torture rises, what will our government do? Pull women from the front lines, or withdraw from the areas of engagement they are deployed in? (2) does the average woman have the strength and stamina to drag a wounded male to safety? I know that even at my advanced age, I could physically move my wife to safety but that she (although in perfect health) could not reciprocate. I think the real reason behind Panetta's decision is to open the higher-echelon jobs (general and admiral positions) to woman. This could be accomplished by removing the requirement that the person has served in a "front line" situation. Or change that requirement to be "war time service".
Tim January 25, 2013 at 04:24 PM
So it's easier to imagine your son's body being torn apart, instead of your daughter's?
Matt January 25, 2013 at 04:33 PM
That's nice. What's your point??? (Rhetorical question, I know you have no point)
Fred January 25, 2013 at 04:54 PM
The views of people like Richard Poulton, who have relevant experience, should be accorded great weight on this subject. The decision to deploy women in combat should be made by senior officers on the military merits and without regard to political considerations. Our national defense is too important to be influenced by political correctness.
frank esposito January 25, 2013 at 05:01 PM
FOOLS! Absolutelty not! wo-MEN have no place in the military, at all! Not even the waves! MYTH: wo-MEN A are proving themselves in the military. FACT: 60 percent of wo-MEN have lied about rape in the military! Source: Discovery channel documentry, with Sam Donadson) FACT: 80 percent of plane crashes are caused by fe-MALE PILOTS! They get smaller cockpits then the MEN! They don't even fly model planes! Why are wo-MEN not made to shave their hair? How come they don't get punished for perjury? 60 percent of wo-MEN have LIED about rape! Why are they allowed to wear lipstick? MEN are prosecuted for Adultry? Find ONE case, where a fe-MALE is sent to prison for cheating on her husband! It seems like the military is being run by the wo-MEN on the view! Mitch are you a fool? Why should wo-MEN be entitled to authority in a mascluine role their not even proven in, never mind lessing the requirerments! Even the requirements for what constitutes rape are lowered for wo-MEN! We have statuatory rape with adult wo-MEN! There are MANY definitions of rape in the military all unconstitutional! wo-MEN are as proven in the military, as they are on the MENS football team! You'll have 2 or 3 HERMAPHADITES who only have to kick, and then they''ll cry rape, ussually FALSLY!
jack988 January 25, 2013 at 05:23 PM
if a draft is ever issued, they will be enlisting your daughters if they are of the right age. Think about that.
Jay January 25, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Mitch has nailed the case against women at war and I fought in Vietnam and saw (and stopped) rape and assault on captured vietnamese women, VC and civilian.. Famous case from first Iraq war. Woman pilot was captured - broke both arms - carried in truck and Iraq soldier started to molester her . There was an wounded american soldier in the truck and he felt compelled to interfere. Fortunately the soldier backed off. Other famous case was the women soldier captured and rescued in early stages of same war - really banged up - she was raped when she was unconcious. Do we really need to start handing out purple hearts for being raped??
thomas January 25, 2013 at 07:29 PM
the real female warrior is not a fatty, she is inkless and smokeless she guards the home and conducts bible study with her kids
Phyllis Johnson January 25, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Daria you bring up a good point. My understanding is this action of women in combat will be phased in over time by each of the services. And I am positive it will take a LONG time for "instincts" to be over come and changed. Yes, some (most? I don't want to generalize) men do react protectively to females. In our culture, as in many, men are expected to protect others... female... other males. Nurture? Nature? Personally, I believe it's more nurture then nature. HOWEVER, that doesn't lessen the power of the reaction. How does the military overcome this? It will take training and time. How long did it take for blacks to be accepted in the military? How was that accomplished? Please understand, I have NO desire for someone to be in a position they can not handle... male or female. I simply want the opportunity to TRY for those who wish to. Richard suggested watching several movies to get even a suggestion of what real combat is like. I have seen most of the movies he's suggested and they are heart breaking... unspeakable horror. Richard, I can only guess at what you have seen and lived thru. I am forever grateful that I have NOT had to endure these things. Would I want a women to go thru that? I wouldn't want ANYONE to go thru that. While I understand your protective attitude I remind you that women see horrors every day... just like many men. Women are doctors, EMT's... Good discussion... thanks!
Teresa January 25, 2013 at 08:44 PM
let the men do man things!
John Cappiello January 27, 2013 at 07:12 PM
Jack988 may have hit the nail on the head . The future plans of the current admin might include a draft which would not be posible if you don't have gender equality.
John Cappiello January 27, 2013 at 07:14 PM
If you allow this and do not change the standards it will sort itself out. just as it does in the Firedepartments and police departments.
Phyllis Johnson January 27, 2013 at 08:41 PM
Jack... I hope a draft is never again necessary... but if it does become necessary then both men AND women should be drafted. Please give women credit... they are tough cookies. It's perfectly natural to feel protective of our children... daughters and sons. But as long as females are accorded "frail" status they will forever be treated as second class citizens. If a female can not do a job, she shouldn't HAVE the job... firefighter, police, solider, CEO, president. Are you telling me that ALL men are capable of doing ALL jobs? Of course not... we all know cases of men in jobs they shouldn't have! We are all human beings with unique abilities and limitations. Let us make decisions based on individual ability and personal actions... and NOT gender (or race, religion, sexual orientation, etc). Thanks for continuing the conversation...
Phyllis Johnson January 27, 2013 at 08:52 PM
Mitch... these are valid points. (1) women (past and current) are already captured by enemy and tortured in all sorts of ways including sexual. Do you think men that are captured are not tortured including sexual torture? Why is it worse to have a women sexually tortured then a man? As far as what the govt would do if this happened... I doubt they would do anything more or less then they do right now. If female rape was seen as an untenable situation I imagine they would pull FEMALES out of the area of engagement... and that my friend would be very sexist. (2) does the avg female have the strength to drag a wounded male to safety? Does every male solider have the strength to drag any other solider out of harms way? What does he do if he can't? Get help from someone else? You bring up excellent and valid concerns Mitch... thanks!
Richard Poulton January 27, 2013 at 09:37 PM
I said my piece on this earlier and I wasn't going to make any further comments, but last night while watching the news (CNN) I heard a member of Congress (sorry can't remember his name) come out and say the main reason for allowing females to be front line combat trained members of the military, meaning Marines & Army, is so those in lower officer ranks can advance to Generals, Admirals, etc. That having this expierence is the only way they can advance to the high ranks. Excuse me Mister member of Congress, you should read before you speak, but thats right your are a politician. Currently there are a few female 4 star generals serving in the Pentagon. The Army alone has a dozen or more female General Staff officers currently leading army groups or in command leadership positions. So don't tell me women can't makes those ranks. I truly believe this decision was made for one reason & one reason only, get more votes at the next election. The current military operations are sterile in comparison to VN & Korea. Yes, during Irag 1, there were infantry units going up against there counterparts, hard core - man to man war. But now the biggest concern are the IED's, yes very bad, but we as a news watching society doesn't see what war is truly like anymore, its clean. FYI, during WWll the average infantry combat foot soldier in one year only actually expierenced 10 days of actual combat whereas in VN the foot soldier experienced 240 days of actual combat in one year.
Phyllis Johnson January 28, 2013 at 12:26 AM
Richard... Thanks for adding this information. Getting information is always good and important. Your service to this country brings a GREAT deal of weight to this discussion. My opinions on this topic are not meant to dismiss your wisdom and experience. You and all military persons have made it possible for me to voice my opinions freely... and for that I will be forever grateful. Thank you.
Richard Poulton January 28, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Thanks Ms. Johnson. I feel very strongly about this topic. Don't get me wrong, I am all for equal this and equal that, but not when it comes to having women in a field combat unit. I'm sorry. I don't think you will find anyone who has gone though such face to face action will ever say it was fun, had a good time, thank you. But what I will say is this - when I was growing up my father would talk about his "time" in Europe fighting you know who. He was one of the Rangers that scaled that wall in Normandy. He said there is no more greater adrenalin HIGH than combat, but the down side afterwords was more horrible, just thinking about what just happened. You know what, he was right. Thus I say not a place for women.


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