The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Opinion

January 27, 2013

Give them a chance

Women deserve opportunity to serve in combat positions

GREENVILLE — We agree with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s decision to rescind the military’s ban on women serving in combat positions. The decision, which was recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will open up new job opportunities for women serving in the military, potentially including special operations positions, and will also afford them a better chance of earning advanced leadership roles.

We understand the issues that such a decision raises, and, while we acknowledge the physiological differences between the average man and woman, we do not believe that there are any strong negatives associated with this decision.

Many women already unofficially serve in combat positions. Male and female soldiers already live and work together in close proximity. And women will need to meet the same or similar criteria that men do, both physically and mentally, in order to be accepted into such positions.

If a woman has a desire to serve her country in this dangerous capacity, and as long as she meets the requirements to do so, we can see no logical reason to deny her that opportunity. In fact, we applaud the courage required to make such a commitment.

This decision flies in the face of military tradition, which is important to not only current service members, but veterans of previous conflicts that have served our nation with distinction. But sometimes, as a nation, we must break from tradition and move forward for the benefit of our citizens and service members. We believe that this decision will be beneficial.

As veterans, family members and friends of veterans, we believe that men serving in combat positions today will not care whether the person standing next to them is male or female, as long as they are properly trained and physically and mentally fit enough to perform the job. When the bullets begin to fly, ability will be much more important than gender.

And we believe that American women are more than able.

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