If women can defend Fort Hood, they can defend America.
Restricted to support roles, more than 100 women soldiers have nonetheless died wearing the American uniform in Iraq, and another 15 have died in Afghanistan.
The rules are intended to protect women from "hostile fire." Writes Saletan:
You mean, like Sgt. Munley? I'd say she acquitted herself pretty well. So did Spc. Ashley Pullen, who earned a Bronze Star in Iraq by running through a line of fire and using her body as a shield to save a wounded soldier. Spc. Monica Brown got a Silver Star for rescuing five injured comrades under heavy fire in Afghanistan. Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester led her team through a line of fire in Iraq to outflank and destroy the insurgents who had ambushed her convoy.
Not every woman is capable of such feats. But not every man is, either. According to a report issued yesterday by several retired military leaders, 75 percent of Americans ages 17 to 24 are unfit for military service because of poor physical condition, criminal history, or failure to complete high school. Wouldn't our combat forces be stronger if they included the fittest men and women, instead of reaching deeper into the pool of unfit men?
Canada, of course, has lifted the ban on women in combat. Canada has lost two distinguished women soldiers in combat in Afghanistan. Capt. Nichola Goddard, 26, died in a firefight with Taliban insurgents on the outskirts of Kandahar City on May 17, 2006. Goddard, a crew commander, was standing half-exposed in her LAV III, giving protective fire for her colleagues ambushed by Taliban firing from abandoned houses, when her vehicle was hit by two rocket-propelled grenades. Trooper Karine Blais, 21, died April 13 of this year when her armoured vehicle rolled over an improvised explosive device (IED) north of Kandahar City.