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Article published February 5, 2013
Combat debate flawed
Patrick Young Butler
The entire discussion of women in the military is flawed, since it misses the point. Women do not serve in the military; men do not serve in the military. Soldiers serve in the military. Most people who have not served fail to grasp the basic concept that boot camp is designed almost exclusively to replace one’s previous identity with a different one. There are no kids from Baltimore, Cleveland or Pittsburgh. One is not black, white or Hispanic. One is not Catholic or Jewish. And, it doesn’t matter (or, at least, it shouldn’t) if one is a man or a woman. When in uniform, one is a soldier, sailor or Marine — and that’s all. The only reason last names even are allowed is so when saying “Hey Soldier!” you don’t have everyone in the room turn around. Believe me, if the military could do without last names and refer to everyone in the most common and generic way, it would. You are, in effect, not even a person; you are a soldier, period. Anything beyond that, well, you can be a real person on your own time. So, what it really comes down to is: What are the skills required to be a soldier, sailor, airman and Marine? Can a person do them? I can say with near certainty that if the answer to the second question is “yes,” then nobody currently serving cares anything about who the person is. The biggest problem facing the U.S. military isn’t the latter question, but the former. The skills required to be a soldier are simply that, the basic skills required. They cannot and must not be compromised for any reason. Either a person can or cannot. Being a woman makes no difference. Make no mistake about what happens in the military. By nature and design, everything that is done is important. There is no “fat.” There are no jobs that, if done improperly, won’t wind up with somebody dying. The military exists for one purpose and has only one byproduct, the saving, protecting or taking of human lives. There can be no double standard for how to complete any one job, because there only is one standard for humans, alive or dead. Since all jobs in the military are by nature essential, and since the outcome has only two options, each job can only be done two ways, right or wrong. There can be no “right way” for a man, and separate “right way” for a woman. It doesn’t work that way. For those concerned about what would happen to females who would be captured, well, let me say that horrible things happen in war — to everyone involved. The atrocities committed are not lessened because one is a man or a woman. Simply put, the assertion that all females are not suitable for combat is as absurd as saying all men are. People should just be glad someone is serving. For the most part, those who are serving do not care who they serve with, for one very simple reason: Everyone reacts to bullets in the same way.