My Perspective: Women in Combat

In recent news, The Pentagon is expected to open most combat roles to women soon.

UPDATE: Today, the Pentagon announced that they will open all combat roles to women.

The decision has been in the making for quite some time. More than two and a half years ago, my friend, Joe Carter, wrote a thought-provoking article called Battles are Ugly when Women Fight, in which he predicts that young women will soon be required to register for the Selected Service, to eventually be subjected to the draft.

Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not a fan of putting women in combat, nor am I a fan of "slippery-slope" argumentation. It seems unlikely to me that 1) the American public will likely support any form of a draft at this point, given the overwhelming success of an all-volunteer Army, and 2) that the American public should easily make the leap from women being allowed to do something to forcing women into the specific fields where they have to serve. We really don't need to look much further than the track record that science and engineering fields have had for attracting and recruiting young women. STEM programs and diversity clubs everywhere have actively recruited women for more than 20 years in those fields and the actual ratio still remains at a meager 8-10%, even in best case scenarios.

However, even though I find it unlikely that the public will force women to enlist into combat any time soon, I strongly believe we should advocate for the right for women to claim  conscientious objector status, should legislation be passed in the near future. Without having to prove that they are full-blown pacifists, women should be able to opt-out, solely on the grounds that they are women. That's something that I'd like to see put into place with any future legislature.

All of that said, I'm still in accord with Joe Carter's position here, particularly because I've lived through three decades of first hand knowledge regarding the changes in our military forces. Long before 9/11/2001, the slide toward women on the front lines has been in full effect. However, the tables went into full-tilt when the lines between combat and service support roles were irreversibly blurred by the asymmetric style of warfare employed by our cowardly enemies.

The global threats presented by a post-Cold War environment necessarily thrust every military member into the "warrior" role. The days of either young men or young women joining the military in a support capacity have been gone for longer than a decade. Just think about it, and remember that Jessica Lynch was a supply specialist (service support) who became a POW after she and her fellow soldier were engaged in a fire-fight. Not your typical supply specialist job description, right?

In my case, this change in roles was one of the main reasons why I left the military to move on to better callings. It was never my intent to have to shoot a weapon at another person. In fact, through most of my career, my job mostly involved shooting a camera and wielding a pen (or a typewriter back in the day). Even that role was rewritten and changed to mobile/combat camera more than 15 years ago. When our unit got called to go to Iraq, I invoked my 20-year letter option and retired as a matter of conscience.

Finally, anyone who reads this stuff knows that I'm a full-fledged PCA church member, who values my denomination's Biblical teaching and positions on topics such as these. Many years ago, in 2001, my denomination formed an Interim Study Committee, that wrote this Consensus Report, and made these Recommendations for the Wise Counsel of the Church, specifically pertaining this topic. Back in 2007, as I was wrestling with my own issues of "Should I Stay or Should I Go" regarding my military status. I was directed to these documents by the wise counsel of a Godly PCA elder, who I met while one of our presbytery events. (Chaplain Lee served in the military for many years and is currently the Executive Director of the Presbyterian & Reformed Commission on Chaplains and Military Personnel for our denomination.)

Series on Women's Ministry in the Local Church ‪#‎fwiw‬

1. Women's Ministry in the Local Church: Intro & FAQ
2. Women's "Ministry"?


Popular Posts