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Editor’s Pick
JANUARY 24, 2013 8:08PM

Women in combat: It is different now

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me in uniform



I am an Air Force veteran and former Air Force officer. I am a woman. I see today's breakthrough in U.S. military gender equality with a jaded eye and a gravely disappointed spirit.

 It was one thrill to enter the military when a handful of career fields were open to women. It was another thrill to leave the Air Force after helping to change the field of battle.

When I left the Air Force, a handful of career fields were closed to women.

 It was one thing to fight the Cold War with the greatest weapon mankind can hold:  Mutually assured global destruction. It is different now. We  fight the wrong wars based on the lies and desires of self-serving political opportunists and corporate interests. 

According to the Mercury News, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said

"Women have become integral to the military's success and have shown they are willing to fight and die alongside their male counterparts."

"The time has come for our policies to recognize that reality,"


It is different now when we look at the possibility of combat roles for women while the U.S. engages in wars based on patently false premises, falls into intractable quagmires and suffers terrible leadership scandals.

America abandoned its contract with injured soldiers years ago and has done nothing of merit to cure the historically shameful veterans claims backlog. Soldiers, men and women alike, are languishing for years without their hard earned compensation and pensions. Americans duck their heads and change the subject.

 We have used up two generations of volunteer soldiers and are starting to use up a third generation. It is different now.

Men still think that women will be a problem in combat, even after 12 years of being in combat without credit. 

Men will never believe that women can carry the log.

 Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council, called the move "another social experiment" that will place unnecessary burdens on military commanders.

Jerry Boykin is another unwanted, unelected creep who has nothing of merit to offer this nation but a far worse internal enemy than we are fighting abroad. No one fought in any war for this man to speak with more weight than their elected officials.



Males  carry a log.





A woman carries a damn log



Panetta said,

 "Our military is more capable, and our force is more powerful, when we use all of the great diverse strengths of the American people,"

We are hard up for cannon fodder! We have emptied the national human pantry that once fed the battlefields with breathing, living fighters. That is what is different now.

In one dulled and bitter sense, lifting the ban on women soldiers in combat is a great breakthrough for women's equality. Women soldiers will be able to prove themselves in combat. This will give them an equal career path to promotions and advanced leadership positions in the military.

It is different now.
America's soldiers are little more than new age cannon fodder for engagements with the wrong enemies for the wrong reasons.The foolish politicians are too greedy, mentally unstable and cowardly to serve in the military where they could learn the realities of military strategy before they demand military solutions.

"And these conflicts, where battlefield lines are blurred and insurgents can lurk around every corner, have made it almost impossible to keep women clear of combat"

America's political leaders do not even know how to prosecute a war anymore. Things are different.






Until the Veterans Administration becomes a functioning institution again and until this nation engages in battle with vastly more competence and integrity, I can only see the Panetta announcement as a hideously mixed message to the women of
America's all-volunteer military institutions.

 "More than 280,000 women have been sent to Iraq, Afghanistan or to jobs in neighboring nations in support of the wars. Of the more than 6,600 U.S. service members who have been killed, 152 have been women."

The message is different now. We need more cannon fodder, so we may as well take women to come home twisted and damaged without hope of a functioning VA system. There are too many ahead of them in line and we looted our treasury for the enrichment of the few. Do not look for any meaning to their sacrifices. It is different now. We stopped caring about our reasons for going to war a long time ago.

It's different now.  It is all about the corporations and the extremists. Young women and men cannot continue to feed a nation's folly. There will only be equal opportunity to be failed and for the best of America to be used up.

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That's what I'm screamin'!
I wondered what you would think of this development and agree with you whole-heartedly.
Great piece. Thanks for highlighting this.

"It is all about the corporations and the extremists. Young women and men cannot continue to feed a nation's folly."

Pretty much sums up what I am thinking.
Alas, Wish I could say I disagreed with you.
Thanks, all. It's just depressin'. Americans had better step up and fix this mess.
Really interesting post, Zuma. ~r
This is extremely good writing. Thank you for the perspective. Well done.
Six More

Six more bodies
Came home today.


Dead. Dead. Dead.

Young women all
In the first blush
Of womanhood.

Dead. Dead. Dead.

A tribute, no doubt,
To leaders who fail
At leading.

Dead. Dead. Dead.

Every war;
Brings the same result.

Dead. Dead. Dead.

I weep for those who fought
The “War(s) to End All W ars”
For the futility of their valiant effort.

Dead. Dead. Dead.

I weep for those who loved...
And now, have lost,
Their children.

Dead. Dead. Dead.

How deep the pile of bodies
Built upon by generations
And ever growing.

Dead. Dead. Dead.

Will mankind never learn;
Will we never mature?
Or will we just become...

Dead. Dead. Dead.
F o r e v e r m o r e......?
You know what you are talking about. I see war changing in the next twenty years. I can't quite put my finger on the changes but these insane little wars of my generation have to go. I think Obama is trying to modernize our forces and our place in the world. I hope so. You were so fine in your uniform.
Oh noze!! U got EP!! We go to Doctor, get penicillin!! Hello? :D
It's a bad idea for women all around in the military. I believe individual women in the military who wish to be in a combat unit be allowed to do so, but a blanket policy that states all women will be eligible in combat situations sets the women up for more discriminatory practices on top of the ones the military and VA can't handle already. I seem to remember carrying a log around for some stupid reason and a couple times I had to guard it at night so no one would steal it. Great post Zuma...............o/e
Wow I am so impressed . Thanks so much for sharing this and more..
We know that men don't know just how fierce a woman can be. They will be finding that out. It's about time. Mamma critters shred anything that threatens their young ones. We're hardwired for that.
You were a force to be reckoned with my dear... and I am so proud of what you did. I dont think I could but boy we should get some these people that sit on their butt to serve.
Congrats on the EP
Congrats on this well-deserved EP.
Right. Women should have all the opps men have. The wars of the last while have been stupid. What do you think of the trend whereby neither men nor women do actual combat and it's done instead by drones? I'd be in favor if the targets were also non-human...
That sound you hear is me applauding, Zuma. There's part of me that thinks "well, it's about time" -- but most of me is appalled about the real reasons, which you address. I'll listen to people like you and Bill Beck (and other vets on here) before I'll heed the cynical posturing of elected representatives.
Of possible interest - regarding the integration of women in Canadian forces over a decade ago: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/25/world/americas/armed-forces-in-canada-resolved-issue-long-ago.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130125
Thank you Zuma! I thought I was on the wrong side of this issue and couldn't find a way to articulate it. I see nothing to cheer about when we become so depleted in our troop pipeline we are almost forced to open combat positions to women. Too many people, mostly men, have already fought and died for nothing I can understand. I'm not looking forward in ANY way to seeing more women's names scrolling on the screen on Sunday mornings when ABC pays tribute to "the fallen." This had EP written all over it.

Thank you all! I am so eager to write here because of your intelligent expressions and additional thoughts on a topic. The EP is icing on the cake. The grand prize would be if someone inside the beltway actually read our posts and did something about the current mess.
z, i often disagree with you, but this one is useful. if you wait for someone inside the beltway to act, it will be too late. change comes from outside.

and that is why america is in trouble. because the people are frozen out of the direction of the nation, almost all are just watchers, waiting for the grandees to suddenly become saints.

revolution needs doers.
Brilliant post. It's truly a great day for women when they win the same right to mow down innocent civilians as their male counterparts.
I pretty much feel about allowing women into combat the same way I do about having done away with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

I acknowledge it as a very minor step towards equality to those who really, really want to exercise it, but all in all it's pretty bogus.

I'll be more impressed when the Obama administration pushes this hard for equal pay for equal work and for women being treated equally and treated fairly by employers, the courts AND our government. Till then... not so much.
Well articulated, Zuma. A pat on the back before administering what in my day we called The Green Weenie.
Al, you often disagree to be disagreeing, so I don't take any offense.

All: Do not ever mistake me for an automatic anti American, Anti war leftie. We are real soldiers. We take our work, our discipline, our corps and our honor more seriously than any other profession. That is because no other profession exists to do our work.

Since I'm a vet, I can speak of unpleasant realities while the active duty cannot. Trust me. I remember what that was like.
[r] brilliant and thank you.

as they open the door to welcome in this season's batch of cannon fodder -- with more women they hope, they still (we all know) won't also SERIOUSLY address the suicide epidemic or the sexual abuse epidemic in the military.

i notice a lot more seductive join the service tv ads and as young adults struggle with student loans or can't even begin to garner them or get conned into cruddy diploma mills thanks to slick ad campaigns and drop out will they desperately and naively buy the mythology, especially with jingoistic encouragement from elders in the faux-patriotism denial bubble, and join up trustingly and patriotically and adventurously?

Life is cheap to the golden ruling class elite rat bastards. Foreign lives or the lives of our own young adults. No skin off their noses. Profits uber alles.

best, libby
THANK YOU!! In fact the phrase "cannon fodder" are the exact words I used when I heard this on NPR for the first time. This can only mean we are going to war again, and this nation needs a larger warm body resource to draw from. Amazing. But I have never felt comfortable with women in the military. It continues to be the powerful white men of the world who create and force war on the rest of us. Woman by our very nature SHOULD be nurturing since we are life giving. Why then enter an institution that denies this and in fact, destroys it? We are in big trouble now and all I can say once again is - God help us because no one else can or will.
I saved reading this until the right time. Rather like finding out you also were thinking "get back in the damn limo, Barack," you have written what I was first thinking on hearing this news, only with bona fides.

There's an editor again? Hooray! (r)
CHECK (that was in the 'agree' box)
Stacey: I am stealing that "limo" comment. I want payback for his "bedroom slippers" speech.

Welcome, Ice Rune and hi, Gabby Abby!
Ice Rune: When my father fought in WWII and my generation fought in Vietnam, the battles were fought in the traditional way, with bodies lined up and going at each other. Air support was new and many died even doing air support. Bodies against cannon. Cannon fodder. Now it's all because of Canon fodder. We are fighting wars of dogma, not hegenomy or ideology: dogma. That is always the sign of the end of civilizations. We are ending.
Thank you for sharing this through your eyes of experience as a former officer and a veteran, Zuma. What a great, thoughtful post.
Zuma, you parsed out some of the issues beautifully and clearly here. A TV crew stopped me to ask me what I thought about it - I wish you had been there because you've articulated what I only felt but did not say very well. Well done. congrats. R with a smile.
z - very very well said. and i am sorry it is there to be said at all. what our government has done to vets is beyond all comprehension, to think all those flag-waving tea partiers dont care, is beyond me. thank you for writing this.
Thanks, all. It is sad and infuriating that people are getting paid top dollar to do nothing but lie, cheat and deny at the VA while the people who took the sacrifice are homeless and unsupported.
"When my father fought in WWII and my generation fought in Vietnam, the battles were fought in the traditional way, with bodies lined up and going at each other. Air support was new and many died even doing air support. Bodies against cannon. Cannon fodder. Now it's all because of Canon fodder. We are fighting wars of dogma, not hegenomy or ideology: dogma. That is always the sign of the end of civilizations. We are ending."

Your comment is as cogent as the piece. Complex. One step forward, sort of.
Brilliant. And I salute you. Rated
The problem is not corporations nor corrupt government nor the misuse of people nor a few other things. The problem is a nation, the people who comprise a nation and do the heavy lifting, the men, the women, the blacks and latinos and whatever divisions you care to make accepting what is served up to them and swallowing it as the least evil since there are greater evils waiting to make things even worse. The problem is that the people who are the nation not saying no, we will no longer swallow this crap, we will no longer eat this shit served up on government plates. We will no longer permit basic freedoms and basic moralities to be battered, smashed, ignored and destroyed. It is well past time for the people who are the nation to refuse to be led to slaughter, to be robbed daily of their homes, their jobs, their educations, their health, their personal self respect. The Egyptians who are far less privileged are beginning to revolt against being cheated, being crapped on, lied to misused, robbed. Where are the Americans who died at Kent State, who struck at the mines, the factories, and the other places that said no, this country does not belong to the gangsters on Wall Street, the shitheads clipping coupons to rob the world and destroy life on the planet? What has happened to the country?
Thank you all! It is more important than ever to realize that we are at the edge! We are so consumer oriented that we care more about our next treat or new toy. It is time for general strikes, consumer revolts and alternative economies of scale.
Wow, a very compelling piece! Thanks for sharing it here. (r)