Equal Opportunity Killing

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Nancy Pelosi called this the “selfie of the year.” The self-esteem selfie of the first four women to make it through Marine infantry training. From Gawker:

These women have now definitively proven what fatuous Congressional oldsters for so long prevented other women from demonstrating: the ability to hump 90 pounds of gear over rough terrain for days; an aptitude for killing people with grenades, radioed-in air and artillery strikes, bare hands, and the M249 Light Machine Gun, which is not all that light; and a general comfort with serving at the tip of the spear, being first-in-last-out, and all the other man-meat-inspired metaphors for combat infantry service.

gawker

Private First Class Harlee “Rambo” Bradford says she likes ‘blowing shit up.” How admirable. Maybe she ought to stick to a chemistry set or get into pyrotechnics. Bradford, it is later mentioned, incurred a stress fracture from training. When you read about what that training entails, a smallish female body will endure far more than a stress fracture or two over time. Military brass keeps repeating that they are not lowering standards to get women into combat, yet the Business Insider notes the following:

The military services are struggling to figure out how to move women into battlefront jobs, including infantry, armor and elite commando positions. They are devising updated physical and mental standards — equal for men and women — for thousands of combat jobs and they have until Jan. 1, 2016, to open as many jobs as possible to women, and to explain why if they decide to keep some closed.

If standards don’t change, what exactly is the struggle? Here’s a photo that made the rounds back in October: one of the four girls is proudly displaying her “battle wound” – though I don’t believe the story of how it happened. In a fascinating article in the Marine Corps Gazette, Captain Katie Petronio asks all the right questions, including the following:

In the end, my main concern is not whether women are capable of conducting combat operations, as we have already proven that we can hold our own in some very difficult combat situations; instead, my main concern is a question of longevity. Can women endure the physical and physiological rigors of sustained combat operations, and are we willing to accept the attrition and medical issues that go along with integration?”

6:53 am on November 30, 2013