Sunday, November 8, 2009

If women can defend Fort Hood, they can defend America.

Fort Hood, Texas, hosts tens of thousands of men who are trained to fight for their country. But none of them stopped Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan as he blew away 13 of their colleagues Thursday afternoon. It was a civilian police officer, Sgt. Kimberly Munley, who confronted and shot him in an exchange of gunfire. For her trouble, Munley took bullets in both legs and an arm. Maybe the president will pin a medal on her.

Here's a better way to honor Munley: End the ban on women in combat.

Department of Defense policy states that "women shall be excluded from assignment to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground." According to the policy, "Direct ground combat takes place well forward on the battlefield."

By the most recent count, courtesy of ABC News two weeks ago, there are 10,000 female personnel in Iraq and 4,000 more in Afghanistan. They're driving trucks, treating wounded, and shooting when attacked. More than 100 have given their lives in Iraq; another 15 have died in Afghanistan.The no-combat policy pretends that women can't take such risks without harming overall military performance. It bars women from infantry positions, training as armored vehicle drivers, and being assigned as medics to combat units.

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