The Houston Chronicle: Women in the Military

Last month the House of Representatives passed a bill allowing women to enter into combat as figher pilots. The bill hits the floor of the senate next month.

The awareness of women’s involvement in the military was greatly increased since Operation Desert Storm. During the Persian Gulf crisis, 32,000 women actively participated in working with and supporting our troops in the Middle East. All but 13 of them returned alive.

The United States Constitution proclaims that “All men are created equal”. I believe in 1991, we are all equal, men and women alike.

Some experts claim that women are not physically capable of handling a combat situation. I disagree. Throughout my historical studies of war, my conversations with war veterans and the many books and films I have viewed, it is clear that war is not a game of strength, but of survival. The desire and ability to remain alive does not solely belong to men. Any individual, when walking through a field that could be full of mines, entering enemy territory , or even being shot at, will be fearful. The chance for survival is unknown.

I will be the first to admit anatomically , men are stronger. They have larger arms and legs, thicker skin, and on the average, are taller. However, hand to hand combat rarely takes place during war time, especially when we are using scud and patriot missiles. We are entering an age of nuclear and biological germ warfare. Who needs hair on the chest to press a button?

In war, women can carry guns and ammunition, drive tanks and fly jets, drop bombs and keep up with any man. We women have already proven that, both abroad and here at home as well.

Why is it we can carry rifles, clean and load them, but not fire them? Why not let us truly salute the red, white and blue? Why cant we fight for our country’s freedom?

The military doesnt need “A Few Good Men”. They need willing, sharp shooting, disciplined, patriotic individuals, with an immense inner strength and desire to survive.

There are many women who fit these qualifications. If we are truly equal, and I believe we are, we should be treated as our brothers in those foxholes, not as fragile china dolls who have no guts.

This country is as much my country as any man’s. I think it is a shame that the only place men and women seem to be equal in this society is death.

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