President vows no women in combat, but watch how "combat" is defined
According to an article today in the Washington Times, President Bush's policy on women in ground combat takes just four words to articulate: "No women in combat."
He has no intention of sending women into ground combat, a mission for which they are banned under Pentagon policy. But he added, "Having said that, let me explain, we've got to make sure we define combat properly: We've got women flying choppers and women flying fighters, which I'm perfectly content with." Ewww. We have President Clinton to blame for lifting the ban in 1994 on women in combat aircraft and ships after receiving reports of women excelling during Operation Desert Storm.
The Washington Times has reported on internal Army memos that show some officials are pushing the Pentagon to lift the ban so that mixed-sex Forward Support Companies (FSC) can collocate with armor and infantry battalions within a "unit of action."
A recent briefing portrays the Army in a bind. If it collocates FSCs with combat teams and keeps them men-only, then it "creates potential long-term challenge to Army; pool of male recruits too small to sustain force," the Army documents stated.
Let's pray that the gender-based recruiting quotas that have caused the apparent shortages in male soldiers won't lead to more loosening of what is defined as "combat" and send more women further into harm's way.