is extensive news coverage of the announcement yesterday by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that the
military will end its ban on
women serving in combat. Except for extreme conservatives, nearly
everyone, including the party that expanded the war in Vietnam--the Democratic Party--and its
supporters in the mainstream media (MSM), seems very happy with the prospect of women
being fully integrated into the America's war machine.
too, am a feminist, but I am utterly appalled at the direction of this
discussion about women in combat operations has taken.
We need to ask ourselves why we are sending
women or men
into combat in distant lands. Is it really for freedom and democracy,
either there or here, or is it so that we can have oil and gas in our
cars, uranium in our reactors, and bananas on our breakfast table?
want women going off to distant lands to fight so that big corporations
can mine coltan in someone else's country, even though I like the
convenience of a cell phone. And I don't want anybody, male
female, fighting wars for oil, even though I drive a car. I will be
very glad when we depend on renewable resources for heating our homes
and driving our cars instead.
And I want men and
back in this country building bridges, teaching in classrooms, and
growing good food for human
beings, not shooting people who simply want the right to live in their
own country in their own way. I cannot forget that one of the most
searing photos of Abu
Ghraib was of female soldiers humiliating Iraqi prisoners. It is not
the kind of equality I want to see if women are equally culpable of war crimes.
traditional reason for not having women fight except in a desperate
struggle against annihilation is because women represent the tenderness
and loving care that is necessary to raise infants. Such qualities are
often considered to be incompatible with shooting and killing living
beings. Now, instead of creating sensitivity in our men, so that they,
too, will be more aware of the value of life, we have--as a
society--chosen a different kind of equality:
that of making women equally insensitive to the value of life.
us not fool ourselves: while "support" roles, which traditionally have
been given to conscientious objectors and women, can appear to be
consistent with humanitarian values (even though the soldiers doing them
still have to go through the dehumanization of boot camp), killing for a
living does not contribute to creating human values in either men or
women, although a few souls do come back from war with an understanding
of just how terrible taking a human life is.
how many men come back from war shattered by their experiences? How
many veterans have you seen on the streets, unable to hold down a job or
even form coherent sentences, because of the trauma of killing and
watching their comrades be killed? How many men can never father
children because they were exposed to depleted uranium in the Middle
East? And how many men come home so angry, so bitter, and even so
dehumanized that they shoot and kill their wives and sweethearts?
now women are entitled to those very same PTSD symptoms, those very
same concerns about amputations and DU and spousal abuse. We need to
ask ourselves, "Why?"
country is not on the verge of being conquered by a merciless foe. Our
homes are not being invaded by a ruthless enemy and we are not watching
our children be killed by jack- booted thugs who storm the driveway and
kick in the doors. If this
were the case, then everyone should be called upon to defend the country
and women as well as men should be expected to grab whatever weapon was
available and fight off the threat.
now women will have the privilege of being those jack-booted thugs, of
storming family compounds in Afghanistan and Mali, and kicking in the
doors of frightened villagers in any other nation that dares to demand
that we leave them and whatever natural resources they possess alone.
to the women in the military who want equal pay for equal "work" (the
work of killing innocent civilians and people resisting our tyranny), to
the women who want the privilege of an equal share when retiring on the
taxpayer's dime, I have this to say:
"You need to be clear with yourself that you are not fighting for America's
freedom or for the freedom of the people in whose country you have been
stationed. You are fighting for big corporations, for oil and for Israel.
If you choose to insist that you want equality, then that is your choice
and your problem. But do not choose blindly: by participating in what
some of us consider illegal and immoral wars, you are choosing material
benefits at the cost of other people's freedom. You will get shot at
by people who are fighting invaders and those of us who oppose wars of aggression will have no more
sympathy for you than we did for Vietnam veterans, who at least had the
excuse that they were drafted and forced to serve."
citizen-activist. retired teacher-librarian. parent. Muslim.