Reaction to Pentagon lifting ban on women in combat
Retired US officers give insight
- Duration 13:02
- Date Jan 27, 2013
Retired US officers give insight
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And hello again from fox and is in Washington.
American women in the military have served on the front lines for years and 152.
Have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
But when Defense Secretary Panetta lifted the ban on women in combat his decision this week drew strong -- and sharp criticism.
We are brought together two distinguished veterans to discuss the issue.
Colonel Martha makes -- was our nation's first female combat pilot -- in 325.
In the skies over Iraq and Afghanistan.
And she joins us from Tucson.
Lieutenant general Jerry Boykin was one of the original members of the army's delta force and former head of the US special forces command colonel general welcome.
The fox has on at seven looking forward to this discussion.
Thank you very much -- so I -- has done right here is how Defense Secretary Panetta explained his decision this week -- Not everyone.
He's going to be able to be a combat soldier.
Is entitled to a chance.
General way can you dismiss this as another case of the Pentagon -- the military for a social experiment.
I'd like you to tell colonel been mixed Sally directly knowing of her background look at the back camera and teller why she is unfit to serve and come.
Well Kristi you're native frame this thing correctly it's not an issue of women in combat.
Women are -- combat already and have been since 9/11 in fact prior to that.
And colonel -- Sally is a great example of how women can be used effectively in combat my issue here is.
Mixing the genders in infantry units armor units and special forces units.
Is not a positive there are many detractors there which puts a burden on the small unit combat leaders.
And actually creates an environment because of their living conditions that is -- conducive to reference.
With colonel -- Sally did and those are the two basic arguments your your I combat pilot but you're not allowed a -- a -- you're not on in combat on the front lines.
You are attached to combat units and and the two arguments are one.
Physical limitations particularly disturbing in the infantry and also this question of a distraction.
During operations when you're in close quarter as there is no privacy and their very rugged living conditions look in your camera.
And tell general like and why is wrong.
Well let me just say that I realize that flying combat aircraft and being -- -- -- combat are two very different missions.
-- -- -- -- Flawed arguments were used against.
Allowing women the flying combat and now allowing women to be -- -- -- like they're important -- has said.
These are flawed arguments and the bottom line is we need to treat people like individuals.
What are the capabilities they bring to the fight which includes physical strength.
Plus courage plus -- continued.
Plus leadership and all the other things we need to have the most effective fighting force.
So -- -- a country that set standards and that allows people to complete it compete as individuals.
And if they bring -- the better soldier to the fight than women should be able to compete on equal grounds I'm not talking about change -- standards.
I'm talking about allowing people to be considered for what they bring -- a fight.
Well -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- says -- -- -- -- -- -- follow -- -- -- because of the marine -- infantry officer -- offered last September.
Course training and two women took part in it and they both dropped out and they said carrying those seventy pound backpacks and infantry.
On the ground is just too -- women are you confident.
That women can -- the same physical standards for ground combat.
That meant it.
Look we know the bell curve of men is stronger than the bell curve of women but they overlap.
And so the current policy basically says that no women can meet the standard and therefore all man can so that's like saying general Boykin.
-- Herman is located in combat but Serena and Venus Williams are not gonna meet the standard the bottom line is we treat people like individuals.
Physical strength is one element of needing to -- -- ground combat.
But all those other qualities I mentioned -- aptitude and courage and discipline and leadership.
Are also web -- women bring to the fight the penny had estimated a few years ago that 75%.
Of seventeen to 24 year old -- not even qualified to be in the military.
So we're recruiting from only 25% of the population.
15% of them -- a college.
So we need to recruit from a 100% of the population.
In order to make sure we have the most effective fighting -- Let me bring more general.
Boy can end here I'm about to -- -- like -- analogy.
The Williams sisters vs Peewee Herman.
And I also would point out that -- -- -- -- competed in the Iron Man triathlon the military division men and women -- -- -- She won so so what does that -- emanated clearly some women can meet the standard well first -- Some warming can meet the standard.
I think there will be few but some -- that's not the issue that I raised initially.
What -- raised -- the issue of mixing the genders in those combat units where there is.
No privacy where there -- out on extended.
And there's no opportunity for people to have any privacy whatsoever.
Now -- a man who has been there and a man who has some experience in those kinds of units.
I certainly don't wanna be in that environment with a female because it's it's degrading and humiliating enough to do your personal hygiene than the other normal functions.
Among your teammates.
That -- let me ask.
Colonel -- -- to respond about.
Again right now we're in a 360 degree battlefield and women or men are serving together out there in combat.
Privacy is a red Herring I mean you can figure out the privacy issue as long as you have the most capable qualified force that should be no reason.
For these exclusionary policies some of our closest allies -- -- figured this out for many years.
Canada is the best example.
We have -- women fully integrated into their combat forces.
They have taken serious casualties in Afghanistan women are out there.
On the front lines leading men in combat and doing a fantastic job of it so this privacy issue our men and women being next to each other.
It's it's the same issue we've seen which is -- a myth really and it is not a showstopper.
In the history of the most capable qualified fighting force.
Not -- the sort of edges into the next -- wanted to get into which is the issue of sexual assault the big Department of Veterans Affairs Dennis Dodd a and they found that 42.
Point 8% almost a quarter of military women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Reported they were sexually assaulted but.
General Boykin the chairman of the joint chiefs general Dempsey said this week he felt that the ban on women in the military actually contributed to those assaults take a look at what -- When you have one part of the population that is designated as warriors in another part -- designated as something else.
I think that disparity.
Begins -- establish a psychology that in some cases led to that environment.
Is general -- wrong.
Well I don't I don't agree with general potentially on this issue and first of all we -- -- recognizes that's bad people doing bad things but it is -- it happens all over.
I'd also like to go by -- you colonel -- salaries last comment.
There's a big difference and flying a combat mission going back to a hangar where their facilities and being on a thirty day operation where you're.
In very close quarters with your teammates and and so.
This is not as specious argument and I can tell you that having been there this is something that -- -- considered but also consider Chris workers Cisco.
Do we draft women.
Do we released him from the service for pregnancy.
-- -- -- what is it ultimately go there in combat and they should be income bad and we should find opportunities.
Just like with colonel -- -- for them to serve in combat.
I'm talking about infantry armor special forces of -- of units where I object.
We're we're we're gonna get to the issued the draft phonetic has some very legitimate issue a lot of people of rays that kernel that Sally.
Does -- did this kind of second class status I don't mean to call your second class but the idea that that women are not allowed -- to some combat roles.
That is general Dempsey sad -- warriors are women are.
Something else you think that has contributed to the environment in which sexual assault happens.
Absolutely I mean when you have an environment where women are treated as sort of second class warriors they can you know do almost everything but not quite.
The elite -- not out there doing what really.
You know brings about promotions and leadership positions and really what matters in the military the most.
You create this subconscious.
Feeling that you know women are are are are not quite equal with the men and so that adds to our problem of sexual harassment.
And sexual assault sexual -- certainly very complex issue.
With a really need to address it obviously is find those were the criminals and make sure -- and out of the military you don't avoid the issue by.
Keeping women out of those units because of those -- -- -- an assault civilians and others that come into contact to cook so this change I agree with general Dempsey is actually necessary.
And that and the restrictions in the past have actually added to the problem.
Colonel makes ally let that general -- brought up the idea of the drop that a lot of people -- the real wit.
And in fact the Supreme Court said the reason that women should not be subjected to the drought is because they are not.
-- got ready.
If you're going to lift us Canada has now been left dead and if we should have to go back to the draft and a military emergency should women take their place -- men in the draft.
Well I -- some really Smart people who would argue that maybe we shouldn't even be having a Selective Service System in the first place but given the fact that we do.
And that we have -- -- Citizenship with the obligation to be ready to defend the country in whatever capacity needed in an emergency.
Equal it -- equal so I do believe that men and women.
At age eighteen should be registering because of the country needs you they want need you for all the capabilities.
In the military combat not combat and all the specialties and so I have no problem with.
If we're tying citizen obligation.
To the readiness to defend that goes across the board.
So general -- is not okay with you if we're gonna have this -- and now it is -- a matter of fact that the ban on women in combat ground combat has been lifted.
Women in the draft well I think you have no option I think you'll have to have women register was selective service and obviously.
The eligible for the draft I don't think you can do and any other way and you have a problem about.
Well I certainly don't want my daughter's registering for the draft and I'd like for them to have more of a choice than than a man would have been a national crisis.
I I just wanted to -- and this with one its final statistic aunt and colonel metallic kind of brought this stop talking about the fact that that of the women are not in combat roles has hurt their representation their ability to rise through the ranks.
Women in the army.
Generals that at is point.
Mean doesn't the practical effect of not allowing women to serve on the ground in combat hurt their ability to rise to the -- general to become a general.
Yourself well I -- -- -- and I think it does screws I think it clearly does but keep in mind the mission of the military is to fight and win wars.
Every decision is made today should be made.
In the interest of military readiness.
And while I -- again I say women are in combat and women need to be given.
Opportunities to serve another combat roles I'm no longer against that there was a time when I -- But I also think that we have to consider the second and third order -- and we have to look at this whole -- quickly.
And thirty seconds -- -- Sally what do you -- -- side.
Sure this really isn't about rising to leadership this is about military effectiveness the 230000.
Positions that were previously closed.
Only a fraction of them are special forces and infantry.
The rest are a whole variety of other jobs that have been closed to women if we want the most effective fighting force.
We need to pick the most qualified capable man for the job even if it's a woman this is about military effectiveness and allowing us to recruit.
The most capable and qualified forced.
Colonel -- -- -- general black and I want to thank you both thank you so much for coming in today and thank you.
Both of you for your service to -- -- thank here.