Women in Combat: Culturally Sensitive


KARMAH, Iraq — Lance Cpl. Erin Libby doesn’t want to be treated the same as her male Marine Corps counterparts. But she does want to be treated as an equal — even in combat.

In a way, she got her chance last weekend when Marines from the 3rd Battalion…

Photo: Sandra Jontz

Chief Warrant Officer 2

Jill St. John

Combat Logistics Battalion 8

Here we go. Again. From the Stars and Stripes, “Marine raid breaks gender barrier.” (See story at Lucianne.)

erin libby.jpg
Photo: Sandra Jontz

Lance Cpl. Erin Libby

“Rocking on the front line”

Handing out toys in Karmah

The Stars and Stripes is reporting that this past Saturday, the Marines took 14 women from the Combat Logistics Battalion 8 with them on a raid 15 miles northeast of Fallujah. The women’s usual jobs involve “supplying ammunition, food, water, fuel and mail.”

The reason for the change in job assignment?

Cultural sensitivities precluded male Marines from searching women, so the female Marines were meant to deflate fears of Iraqi men and women, said the battalion executive officer, Maj. Larry Miller. It was a first in Iraq to have female Marines embedded at the lowest levels of infantry companies and working alongside their male counterparts.

So “cultural sensitivities” now justify violating Department of Defense regulations against taking women into combat and the law which requires Congressional notification before doing so?

The problem with this vignette explodes in several directions. The article uses female suicide bombers to explain why we need to be searching Iraqi women.

girl bomber.jpg

That’s a real problem. But let us ‘understand’ our enemy: because terrorists encourage their women to blow themselves up, we have to send our women into harm’s way? To respect “cultural sensitivities?”

Here’s Daniel Pipes on our efforts at cultural sensitivity: “This is probably the most “culturally sensitive” occupation of a country in all of recorded history. . . and is not likely to be rewarded with reciprocal good will.”

And then there’s the inherent contradictions in the situation — they’re in a combat zone. . . handing out teddy bears and plush toys. It’s like some sort of weird fluffernutter sandwich. They are using this experience to say that women can handle combat as well as men, boiling a frog thread; this is a perfect example) but they have enough leeway to take time and hand out stuffed animals afterward.

Lance Corporal Erin Libby is quoted as saying: “We’re out here, and we’re rocking on the front line.”

Our cultural sensitivities, and our law, includes not sending women into combat. This issue of using female soldiers to pat-down female Iraqi’s did come up in our recent Pentagon meeting: it’s time for Congress to exercise oversight about women in combat policy.

This an example of the Marine’s taking female support troops along on a combat raid, in the same duplicitous double-talk that is the Army’s argument with the gender-integrated Forward Support Companies. Where women are taken into combat.


Thank you (foot)notes:

Cross Post from Charmaine at Reasoned Audacity.

The Belmont Club points us to The Washington Post that has risk analysis in Iraq.

BaylyBlog has the question: Women and Children First(?) With compelling insight,

…if you think about it does it seem just that the sex that’s already had her body split open and shed her blood to give birth to the child should also have to shed her blood to defend that child? Isn’t one war enough for women? Why can’t men step up the plate and bear their fair share?

Satyameva Jayathe has a new high in PC about the challenge of women in combat in India.

On One Foot has Thoughts on a sensitive subject… homosexuals and women in combat in the same post.

Soldier’s Angels has a big day.

Mudville Gazette has a toast to Maryann at Soldiers Angels.


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