In addition to Don't Ask, Don't Tell, another longstanding discriminatory military policy excludes women from combat positions. That policy is now under reconsideration.
Historically, the military has offered the same excuses for keeping women out of combat as it has for excluding persons of color in the past and gays and lesbians today. Women are viewed as incapable of serving in combat. Military officials have also argued that male troops would be destracted by the presence of women in combat zones. Also, the miliatary has said that the nation could not withstand the emotional trauma of women being held as captives or subjected to sexual assault or other forms of violence.
These arguments strike me as rubbish. They are, in fact, contradictory because they treat men as superior to women, but also as expendable. According to the logic of the military, men are superior to women, but women's lives matter much more to society than men. How much longer can this illogic last? According to some experts, the tide is turning.
Over the years the military has accommodated women by redefining positions that were previously "combat" roles into non-combat positions. Now, women are doing things in the military that bring them into the combat zone, but these jobs are not designated as combat roles. Serving in combat, however, is the basis for advancement in the military; thus, women are excluded from the highest rung of military leadership.
Army General George Casey, who recently voiced his fear of allowing out gays and lesbians in the military, says that it is time to reconsider the rules excluding women from combat. I agree.