Annie Get Your Gun

Pams’ House Blend links to a Washington Times report revealing the Army’s plan to move women to the front lines in Iraq, while denying they’re moving women to the front lines in Iraq:

The Army's 3rd Infantry Division is scheduled to head to Iraq next month to bolster security before the Jan. 30 elections. When they leave, they could be the first division that deploys mixed-sex units near all-male combat units. […] The mixed-sex units, known as Forward Support Companies, would be on the ground near fighting, but not actively involved in combat.


[S]ome allege that "collocating" mixed-sex units with combat units violates a ban imposed in 1994. While the Army admits that it has considered altering the ban, it says the current proposal allows forward support units to collocate only with brigade-support battalions, which are not considered combat units. The Army also notes that the roles women would be performing would not be much different than the ones they perform now in other support units. It should be emphasized that this new method would not permit women to take on direct combat duties. What it does do is increase the risk to female soldiers performing their traditional combat support


As Mr. Scarborough has reported, some inside the Pentagon see the proposal as "skirting" the existing 1994 ban, if not violating it. That very well could be the case. Events in Iraq have shown that insurgencies do not operate on a front, thereby removing the safety support brigades enjoy being "behind the line." Placing mixed-sex forward units with support brigades could endanger more female soldiers than would otherwise be the case.


Allowing women to serve in such support units might not be the best alternative, yet until the Army increases its retention and recruitment it seems to be the only available one.

Score another one for the administration in the ongoing game of Rampant Opportunism. No reason not to take advantage of the mothers, sisters, and daughters who are serving in Iraq—as long as they’re there and all—especially since we’re running out of backdoor draft options. It’s an amazing feat of acrobatic ability that this administration is now advancing military opportunism using its own previous political opportunism. Having declared our mission accomplished long ago and continuing to ignore the realities of the war makes it incredibly easy to deny the veracity of charges that chaotic insurgencies have undermined the traditional notion of the front line. I’d like to hear from a woman who finds herself in one of these units, where she is collocating “only with brigade-support battalions, which are not considered combat units,” but is more endangered “than would otherwise be the case,” and see if she doesn’t feel like she’s moving to the front lines of this increasingly random war.

And special honorable mention to the Army for their entry in the Jolly Euphemism Challenge. “Forward Support Companies” isn’t quite as good as “Clear Skies Initiative,” lacking an equivalent ironic jab, but it’s pretty good nonetheless.

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