FROM Anne Coughlin
Pentagon Opens Combat Jobs to Women, 'No Exceptions' The US Defense Department may be making history by opening all combat roles to women, but advocates say that's just recognizing what's been true for a long time. US Army Spc. Rebecca Buck Photo: Tech. Sgt. William Greer/USAF At the Pentagon yesterday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters that as long as they qualify and meet specific standards, women will be doing "everything else that was previously open only to men." Anne Coughlin is a professor at the University of Virginia Law School. Her research led to the filing of the first lawsuit that challenged the exclusion of women from ground combat.
Another Gender Barrier Is about to Come Down Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made a historic announcement today when he lifted the ban on women in combat , at the request of a unanimous Joint Chiefs of Staff. In fact, the nature of modern warfare already puts women in combat, where they've earned purple hearts and medals of honor, been wounded and died. But opponents are adamant, based on physical strength, sexual distraction and traditions of male camaraderie as old as the practice of warfare itself. We hear the arguments of both sides as the Pentagon prepares to implement a historic change. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hands Army Lt. Col. Tamatha Patterson his signed document lifting the Defense Department's ban on women in direct ground combat roles. DOD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo
Women on the Front Lines About 16 percent of America's military is now composed of women. In Iraq, more than 130 have been killed, more than 800 wounded. Since World War II, two women have won Silver Stars — one by clearing insurgents from two trenches with hand grenades and killing three more with her M4 rifle. But she was a military police officer acting in an emergency. America's female soldiers served on the front lines in Iraq, and they're doing the same thing in Afghanistan. No American women are assigned to combat. Anne Coughlin has filed a lawsuit to challenge that. A professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, she and some students started the Molly Pitcher Project. We hear about a dispute that's raging from the courts to the Pentagon to the Halls of Congress.
Should Women Soldiers Be Assigned to Combat? During the Iraq war, an Army medic ran through gunfire to rescue wounded comrades, earning a Silver Star. But one rescued man said she should never even have been there. The medic was a woman, even though women are never assigned to combat. They're getting closer and closer, and there's a budding movement to make them eligible for all things men do, if they can meet the qualifying standards. But that's hugely controversial. Is it just about equality under the law? Is it a cultural issue, deeply ingrained despite the guarantees of the Constitution?
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