Thursday, May 05, 2005

Combat awards for women

Charmaine has another post on the Pentagon's move toward women in combat. This one is rather amazing. And proof that sometimes the best place to hide something is, in fact, in the most conspicuous of places:

The Army announced today that it will be issuing a new "Combat Action Badge."

Even though women aren't being deployed in combat per se. This apparently is just for the fortunate ones who find themselves in combat areas on accident. Or something like that.

Charmaine continues: Wait one -- there are some really subtle points that need to be made about this decision. I support our women in uniform. And, surely our support goes to the women who have come under fire in Iraq. This really isn't about them.

The issue is the policy decisions being made, and some that are studiously not being made, that are putting an increasing number of women in harm's way. Deliberately. The badge merely comes after as a way of presenting the fait accompli.

This is a case study on path dependence.

A further quote from the Post story helps illustrate my point:

"The badge is the first non-medical combat distinction to honor women who are caught in battle during U.S. wars, largely because women are not assigned to frontline combat duties."

Read that carefully. Women are being "caught in battle" because they are being assigned near where battle can, might, will happen. It's that simple.

At the announcement of the new badge, Schoomaker said: “Warfare is still a human endeavor. Our intent is to recognize Soldiers who demonstrate and live the Warrior Ethos.” The Band of Brothers now includes your Sister.

Indeed. Sadly so.

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