The quotation in this post’s title comes from Donna McAleer, author, West Point graduate, and former Army officer. Her piece on why the US military needs to allow women soldiers into combat roles is carried on Tom Ricks’ blog and is worth reading.
Quick statistic from McAleer that I didn’t know:
230,000 US women have engaged in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
Women make up 15% of the US active duty force and 17% of active duty force officers, yet only 6% serve in senior leadership
McAleer’s point is that in the 360 degree, asymetric modern battlefield, women soldiers can’t help but find themselves outside the wire in combat situations, and so are fighting and dying alongside their male comrades. Abandoning the combat exclusion policy would recognize this fact and allow women soldiers to gain better entry into senior leadership, thus increasing the chances of getting the best minds around planning tables. A very convincing argument.
For the record, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands and Australia are among the militaries that now allow women into combat roles.