With the Pentagon’s announcement in early February that it plans to ease restrictions on women serving in combat roles, the bulk of Republican presidential candidates appear to have no problem putting women military personnel deeper in harm’s way. As reported by the Associated Press, while the proposed new rules “are expected to continue the long-held prohibition that prevents women from serving as infantry, armor and special operations forces … they will formally allow women to serve in other jobs at the battalion level, which until now had been considered too close to combat.”
The Stars and Stripes military newspaper reported that under the Pentagon’s new rules women would qualify for “more than 14,000 active-duty and reserve jobs previously off-limits to female troops. They include occupations such as combat medic, artillery mechanic, communications expert and other critical warfighting posts.”
After ten years of women being exposed to the dangers of war in Iraq and Afghanistan — with over 100 of them paying the ultimate sacrifice — it appears that the majority of Americans have been sufficiently softened up on the issue and are ready to throw in the towel. CNSNews.com noted that, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 75 percent of Americans support allowing women to serve in combat units.
Asked during the February 22 GOP presidential debate in Arizona about their views of women in combat, the candidates by and large played up to those polling numbers, with at least three of them expressing general openness to an expanded role of women on the battlefield.
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Photo: Republican presidential candidates Rep. Ron Paul, (Texas) and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum during a presidential debate among the 2012 candidates, Feb. 22, 2012, in Mesa, Ariz.: AP Images