Lt. Dawn Halfaker, the heroic soldier who lost her right arm in Iraq, is on the front page of USA Today.
A pretty woman with red hair, Lt. Halfaker is holding up her bulky prosthesis. Oddly enough, her injury has made her the poster girl for women in combat, a longtime goal of the feminist movement.
Feminist are by and large anti-war, but, if there is a war, they want women in the thick of it. They believe that this will be beneficial for career military women, though it might not help those who sign up for a single tour of duty and are grievously wounded.
The article matter-of-factly reports:
“[Lt. Halfaker] is one of five American military women at Walter Reed who have lost limbs from combat injuries in Iraq, a war that marks the first time large numbers of female troops have faced prolonged exposure to daily combat.
“A decade ago — in the midst of a heated national debate over which military jobs women should occupy — Halfaker?s story might have ignited a battle over whether women should experience the hazards of ground fighting. Today, she and other severely injured female soldiers say, reality has overtaken that debate.”
One of the parents quoted in the article says that it?s just as hard to lose a son in combat as a daughter. That’s absolutely true. But it is still possible to argue that a society that sends women into combat has lost much of its civility and all of its chivalry.
“Some critics of the military’s gender rules say the pendulum has swung too far and women are doing too much,” USA Today reports.
One such critic of needlessly putting women in harm’s way is Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, a public policy organization in Livonia, Michigan, who is quoted in the article.
“I have nothing but admiration for those women who’ve been injured,” Donnelly says. “But I am critical of the Pentagon policymakers.”
But unless there are people willing to stand up and say that what happened to Lt. Halfaker shows an unprecedented degree of callousness in our society, we’ve lost this battle.