We're excited about next week's "Women Fighting on the Front Lines: What Does It Mean for Women, Men and Military Preparedness?" panel that we are co-sponsoring with the London Center. It will be March 23 in room 2255 of the Rayburn Building, starting at 1 pm. Box lunches provided. Please RSVP so that we can place our order with Chick-fil-A!

This is an important debate in light of Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter's announcement late last year that all positions in the U.S. military will be open to women. We will present a spectrum of views–from Amber Smith and Katharine Kidder, who support women in combat, to Gunnery Sergeant Jessie Jane Duff U.S. Marine Corps (ret.), and Brigadier General Ernest Audino U.S. Army (ret.), who are against it. We may have a surprise panelist from Congress who is associated with the issue.

It will be a lively and civil debate about an important issue.

Just to whet your appetite for discussion, here is a column by Alicia Colon, who is not in favor of sending women to fight on the front lines. Some nuggets:

There is a scene in that great WWII TV miniseries, Band of Brothers, which shows the GI’s racing through the enemy lines and one of them played by Damien Lewis, spots a young unarmed German soldier with his arms out to the side. He shoots him dead. Go to You Tube for ‘Dick Winters kills boy’ video. That is war and why men are born with testosterone and women have estrogen. Different strokes for different folks but I can't imagine the average woman shooting that young boy who appears to be surrendering but the question remains; if women were in combat during World War II, would we have even won?

Feminists always point to the Israeli model for advocating women in combat but according to Rowan Scarborough of the Washington Times: “a closer look shows Israeli women are not in direct combat special operations such as the Green Berets. Nor are they in front-line combat brigades mobilized to engage in direct heavy combat. In the infantry, virtually all of Israel’s female combat soldiers are confined to two light battalions — the Caracal and the Lions of Jordan — which are assigned to guard the borders with Egypt and Jordan, the only Arab countries that have peace treaties with Israel."

. . .

The reality is that there may indeed be women who meet all the designations of warrior and women are also excellent snipers. These women, of course, should aspire and have the opportunity to fight in some venues in the military but the danger of the blanket policy that Obama and his advisers are promoting raises the possibility that standards will be lowered to admit unqualified women. It has happened in police and fire departments to their detriment.

Remember when Gloria Steinem protested the strength tests for the fire departments by insisting that instead of carrying the test dummies on their shoulders, the female applicants could drag the bodies down the stairs? What if there are no stairs, Gloria?