Women in Combat Operations

In January 2013, the US military formally lifted the ban on women serving in combat, allowing the 196,000 women on active duty to serve in all military roles. But in war zones without a formal front, women had already long served in combat—as truck drivers, doctors, and other official service roles. The 2013 directive, however, opened all branches of service to women soldiers.

A new book outlines the role female soldiers played operating with Special Forces units in Iraq. Special Forces operators were concerned that cultural traditions prohibiting contact between women and men in Iraqi society were undermining their ability to gather intelligence and conduct operations in the country. And so, ahead of the official lifting of restrictions, they recruited female soldiers to serve alongside Special Forces units in search operations.

What do you think? What does the video suggest about the unique role of women in combat operations in Iraq? Most opposition to permitting women to serve in combat roles has centered on differentials in physical capabilities between men and women. What does this video suggest about the importance of those differences?  Should women be permitted to serve in combat roles? Why?


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