color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: Vote on Women in Combat

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Vote on Women in Combat

The following is from Rowan Scarborough’s article today in THE WASHINGTON TIMES:

Democrats and Republicans have staked out positions on women in combat pending an expected House vote on legislation that would, by law, prevent the military from moving women into ground combat units. That vote might come as early as today.

The legislation promoted by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, California Republican, would also freeze the number of ground-operation positions for women to those currently open.

The House Armed Services Committee's senior Democrat, Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri, said, "This [Hunter] provision will limit the roles women may serve under the guise of increased congressional oversight. By limiting women to only those jobs they perform today, it will be more difficult for commanders to adapt their forces to the changing needs of current operations around the world."

Congressional staffers said late yesterday that there was talk among Republicans of offering a new amendment to replace Mr. Hunter's in a bid to get more votes. Republican Reps. Heather A. Wilson of Arizona and John Shimkus of Illinois sent out a "Dear Colleague" letter urging support for the amendment they offered along with Mr. Skelton. It would strike the Hunter language and order the Pentagon to do a comprehensive study of women's roles in the military.

"With over 100,000 Americans engaged in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, now is not the time to create confusion about how commanders in the field can use their people," said Mrs. Wilson, an Air Force Academy graduate, and Mr. Shimkus, a U.S. Military Academy graduate. Mr. Hunter's legislation is stirring the first congressional debate on military women's roles since 1994. Then, the Pentagon opened air and sea combat jobs to women, but retained barring them from ground combat units such as infantry, armor and artillery units. The policy also bans women from support units that collocate, or embed, with ground combat units. Mr. Hunter wants to turn the policy into law.


OK, so I called Congressman Rick Renzi’s (R-AZ) office this morning and told him that we wanted to be sure he knew that we did not in any measure support Hunter’s proposed legislation and “wanted Congress to butt out and let the military do its job” (my exact words). So time to get on the horn or email your representatives in the House of Representatives and let them know how you feel about this (yeah, even if you don’t agree with me, go ahead and call (sigh)).

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