The business of the ground forces; infantry, armor, Special Forces, attack aviation, and light tube artillery is killing people and destroying things. Nothing should be allowed to obscure that fact. There are many other functions in the Army and USMC that are not directly involved in killing except in self defense. These include the more rarified national level kinds of intelligence work, logistics, medical services and of course all the senior staff work in the Pentagon and other headquarters that so many prefer to grubbing around in the mud and sand.
DoD's new policy of opening all combat arms specialties to women will enable some few future women officers to be four star generals. Women are already three star generals within the existing policy. The price of that fourth star will be incalculable in terms of units that may or may not be as effective, women pushed into roles for which they may not be suitable, physical and mental damage that is not necessary to maintain the capabilities of the force All this is to be done evidently without serious experimentation, "trial runs' on mixed combat units, etc.
Many men now in the combat arms are merely "dressed for the part" and are "carried" by those who are, for good or ill, better able to endure the physical and psychological burden of an occupation that involves killing other human beings en masse, and at the same time existing in the field under conditions of hardship, isolation and filth that often last for long periods of time. Infantrymen only incidentally kill in self defense as police are trained to do. In the infantry and these other direct combat specialties you kill and destroy as your principle function. Are women really suited for such a role?
I have been a combat arms soldier and I have been a combat support soldier. These are very different things. Anyone who thinks that technology or the "evolution of warfare" has changed the essential ugliness of war is just kidding himself. The FOB based warfare against guerrillas of the last decade is not a forecast of what war will be in the future. The only thing that can be known about these future wars is that the combat arms will continue to be what they are.
Obama pursues his dream of a "more perfect union." I hope we do not pay too high a price so that women can be four star generals. pl