Greg Sheridan, Foreign Editor at the Australian, has unleashed a torrent of ridiculous all over his column this morning. According to Sheridan, the move to allow female members of the armed services to go into combat is “a kind of war on all tradition and all accumulated wisdom”. However I have to question how simply removing an administrative/legal barrier to women serving in combat has become an attack on our cultural values and norms by raging feminists. Furthermore, where has the government stated that there will be quotas or the like for the amount of women serving in the front lines?

Sheridan allows no room for the thought that this was a warranted symbolic gesture to even the playing field legally and administratively. Sheridan dismisses the decision to allow women to serve in combat roles as one born of a “postmodern fantasy”, and an example of ideology trumping reason, common sense, military professionalism and all human experience. He goes on to note that the announcement came just one day after polls showed Gillard had a problem with women voters. Furthermore, Sheridan reasons that as our armed forces represent the best physical male specimens in our country, the population of women who can match that standard are so small it is meaningless to alter the regulations. He even questions why we do not have/suggest uni-sex professional boxing or rugby leagues when these are much less strenuous than close quarters fighting.

Sheridan seems to miss the point entirely. No one is suggesting reducing criteria to bring women into elite units or setting quotas for the amount of women in frontline units. No one is suggesting reducing the effectiveness of our military in a vain attempt to be politically correct. Furthermore the sports that Sheridan questions are only ones that require pure brute force when there are many sports in which women are on par with if not excel or flat out beat men, for example the women’s marathon world record is only 109% of the mens. In short what we are suggesting is levelling the playing field to eliminate gender and emphasise merit. What this announcement will do is remove the legal and administrative obstacles in the way of the women who really can pass the criteria. We are not proposing reducing standards  Regardless of how little the proportion of women who do have the ability to do this, it is the right thing to do.

Main source: Greg Sheridan’s article in the Australian

The Australian
29 Sep 2011

A NATION that sends its women into front-line combat, into close infantry, hand-to-hand fighting and killing, is a nation that either doesn’t take combat seriously or doesn’t take respect for women seriously. This wretched decision to make all combat…read more…

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