Women in Combat: Civic Duty or Military Liability?

TitleWomen in Combat: Civic Duty or Military Liability?
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsFenner, Lorry, and Marie de Young
Number of Pages207
PublisherGeorgetown University Press
CityWashington, DC
Abstract

Women have been actively involved in the United States military for more than fifty years, but the ban on their participation in combat remains a hotly debated issue. In this provocative book Lorry M. Fenner, an active-duty Air Force intelligence officer, calls for opening all aspects of military service to women. Marie de Young, a former Army chaplain, argues that keeping women out of combat is in the best interest of both sexes and crucial to the effectiveness of the military as whole. Fenner bases her argument for inclusion of women on the idea that democracies require all citizens to compete in public endeavor and share in civic obligation. She contends that, historically, reasons for banning women from combat have been culturally biased. She argues that membership in a combat force should be based on capability judged against appropriate standards. Moreover, she maintains that excluding women hampers the diversity and adaptability that by necessity will characterize the armed forces in the twenty-first century. In contrast, de Young declares that the different physical fitness standards for men and women would, in combat, lower morale for both sexes and put women at risk of casualty. Further, she contends that women have neither the physical or emotional strength to endure the overall brutality of the combat experience. She also asserts that calls for lifting the combat ban are politically motivated and are inconsistent with the principles of American democracy and the mission of national defense. With each author responding to the views of the other, their exchange offers a synthesis of the issues surrounding a longstanding debate among policymakers, military personnel, and scholars of both military history and women's studies.

Short TitleWomen in Combat
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