pfc lynch update
The stories beginning to emerge of the fierce struggle waged by PFC Jessica Lynch prior to her capture instill a profound sense of pride in our fighting forces. The 19-year-old supply clerk apparently fought until her ammunition ran out, shooting several Iraqi soldiers in the process, and continuing even after she was wounded by gunfire in the ambush.
One positive development I hope to see emerge from this war is the long-overdue shattering of the notion that women should be denied combat roles. As PFC Lynch's case makes abundantly clear, women are always, at least potentially, in a combat role when they're deployed in a military theater. (The military already tacitly acknowledges this fact, when you consider that 1) all soldiers receive basic training in riflery, and b)* even support troops behind the lines are armed. Indeed, the blitzkrieg tactics of WWII put paid to the notion that rear-echelon troops would be safe from combat.)
It's frankly impossible to tell how any individual will react to a combat situation, although thorough training definitely helps. As Private Lynch's struggle makes clear, there's no inherent reason why women aren't suited for combat. Indeed, while certain roles--like the special forces that rescued her--call for outstanding strength and endurance, I see no reason why women who meet the standards shouldn't be permitted to serve. (And having watched my lovely wife give birth twice, I can attest that women have unreckoned strength and endurance.) Given that serving in combat roles is a definite career boost, denying these roles to women has long been an unconscionable act of discrimination, and I hope to see the military adjust its policies accordingly pronto.
In the meantime, my hat is off to Private Lynch and the special forces who rescued her.
* props to Mad About You.