A reader writes:
I think that the parallels to DADT are not as obvious as they may seem. Despite the amazing progress that women have made in many fronts on equality, they are still physically smaller, slower, and weaker than men. At the very least, one can look at the world records for just about any athletic event, and see how much faster men are. While this does not matter for pilots, or intelligence analysts, or ships captains, it matters very strongly to certain combat arms, such as the infantry. Carrying an 80-pound pack for miles is something where strength does matter. And while some may argue that this can be mitigated by sticking to motorized vehicles, this is not an effective strategy. From Korea to Iraq to Afghanistan, the battles have only been won by getting troops to engage the enemy and leave the comfort of their bases and vehicles, and engage the enemy. This, I think, is the fundamental stumbling block of putting women in the Infantry, or some of the other combat arms.
[O]nly individuals physically capable of combat will be sent to the battlefield, and women, on average, are not as capable as men. However, with our ever-increasing reliance on technology for combat, physical prowess is becoming more and more obsolete. In fact, given the rapid dominance of women in higher education, the battlefields of the future – reliant on robots – could be dominated by women as well. … Despite all the reader's objections, he still doesn't seem to reject the idea of women in combat units. He wrote: "[V]anishingly few women are capable of the physical performance that the mission requires for infantry combat." Few, but still some.
(Photo: Female Marine Corps recruits listen to instruction during hand-to-hand combat training at the United States Marine Corps recruit depot June 23, 2004 in Parris Island, South Carolina. Marine boot camp, with its combination of strict discipline and exhaustive physical training, is considered the most rigorous of the armed forces recruit training. By Scott Olson/Getty Images)