A reader notes something that counters Santorum, who opposes women in combat but dogmatically supports everything Israel:
Women have always been trained for combat by the Israel Defense Forces. (And of course, Israel has had openly gay men and women in its armed forces throughout its history.) In the 1948 War of Independence and the 1956 Sinai War, women actually saw combat as much as men did.
Another reader makes the same point as this update but with extensive firsthand experience:
In case this isn't a dead issue, I'm calling bullshit on the lady calling bullshit. I did go through Basic Training, spend six years in the Army and Reserves, including a tour of Desert Storm back in '91. Backpacking is in NO way comparable to marching.
First off, it's a 30-lb ruck sack you're carrying on your back, not a custom-built, perfectly-balanced backpack; you're in combat boots and whatever battle dress uniform is appropriate for your unit, not LL Bean's latest fashions with breathable fabric and removable pants legs; you're on a march with a deadline to meet, not a leisurely stroll checking out the scenery; you don't get to snack when you're hungry, you don't get to stop when you want a breather – you eat and you rest when the sergeants allow you to eat and rest, and not a moment sooner; and if the unit commanders decide that this particular march shall be under "battlefield conditions," you're not just suffering under the weight of that uncomfortable as hell ruck sack, but your web gear, ammo, M16 rifle, grenades, bayonet, protective mask, and helmet as well WHILE only having about six hours of sleep the night before. And Lord help you if you're the radio operator or one of them big gunners – your load just went way up.
Yes, it IS biology – with a 30-lb ruck sack, a 120 lb woman is carrying an extra 25% of her body weight, while a 150-lb man is carrying an extra 20%; a 5'3" woman is going to take six steps to match the distance a 5'8" man takes in 5. But this IS the 21st freakin' century, where a lot of warfare is a matter of pushing the right button on the missile or using the joystick to control the drone. It's about who can handle the mental and emotion strain and still make good decisions – and I served with many women who could more than hold their own in that arena.
A 5'9" 145-lb female soldier who cranks out 100 push-ups and runs 2 miles in under 10 minutes wants to go Infantry? Sign her up. Only 5'3" and 110 lbs? She can run radio wire with me in Commo.