The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

January 30, 2013

Our View: Let them serve

— Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has announced the Pentagon will lift the ban on women serving the military in combat roles.

The latest move opens up military specialties — and promotions — long denied them.

In our view, the question of assigning women (or anyone else) in increased roles in combat has a simple answer:

Any person, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, should be assigned to whatever duties in our armed forces for which they volunteer as long as they are mentally and physically qualified to perform those duties.

Whether it be an assignment to flight training, submarine duty, Army Ranger training or the grueling Navy SEALS, each candidate must be able to pass the tests.

The suggestion has been made by those who object to the assignment of women that standards will be lowered to accommodate them. Our support for opening up all roles includes the requirement that established standards  not be reduced to an unacceptable level in order for women to gain entry into programs. Legitimate mental and physical standards to engage in any form of combat must be sustained across the board for all military personnel.

Simply stated, anyone assigned to combat must be able and willing to fight and prove it in training programs before being so assigned.

But when anyone so proves their ability through rigorous testing, let them serve.

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