Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Women in combat in the military: Dudes, where’s the old can-do spirit?

By Brandon Friedman Best Defense guest columnist Regarding this discussion about women in combat, I have to say I’m amused by the sudden absence, in some quarters, of the “can-do” spirit that has typically defined America’s armed forces. This directive was signed by the secretary of defense and backed by the commander-in-chief — after being ...

Wikimedia
Wikimedia
Wikimedia

By Brandon Friedman

Best Defense guest columnist

By Brandon Friedman

Best Defense guest columnist

Regarding this discussion about women in combat, I have to say I’m amused by the sudden absence, in some quarters, of the “can-do” spirit that has typically defined America’s armed forces.

This directive was signed by the secretary of defense and backed by the commander-in-chief — after being endorsed unanimously by the heads of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps.

And instead of, “Roger that, sir, we’ll make it happen,” we see foot-dragging and explanations for why this won’t work and how it’s unfair and impractical. Maybe this also happened when women were allowed into West Point and Airborne School. I don’t know.

Such arguments would be understandable during the debate, but this is a done deal. The decision has been made. So I’m just surprised there’s not more discussion about how to make this work — as opposed to the hand-wringing about how awful it is.

I would argue that such an attitude is more dangerous to our military than women serving in combat roles.

Brandon Friedman served in Iraq and Afghanistan as an officer with the 101st Airborne Division and is the author of The War I Always Wanted. He is now a vice president at Fleishman-Hillard International Communications in Washington, D.C.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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