May 1, 2012  

Women in combat

To the Marine Corps for its four-pronged look at the feasibility of opening more ground combat jobs to women.

An effort to open more jobs to qualified people — that’s qualified, as in physically and mentally — should be a no-brainer. When you exclude groups arbitrarily, you lose the chance to harness individuals of great talent and character.

In weighing these changes, the Corps must be careful it’s not setting up anyone to fail or, worse, putting anyone — female or male — at unnecessary risk. The key is to proceed smartly, and keep standards rigid and high. That appears to be what Marine leaders are bent on doing, despite howls from those who oppose the idea. It brings to mind the end-of-days rhetoric that preceded the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” last year. The actual experience of the past seven months has proved those fears unfounded.