I am amazed that the ABC News poll showed 73 percent of Americans approve of women in combat. The idea of "equality" is one thing. The reality is something else.
The Inquirer's Page One carried a story of the Defense Department policy change. Page 5? Story about massive sexual abuse in the Air Force. And females reluctant to report it for fear of retaliation.
U.S. will be among a handul of countries to put women in combat, and not all permit direct combat. I don't "like" women in combat roles (which some are in now, I know) but I would insist on no dilution of the standards required for that role.
I know "combat" is what every military lifer wants and needs on his/her resume. That's something the military ought to re-think, because how much combat does a career officer see in a 30-year career? How about "excellence" as a standard, rather than combat?
Combat is not the only route to a flag rank, because the U.S. already has nearly 5 dozen female generals/admirals (including one open lesbian). In combat, it's bad enough to know that if a male gets captured he may be decapitated by Islamists. What happens (before they kill her) if a female is captured? (The brave Lara Logan got a dose in Cairo, and that wasn't combat.)
When female soldiers are gang raped, will that 73 percent hold true?
This isn't like (former) military objections to gays in the military. One "learns" to hate gays. You are not born with it. I believe most men are born with the instinct to protect women. Sadly, a small minority are born with the impulse to abuse women.
I'd say the military ought to launch and learn: try the policy out, but be ready to amend if it doesn't work as we would like.