David Frum

01.24.13

A Woman's Place is on the Front Lines

ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images ()

Good on Defense Secretary Leon Panetta for making one of his final moves the choice to end policies meant to keep women away from combat jobs. (Linked: David discussing the policy shift yesterday on Erin Burnett Out Front - Note: He vehemently disagrees with my position) Provided standards remain high as ever, there's no reason for women to be denied the chance to serve where they'd wish. I'm with Senators McCain and Murray on this one.

Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican who spent six years as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, said he supports lifting the ban on women serving in combat, pointing out women are already serving in harm's way. But he said the move should not fundamentally change the military.

"As this new rule is implemented, it is critical that we maintain the same high standards that have made the American military the most feared and admired fighting force in the world - particularly the rigorous physical standards for our elite special forces units," McCain said in a statement.

Thousands of women in the military have already found themselves in combat situations, said Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington. Recent wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan have lacked a real front line, and women serving there have come under fire and had to fight back alongside male counterparts, she said.