Women in Combat

 

      

       Look how low we’ve come. 

       Is a reader preparing to hear a screed on female inadequency for tough fighting?  Or a complaint concerning those who would deny women employment opportunity in our modern day and age?

       No, not from me.  My low is that in all the talk, I’ve yet to see someone begin to make a point, hold back, drop his or her head a bit, tighten the lips, work at control from the throat with a gulp, conceal the eyes by squeezing them shut, while knowing for sure that thousands and thousands of others are knowingly responding, pursing their lips at the sight, shaking heads from side to side, all of us lamenting that we are talking about such things, that we have not made human society so characteristically and securely peaceful that such an issue does not arise. 

       And for those who say, “But oh, we haven’t achieved peace, have we, and we need to be realistic,” I’d suggest that this is realistic, for until we want that peace so much that we do not only discuss it at every turn, but have all else framed within the determination for peace, our approach to the true issue here is sorely wrong-headed.

       “Look how low we’ve come” has to do with the lack of effort.  We get lost in talking about awkward bivouac accommodations for the con and persuasive arguments pro based on great tales of past female success in fierce fighting and the need for equal rights, etc.  Alright, okay.  Nor is it that I am demeaning the leaders who travel the world, sit at interminable negotiation after negotiation.  What I am bemoaning is that our grit, the strength of our determined minds which could be a mighty mighty weapon for peace, our pursuit, which could put any smart bomb to shame, is not so intense and passionately driven that we cannot have this discussion concerning women in combat without contextualizing it inside our need and drive for peace, our imperative call to make human society characteristically and securely nonviolent. 

       My low is that we are not so profoundly peace-aspiring and peace-loving that we can’t stop talking about this hope—rather than hardly ever mentioning it.  My dropped head and pursed lip is that this issue of women in combat is not a penny dropped on a rug in contrast to the nonviolent bomb after bomb of diplomatic resolve for peace we drop on our minds.  Till our consciousnesses are spilling over, till there is a mighty mighty shared will, peace will remain a dream we can’t even remember upon waking… while Mothers will still look out their windows waiting, waiting, fathers dread the sound of the mail going in the box, and husbands and wives and children will yet receive those calls that makes them cry for the rest of their lives.

       Look how low we’ve come.

                                                 Bob Minder

       

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2 thoughts on “Women in Combat

  1. Your comments make me pause to look at this decision in a different light. Much like when Kinky Friedman, when running for President in 2004 was asked what his position was on Gay marriage and replied, “Gay people should be allowed to be just as miserable as straight people.” At first, the idea of women serving in combat showed how far we have come from where we were… yet, your point is valid that we are now allowing potentially even more deaths and injured. It is honorable to serve as long as the cause is honorable. Is war honorable? That’s a loaded question. Not sure “honorable” is right. I do commend and respect EVERY member of the Armed Forces who served and serves and point out to my children every member and tell them that it is that man or woman who has sworn to keep us safe and then we either clap for them or thank them. Yet, the idea that we now have additional resources to go to war – I have not thought of that before. Thank you for enlightening me. I do wish that our Armed forces were ONLY used for peace.

    • Ariel,
      Very much appreciate the comments. Kinky Friedman’s seems quite appropriate! And I too wish the very term—armed forces—brought images immediately to mind of arms reaching out to rescue those imperiled by hurricanes and floods or giving food and medicine to all who need.
      As for the rest, let me briefly share a thought I’ve had for a long time that began in a dream, back in the days when I kept a dream journal night after night with the students. It almost sounds “uppity” or “rigged” but I can only quietly insist that this fragment of a dream really did happen and really did set off what I’ve thought. In short, I dreamed I saw Jabotinsky in the sky, heaven I presume, looking down on a Memorial Parade, and he said, in what I took to be a characteristically sharp way, “Don’t use me like that.”
      That’s it. Not in a dream, I thought “Of course, wouldn’t soldiers slain in battle understand the value of peace and want to forego any honoring that might glamorize war, that might incline a youngster to desire to fight, to think of battles as glorious? And from heaven, wouldn’t these slain soldiers be able to relinquish this brand of “being honored” for what is no longer just apparent but known as truly honorable, promoting peace with all one’s heart. And what better shot of energy ought we have to pursue peace then these slain souls who cry down to us from heaven in the way Jabotinsky did in my dream.
      At times, I’ve gone further into pipe dreams in which soldiers here on earth understand that part of the deal in their job is not to be paraded and fested. Oh, I do believe anyone who serves in this military way ought receive benefits that don’t stop and cover a broad broad range of privileges, but perhaps soldiers, even without dying in battle would agree to not keeping the supposed plausibility of war alive, and would consider that these solemn commemorative events are only giving some degree of credibility to a human enterprise that we ought see as outlandish and horrible in every instance, even when the cause is imperative.

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