Even as the old soldier I am, I find myself relatively ambivalent. On the one hand, I am from a culture where men fight the wars, and were taught to protect women from harm, even to the extent of taking great personal risks to do so. On the other hand, I am aware that women have been legitimately clamoring for equal treatment for decades and this move would seem to be the latest (and, perhaps, the ultimate) step in that movement. Also, it is not without precedent for the political leadership of this nation to use the armed forces as a instrument of social change (Harry Truman's 1948 executive order abolishing racial discrimination in the Armed Forces leaps to mind).
My problem is not that women can't or won't pull the trigger or are not mentally capable. My problem is that combat is a rigorous activity, requiring physical strength and stamina. A 155-mm artillery projectile, for example, weighs 95 pounds and is hand loaded into an M-198 cannon. A fellow soldier who may be wounded and need to be pulled from a burning vehicle can, with body armor and ammo weigh upwards of 200 pounds.
But, some will say, "... there are women who can accomplish those feats of strength."
To them I say---I agree, but if that is the case, why are there two Army Physical Fitness Tests--one for men and one for women? To pass the current tests with minimum score, a 22 year old male soldier must perform 40 pushups and run 2 miles in 16min. and 36 sec. A 22 year old female soldier must do 17 pushups and complete the run in 19min and 36 sec. These are hardly equal requirements.
I say "LETS REALLY DO EQUALITY". If women want to join combat units, fine let them do so, but let's make one set of criteria for all soldiers, both men and women. Whoever can cut it in training and the selection processes gets in. Those who can't measure up, whether male or female, get assigned elsewhere.