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The Boston Globe

Opinion

JULIETTE KAYYEM

War’s glass ceiling

Pentagon moves closer to allowing women to fight

OVER 130 women have died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and yet they were not in combat. This paradox - women fight in wars but are not assigned to fighting in wars due to the Pentagon’s exclusionary policy - is at the center of a long-simmering debate that has avoided much of the Lady Gaga-ness surrounding repeal of the military’s ban on homosexuals. But if 2011 was the year of ending the “don’t ask, don’t tell’’ prohibition, 2012 begins with hints about a significant policy transformation regarding women in combat.

Ladies, get your guns. And grenades. And possibly your gut-slitting knives. Military bureaucracy can be slow, and conservative, and even unwieldy, but it can’t defend the paradox too much longer.

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