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Editorials

editorial | women in combat

New uniform shows reality

Facing a lawsuit regarding the military’s prohibition against female warriors — known as the combat exclusion rule — the Army has provided the plaintiffs with Exhibit Number One: In an acknowledgment that women are in fact fighting, the Army is testing combat uniforms designed specifically for women.

The inconsistency in what the Pentagon claims — that women can only be “attached” to combat units but not “assigned” to them — makes little sense in wars where there are no more formal battlefields. Women have been at the forefront of the urban, counter-insurgency battles marking the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan; over 140 women have died in combat since 2001. Beyond simply denying reality, the exclusionary rules also deprive the hundreds of thousands of servicewomen from access to the training, promotions, and education that come with combat roles.

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