I am torn on the matter of Defense Secretary Panetta lifting restrictions on combat duties for women. I understand the rationale for greater upward mobility for women in the military. And I grasp that women are already operating in combat areas.
The point I want to offer is this: rather than broadening the range of the population who may be exposed to combat, perhaps we should put as much energy into demilitarizing just a little bit. If bringing women fully into combat is a solution, then maybe we do not understand the problem.
As an advanced society the USA should be striving to avoid the production of disabled combat veterans. Could it be that we should engage in less combat? Isn’t that the solution we should be seeking?
Right now the USA is so heavily armed with kill-at-a-distance lethality that we have become at ease with radio-controlled diplomacy. When you have the US arsenal in your pocket, everything looks like a helicopter landing zone.
There is so much money to be made in plundering petroleum resources abroad and in military armaments and materiel that a persistent and refractory global sub-economy of state-protected mineral extraction has frozen in place. With every kilowatt of new load connected to the power grid and with every clever new military toy that is invented we tighten the spiral toward a global energy war.
Where does this new load come from? All of the microprocessed consumer devices certainly contribute. All of the wall-wart chargers for cell phones, iPads, laptops, etc., put stress on the power distribution system and in due course create demand for fossil fuels. This demand is manifested in several ways- 1) electric current to power the devices, and 2) all of the upstream power needed from mine or wellhead to produce ultrapure gallium, arsenic, tellurium, silicon, aluminum, titanium, boron, polyethylene, polypropylene, organic semiconductor materials, etc.
If we take the view that exposing women in our volunteer military to the horrors of combat represents some kind of progress, then I beg to differ. I would like to suggest that the folks in the DoD, the administration, and the congress have salved over a civil service inequity in exchange for equal opportunity for a spectrum of life altering traumas. In regard to military matters, our government and military elites are swept up in a food web of moral corruption so systematically ossified that I do not see how we can steer civilization away from a Malthusian step change.