November 4th, 2010
01:43 PM ET

Women face same risks as men in wars

Despite laws barring women on the front lines, the
top U.S. military officer said Thursday that many women have faced the same dangers as men on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I know what the law says, and I know what it requires. But I'd be hard pressed to say that any woman who serves in Afghanistan today, or who served in
Iraq over the last few years, did so without facing the risks of their male counterparts," said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in
a speech to the U.S. Institute of Peace.

"In a war where there is no longer a clear delineation between the front lines ... and the sidelines ... where the war can grab you anywhere, this will be the first generation of veterans where large segments of women returning will have been exposed to some form of combat," Mullen said.

He noted more than 200,000 women have served in the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their service had given the American forces a "competitive advantage" in new contact and outreach to local women in the war zones, he said.

"Time and time again, they show us that courage and leadership recognize no gender," Mullen said.

"They're coming home to Dover, too," he said, referring to the Delaware base where the bodies of those killed in the wars are brought. "And just as their male counterparts have, they are returning with wounds visible and invisible, with consequences for our health care system, our national employment rate, and even homelessness."

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Filed under: Troops
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Donna

    God is a myth. You believe in a fantasy. There is no god, never has been, never will be.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Allie

    Women are very important to society, yes, but really we can fight. We don't have to be the ones waiting at home for our beloveds. There are so many women who have fought for us to be equal to men. I'm against war, I think it's so wrong, but women are choosing to fight. We can prove we can do much more than manage households. The Germanic women fought as equals with the men. They were equal, they were strong. I'm not saying that I'm pro women fighting and dying but give us a chance.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • the Prophet Mohammed

      @ Dindy- Here is wisdom: Once I saw a dog corner some wild kittens, the mother cat came out of nowhere and ripped that dog apart. I think I'd rather fight the father.
      The Prophet has spoken

      November 5, 2010 at 5:04 am | Report abuse |
    • The Prophet Mohammed

      When Julius Ceasar fought the Celtic People in Ireland and Scotland he said the Women worked and fought as hard as the men. I have traveled and lived in many countries and can tell you in most countries the women seem like they work harder than the men while the men sit around and do nothing.

      November 5, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
      • Dindy.....

        The Prophet Mohammed........ Do not talk in flesh. USA is one place where I have seen more than you. Plus I am already married and no need Cindy. Please have some respect on other human beings.

        November 6, 2010 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
      • John

        Actually Phunnie boy,Julius Caesar never reached Ireland nor Scottland. He fought mostly in France although he did invade Engand twice during the Gaellic Wars(58B.C.-50B.C.). Besides,can you quit posting under the name of the Prophet Mohammed? It's quite offensive to the Muslims!

        November 6, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • The Prophet Mohammed

        @ Ernie\John- Usirper of names, muslims can't read, that's why they are only offended by the Cartoon of Mohammed, but thanks for your concern anyway, oh and thanks for the history update.
        @ Dindy- "Do not talk in flesh"? Are we not flesh and blood ourselves? How do you know if you have seen more of the US than I have, I am a many of many countries and I have seen much in the US, Asia and the middle east, many many countries. Fish on Baby! The Prophet has spoken.

        November 6, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mark

    I think it is a misnomer to say that women face the same risks as men. Yes, it is theoretically true from the most simplistic point of view, but the real fact is that women are not going into combat in anywhere near the same numbers as men. And the percentage of woman who are being injured in combat does not match up with the percentage of women who are actually in the military.

    That being said, I don't think they SHOULD be going into combat, I'm still against the idea of women getting put into the line of fire. Having been there and done that, it just strikes me as wrong. Not that they shouldn't be in the military, and I most definitely am not saying they should be relegated to the role of secretaries or other administrative positions. But it is bad enough to be losing the men in a war. Losing women too just leaves me with a sick, awful feeling in the stomach.

    November 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • cindi

      Mark, my daughter is a trucker in the army. She's been shot at so many times that one could shake a stick at. My son is fighting in Afghanistan. Why would my daughter's life be more valuable than my son's life? Please tell me that.

      November 4, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • the Prophet Mohammed

        Your daughter may have been shot at more times than she can shake a stick at but she does drive a ARMORED truck, impervious to small arms fire but not necessarily rockets and IEDs so that should be a relief for you, at least somewhat. Women Do Not go on "Combat" missions and raids but any resupply or administrative mission may quickly turn into a "Combat" Mission. As for the value of your children, may you never find out; The more valuable child is always the one you lose. God speed to your Warriors safe return.
        The Prophet has spoken.

        November 5, 2010 at 4:53 am | Report abuse |
      • Dindy.....

        Dear Cindy... you are so strong.

        November 5, 2010 at 4:57 am | Report abuse |
      • the Prophet Mohammed

        @ Dindy- Quit hitting on Cindy, she's not going to marry you to make you an American citizen.

        November 5, 2010 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |
      • MaryM

        Dear idiots.

        Driving an armored truck prevents bullets not bombs. Also, the reason there are more men dying is because there are more men in the military. Women die just as frequently. I was in 3 road side bomb attacks and my male teams mates never came in contact with a road side bomb. I was on the streets of Baghdad every day working with the infantry. Women have the ability to see as much combat as men. Do not be fooled.

        November 5, 2010 at 7:35 am | Report abuse |
      • The Prophet Mohammed

        @ Marty- next time read the whole post before you comment.

        November 5, 2010 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Mark, it's not important that YOU don't THINK women should be in combat because they are already there. No amount of personal opposition will change what is happening right now. Women make up 15% of the military and just as many men do not see combat, many women do not. But for those being asked to serve in combat roles out of NECESSITY, the continued debate in the face of reality does nothing but prevent these women from receiving adequate care and respect when they return home, nothing more and nothing less.

      November 6, 2010 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    The life of a married man and women is one as God had said and death shall only depart! This means all decisions are made between the both of them! There are many compromises for a marriage to last. You must be willing to give as well as receive. There is no master nor servant nor president nor governor, you both are joined as one as God has said!

    November 4, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. HI


    November 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      I like logarithms.

      November 4, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Justin Bieber

    babay baby baby oh like baby! President Obama is sorely in need of a meeting with former Senator George McGovern who is retired and living here in St. Augustine. He is still doing good things like fighting world hunger, and he has some very strong opinions about this war on the word terror.....and he was only 100% correct about the last one! But sure put women as protective shields. what else could be expected from hindu (filthy) trintarians in their magic wand of 180 degrees, Freedom or hinduism (crookedness) on the name of choice? Nothing but Enoch (cross) pretending to be men deserving of nothing else but a Burqa in truth of 360 degrees truth.

    TEE HEE!

    November 4, 2010 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dan in Lafayette, IN

    Then you are against what the Taliban's law required of married women, that they walk behind their husbands and never go out alone and never be seen with other men and to be submissive to husbands and I'm sure there are more laws for married women according to sharia law that you know of, please tell.

    November 4, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bledsoe

    Now it seems like nihilism is shared by both men and women alike. I killed a turtle when I was ten and I still can't believe I did such a dastardly thing. If nihilism is a disease,I'm awfully glad I don't have it!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      You killed an innocent turtle? no wonder you turned out the way you have.

      November 4, 2010 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • the Prophet Mohammed

      You're going to Hell for sure, killing an innocent turtle that you didn't even eat. Humans are a different story, they are the lowest form of life becuase we kill for religeon, politics, and gold; all things that do not matter. The only reason to kill is to protect yourself or a loved one or for food, shelter- For SURVIVAL. See you in hell, I'll bring the beer.
      The Prophet has spoken.

      November 5, 2010 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
      • The Prophet Mohammed

        @ Ernie, posing as Dan- Nobaody cares what you think. Americans have freedom of expression- I am excercising that freedom by using this name. BTW it is a Islmaic Terroist war, in fact, from the looks of it, that's what Islam stands for.

        November 5, 2010 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
      • Dan in Lafayette, IN

        At least learn how to spell,Phunnie boy. Thw word is Terrorist,not Terroist!

        November 5, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Dan in Lafayette, IN

        Sorry,Phunnie boy. I got ahead of myself. I meant to say,the word is "terrorist" not"terroist". I typed a w where I meant to type an e above. Please forgive me.

        November 5, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |

    What do these broads expect for crying out loud? Thet put themselves in harms way and do they expect to kill without exposing themselves to any kind of danger in return? Nothing in this life is free!!!

    November 4, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • MaryM

      Dear Bubba,

      I am an Army veteran. I risked my life so you can, in your hick voice, call women "broads". We are soldiers, mothers, sisters and daughters. We fight with honor and with dignity and you should appreciate that. Women don't ask for preferential treatment or anything else but respect. The days of men only on the front lines are over. The days of men only as gunners in the turret are over as well. Deal with it.

      November 5, 2010 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
      • Daniel-2

        MaryM,just when are you going to realize that this obnoxious war has nothing to do with our civil rights any more than it has to do with national security? The right-wing politicians need it to further their political careers and the war profiteers are using it to enrich themselves.

        November 5, 2010 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
      • The Prophet Mohammed

        MP units use female Gunners, there is about 25% of each MP unit is female and they do the exact same job as males- including serving as Gunners. Other than that, unless they are in a BSTB (a Non-Combat Unit) they will not see any intentional "Combat" missions. Like I said earlier, ANY mission can turn into a combat mission once you roll out the gate.

        November 5, 2010 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      I think they expect to be taken care of when they come home from the war. When females who were in combat return home to VAs, they are often not treated the same as men and are told their experiences are not real, like they're making up the fact that they were in combat, simply because the law disallows them from being in it. It's important that if these women are asked to participate in combat and do their job that it be acknowledged when they return so they can be properly reintegrated into society and healed by the VA meant to care for all who have bourne the battle.

      November 6, 2010 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Prophet Mohammed – MP units are not the only ones with women serving in this capacity. Women from all units, whether MP, Engineer, or any other have women who serve in combat roles. See "Lioness: The Film" or read one of the many books about the roles of women in combat, like Band of Sisters or The Girls Come Marching Home, or ask any male who has served overseas if women are treated different from men. You will find that in modern combat, women are equal. Lioness especially shows the way women are "attached" to infantry units. These women are pulled from all types of support units and can be found doing the same job as the infantryman to whom they are attached. Another exception is women medics... such as the one who received a Silver Star and then was removed from her unit because it drew publicity to the changing role of women.

      November 6, 2010 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
      • The Prophet Mohammed

        John, I am well aware of women serving in the military, it's a lot less "Combat" than you may think though- I'm not knocking women serving, I have seen and known many who out perform thier male counterparts, especially in MP units. Not so much in Engineer units or Infantry, in a Infantry Battalion they are in the support Battalion, Communications, Medics, Public Affairs and Mechanics, Truck Drivers, etc. Sure they SEE combat from time to time, but with the exception of MP Units, all other units generally don't send them except for Administrative or Supply runs, that's not to say they don't end up of FOB that get bombed or even a small outpost that may get overrun. The point is they are not Intentionally sent into a combat mission (except of course for MPs whom treat ALL MPs Equal). For the record, civilians see combat over here from time to timem as well. Don't think there are platoons of female Infantry Soldiers, becuase there are not and no they are not sleeping in a ditch on the front lines in areas where there is a "front line". Yes they face the same risks; everyone over here does.

        November 6, 2010 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
      • John

        For crying out loud Phunnie boy,will you mind not using my name in order to glorify these broads??? They're getting enough glory as it is! But I want to reiterate that this war stinks to High Heaven no matter who gets the glory!

        November 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JudyG

    The courage it takes to join the miltary and then again the courage to go off to war is beyond so many. You deserve all our respect and honor. Thank you for making such a tremendous effort for all of us.

    November 4, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ernie Beatty

      Right on Judy,right on!!!

      November 4, 2010 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • MaryM

      Thanks! We appreciate the appreciation.

      November 5, 2010 at 7:25 am | Report abuse |
      • Daniel-2

        Here's some more right-wing bla-bla-bla! trying to glorify this obnoxious war! Contrary to what you might think MaryM,there is absolutely no glory in wanton killing!

        November 5, 2010 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |