“We are all equal; it is not birth but virtue alone that makes the difference.” This insightful quote from the famous French philosopher and historian “Voltaire” seems to accurately represent the beliefs of the factions of American citizens pushing to allow women to fight in combat positions within the US Armed Forces. Though the topic has just recently been boosted into the media and congressional politics, it has been long debated. A rather current editorial from USA Today titled: “Open Combat Positions to Women” outlines the recent developments in the status of a much disputed and controversial issue facing the nation today. Though somewhat less in-depth than some opposing opinions, the USA Today article establishes credible and provoking arguments with specific evidence that incites some hesitation on behalf of the naysayers contradictory reports and dissents; all the while, creating a valid representation of the views offered by the supporters. In the article mentioned above, there are many components to the argument and evidence presented.
As far as tone and stylistic approach, the author remains very serious, stern, and unyielding throughout and presents the opposing viewpoint as “clouded in fiction” and “removed from reality”. Though the opposition isn’t represented as ignorant, the author is very firm in their opinions and believes that anyone who disagrees is simply in denial or has some personal stake that would negatively affect them if women were to enter into combat in the armed forces. In the beginning of the USA Today editorial, two specific examples of women who have placed their lives on the line or been injured by participating in extremely dangerous missions are given. The author appeals to the reader’s emotions with these examples and gives accurate evidence of women who already risk their lives but don’t receive recognition for it.
Statistics are also presented that evaluate the many women who have lost their lives and been injured while serving in the armed forces and participating in missions whose “main purpose wasn’t direct combat on the ground.” The author goes on to explain that while women are fighting and risking their lives on the battlefield, the government refuses to acknowledge their sacrifices and give them equal rights to serve their country. Also in the beginning of the editorial, the author refers back to the two women who fought on the front lines. Those women as well as two other servicewomen filed suit in attempt to overturn the law established in 1994 which states as follows: ”Rule: Service members are eligible to be assigned to all positions for which they are qualified, except that women shall be excluded from assignment to units below the brigade level whose primary mission is to engage in direct combat on the ground, as defined below.
Definition: Direct ground combat is engaging an enemy on the ground with individual or crew served weapons, while being exposed to hostile fire and to a high probability of direct physical contact with the hostile forces personnel. Direct combat take s place well forward on the battlefield while locating an closing with the enemy to defeat then by fire, maneuver or shock effect.” The author goes on to state that, despite what happens in court with the lawsuit filed by the four servicewomen, the issue should never have to go to court in order to be acted upon. The author seems to think that it is simply a matter of logical thinking.
Some other supporting evidence in the editorial is the Author’s use of a Gallup Pole to prove that Americans no longer oppose the idea of women on the front lines. Also specific quotes are used from a well-know male armor officer who attests to women already risking their lives in the line of fire but not being recognized for it because the government has contorted the laws and definitions. At the end of the editorial, the author goes into some details about the physical requirements for those serving in combat positions, how the solution is simple, and how the armed forces should strive for equality and concludes that congress is taking small steps in the right direction.
From an analytical point of view, the editorial from USA Today immediately established credibility with the first evidence and supporting examples. There is an abundance of evidence for the short two-page window that the author has to offer it. The author doesn’t use any jargon or political terms meant to confuse or mislead the reader. Also, the author does a very satisfactory job of explaining the facts surrounding the argument without being biased or one-sided. Though there is room for much improvement, overall the editorial is a firm and testable argument and serves its purpose well.
As in most any written argument, the author wants to present their opinions in the most positive and factual light. Usually only supporting evidence is given for the reader to comprehend and digest. This includes: specific accounts with concurring viewpoints and validating examples. While the author will oftentimes address or evaluate the opposition, it would be counteractive to the whole foundation and motive of the argument to agree with, or present facts in favor of, the opposite side. The article previously discussed and critiqued mostly follows this schema. Though there are some hidden premises, the author does briefly address some of the opposing viewpoints. The editorial only very briefly mentions the opposing argument that: “a change in policy cost lives” but offers no retort to the claim.
Also, the fact that “…some infantrymen would be unable to take orders from a female combat leader…” is brought up and the author offers a seemingly simple solution to this complex counterargument. The final recognition of opposing opinion by the author is in the statement claiming: ”Many of the objections trotted out by opponents simply don’t hold up to scrutiny.” Again, the author fails to prove this statement with in-depth evidence and goes on to only address one specific “objection trotted out by opponents.” The issue featured in the USA Today editorial “Open Combat Jobs to Women” is difficult to resolve for many possible reasons. First, there are no previous precedents in the situation of women in the armed forces that can help legislation to predict the possible gain or loss they will receive.
There doesn’t seem to be a way to calculate what the reaction will be to letting women serve in combat until legislation allows it. In reference to the lawsuit by the four servicewomen, the Supreme Court must also set a new precedent. As with any issue involving women’s rights or equal rights in general, the Constitution is always brought into discussion. Problems encountered in our society that call for an interpretation of the Constitution are often met with an incredible amount of hesitation, deliberation and conflict among citizens, social groups, minorities and legislators.
USA Today’s Editorial creates a valid representation of the supporting viewpoints for women in combat positions while also establishing credibility with provoking arguments that incite hesitation for opposition. To review somewhat, although the author does an adequate job in arguing their point, there is some room for improvement both structurally and logistically. However, from a reader’s point of view, the editorial has a reasonably strong argument that at least provokes the reader to question their current beliefs and views on the topic discussed.