Okay, Tom, you asked for reactions, so here's a reaction.
1. Just because you have STRONG opinions doesn't make them any more correct. I can think of a lot of wrong people who had strong opinions. Does strength of opinion mean unwillingness to entertain other alternatives? Note, since I also have strong opinions, that I didn't say you were wrong, necessarily. I didn't say I thought you were right, either.
2. Re: Should a man have to give up his position to make room for a woman.
This is an old story, and attitudes have changed over the years. The same question used to be asked about any opportunity to make a living in a preferred way, from restrictions against getting into medical school, law school, working for the police or fire departments, getting into labor unions, etc. The restrictions were based on race, creed, color, national origin, etc. You simply raise the issue of gender, i.e., one more on the long list.
My question is who gave the man his position in the first place?
Women have been fighting and dying in wars since before society was organized into anything we would recognize today. Along the way, men took over. Great.
But does that mean women shouldn't have the opportunity to serve if they want to serve?
One of the tv networks, might've been PBS, come to think of it, a couple weeks ago, did a really well-balanced presentation on Tom's question, with knowledgeable people representing both sides of the issue. By the time it was over it was easy to see the merits of both sides, and the demerits. Some of the issues were whether women should serve in combat (they already do, captaining USNavy warships and flying USAirforce airplanes), should they train alongside men (women don't do as well on obstacle courses emphasizing upper-body strength, etc.
The old timers interviewed in the bar couldn't see women doing much of anything in the military, except working in Quonset huts typing out paper and serving as nurses. The old WWII mentality. Women didn't used to work in shipyards before the war, either. Then Rosie the Riveter and Wendy the Welder came on scene to help build a lot of Liberty ships and airplanes.
My question is, do we have to keep doing things the same old way simply because that's the way we've always done it? Or, recognizing that these issues are loaded with a lot of baggage, cultural, stereotypical, etc., about gender roles and other good things, can we think our way through to trying something different.
I'm not sure how useful it would be to put women in foxholes where they'll face hand-to-hand combat with men, but why not have women operate combat equipment they're capable of operating? They might do better than the men.
Have you ever seen a really angry woman? She could fight off a horde of invaders barehanded. Sometimes I think that women are behind a lot of male aggressive activity, egging them on. Maybe it would be better to put some out front.
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