Friday, November 4, 2011

Afghanistan Through My Eyes - WREI Conference 2011

Speaking at the WREI Conference was amazing. I was so impressed with all the women who attended. I could probably write a book on each one. Their bravery, courage and advocacy for women in combat was astounding.

Photo: Maj Peter Shinn

My presentation went really well. I spoke about the question: If women should serve on COPs? (Combat Outposts). Once the policy to allow women to be assigned to combatant positions is changed this will be a probability.

Right now only 1/2 to 1% of the US population is on active service. This is down from 9% during WWII. We NEED women to serve, otherwise we will not be able to fulfill the missions. Both Brigadier General Rebecca Halstead and CSrgMaj Andrew Spano agree!

Photo: Sgt Mark Burrell

My other issue is that regardless of where women serve in the military the issue of consensual sex needs to be addressed. This was a HOT topic! The women who were speaking 'on record' denied this, but the women in the audience agreed! No one wants to talk about this. We talk about sexual assault, which is very different, but with women assigned to important positions where there is no one to take their place if they become pregnant this is a real issue.

Photo by Sgt Poppe

I thought it was interesting how no one wants to talk about it. Let's ignore it is dangerously passive-agressive behavior when it can be easily rectified. I don't understand how you can take 18 and 19 year-olds who are probably having sex to begin with and then expect them to be abstinent in a combat zone when their adrenaline, hormones and anger is making them all extremely agitated.