Annie, get your grenade launcher

Leon Panetta, departing Secy. of Def., has removed restrictions on military women serving in combat roles. The Times has a story tracing his thinking on the subject. The head of the Joint Chiefs, Martin Dempsey also describes the development of his views.An accompanying story reports on instances of women in "non-combat" roles being drawn into combat when serving in combat units. Each service will be given time to assess the criteria for different forms of combat: e.g., special services, infantry, etc. One of the benefits often cited is that it will allow women to rise to the highest ranks (four-star, etc.), which are reserved for those who have served in combat.The trajectory for the decision seems inevitable, but I am sure there are questions that need answers. What do you think?

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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