15 Hamline J. Pub. L. & Pol'y 199 (1994)
Women at War: The Ethics of Women in Combat

handle is hein.journals/hplp15 and id is 205 raw text is: WOMEN AT WAR: THE ETHICS OF WOMEN
IN COMBAT*
LucindaJ Peach'
INTRODUCTION
The United States has more women in its military than any other na-
tion.2 Yet, unlike several other nations, the U.S. has traditionally banned
women from all combat positions.3 The debate over women's participation
in combat roles has become particularly acute as a result of recent United
States military involvement in Grenada, Panama, Libya, Honduras, and most
recently, the Persian Gulf (Desert Storm). Despite their official exclusion
from combat duty, women were in fact assigned to posts in these armed con-
flicts that positioned them in or near the line of fire.4 Over 35,300 women
served in the military in the Gulf War. Many of them saw action, as tradi-
* HAMrNE J. PuB. L & POL'Y and Indiana Center on Global Change and World Peace,
Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.
1. The author is grateful for funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foun-
dation and participation as a Scholar in the MacArthur Seminar conducted by the Indiana
Center for Global Change and World Peace in 1991-92, which made this article possible, as well
as for the encouragement and suggestions of the Center's DirectorJohn Lovell, Assistant Direc-
tor William Meyers, fellow MacArthur Scholars, seminar paper advisor D'Ann Campbell, doc-
toral advisor Richard Miller, as well as Judith Stiehm, Pauline Schloesser, and Jason BeDuhn. A
modified version of this article was published as Occasional Paper No. 20 (December 1993) in
the Occasional Papers Series of the Indiana Center on Global Change and World Peace.
2. See Sandra Stanley & Mady Wechsler Segal, Military Women in NATO: An Updat 14
ARMED FoRcEs & Soc'Y 559, 585 (1988); Cynthia Enloe, United States in WorMN  AND THa Mil.
TARY SySTEM 395, 415 (Eva Isaksson ed., 1988) [hereinafter Enloe, United States];JEAN BT-nE
ELsrrmn , WoEN AND WAR 244 (1987).
3. Countries that have included women in combat positions include Israel, Russia, Yugosla-
via, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Luxembourg, and Belgium. See Association of
the Bar of the City of New York, The Combat Exclusion Laws: An Idea Whose Time Has Gone, 9 MNERVA:
Q. REP. ON WOMEN & MiL. 31, 31-33 (1991) [hereinafter Association]; Utilization of Women in the
Military Sewices, 1991: Hearings on H.R 2521, Pts. 4 & 6 Before the Senate Comm. on Appropriations,
Department of Defnse Appropriations, 102d Cong., 1st Sess. 998 (1991) [hereinafter Appropriations
Hearings]; NANcy LORING GOLDMAN, THE UTILIZATION OF WOMEN IN COMBAT: AN Hisroiuc.AL AND
SOCIAL ANALYsiS OF TWENTET-=CENTURY WARTImE AND PEACETIME EXPEMENCE (1982); Marilyn
Gordon & MaryJo Ludvigson, A Constitutional Analysis of the Combat Exclusion for Air Force Women,
9 MINERVA: Q. REP. ON WOMEN & MIL. 26, 27 (1991); Stanley & Segal, supra note 2; BRUCE MviEs,
Nicwrr Wrraims: THE UN'rOL STORY OF Sovi'r WOMEN IN COMBAT (1981). The countries with
the most extensive experience of women in combat are Russia, Israel, and Yugoslavia. Canada
law now prohibits the exclusion of women from combat occupations in the Canadian Armed
Forces. See Association, supra, at 28.
4. See Appropriations Hearings, supra note 3, at 803 (testimony of Senator William Roth);
Association, supra note 3, at 18; Francine D'Amico, Women at Arms: The Combat Controversy, 8 Mi-
NERvA: Q. RaP. ON WOMEN & MIL. 1, 2 (1990); Wayne Dillingham, The Possibility of American
Military Women Becoming Prisoners of War: Justificationfor Combat Exclusion Rules?, 37 FED. B. NEws &
J. 223, 223 (1990); Paul Edwards, The Army and the Microword Computers and the Politics of Gender
Identity, 16 SiGNs:J. WOMEN CuLTURE & Soc'v 102, 117 (1990); Carolyn Beecraft, Personnel Puze,
115 PROCFEDINGS U.S. NAVAL INST. 41, 41 (Apr. 1989).

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