Permissible Arms

An unexpectedly proven truth

Posted in united states, us military by Karaka on 6 November 2009

Okay, it turns out I have one thing to say about Fort Hood.

Texan police officer Kim Munley who shot Fort Hood gunman hailed as a heroine [Times of London]:

But the death toll from the rampage could have been far worse had it not been for the actions of Sergeant Kimberly Munley, a civilian police officer stationed at the base who was the first on the scene as Major Hasan picked off his victims.

Sergeant Munley managed to hit Major Hasan four times but was herself hit by a bullet that passed through both her legs, according to witnesses.

Colonel John Rossi, briefing reporters at Fort Hood this morning, said that Major Hasan’s victims, who were killed in a part of the base used to process soldiers for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, had all been unarmed. Sergeant Munley had been the first armed person on the scene and had immediately taken him on.

“Her efforts were superb,” he said.

The base commander, Lieutenant-General Bob Cone, also paid tribute: “She happened to encounter the gunman. In an exchange of gunfire, she was wounded but managed to wound him four times,” he said.

“It was an amazing and aggressive performance by this police officer.”

The reportage of which lead to this. Girls in the Hood–If women can defend Fort Hood, they can defend America [Slate]:

Here’s a better way to honor Munley: End the ban on women in combat.

Department of Defense policy states 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.” According to the policy, “Direct ground combat takes place well forward on the battlefield.”

Well forward on the battlefield? In Iraq and Afghanistan, there is no forward. There isn’t even a battlefield. We’re living in a world of car bombs, snipers, suicide bombers, improvised explosive devices, and civilian airplane attacks. The battlefield is everywhere.

So are women. By the most recent count, courtesy of ABC News two weeks ago, there are 10,000 female personnel in Iraq and 4,000 more in Afghanistan. They’re driving trucks, treating wounded, and shooting when attacked. More than 100 have given their lives in Iraq; another 15 have died in Afghanistan.

The no-combat policy pretends that women can’t take such risks without harming overall military performance. It bars women from infantry positions, training as armored vehicle drivers, and being assigned as medics to combat units.

Damn right. And I refer you back to Paula Broadwell’s Women At War [Kings of War]:

“Direct ground combat takes place well forward on the battlefield while locating and closing with the enemy to defeat them by fire, maneuver, and shock effect.”

However, the persistent threat of counterinsurgencies combined with evidence of women’s proven effectiveness in such situations serve as powerful reasons for updating the law.

The U.S. military’s Central Command recently published a “Memorandum of Law Concerning Women in Combat Support Operations.” It explicitly condones the use of the F.E.T.’s. The Defense Department’s general counsel is scheduled to consider the matter in the near future.

Perhaps police Sgt. Munley’s heroism will step it up further.

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