Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta has removed the ban on women...

Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta has removed the ban on women serving in combat roles. The ban removal was reportedly recommended by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, overturning a 1994 rule keeping women out of ground combat units. Credit: Getty Images

I totally agree with Kathleen Parker's column "Women don't belong in combat roles" [Opinion, Jan. 27]. The Israeli army has female soldiers in rear-line positions to free up the men for combat, which makes more sense than the possibility of hand-to-hand combat by young women. All the 18-year-old girls I know run when they see a mouse.

If Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lifted the ban on women in combat in the hope that more women would volunteer and further their education, that would explain his strange reasoning. Male and female soldiers living in close quarters in a combat zone lacks sound reasoning.

Pat King, Merrick

Leon Panetta has declared that women can serve in front-line combat roles if they qualify. He makes it sound like combat is just another job in the military, and that we should not block women on account of their gender. After all, it is said that combat service leads to promotions, and we should make full use of our resources in this era of fiscal belt-tightening.

Do people realize what we are in such a hurry to expose our wives, daughters, sweethearts and mothers to? In the name of equality, we want to increase the number of former service people with artificial limbs, head trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder and death. We have to be equal, after all.

Let's raise a generation of children without mothers. We have already done wonders with family issues as it is, so let's make it even harder by sending young women into meat grinders in horrible, far-off places.

Who does officially qualify for combat? Who qualifies to live in primitive conditions or to stick a knife in someone to complete a mission? Is this what we want for our women? Has warfare become so high-tech that we don't even comprehend the savagery involved anymore?

We have asked our young men to experience this since 1775, and we have paid the price. Why now do we need to rush to give our young women the same experiences?

Fred Meyer, Shirley