Tom Graves: Women in combat ‘on par with reality’

For the second time this week, U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, has surprised us with a move that seems downright, well, centrist.

On Wednesday, Graves, one of Georgia’s most conservative members of Congress, voted with House Republican leadership to put off another confrontation with the White House over the federal debt ceiling. It was something that many of his colleagues – Democrats John Barrow and Hank Johnson, Republicans Paul Broun, Doug Collins and Phil Gingrey – couldn’t bring themselves to do.

Then we have the lifting of the Pentagon ban on women in combat, signed by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta this morning.

Some Republican reaction has been predictable. “Putting women in combat situations is the latest in a series of moves where political correctness and liberal social policy have trumped sound military practice,” GOP strategist Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, said in a Newsmax interview.

Former Florida congressman Allen West, a retired Army colonel, also has condemned the move.

But Graves this afternoon became the first Georgia congressman to issue an opinion on the Pentagon move. And he endorsed it:

“The Defense Department’s decision, at the recommendation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, rightly honors the courageous service of our women in uniform. The new policy is on par with reality, as women already serve on dangerous missions all over the world and hundreds of servicewomen have been wounded or killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Servicewomen will now have thousands of additional positions to compete for, yielding more opportunities for promotions and leadership roles. I am confident that our military leaders will implement the policy in a way that strengthens our military and guarantees that it will continue to be the greatest in the world.

We’ll add more reaction as it merits, and comes in.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

24 comments Add your comment

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 24th, 2013
4:35 pm

Actually, we’re just not dense -

“History shows that the presence of women has had a devastating impact on the effectiveness of men in battle,” wrote John Luddy in July 27, 1994, for the Heritage Foundation backgrounder.

“For example, it is a common misperception that Israel allows women in combat units. In fact, women have been barred from combat in Israel since 1950, when a review of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War showed how harmful their presence could be. The study revealed that men tried to protect and assist women rather than continue their attack. As a result, they not only put their own lives in greater danger, but also jeopardized the survival of the entire unit. The study further revealed that unit morale was damaged when men saw women killed and maimed on the battlefield,” Luddy said.


January 24th, 2013
4:40 pm

Two questions:
What branch of the military was ralph reed in?
Who cares what allen west thinks about anything?


January 24th, 2013
5:22 pm

Women should not be in combat.
Not that they can’t do the job, Personally I just think it is wrong, unless Our Country is in dire need.

Dr. Love

January 24th, 2013
5:24 pm

Guess they just want to spread the death around.

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 24th, 2013
5:34 pm

There’s a reason the Ravens and 49′ers won’t be quarterbacked by women this coming Super Bowl. Leave it to the liberals to be too stupid to figure out why.

Puerile Pedant

January 24th, 2013
5:40 pm

If they can successful defeat insipid proposals like requiring transvaginal ultrasounds from GOP nutcases like Aesop, then women surely can serve in combat.

Eleanor Eisenberg

January 24th, 2013
5:42 pm

I think this is a great development. I think that we should be allowed to serve in combat, and I applaud the efforts to change the current policy. But in order qualify for combat service, we should have to pass EXACTLY the same physical standards that men have to.

Men must meet very strict, rigid physical requirements to qualify for one of the “combat” positions. A lot of men can’t do so, and end up serving in non-combat positions because of that. Combat soldiers frequently have to carry heavy loads for a long time, covering long distances. That is a hard physical standard for many men to meet, and it will be even harder for women. Just because sheer physical strength doesn’t matter much in a firefight doesn’t mean that it’s not absolutely essential for a combat soldier. I’ve heard many women complain that “it doesn’t take a lot of strength to pull a trigger.” And that’s certainly true. But it does take a lot of physical strength and endurance to take your gear and weapons on a long patrol to the places where those firefights usually occur. And in addition, you may also have to help carry extra gear and wounded soldiers on the return trip. Physical strength and endurance is a mandatory requirement for a combat soldier, and that is going to disqualify a lot of women.

But no matter how much they complain, that requirement should not change. Over the years, we have seen a few large cities being forced to relax physical standards for female firefighters due to politcal pressures for diversity. And that has led to the death of some of those female firefighters, and also of some people whom the female firefighters were not physically strong enough to rescue.

I support and am proud of all the brave women who want to serve our country in some of the most dangerous positions in the military. But let’s make sure that those who do are actually qualified, and not just given some “wink-wink” waivers in which we relax mandatory physical standards for the sake of political correctness. In the stories I’ve seen on the news, women ARE going to be held to the same standards that men are. And that’s the way it should be. Good luck…we’re proud of you!

Joe Hussein Moma

January 24th, 2013
5:48 pm

Rather have women who are brave enough to serve than our present President and Bill Clinton who didn;t and wouldn’t serve!

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 24th, 2013
5:55 pm

Eleanor – Good comments and one thing should added; when I was in basic training if I had asked the drill instructor for a time out, he would have ripped my throat open. Nowadays, because the mental toughness is not exactly all there anymore, you can throw the little yellow flag when the drill sergeant is mean to you. I’m not sure how this concept works in combat but it seems to me ill advised to be practicing it. Mental toughness is just as important as physical toughness. Who wants someone manning your squad automatic weapon that’s liable to wet their pants and run at the first sign of trouble?

Road Scholar

January 24th, 2013
6:15 pm

The Heritage Foundation then and now probably thinks that women should just be barefoot and pregnant! What is their position on equal pay for equal work? Besides Aesop, the review was written in 1994; a lot has changed since then!

I have a conservative male friend who was going through a divorce 20 years ago and he commented then that women should be able to fight during wartime…just train them, let their alimony check be late…and they could whip anyone! And we thought the Marines are tough!

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

January 24th, 2013
6:21 pm

road kill – The war that was detailed in the 1950 study that the 1994 article referenced was fought in 1948, which was the last time Israel allowed women into front line combat. Apparently one miserably failed attempt was good enough for them. But I know you liberals; you’ll just keep trying until destroy the whole country.


January 24th, 2013
6:42 pm

Aesop: Are you sure about your info? Quick search found, which details Israeli women in combat. I think that your ideas might be as outdated as your reference materials.


January 24th, 2013
6:43 pm


Do you have any answers that are not wrong,

And by the way, what does any of this have to do with an out-of-control, taxpayer subsidized kids game?


January 24th, 2013
6:54 pm

Does this mean that women should register for the draft now?

Since women now are equal to men in the most hostile environment in the world, then we must immediately repeal the “violence against womens act” since it proves that women are not equal. While we are at it men need to be recognized as equals to women when it comes to child rearing and we must immediately take steps to make sure children at least have a 50/50 chance to spend time with their fathers in divorces and with the children born out of wedlock.

Road Scholar

January 24th, 2013
7:16 pm

A$$op: The Israeli combat force has 3% women. Source: ABC News this evening!

Oh and by the way it is 2013 now!

Toad Akin

January 24th, 2013
7:26 pm

Ralph Reed is out of prison? When?


January 24th, 2013
8:15 pm

And Allen West thought it was a super idea to terrorize and torture civilians to get “intelligence” – which later turned out to be useless. Who reads those rules of combat, anyway? Much less obeys policies – and orders subordinates to do so as well.

He’s “retired” because the Army gave him the option to leave or be court-martialed. Not someone whose opinions on military policy I would honor.


January 24th, 2013
8:39 pm

When Graves does the ethical, honest thing and pays off his $1.2 million dollar fraudulent bank loan; maybe his opinion on ANYTHING will be respected. Maybe Deal can get Graves a make busy high paying job and get him out of congress, like his partner Chipper Rogers.


January 24th, 2013
9:24 pm

Audie Murphy was 5′ 5″ tall and weighed 112 pounds when he joined the army. He did OK. He seemed to be able to carry his Medal of Honor and two Silver Stars around without any problem.

Ralphie Reedie Bloodsucker

January 24th, 2013
11:33 pm

Any divisive anti-equality position that the homophobic anti-women anti-education anti-freedom religious huckster frauds can get some publicity out of, or lobby money, like Ralphie got sucking up to Jack Abramoff’s gambling clients–well that’s the new fake “position” that a fraud like Ralph Reed wants to claim in front of the media.

What does this wimp know about combat? I remember this wimp in 4-H, and he was a pious grifter then.

As the Honorable War Veteran and Statesman Max Clelland said his grandfather taught him, “if the one that prayed the loudest and the longest at church is coming over for dinner…lock up the smokehouse.”

Reed, just shut up. We know you are a fake. Go count your pieces of silver.


January 25th, 2013
5:45 am

Women have been in combat for centuries. Heck even Molly Pitcher served with her husband during the Revolution. The Luftwaffe has entire squadrons of women fighter pilots. The sniper with the most kills in the Soviet Army during WW2 was a woman.

The problem with this ruling is women will shy away from joining the US Army now. In the past it was quietly done to allow the most talented into certain positions.

How many women would qualify physically to carry a 100 lb ruck sack, a SAW, ammo, and hump up the Hindu Kush mountains on a 26 mile trek to a fire base?

Edmund Ruffin

January 25th, 2013
7:57 am

Many more troops are going to die, men and women. I’m glad my military days are in the non-politically past.


January 25th, 2013
8:53 am

The problem with this decision is that it is based on ideology and not empirical evidence. This means that it will never be undone — never — if it proves to be a bad decision. If there was any chance that the decision would be evaluated in several years based on actual performance, I would be in favor of it for many of the good reasons already stated by others. But if it turns out to be a disaster that results in unnecessary deaths in combat, no one in the government will allow the policy to be changed because it would be an affront to some political constituency.


January 25th, 2013
10:32 am

Mr. Graves never served in the Military and has little clue about “reality” when in combat.