Guest Editorial in Honor of Women's History Month
The Warrior Instinct
Women are as much entitled to warrior status as men. We are as capable as men in thinking, acting and serving as warriors. The problem is men far outnumber women in the military and project an air of entitlement; the military turf belongs to them and society encourages and applauds them in this process. And we, as women, allow it. We move over, we give in; we allow them to make us earn every inch of any turf we get. We are as much entitled as they are, but they make us feel otherwise. They gang up against us and make us feel inferior because they are “real Soldiers” and it is their Army, not ours. Mothers, sisters, wives and lovers swoon at the sight of men in uniform and as the returning heroes, yet who is swooning for the women going off to or returning home from war? Women serve valiantly and courageously in the military services, and their accomplishments often go unnoticed and ignored. We are somehow regarded as less. It is a tragedy the nobility of military service is somehow researched for the men who serve.
Women who choose to serve are described as desperate or “looking for a man” as if the military offers the best hunting grounds. What the military has come to offer most recently is the opportunity to be raped or sexually assaulted by male service members. Perhaps, and hopefully, this dramatic rise in sexual assaults and rapes in Iraq and Afghanistan is behavior unique to the combat zone. Perhaps this is how male Soldiers behave when they are facing the prospect of death 24/7 and female Soldiers are available. Imagine this eventuality? Hopefully all Soldiers will once again behave appropriately when they return from war, but the record shows otherwise, taking out frustrations on spouses, partners and girlfriends.
Thankfully, women will persevere and prevail. We always do. It takes hard work and determination. It takes courage. We have it all, in abundance. We will focus on the future and drive on. Women will continue to serve and achieve. We will break through glass ceilings and find the challenges to overcome. We will make life better for our sisters and daughters coming after us. We will not be afraid. We will fall and we may occasionally falter, but we will stand again, face the enemy and win. We are warriors and we are entitled. The military knows this and many of the men are afraid. They should be. #
Janis Karpinski is the former commanding general at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and author of the book, One Woman’s Army: The Commanding General of Abu Ghraib Tells her Story.