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Santorum Insults Women Who Served in Combat

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Rick Santorum has no idea what's happening in our military.

On CNN, asked by John King if he agreed with a recent Pentagon decision that would formally open up front-line roles for women in combat, Santorum said, " I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission, because of other types of emotions that are involved."

In other words: "Women are too sappy." Somehow, Santorum believes, women won't pull the trigger if they have to, because they're too emotional, and don't have the guts.

It's impossible to put into words how infuriating that is to me, as someone who served twice in Iraq, with women who were already serving ably in combat, even though the Pentagon didn't officially recognize that, up until now. The wars we're fighting are a 360-degree battlefield. There are no real "front lines" anymore. Any time a Soldier or Marine goes outside the wire, they're in a combat role, whether we say so or not.

Additionally, we're actively attaching women to combat units, right now. In Afghanistan, as part of the counter-insurgency strategy, women go out alongside their male counterparts so certain things can be respectfully done -- like making sure Afghan women in any given area are not a threat, and speaking to women to get intelligence information. Those men and women are serving side-by-side, with absolutely no issues of tension between the genders. Our troops are professional and do their jobs -- men and women, alike. Does Rick Santorum think we're not?

Thus far, women have shown that they are just as capable as men in their combat role. And they're willing to make the same sacrifices. For me, when I first got to Iraq, my very first convoy was attacked, and it was a woman who suppressed the enemy. There are a lot of women like that.

There are 144 women who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan, so far. Most of those were combat deaths. Those women put their lives on the line for America. Female soldiers have been taken hostage -- from Jessica Lynch to Shoshana Johnson. To even think about saying women like these are somehow emotionally compromised isn't just offensive -- it is flat-out wrong, and shows a lack of even basic understanding of our military.

Santorum's position shouldn't come as a shock, though. This is a man who says he'll force our servicemembers back into the closet, and make them lie to their comrades about who they are, by reinstituting the ban on gays serving openly in the military. It doesn't matter that since Don't Ask, Don't Tell was lifted, our military is as strong as ever. All that matters is that Santorum sees the military as another place to turn back the clock on social issues.

If women didn't prove themselves as combat troops every single day, I'd be the first to say that maybe we shouldn't let them in combat. But they are. Given that, they deserve the full recognition of the Pentagon, and a chance to do more for our security. It's good for our military, it's good for our country and it works.

That should be the only criteria Rick Santorum uses. That he doesn't makes me wonder just how much he cares about a military that works, over a military that is forced to reshape itself under his extremist social views. Maybe that works in a closed, partisan primary, where one has to out-extreme the other person. But, it doesn't work for a general election candidate who wants to be seriously considered for Commander-in-Chief.