A freshman Republican U.S. Congressman from Arkansas says women are unfit for infantry combat because their “nature” can “impair the mission-essential tasks” of their units. “To have women serving in infantry, though, could impair the mission-essential tasks of those units,” Rep. Tom Cotton (R-AR), 35, told Laura Ingraham. “And that’s been proven in study after study, it’s nature, upper body strength, and physical movements, and speed, and endurance, and so forth.”
Apparently, Congressman Cotton has never seen the Olympics, women’s basketball, or been to a local gym. Apparently Congressman Cotton has never seen moms hoisting kids into mini-vans while lugging laptops and groceries. Women have excelled in combat infantry and many, many other physical endurance events and activities.
In short, the Congressman is dead wrong.
“Cotton appears to assume that allowing women to serve in the infantry would necessitate a double standard in physical testing for male and female soldiers, but that’s not so,” writes Zach Beauchamp at Think Progress:
A Marine pilot program training women as combat officers subjects them to the same grueling physical training as their male classmates. Though the two women in that program didn’t pass (along with 26 of the 107 men enrolled in the course), many women are more than physically capable of performing in combat roles. Indeed, a survey of several NATO allies that allowed women in “frontline roles” in Afghanistan found that female officers caused “no significant problems,” and actually performed better than their male counterparts in intelligence-gathering roles. Preventing women who pass the same physical tests as their male counterparts from serving in the combat infantry is sexism, plain and simple.
Cotton, who served in the Army in Iraq and Afghanistan, is a radical, right wing conservative whose list of endorsements reads like a Tea Party manifesto.
Cotton has been endorsed Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, a long-term anti-women group, along with RedState, Senator John McCain, the Gun Owners of America, 60 Plus Association, the Club for Growth, the Madison Project, Conservative Victory Fund, Citizens United Political Victory Fund, Combat Veterans for Congress, and the Tea Party Express.
Image: Rep. Cotton’s swearing in, with his parents and John Boehner, via Twitter.
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