Martha Raddatz Shuts Down George Will Over Women In Combat

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On this Sunday's This Week, guest host Martha Raddatz did a nice job of shooting down George Will's flawed arguments on lifting the ban on women in combat. We've had women out there putting their lives on the line for years now, and it's about time they were allowed the same opportunities and recognition as their male counterparts. That didn't stop Will from throwing the red herring out there: that it's a concern they won't be able to get someone physically larger than themselves off a battlefield. As Raddatz pointed out to him, there are women on the battlefield doing exactly that right now.

RADDATZ: And you've given me the perfect segue with Army and Marines to talk about what happened this week, lifting the ban on women in combat. There were all sorts of headlines this week lauding what happened, supporting what happened rather openly.

George Will, you think it's a good idea?

WILL: Well, it depends on how it's implemented.

RADDATZ: They say the physical standards will not change.

WILL: Well, that's what they always say. Let me give you an example. No Child Left Behind said we're going to have 100 percent proficiency by 2014 in reading and math. And the scary thing is we might, because the only way we'll get there is by dumbing down the standards, which is actually underway. The question is, will we change the physical fitness requirements so that we don't have a disparate impact? Are we going to gender-norm the requirements?

Give you an example. You've been out, Martha...

RADDATZ: A few times.

WILL: ... in these -- in these combat zones. You're 6'4", 240-pound Marine, and you're injured, and you need a Marine next to you to carry you back to safety, and the Marine next to you is a 5'4" woman who weighs 115 pounds. It's relevant.

RADDATZ: OK, can I tell you something? You know, George, I've met a lot of combat medics who are women...

WILL: I understand.

RADDATZ: ... who rappel down, who pick up big, 6'4" Marines and take them to safety. I just interviewed a woman.

WILL: OK. That's fine. And pilots, we know that 152 women have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. We know that they're now serving on submarines, and it's all good for the military. But there are certain anatomical facts about upper body strength and stamina.

(CROSSTALK)

INSKEEP: If I may, though...

RADDATZ: OK, very quickly here, Steve.

INSKEEP: Those anatomical facts are averages. The average woman may not be fit for the Army, but the average man probably is not, either. The question is whether they're going to deal with individuals, and there are surely individual women who could pick you or I up wounded and carry us off a battlefield.

RADDATZ: It probably would not be me, but there are lots of them.

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