Every soldier’s death diminishes me. Every time a roadside bomb goes off, somewhere in America, parents, brothers, sisters, children, neighbors, classmates feel the sudden sting of death. We have now sent over 1700 families over the abyss into the grief of losing young people in their prime.

So, the news that the latest bomb attack killed a number of female soldiers is as tragic as every other bombing. But apparently, for certain members of our culture, woman’s symbolic value makes this loss all the more tragic.

“Fierce debate” will greet the news that women were killed.

The role of women soldiers in Iraq has set off a fierce debate in Washington. Conservatives have charged that the military exposes female soldiers to excessive danger by assigning them to support units that commonly operate alongside male combat troops. They believe the Pentagon is violating the spirit of the law that prohibits women from serving in infantry, artillery, or armor units.

The Center for Military Readiness has made one of its prime missions to exempt women from combat. Fair enough. Personally, I don’t want anyone in combat. Women. Men. Children. I don’t want us involved in this war that the President started.

Women soldiers dying in combat is a horror. But so is the horror of our sons dying there, too. So, before this debate even starts, can we stop? Please? Because quite frankly, as a woman, I find it incredibly offensive that conservatives can shed crocodile tears over women soldiers, but won’t give civilian women the time of day. They seem to have no problem denying us birth control so that some of us will die in childbirth. They seem to have no problem with the millions of women infected with the AIDS virus. They have no problem throwing women off the Welfare rolls. They have no problem denying women the rights and benefits that men enjoy.

I’m sick and tired of my symbolic value being more than my real value. I am a person. A whole person. I’m not your Barbie Doll, your Virgin Mary, your Holy Mother. My life is not of worth only when I am reproducing the next generation or serving the brethren by making men’s lives easier. And I’ll be goddamned if you get to make political hay out of the fact that soldiers died in Iraq. When those bombs went off, they were not men or women, they were scared kids who were about to be blown off the face of the earth, leaving behind holes the size of the universe in their loved ones’ lives.

Cross-posted at CultureKitchen

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