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MHQ, the quarterly journal of military history, has on its spring edition cover a photograph of an attractive blonde, 20-year-old Roza Shanina.

She’s wearing nine medals. And in another full-page photograph of her smiling, she’s carrying a pair of binoculars along with a rifle – with a telescopic site.

Caption: “Allied Reporters Called 20-Year-Old Soviet Sniper Roza Shanina ‘The Unseen Terror of East Prussia.’ She was credited with 54 kills.”

“After her eldest brother was killed in a bombing raid on Leningrad, Shanina, along with tens of thousands of women, applied to join the army, intent on turning back the Nazi onslaught. … Although the all-male Soviet leadership resisted the idea, it soon had no choice but to mobilize women against Hitler. …

“Sent to sniper school, Roza was a natural … known for her ability to score ‘double hits’ – taking out two targets in quick succession – she was the first female sniper to be awarded the Order of Glory for bravery. She died in combat in early 1945, still shy of her 21st birthday, but with 54 confirmed kills. …

“Great Britain, the United States and other combatants put hundreds of thousands of females in uniform; the Soviet Union alone recruited roughly a million, sending many into combat as tank commanders, snipers and pilots. Desperation, not egalitarian ideals, drove these mobilizations; there simply weren’t enough men to fight in history’s largest conflagration.

“After the fighting, Soviet propaganda once again promoted the theme that a woman’s primary duty to the state was motherhood. By 1959, there were only 659 females in the Red Army.”

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s announcement that the Department of Defense will lift the ban on women in combat is “simply a recognition that women are already fighting in combat,” continues the report. “The U.S. has already deployed nearly 290,000 females in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade. More than 140 have died, many killed by insurgents. … Citing reports of sexual harassment in the ranks, some officials worry that women will disrupt the cohesion crucial to combat duty. They also argue that females physically cannot handle the duty.”

Very fortunately, none of the nations of the world today are in as desperate a position as the Soviets when invaded by Hitler’s huge armies. The desperation then also produced Russia’s most famous sniper, Lyudmila Paulichenko, who is credited with more than 300 enemy deaths. She suffered from four wounds and in 1942 was brought to the U.S. to lobby allies to open a second front.

Does this extraordinary circumstance mean that women should be in all forms of combat?

WND columnist and veteran Matt Barber, an attorney concentrating on constitutional law and vice president of Liberty Counsel Action, quotes the late Gen. Robert Barrow, former commandant of the Marine Corps:

“If you want to make a combat unit ineffective, assign some women to it.”

Barber also reports:

“In a recent column headlined, ‘Women in Ground Combat,’ Bing West, former Marine officer and assistant secretary of defense under President Ronald Reagan, notes that, during his testimony, Gen. Barrow ‘cited the 1950 fighting retreat from the Chosin Reservoir in temperatures of minus 20 degrees, with one Marine division pitted against eight Chinese divisions. Had women comprised 15 percent of his division, Barrow concluded, the Marines would have lost the battle.”

Let me add the following questions:

Why does the United States separate men from women in recruiting athletes for the Olympics? Should that be outlawed?

Why does the U.S. government sanction women in combat, while allowing professional football teams to remain all-male? Should that be outlawed?

Should a nation’s all-male professional basketball and baseball teams be required to recruit women – and achieve the same gender representation as the U.S. population: i.e., a small majority if females?

Should the U.S. Navy SEALs be required to recruit women?

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