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Women going into combat

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WASHINGTON, D.C., (KNOE 8 News) - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to officially make the announcement today in Washington.

This means the Pentagon is opening direct combat jobs to women. Already, many women in combat areas are being drawn in battle because often, there are no clear front lines anymore.
The decision is expected to affect some 230,000 women soldiers.

At least 120 female troops have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and more than 800 have been wounded.

Most women serving in the military think that this is a decision that's long overdue.

And the White House says President Barack Obama supports the Pentagon's decision as well.

Press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Obama favors expanding opportunities for women to serve in the armed forces. Carney also said Obama believes the country should continue to remove "unnecessary gender-based barriers to service."

It will be up to the military service chiefs to recommend whether women should be excluded from any of those more demanding and deadly positions, such as Navy SEALs or the Army's Delta Force.

Critics argue that women won't be able to meet the physical requirements and that the move could weaken the military. Illinois Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth on the other hand, argues that women should be given a fair shot and can do the job. She, by the way is an Iraq war veteran herself and counters, "You've got a bunch of strong, capable, awesome women who can take any challenge that's thrown at us."

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