Following the announcement that women in the US military will from now on be able to fill combat positions, Lee Siegel expresses his misgivings. Initially he was pleased, but his jubilation soon turned to gloom once it homed in on him that 'women will now be able to die as brutally and senselessly as men', or 'to die for nothing alongside men dying for nothing'.
You won't be surprised to learn that what is at work in these judgements of his are wars, recent and not so recent, for which Siegel thinks there was no good case: Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. These produced, according to his reckoning, 'deaths that we know were neither vital for national security nor necessary to advance America's interests'. He seems not to consider the possibility of other possible reasons for war (as embodied, for example, in the doctrine of humanitarian intevention and R2P), but in any case even the contingencies he does allow - war over national security and national interests - should have sufficed to prompt in him the thought that not all deaths in war are 'for nothing'. He prefers to reflect instead on the way women's life-bearing and nurturing impulses are antithetical to war.
So he's against opening combat roles to women then? Well, no. He 'would not want to stand athwart the march of progress'.