After the recent death of three female soldiers in Fallujah at the hands of a suicide bomber, questions about women' role in the U.S. military have risen once again.

The military lowered its Army admittance standards to include people without high school diplomas and with medical disorders.  However, looser standards might place more women in increasingly dangerous situations.

MSNBC-TV's 'The Situation' host Tucker Carlson discussed the controversy with Lory Manning, the Director of the Women in the Military Project.

TUCKER CARLSON, 'THE SITUATION' HOST:  June 23rd in Iraq was the deadliest day for American women in uniform since World War II.  A suicide bomber hit a convoy and killed three women, injuring 11, near Fallujah, which raises the question, should women even be in the line of fire? 

Joining me now is retired U.S. Navy Captain Lory Manning.  She's director of the Women in the Military Project at the Women‘s Research and Education Institute in Washington. 

CARLSON:  So the military has admitted that, essentially, standards have been lowered for recruits because of the problem recruiting soldiers and marines.  And that people without high school diplomas are being taken, and people with medical problems.  And from my perspective, it seems like that recruitment problem has led the military to put women in the line of fire.  Is that the way you read it? 

LORY MANNING, DIRECTOR, WOMAN IN THE MILITARY PROJECT:  No, that's not it at all.  The choice to have women in the kinds of jobs they're in now was made back in the mid-'90s, and it was based on how well they performed in the last Gulf War.  Many Marine Corps and Army jobs were open to them.  Those are the kinds of jobs they're doing now. 

And with respect to the women that were killed in that terrible attack last week, they're doing jobs that no man could do.  Their brother marines couldn‘t have done those jobs. 

CARLSON:  Well, I mean the question here is about whether women ought to be in the line of fire in ground combat.

MANNING:  Well, this is not ground combat...


MANNING:  ... by the technical definition.  I mean, most people think they're getting shot at, it's ground combat.  But we do not have women in the infantry.  We don't have them in tanks.  We don't have them in special forces. 

CARLSON:  But women are getting killed in Iraq.  And why shouldn‘t the U.S. military take every measure it possibly can to protect these women from being killed? 

MANNING:  We should be protecting the men from being killed, too.  Men and women are soldiers.  And we have never, ever tried to protect women more than men.  Any bars to what they have been allowed to do in the military have been based on any lack of real experience on whether they had the physical strength or mental stamina, that kind of thing, not protection.

CARLSON:  Right, but the physical stamina for men and women are, I think, dramatically different in the military.  And so...

MANNING:  You're talking about P.T., physical testing standards. 

CARLSON:  That's right.  Exactly.

MANNING:  And that‘s, you know, that‘s not much of anything for either sex. 

CARLSON:  Well, wait, why have those standards at all in the first place if they don‘t mean anything? 

MANNING:  Well, they do mean something, but it's a measure of basic health, not a measure of, are you ready to hit the beach?

CARLSON:  Well, if men in the Army, say, are carrying 50 or 100-pound packs, that's going to be a difficult for the vast majority of women.  I mean, that's a significant difference, isn't it? 

MANNING:  Well, the women carry 50-pound packs, too, quite frankly, over there.  And most of them are pretty fit. 

CARLSON:  What about the problem — people who study this often point out that men can't handle the sight of women being mutilated in war. It seems an obvious point that that will destroy morale, watching a woman get her legs blown off, say. 

MANNING:  That was a theory.  There haven't been that many women in these kinds of wars, so it‘s what people sort of speculated about, but...

CARLSON:  Well, hold on, it's more than a theory.  I mean, any man can tell you it's devastating to watch another man being injured, but it's incapacitating to watch a woman, say, get her face blown off.  Most men couldn't handle that. 

MANNING:  Well, then we'd better keep women off jet planes and out of office buildings, too, eh?  Maybe they shouldn't drive cars. 

CARLSON:  I think you're much less likely to get...

MANNING:  The men over in Iraq are handling that.  I mean, nobody wants to see that happen to another human being.  But the women and the men over there right now are handling it.  And if you pull them out of Iraq, you yourself better be ready to go and enlist, because we‘ll be in a mess. 

CARLSON:  Or we can change our foreign policy goals.  Don‘t you think there‘s something barbaric, though, about taking mothers away from their children in order to fight a voluntary war? 

For instance, Jessica Lynch, who was captured and survived, but was captured with another enlisted woman in the Army, who was a single mother of two.  She was tortured, apparently sexually assaulted, and then killed by Iraqi captors.  I mean, that‘s barbaric.  Why are we doing that? 

MANNING:  What woman are you talking about? 

CARLSON:  I‘m talking about, it was an Army...

MANNING:  No, she was not tortured and killed or raped by — she was released.  And she's home in Oklahoma.  And I've spoken to her.

CARLSON:  I'm talking about a woman who was with her, a Hopi woman in her mid-20s from Arizona who was killed.  But the point is, why are we sending mothers or single mothers over to Iraq to fight a war that is voluntary in the first place? 

MANNING:  Because they're volunteers. And if we don't let the people who volunteer serve, then we‘re going to have to bring back a draft.  We can‘' protect one sex or the other. 

If we had a draft, we could privilege mothers and fathers.  One of the people killed in that recent attack was a father of a very young child. 

CARLSON:  Wait a second, Captain.  We recognize in American society, and almost every society, a difference between violence against men and violence against women.  That's why we use the phrase “violence against women.”  They're not the same.  We don't think they're the same.  Do you think they're same?

MANNING:  We're usually talking about domestic violence or rape against women. 

CARLSON:  Well, there's rape against men and domestic violence against men.  But we don't see that as big a deal.  There's something different and especially appalling against physical violence against women.  Do you not recognize that?

MANNING:  I recognize being appalled with physical violence against anybody, particularly when it‘s perpetrated by their husband or wife. 

But that's not what we're talking about here.  We're talking about women working in the combat zone and being able to shoot back, as opposed to the women in World War II where we lost over 200 to hostile fire.  They were there in combat zones.  And they were mostly Army nurses. 

CARLSON:  Well, it's over complicated.

MANNING:  Do you think we shouldn‘t have medical people over there? 

CARLSON:  I think it's a little more complicated than just shooting back.  We're talking about women getting mutilated in horrible ways.  I mean, let's not—you know, use euphemisms here.  They are getting physically mangled.  That's terrible.

MANNING:  And they got physically mangled in the Pentagon on September 11th.  They got physically mangled in the World Trade Center.  You know, let's not privilege women. 

Women are citizens.  And when they volunteer, we ought to be able to let them to use all their abilities to defend this country, not sequester them and put an extra burden on the men who are over there. 

CARLSON:  OK.  Mutilation as a woman's right.  All right, Captain Lory Manning.  I appreciate it.

MANNING:  You're going to join up, I guess, to save a woman from fighting. 

CARLSON:  I‘m going to keep speaking out against something as barbaric as that.  But I appreciate your coming on. 

Watch 'The Situation with Tucker Carlson' each weeknight at 9 p.m. ET

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