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GOP Rep. Cotton: Women in combat could impair missions

Republican Rep. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a freshman representative who has served in two wars, said Tuesday afternoon that women shouldn't be allowed in infantry combat roles because it's not conducive to their "nature."

"To have women serving in infantry, though, could impair the mission-essential tasks of units," Cotton said on Laura Ingraham's radio show. "And that's been proven in study after study, just from a matter of -- it's nature, upper body strength, and physical movements, and speed, and endurance, and so forth."

Mediate reports that Cotton did commend women's accomplishments in non-combat military roles.

The conservative congressman, who has two Harvard degrees and served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the U.S. Army, was elected in 2012 to represent Arkansas' fourth district with financial help from the conservative advocacy group Club for Growth.

A 1994 combat exclusion policy bans women from being assigned to ground combat units below the brigade level, but a group of military women is suing the Pentagon to overturn the ban.

In February of last year, the Pentagon recommended that women be allowed to serve in jobs closer to the front lines, prompting then-Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum to express "concerns" similar to Cotton's. "I do have concerns about women in front line combat," he said. "I think that could be a very compromising situation where - where people naturally, you know, may do things that may not be in the interests of the mission because of other types of emotions that are involved."

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