Articles

An Interesting Debate about Women and the Draft

In 2008 Presidential Elections, Feminism, politics, War on October 13, 2008 by Editor Z

A draft is political poison and would bring ample opposition by the electorate and rightfully so. But in the event of one should women be required to register with the U.S Selective Service just as men are on their 18th birthday? In other words if a draft was to be reinstated, should women also be drafted? And if so what would their role be? This article from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.

Even as the U.S. confronts two long wars, neither Sen. John McCain nor Sen. Barack Obama believes the country should take the politically perilous step of reviving the military draft.

But the two presidential candidates disagree on a key foundation of any future draft: Mr. Obama supports a requirement for both men and women to register with the Selective Service, while Mr. McCain doesn’t think women should have to register.

Also, Mr. Obama would consider officially opening combat positions to women. Mr. McCain would not.

“Women are already serving in combat [in Iraq and Afghanistan] and the current policy should be updated to reflect realities on the ground,” said Wendy Morigi, Mr. Obama’s national security spokeswoman. “Barack Obama would consult with military commanders to review the constraints that remain.”

According to his campaign, Mr. McCain supports the current Department of Defense restrictions on women in combat units, including armor, field artillery and special forces.
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Between the ban on gays in the military and the ban on women in combat, as we find ourselves in two wars and a number of possible threats worldwide, the U.S is essentially finding itself in 21st century conflicts with our military still entrenched in 20th century norms. Barriers have been broken since that time and other then an adherence to social traditions, what is the logical position of not giving women the same obligations and oppurtunities as thier male counterparts?

A draft would be a disastrous policy. You can legally require to make someone serve in the ranks of the armed services, but as we see with foreign policy debates all the time and our experience with a draft during the Vietnam War, forcing young Americans inexperienced and ill-versed in Military matters to serve in the Armed forces and fight in some cases against their will.

Nevertheless, our armed forces are worn thin, so we need all the help we can get. Women have broken a great many gender barriers over the decades. Even if women are put in combat positions they should nevertheless be forced to register with the draft board, and perhaps be drafted into non-combat roles, if a draft was ever to happen. America has changed dramatically and in many ways is not the same country it was thirty to forty years ago, and this is an important conversation to have.

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