Monday, February 25, 2013

Are You Ready to Sign Up For the Draft?

Deep breath.  Many of us suspected that this was coming.  I wasn't sure anyone would be prancing around proclaiming that it should happen now, but I can't say that I'm really surprised either.  

I woke up this morning to read this article about people who are fighting to make sure that the women in our country have to register for the selective service.  But don't worry, they assure us.  It's not like we'll actually call them up.  It's just fair.  I mean we're the same now.  So why wouldn't you send you're girls out to register.  Since they're the same as their brothers they have the same obligation to fight and die in the name of our country.  

Now I feel compelled to start off with a little personal history.  In 2005, shortly before I met Paul, I was thinking of joining the military.  Two things held me back at the time.  The first was that I was in the middle of a 13 month hiring process with the CIA and I was waiting to see how it would play out (where I was offered a job that was ultimately rescinded around the time I got engaged).  The second thing holding me back was this:

Ah yes... that's what you think it is.... my neck tattoo... I was a stupid kid...
I don't know what the rules are now, but back in 2005 a neck tattoo disqualified me from even enlisting in the Navy, Air Force or Marine Corps.  The Army would have taken me, but I had my little heart set on the Navy and so, when I met Paul that year, I had undergone two laser tattoo removals (let me say that taking off a tattoo is more painful than putting it on...).

And that little tattoo, that mistake that I thoroughly regret and feel idiotic about (I have other tattoos but they don't make me feel as stupid because they're not on my neck... kids take it from me and never, ever, ever get a neck tattoo...) is the main reason I was around to marry my husband and start a family with him (I guess I shouldn't hate it that much, since it, in effect, made the life that I love today possible).  

So I can understand the desire to serve one's country.  I was all for the idea of women in combat.  At the same time, other types of personal experience had to make me wonder, if I was truly honest with myself, about how capable I was of keeping up with men who I could clearly see, had a natural advantage.  I was in pretty great shape back then.  I could easily swim two miles without stopping.  I could bench press quite a bit more than my own body weight.  I worked out for hours every single day.  But I was also a black belt in karate and one thing my years of training had showed me was that men with quite a bit less experience and skill often still had the upper hand when we were training, because their natural strength and speed was superior to my own, despite my hard work.  Which was frustrating.

The thing is, no matter how much certain people wish away this fact, it still stands: men and women are inherently different.  Men generally have a great advantage when it comes to innate abilities that come in handy on the battle field.  I think it's ridiculous to expect to be able to draw from a random pool of women across the country and, even with extensive training, expect them not to hinder a combat unit.

We aren't the same.  Writing laws that say that we are won't change that simple fact.

More than that I think it's incredibly stupid to take away from women who are in their prime child bearing years, during this hypothetical future situation, and put them on birth control and put them on the front lines.  That ought to do wonders for future generations.  Especially when we're already below replacement levels.  Let's further decimate the number of children we have growing up to support our retiring workers.  That sounds like an awesome idea for economic stability.

Now I'll pause so you can read some highlights from the actual article that started this rant:
"The Obama administration's recent decision to lift the ban on women in combat has opened the door for a change in the law that currently compels only men between age 18 and 25 to register for a military draft, according to legal experts and military historians.
Never before has the country drafted women into military service, and neither the administration nor Congress is in a hurry to make them register for a future call-up. But, legally, they may have no other choice..."
"...Groups that backed the end of the ban on women in combat also support including women in draft registration as a matter of basic citizenship. Women should have the same civic obligations as men, said Greg Jacob, a former Marine Corps officer and policy director for the Service Women's Action Network. "We see registration as another step forward in terms of equality and fairness," Jacob said..."

"..."You can't pick and choose when equality should apply to you," Hegar said. "Making generalized statements like, `Women are capable of being in combat' or `Women are incapable of being in combat,' are equally ignorant. People are either competent or they're not competent."..."

"...Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., has made several attempts over the past decade to reinstitute the draft on the grounds that a small fraction of U.S. citizens are bearing a disproportionate burden in fighting the nation's wars. But his bills have gone nowhere.
That hasn't stopped him from trying. Just this month, Rangel introduced another bring-back-the-draft bill that also would require women to register..."

Here we go.  Are you ready to take your girls to sign up for the selective service?  Depending on your age are you ready to sign up for yourself?  I'm certainly not.

In fact I absolutely believe that I'm innately unsuited for military service or war.

You see, I can flip through any of dozens of pictures of me standing next to my husband and it is abundantly clear that one of us would be more suited to the conditions of war:

We are of equal worth in God's eyes, but it's perfectly clear that physically we aren't the same.  And I just can't understand how anyone could think that this idea would make our military stronger.

The idea of sameness as equality has run amok.


  1. "Writing laws that say that we are won't change that simple fact."

    Truer words were never spoken, but that seems not to deter those who are determined to have their way.

    We seem to have lost our minds with regard to the "giveness" of certain things to quote an excellent article by George Weigel. Our simply stating something does not make it so, but it seems that large enough numbers of people - if you hammer away at "traditional" views long enough - can be persuaded to just about anything. To wit: abortion is evil; marriage is, by its very nature, between one man and one woman; women should never be compelled to go to war.

    That said, there is strong sentiment against ANY draft. and a majority of women don't want women included were it to be reinstated. However, I agree that before long we will likely see selective service registration required of all. The fact that many women see this as a victory baffles me entirely.


  2. I'm feeling the same way as you. This notion makes me very angry. I served in the military for eight years, was called up and served in Germany. I know what it's like should the draft take place, albeit from a physically fit condition. This proposed law is very short sighted. With our national obesity crisis a significant portion of the nation will be disqualified. The military only takes people who are physically healthy. That means every woman who is healthy would likely be sent to war with the men. Procreation is most likely with healthy women. If the women get killed in service, your next generation is coming from the unhealthy part of the population (if they can even procreate). It's demographic suicide.

    Training is hard for women. Almost all the women I was in the military with couldn't do a single push-up at the start of basic training. Versus the men who could all do at least one and almost always could do the bare minimum. Men ran a lot faster. Even the fastest women could barely keep up with the slowest guys. We trumped them in sit-ups but that's only because we have stronger hip flexors.

    Socially, it was a mess to have co-ed. Even though they gave the guys meds to kill their libido they were still found sneaking around with the girls and sleeping together. Promescuity was rampant. When I was called up for service I knew two girls who got pregnant in Germany, by fellow servicemen, with boyfriends back home. They thought their status as pregnant would send them home. It did not.

    Women should not be part of the draft. Unfortunatelly, by removing the women in combat restriction they removed the only protection women had from the draft.

  3. I completely agree with you. I was so angry when I heard that they were lifting the restrictions on women in combat (as a woman), largely because we all know that in the name of 'fairness', PT standards will be revised so that 'enough' women can actually pass them. If they had one set of PT standards, and only accepted the less than 1 percent of women who can actually achieve that level, fine, but they won't, because that is not what they have done in any other section of the military. I am just about to 'age out' of the age requirements, so I am not worried for myself, I am worried for my daughter. We are not the ones who are insisting on this unequal 'equality', so why should we have to suffer?

  4. I agree it is a totally insane proposition. Letting women choose to serve in combat is NOT the same as expecting every woman to do so. We are smaller and built for having the children rather than performing physical combat.

    As for demographic suicide, we are already there because of abortion and the pill and since our culture is so enamored of the freedom to kill unborn children, I think it may be a good thing. No group/culture/society that murders children in the womb is worthy to continue to exist.

  5. Well said.

    Did this make anyone else think of the 60's and all that "separate but equal" nonsense? (Maybe its because I just saw The Help.)

    It turns out, all those separate "accommodations" weren't all that equal...You can't just call something the same and magically make it so. (Oh wait, in this country I guess you can- ex: just say the baby isn't a baby when you kill it, and then it won't be a baby...)

    You know what they say, "A cat can have kittens in the oven, but that doesn't make them biscuits."

  6. The US may be lagging in replacing its population, but the world is not, alas, and depletion of resources shows it (and so does global warming). Also, not every woman wants to be a mother.

    I think a draft is very unlikely, and if women want to serve in combat (apparently many already are unofficially), it's their choice. I can't imagine wanting to do that, but some do.-----Lucy

  7. You and I have so much in common... (no neck tattoo, though!) :)

    I am very much not in favor. We are NOT the same, nor does equality make us the same. In the truest sense of the words, separate but equal applies to men and women. I have a strong love of the Armed Services, and at the same time, I know for a fact that there are things women shouldnt be compelled to do, just as there are things men shouldnt be compelled to do. We are DIFFERENT.

    This angers me so much, and at the same time, just fills me with sadness.

  8. Lucy- You might want to check out:

    It's a world wide problem.

    Great damage has been done to our earth in the name of greed. However, having a larger family doesn't necessarily mean using greater resources, just as having a smaller family doesn't mean using less. Many small families over consume. Many large families live sustainably. It's all about choices and lifestyle.

    I'm not arguing against women in the military. I've never said women should be forced to have children (although if you're having sex... the natural result is children, so women shouldn't be surprised if it happens if they are engaging in sexual activity). I'm absolutely against women being forced to serve in the military. Actually I'm not that big of a fan of anyone being forced to serve in the military.

    I'd love to believe that there will never be a situation when anyone will be drafted... but we aren't exactly a peaceable nation in a peaceable world and while right at this moment the draft doesn't look necessary, we never now what the next five minutes are going to bring.

  9. I'm not arguing against women choosing to have children, just that not every woman wants to, and if the army is her thing, then whatever.

    The world population is increasing in real numbers every year. I emphasize WORLD, as opposed to this country. We share the planet.---Lucy (could not use your link--perhaps you could extrapolate?)

  10. I'm okay with women being in the army, I'm not okay with the rest of us being forced to join them, which is what this could very well entail.

    The world population is still expanding, however, statistically speaking it's expected to begin contracting world wide, within the next century. The book basically talks about how the population will remain steady until the baby boomers begin to pass away, and then we're going to see drastic reductions of numbers with each subsequent generation unless something changes drastically. He gives statistics world wide about how demographics have changed and how even women in developing nations are having far few children.

    Most of the articles, which are now popping up all over the mainstream media, indicate that it's a world wide trend, not just a US trend.

    I do think people need to use our natural resources more wisely. I don't think that most shortages, like food shortages, are a result of a lack of resources. When I was studying third world politics in Africa it had far more to do with regional war lords keeping resources from those who needed them, rather than an actual lack of resources.

  11. We also have to remember that much of the world's "expanding" population is due to an increase in life expectancy, not the amount of children being born (and surviving infant mortality rates). As the population grows older and older and lives longer and longer, we're going to need more and more young people to help take care of them.

  12. Sameness of equality aside, if you're going to have a draft at all, it has to be fair and balanced. I'm not saying to draft women into combat roles, but the women's auxiliary did pretty much win the war for us by freeing up " Men [who] generally have a great advantage when it comes to innate abilities that come in handy on the battle field".

    IF you are going to have a national service, it has to be comprehensive.

    Now, personally, I'm against a draft of any kind except in the most dire of emergencies - total war. While I personally have no problem serving in the military (and infrequently consider military life), I freely recognize that men and women both, of all ages, have actual moral objections to warfare of any kind. A national service undercuts that right to self-determination by creating an environment where even conscientious objectors are at least placed in a situation where they're under fire.

  13. Actually Zach, the more I've been thinking about it today (since it's never something I've thought about too much until now) the more I agree with the sentiments you've stated. I don't really think anyone should be forced to fight if they don't want to.

  14. This isn't all that new...there was talk of opening the draft to women during the Bush administration at the start of the Iraq War.

    Needless to say, I'm against ANY form of draft--for men or women.

  15. Those who think women should be included in the draft along with men are ridiculously short-sighted. They aren't thinking of what will make our military stronger, only of tearing down every possible barrier to the notion that men and women are not exactly the same and perfectly interchangeable with each other. While I believe that the military (even combat) should be open to women who wish to serve, I don't believe it's a good idea to draft them. If they were drafted, as someone upthread suggested, they should be used primarily in situations where their natural size and physicality would not matter. But I do believe we need to eliminate the idea of one set of qualifying scores for men and another for women. Either you're strong enough and fast enough or you aren't. Because once you enter the military (though I still don't think drafting women is a good idea, for SO many reasons!), you aren't a woman. You're a soldier. And if you can't keep up with your fellow soldiers, you're going to hinder your unit. Male or female.

  16. Back in the day when the question of o erturning the woman in combat ban i wrote this:
    Two things always strike me when I hear about this.

    1. I remember in college discussing various wars through history and the prof. mentioning that invaders use pregnancy as a weapon or a means of cultural conquest. Soldiers would leave town having impregnated local women. I thought, "Oh, no wonder women stayed home and men went out to met & stop the invaders. I wonder what would happen if we sent women into the enemy's lands and they got captured . . ." If POWs are held for years, and 50% are women . . . how many pregnancies would our female soldiers have to endure?

    2. Draft. Someone mentioned it before and the point was dismissed. But seriously, if we have the need to start up the draft again and men and women are serving equally, my girls will be put on the front lines.

    Combine those two ideas and I can't see how the military can send women to the front lines without some serious birth control. We've all heard the stories of women being sent home or delaying deployment due to pregnancies (and those women volunteered). (Heck, my father missed every one of his children's births because he was on a Navy ship . . . obviously the military could not have asked that sacrifice of my mother). If I were head of the military I'd say, "Hey you can serve, but during war times you need this IUD, Depro-whatever shot, etc." Especially if there was a draft.

    And then where does that leave my daughters/granddaughters and their Catholic faith?

    I often think we make decisions based on best case scenarios--we'll never be invaded. We'll never have drafts again. We'll always be on the winning side. The number of POWs will always be minor. Hand to hand combat is a dying thing of the past. Etc. But what about the worst case scenarios?


    I should add here that I don't believe in forced conscription. My thoughts are more along the lines if we need to conscript.

  18. C.G. If I read the article correctly I think the difference between then and now is that the Supreme Court had ruled that women couldn't be drafted on the grounds that women couldn't serve in combat (it's towards the end of the article on the site that they talk about that). Now that women can serve in combat the grounds the ruling sited for not drafting women has basically been thrown out.

  19. I don't like the idea of the draft for anyone, but I think it is important to remember that there are areas of combat where women ARE better than men. Snipers, for instance. Studies show that women are simply better. Another area is tasks that require smaller movements in order to operate equipment, like in tanks or aircraft. Women are generally better as they are generally smaller. Women in other countries have served in combat successfully throughout history and studies done by the Army has shown that mixed-gender units often performed better than single-gender units and were no less ready when called to duty. Just as in marriage, we can be complimentary. Our bodies can do some things better than men, and in our increasingly mechanized military, what matters is who is better for the job, and it is often proven that a woman. In Panama in 1989, many women were involved in the invasion, some in combat roles and their performance was praised as highly effective.

    When are often better when it comes to the diplomatic needs in combat, as well. Women may not have performed as well physically as men in physical tests when trained as men, but when their unique bodies are taken into perspective and adapted to what women do best, they met the same levels and sometimes excelled over the men.

    So that leaves us with why they shouldn't be drafted, and many of the above arguments are correct. No one should be forced. Women in prime childbearing roles would be on the front lines instead of raising children. Children at home would be left. Birth control would be mandatory and against the religion of many, and if a woman is pregnant, two lives are on the line instead of one. However, with women now being allowed in combat, the pool of candidates is larger, which lessens the need for the draft.


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