Bet you thought that it’s just an academic question because there’s no draft and women don’t have to register for the Selective Service when they’re 18 like men do.
You got another think coming, because a bi-partisan, government commission has just issued a report that recommends not only that women must register for the draft, but that in times of a “national emergency” women, just like men, would be drafted into the military. And serve in combat if they meet certain requirements.
This once was a topic of heated debate, and the report, Inspired to Serve: The Final Report of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service, issued last month, got not much attention, elbowed out of the way of the public consciousness, as it were, by the pounding and unceasing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the title suggests, the report is a thorough examination of civic involvement and how to encourage it, seeing as how it isn’t high on the agenda of many of the younger generation. As the report says:
Taken together, our recommendations offer a revolutionary and inclusive approach to service for Americans, beginning with comprehensive civic education and service learning starting in kindergarten, service-year opportunities so ubiquitous that service becomes a rite of passage for millions of young adults, and new and revitalized service options for adults of any age, background, or experience. We envision a common expectation of service among the American people, so that no one is surprised by the questions “How have you served?” or “How will you serve?”The Commission reaffirms the continued need for a draft contingency mechanism to meet the mobilization needs of DoD during a national emergency. [Emphasis added.]
That alone should provoke a hearty debate, but when it comes to the part about women and the military, it states:
Extend Selective Service registration to women. The Commission concluded that the time is right to extend Selective Service System registration to include men and women, between the ages of 18 and 26. This is a necessary and fair step, making it possible to draw on the talent of a unified Nation in a time of national emergency.
It further explains:
The Commission also proposes extending the obligation of registering for the Selective Service to all Americans, men and women, and reconceiving registration as a solemn occasion that requires reflection on the obligation to serve one’s country if called to do so in a time of national emergency. Reaffirming this common obligation will provide a mechanism to call on the depth of America’s talent in times of crisis.
Seriously? It the words of Joe Biden, “This is a big [effing] deal.” It flies in the face of the cultural shifts that started in the 1970s with the Boomer generation’s disgust of the military and its passionate opposition to the draft. That view became embedded in our culture with the abolition of the draft in 1973.
But draft registration is still on the books–for men. Which once again raises the troubling question for feminists who believe “there is no difference between men and women.” If so, then women certainly certainly should register, be drafted and serve on the front lines–a position I don’t think Americans are ready to accept.
Let the debate begin.