Young women between the ages of 18 and 25 might soon be required to register for the draft thanks to a bill that has already passed the Senate.
That’s right. One day you might be called upon to trade your 187 Duo Fibre MAC brush for a standard issue M16A4 assault rifle. You’re still going to look cute, though.
Anyway, here is the official tea brewed by the folks over at Military.com:
A provision that would require women to register for the military draft alongside men for the first time in American history was included as part of the massive 2017 National Defense Authorization Act that passed the Senate handily on Tuesday with an 85-13 vote.
The language requiring the draft for women was added in committee and received little debate on the Senate floor, but has created a firestorm of controversy on and off Capitol Hill. It comes as the military services welcome women into previously closed ground combat units in keeping with a mandate from Defense Secretary Ash Carter given late last year.
On Feb. 2, a panel of top military leaders including Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller, and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus all told the Senate Armed Services Committee they supported drafting men and women in light of the changes to combat assignments.
“It is my personal view that based on this lifting of restriction for assigning [job specialties], that every American that is physically qualified should register for the draft,” Neller said at the time.
Of course, there is a debate taking place over the measure and, of course, it is about nothing. Or should I say sexism. You know, from folks like Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee of Utah who slyly believe that warmongering is work only suitable for men. So yeah, let’s not give that argument too much time. I mean, have you met Sharkiesha? I don’t think there is a terrorist from North Carolina to Orlando that would stand a chance in hand-to-hand combat with her.
Bad joke aside, there is no legitimate reason to believe that women are incapable, or should not serve their country in times of war right alongside the menfolk. Okay, there is one reason, and it’s because service should be voluntary. Don’t get me wrong, I tend to side with the lean-in feminists who believe a woman should be able to do what she wants to do. And knowing some military folks personally, I do believe that such a job can be a respectable career choice. However, as an anti-oppression feminist, I also wonder if making more bodies available for wars that more often than not we have no business being in is the direction we should be trying to go as a country.
I mean really, why do we care about the draft now? And why not get rid of Selective Service altogether?
Perhaps this push to expand the draft is all to show a more progressive and inclusive side to our armed forces. Or perhaps it has something to do with some branches of the military having dwindling enrollment numbers. Either way, how I feel about the expansion of the draft is exactly how I felt back in 2010 when Congress decided to lift “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which basically barred LGBT individuals from being “out” while in service.
Back then, I wrote a piece about why I wasn’t too excited about the move. In particular, I noted the following:
My personal opinion, at best, is complicated; however, folks should not confuse my neutrality as siding with the bigots, who only oppose abolishing “don’t ask, don’t tell” because they find something wrong with homosexuals. I believe that all people are equal, regardless of their sexual orientation, and it was vastly unfair to ask a person to fight for alleged democracy and freedom elsewhere, while denying them their rights in their own country.
However, as someone who is anti-war and anti-expansion of the Department of Defense’s budget in a time where we’re still struggling in the aftermath of a severe economic recession, I do have to wonder if those who fight for equality have been used to pacify the anti-war movement?
Or some other agenda.
As recently noted by Mother Jones writer Max J. Rosenthal in the article, “Draft Registration Has Hurt American Men for Decades. Now It May Hurt Women, Too”:
Karen McCarthy, a senior policy analyst at the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, calls linking federal loans to the draft a “whim of Congress to incorporate some kind of social agenda into the financial-aid eligibility process.” The federal student aid application, she points out, asks applicants only two specific questions about potential crimes: Did you register for Selective Service, and have you ever had a drug conviction? “We would love to see the Selective Service question removed entirely” from financial aid applications, she says.
But now the pool of registrants may be about to double. The Pentagon opened all of the military’s combat jobs to women in January, and Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter called on Congress to reexamine draft laws. House and Senate lawmakers have done so—and they have apparently decided it’s time for women to sign up for the draft as well. (Romo estimates that expanding his agency to register women will cost another $8 million a year and require 36 more employees.) First two Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee, both opposed to women in combat, pushed an amendment to the 2017 defense spending bill that required women to register, intending it as a “gotcha amendment” to prove that Democrats weren’t serious about allowing women to take combat jobs. The effort backfired when the measure passed their committee. And while the full House removed that language from its defense bill, the Senate this week passed its own version that requires women to start registering with Selective Service beginning in 2018.
Well, at least there will be 36 more jobs created. Now let’s see how many of them go to women — and at the full dollar.
Anyway, before people start talking about how I’m only opposing this because I’m a woman and scared of the draft, you should know that I am over the age for registration. Therefore, none of this really effects me at all. I truly do it for the children.
Charing Ball is a writer, cultural critic, free-thinker, slick-mouth feminist and bonafide troublemaker from Philadelphia. To learn more, visit NineteenSeventy-Seven.com.