October 14, 2008

Should women have to register for the draft? Obama says yes.

Instapundit gives lukewarm agreement -- "we should probably include women, too. Seems only fair" -- and links to this report:
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....

Both Congress and the Supreme Court have exempted women from registration because of the combat rules.
The Supreme Court hasn't exempted women, it has accepted the exemption of women.
"There was a time when African-Americans weren't allowed to serve in combat," Mr. Obama said. "And yet, when they did, not only did they perform brilliantly, but what also happened is they helped to change America, and they helped to underscore that we're equal.

"And I think that if women are registered for service -- not necessarily in combat roles, and I don't agree with the draft -- I think it will help to send a message to my two daughters that they've got obligations to this great country as well as boys do."
There is a difference. The goal with respect to black men is complete equality, but the military isn't going to treat men and women exactly the same.
Elaine Donnelly, a former member of President Bill Clinton's Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, dismissed Mr. Obama's comparison of the roles of women and black soldiers, arguing that males and females, in general, aren't equal on the battlefield.

"There are differences between men and women where physical strength is an issue," said Ms. Donnelly, who heads the nonpartisan Center for Military Readiness. "There are a lot of civilian feminists who are making unreasonable demands on the military."
It was 1980 when Congress decided to exempt women from registration for the military draft. Here's why the Supreme Court, applying heightened scrutiny, approved it (in the above-linked case, Rostker v. Goldberg):
Congress determined that any future draft, which would be facilitated by the registration scheme, would be characterized by a need for combat troops. The Senate Report explained, in a specific finding later adopted by both Houses, that, "[i]f mobilization were to be ordered in a wartime scenario, the primary manpower need would be for combat replacements." S.Rep. No. 96-826, p. 160 (1980); see id. at 158. This conclusion echoed one made a year before by the same Senate Committee, see S.Rep. No. 96 226, pp. 2, 6 (1979). As Senator Jepsen put it, "the shortage would be in the combat arms. That is why you have drafts." Hearings on S. 2294, at 1688. See also id. at 1195 (Sen. Jepsen); 126 Cong.Rec. 8623 (1980) (Rep. Nelson)....

In the words of the Senate Report:
"The principle that women should not intentionally and routinely engage in combat is fundamental, and enjoys wide support among our people. It is universally supported by military leaders who have testified before the Committee. . . . Current law and policy exclude women from being assigned to combat in our military forces, and the Committee reaffirms this policy."
S.Rep. No. 9826, supra, at 157. The Senate Report specifically found that "[w]omen should not be intentionally or routinely placed in combat positions in our military services."...

The reason women are exempt from registration is not because military needs can be met by drafting men. This is not a case of Congress arbitrarily choosing to burden one of two similarly situated groups, such as would be the case with an all-black or all-white, or an all-Catholic or all-Lutheran, or an all-Republican or all-Democratic registration. Men and women, because of the combat restrictions on women, are simply not similarly situated for purposes of a draft or registration for a draft.
It's a different question whether women could be drafted and then not forced into combat duty the way men are. Presumably, the sex discrimination -- intentional, deep-seated discrimination -- would remain. I cannot conceive of forcing women into combat, and I don't think Obama can either. (He said "not necessarily in combat roles.") Can you?

If you aren't ready to treat men and women as equals after they are drafted, what is the reason for treating them the same at the registration point? I have the impression that Obama likes the symbolism of everyone filling out the same paper forms for submission to the government and having everyone on notice that they too could be called upon to leave their comfortable lives and serve.

But if there really were a draft, wouldn't these unwilling women be put to work in the kitchens and secretarial pools? Wouldn't they -- not me, I'm old -- be stuck with traditional women's work?

Oh, but who needs to worry about that? There's isn't going to be a draft. Registering the women, and setting up all these discrimination problems will only create one more barrier to the draft. But if we ever reach the point where we must go with a draft, and women are registered, my bet is that the drafted women will suffer blatant sex discrimination in the military, and the Supreme Court will approve.

74 comments:

Michael E. Lopez said...

Why does no one say the obvious?

We don't draft women because we as a society need them to be back at home having babies.

There. I'm a horrible sexist. I said it.

But you don't eat your seed corn.

Synova said...

Elaine Donnelly really *really* gets my last goat, but Obama is clearly on to something other than what is good for the military in wartime.

And if he's not for the draft (assuming there is a "need" for it) why not oppose the draft? Huh?

I think that the draft is a horrible idea, and frankly, untenable for the future. We don't USE cannon-fodder any more. You can't give a young man an M-4 and six weeks of training and send him out to play target in the jungle or desert or anyplace else. And if the training requirement wasn't an issue, the issue of discipline over a group of people made to go to war against their will is not insignificant.

But Obama *is* into mandatory volunteerism so... he either would have to come out against the military itself, or... come out against the military itself. He can hardly argue that there is a need for *voluntary* volunteers, can he.

Expat(ish) said...

Hmm, where to start.

First, the military doesn't want draftees and I suspect would just as soon that selective service registration thing go away.

Secondly, aside from an absurdly thin wedge of really scary guys carrying too heavy packs (batteries, baby!) most military "stuff" is non-physical, and what physical stuff that remains (ex: Diesel Mechanics) is a small pct of the overall force. And women are very well represented in that non physical arena.

Lessie, we have females flying planes in combat (yum: girls with supersonic bombers!). We have women driving logistics trucks to the front. We have women running communications at not-quite-forward air bases.

Where do we NOT have women? Airborne. Special Forces. Riflemen (natch). Infantry. Wait, we have them in infantry, they just can't deploy into combat. But a lot of them have used their (crappy) rifles in combat in Iraq and they have the medals and wounds to prove it.

And there are probably two major components to avoiding having women holding the pointy end of the stick. One is certainly physical capacity. The other is politics - human/sexual and military/hierarchy.

The first is obvious. Heck the second is too.

But, since under the Wise Administration of The One we will only be deploying Peacekeeping Forces under UN Approval in a world where America Stands Proud Again and the waters have receeded, well, it's kind of moot, no?

-XC

campy said...

We don't draft women because we as a society need them to be back at home having babies.

What if they choose not to?

I know, let's conscript them into that role!

Simon said...

"'Both Congress and the Supreme Court have exempted women from registration because of the combat rules.' The Supreme Court hasn't exempted women, it has accepted the exemption of women."

The media doesn't generally understand the difference. Pull up any non-specialist news report on Ledbetter; the report will claim that the court limited the time in which one may file a Title VII claim, even though the court neither did or could have done any such thing. It accepted the time limit that was already in Title VII.

This distraction from your regularly scheduled programming brought to you by...

birdie bob said...

Obama is nothing but symbolism but some people have already bought it to the level of about 89%.

Ann Althouse said...

Oh, but Michael, in our terrible war that requires the draft, the women can be assigned to positions in the United States or elsewhere far from battle. We can offer them plenty of opportunities for impregnation and provide great pre-natal care. Give pay raises and privileges for childbirth. Make it easy. You don't need them off by themselves in their own homes, far from the best men, only possibly to be impregnated by men the military rejected, and liable to get abortions.

Zach said...

Then, too, the draft is always unpopular when it's operating. As you point out, the issue isn't willing, self-selected women in combat, it's unwilling, unselected women who presumably want to avoid combat.

I suspect this is a case where institutional politics will win the day. The military is strongly against it, and they're the ones who implement the policies. There's not much voter groundswell, and if anything, it might get raised and dropped by an Obama with other priorities.

Salamandyr said...

If not registering women for the draft is unfair, let's do something about it. Let's stop registering men!

rhhardin said...

Obama wants national service. If women are in the draft, then it's easier to divert registration to non-military purposes, where diverting a male-only registration to a non-military purpose would be dodgy.

Simon said...

"But if there really were a draft, wouldn't these unwilling women be put to work in the kitchens and secretarial pools? Wouldn't they -- not me, I'm old -- be stuck with traditional women's work?"

Well, why not you? I mean, if we're going to draft women for non-combat roles, why would there be an age restriction? The age restriction on the draft makes obvious sense when you're talking about drafting people to actually go and fight, but if the concept is to draft into ancillary and support roles, why would an age restriction apply?

rhhardin said...

sex discrimination

I suspect the wish that the world can be rebuilt on what interests women alone, to the exclusion of peculiarly male interests. It can't.

Also vice versa, but men more or less have always thought that.

nansealinks said...

If my sons have to register, I would or should get in line before them and register, too. I'd also help them avoid it if that's what one or two out of three wanted

What's da matter, did Rosie's arms get flabby?

AllenS said...

Besides myself, have any other commenters here been drafted?

You're real funny Althouse.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

But if there really were a draft, wouldn't these unwilling women be put to work in the kitchens and secretarial pools

Not necessarily. Much of modern warfare is computerized and doesn't require brute strength. In fact many of our younger volunteers are particularly pre-qualified for operating the machinery of war because of their hand-eye coordination skills developed through video games. Also much of the valuable support and strategizing for that support for the troops in actual combat situations can be done by women and men who lack the physical skills.

In fact, the combat systems today lend themselves to allowing older women and men and people who are less physically fit to be able to compete in combat.

However, I DON"T think that we need or should institute a national draft in the first place. This smacks of forced labor/socialism....working for the greater good....the State. Just another one of Obama's community reorganizing ideals and anothe push towards "all for the State".

We have an exemplary military right now that is all volunteer. Speaking as a product of the 60's and being very familiar with the state of the military when there is a draft......the quality of the military is severely degraded when you have forced, reluctant, resentful draftees. Enforcing labor will do nothing to strengthen our military. Actually, it will do the opposite.

Original George said...

The Professor asks, "If you aren't ready to treat men and women as equals after they are drafted, what is the reason for treating them the same at the registration point?"

The reason is to get their names, find out where they are, and make it easier to get them.

As for traditional work like kitchen jobs and secretarial work...take a look at this 10 part 2008 PBS documentary "Carrier" about life onboard an aircraft carrier. In Episode 5, Chapter 3, you can see a female officer briefing a group of about 30 male officers about combat in Iraq.

There are also interviews with Annapolis graduate Laurie Coffe with Strike Fighter Squadron 94. She is the pilot of an F-18. There's also another female pilot Alex Dietrich who won an Air Medal during combat deployment. (See Chapter 5 of Episode 2.) "If you can fly well and do your job well, [men] respect you."

The documentary also shows women working in kitchens on the ship, scrubbing decks, picking up garbage, and running copiers, as are a lot of men. Most of the jobs are dirty and decidedly unglamorous. "If I don't do it, who else will do it?" I don't see any "blatant sex discrimination" in the film. There are no small roles, only small actors.

Richard Fagin said...

Even given the Bullwinkle Moose comment that "military intelligence seems like a conflict of terms", I think Prof. Althouse is a bit premature to assume drafted women would suffer blatant sex discrimination and end up in traditionally female jobs.

The military, as expat(ish) described well has plenty of non-traditionally female jobs for current female personnel. You really think the demand for these persons is going to decrease in a war big enough to need a draft?

And if you think President Obama is going to insitute a universal draft for purposes of citizen public service and then dump women in traditionally female jobs, why the heck are you thinking about voting for the "sexist pig", anyway?

I think at this point in the country's history we are probably not going to put female draftees back in the kitchens and secretary pools. Women have proven themselves well in their current jobs to rationally choose otherwise.

Prof. Althouse, they'd need you in JAG at the least, not the secretary pool. Why not be sure UW Law School complies with federal law on military recruiting at law schools before assuming 1940s style sex discrimination is about to return?

Synova said...

Enforcing labor does nothing to strengthen any endeavor.

Which is why we should all oppose mandatory volunteerism whenever we can. It changes the dynamic entirely to force, say, high school students, to complete "volunteer" hours so they can find out how good it feels to help people.

They don't find out how good it feels to help people, most of them, they find out that there is yet one more thing they are forced to do and can't wait to get *un*forced and never do it again.

Ever.

wyatt gwyon said...

The Israelis seem to do well drafting women and men. The women serve less time than the men and aren't eligible to serve in every arm of the IDF, but they are part of the IDF.

Mob said...

I could see a female draft, where they would replace the males in support roles to allow more men on the front lines.

Ann, you might have the seeds of a good idea there. In a doomsday scenario, create a special division of the military to encourage breeding. Sounds like a mildly interesting idea for a sci-fi story there. Might want to trademark that.

Richard Fagin said...

Great mental picture: Colin Powell reinstated as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs reviewing staff officers, coming to a stop in front of recently drafted Major Michelle Obama and asking, "Are you proud of your country NOW, Major?"

Bwahahahaha!

Synova said...

So... lets talk about a war "big enough to need a draft" shall we?

If a president can't make a case well enough to ensure *volunteers* then maybe the president (including Obama) doesn't have the right to take us to war.

If, in Iraq and Afghanistan, during this conflict, there were NO volunteers, not with extra money, not with nothing... then should there have been a draft? And while people in the military ought to serve their reserve requirements and war-time recalls, those fighting now have either re-enlisted or enlisted since we started to fight in Iraq... so yes, we still have volunteers.

There ought to be AT LEAST enough support from the general public to get volunteers.

Particularly in a modern situation where there is no "safe at home".

Dust Bunny Queen said...

In a doomsday scenario, create a special division of the military to encourage breeding. Sounds like a mildly interesting idea for a sci-fi story there. Might want to trademark that

The Handmaid's Tale. Margaret Altman

bleeper said...

Chicks have terrible upper body strength. Nice upper bodies, tho'...

I got drafted.

Obama is an idiot, and will continue to prove that every single day of his administration. He will make Warren G. Harding look accomplished and noncorrupt. All Hail The One - the level of the Sea is Falling already in anticipation of his Coronation.

I have trained my dog to pee on the Obama signs in the neighborhood - hope they come down before that becomes a hate crime. The dog is black, so it should be cool...

chickenlittle said...

Draft equality: not the kind change you hoped for.

chickenlittle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

The Israeli's also are not training a military to go set up camp far from home. It makes absolute sense to train everyone when the "war" is most likely to be fought on your own streets in your own cities.

I'm not certain that the situation applies.

I'm pro-female warriors, pro-female in combat (on principle), and think that the problems envisioned by people like Elaine Donnelly (who makes me nuts) can be dealt with if military commanders are allowed to arrange things to their own satisfaction according to reality rather than hamstrung by rules from Congress (which they've been subverting until they get caught in this war).. AND if we can take a couple steps back on the abandonment of fraternization rules that seems to have seeped in from the sexual revolution.

There are jobs that really ought to be all-male and ought not be made otherwise because someone outside of the military decided that it's important to push for equality for women.

The women in the military (and I'd even say *especially* the women) ought to be there because they *want* to be there.

Mob said...

I should have guessed, Dust Bunny Queen. Nothing new under the sun, and all that.

Bill Harshaw said...

Back when I was drafted, the training was 8 weeks basic, plus 8 weeks advanced infantry for those unlucky enough to be riflemen. And that was a war without "front lines". Humping back packs in the boonies isn't a good use of many women, nor of many men. I know libertarians have problems with the idea of obligations to a larger society, or even to humanity, but I agree with Obama--it's important symbolically.

chickenlittle said...

Wyatt Gwyon wrote:
The Israelis seem to do well drafting women and men. The women serve less time than the men and aren't eligible to serve in every arm of the IDF, but they are part of the IDF.

While an improvement, that still doesn't go far enough. Isn't equality the goal here?

The Drill SGT said...

I have the impression that Obama likes the symbolism of everyone filling out the same paper forms for submission to the government and having everyone on notice that they too could be called upon to leave their comfortable lives and serve.


Or maybe he wants to drive up his turnout with another bogus draft scare story?

It's only the Democrats that speak about drafts.

Synova said...

We can be *symbolic* in a non-coercive way.

Otherwise, what we are *symbolizing* is that people are not and do not need to be personally responsible. If they are supposed to do something, they will be forced to do something.

I'd love to see Obama talk about how we ought to, particularly the upper class, view public service and certainly military service, as something every young gentleman should spend some time doing... to be well rounded... to be entirely educated.

I'd love that.

p.t. fogger said...

I have the impression that Obama likes the symbolism of everyone filling out the same paper forms for submission to the government and having everyone on notice that they too could be called upon to leave their comfortable lives and serve.

I bet he does, especially the "submission to the government" part.

Synova said...

About the Israelis drafting women but they serve shorter terms...

While an improvement, that still doesn't go far enough. Isn't equality the goal here?

I'm assuming that the point being made here is that equality is NOT the goal in Israel.

I assume that the actual goal is to have a generally competent citizenry so that everyone has been trained to have an understanding of military order and can be expected to react in an emergency in an orderly way (trust me... civilians are near pathetic at doing something as simple as going through a line to get on a bus) and know which end of a rifle to put the shiny, pointy, things in, and how not to shoot what you don't intend to shoot.

Not that the military training for women would be substandard... just that the goal isn't *equality*.

The Drill SGT said...

Where do we NOT have women? Airborne. Special Forces. Riflemen (natch). Infantry. Wait, we have them in infantry, they just can't deploy into combat. But a lot of them have used their (crappy) rifles in combat in Iraq and they have the medals and wounds to prove it.

a couple of nits here.

1. There are no women in the Infantry. Period. There are women carrying rifles. The are women MP's that have done good brave service in combat operations but they are NOT Infantry. They operate from their Hummers with very light loads and drive to camp at night for 3 hots and a cot. When they go on patrol, they typically are not looking for a fight, but protecting something. That is a fundemental difference.

2. To your list of Infantry, SF, you should add Armor, Artillery and Combat Engineers. These are the specialities that rely on serious upper body strenght, and high endurance. soldiers fight/live in very close quarters for days 24/7.

3. There are plenty of Airborne qualified women, including a few Airborne JAGS, ask Ruth Ann. There are NOT any airborne female Infantry, Armor, Artillery, or Cbt Engrs.

Synova said...

Hehe... symbolic importance.

Does that mean when the draft is actually enacted that everyone who "symbolically" participated and whine that they didn't *really* agree to fight, that they were mislead and thought that the vote to go to war was just to pressure the UN... I mean, to make everyone feel equal?

chickenlittle said...

Synovia said: If they are supposed to do something, they will be forced to do something.

Obama recently stated that Columbia U ought to accept ROTC.

Columbia should be forced to accept ROTC on campus.

Edmund said...

There was a time when African-Americans weren't allowed to serve in combat .. said Obama.

When?

African-Americans served in the Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War (both sides!), Mexican War, Indian Wars, WW I, WW II, Korea, and every war/armed conflict since. Sure, they weren't officers until the 1940s, but they fought in every war the US has been in since before the founding.

Simon said...

bleeper said...
"All Hail The One - the level of the Sea is Falling already in anticipation of his Coronation."

I hear that they're shipping the Stone of Scone over for the ceremony.

The Drill SGT said...

These discussions always bog down on the fundemental difference between the rights of women to be equal and the needs of the military to be effective.

Remember that the military was the first segment of the country to be truly integrated. Why? Not because the leadership was any less racist than anywhere else, but because the leadership understood that the additional manpower (purposeful word selection) contributed to overall mission success.

When making decisions about assignement of woemn to combat, the basic decision ROI is,

"are there enough women who are capable, and willing to undertake this job, to make it worth the hassle to open the field to women". That is one of the basic reasons that we don't let women in the infantry. There aren't enough who can do it, who want to do it. Until you can bio-reengineer women's upper body's and pysch their heads, the pool of women who can do that work is 1 in 1,000. Given that there are maybe 70,000 women in the active army. how many of the 70 women who are physically able to do the job of an infantryman, want to do it, and how do you make effective use of the 10 that can?

and since there may be only 10, what military effectiveness do you think you gain or lose by assigning those 10.

MarkW said...

I'm for treating men and women equally in this regard, but I'd much prefer to accomplish that by abolishing registration for both sexes.

But I don't think that, for Obama, the motivation has anything to do with either the military or sexual equality but rather in preparing the ground for his universal 'voluntary' national community service plan.

The Drill SGT said...

Sure, they weren't officers until the 1940s, but they fought in every war the US has been in since before the founding.

There were numerous Negro officers in WWI, and even back as far as the civil war, there were colored officers. One reaching the rank of LTC. (civil war)


http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/comment/Scott/ScottTC.htm

Der Hahn said...

There was a time when African-Americans weren't allowed to serve in combat .. said Obama.

Huh? That's as wrong as if Sarah Palin said no women have served in combat.

Has Obama never heard of the Tuskegee Airmen?

Synova said...

Drill SGT, and that's why, although a woman can just as easily as a man turn a key, that missile launch officers are (were?) all male.

They could just as easily have been all female.

But they sort of needed to be *all* something because of the practical considerations of sticking a man and a woman in a hole in the ground for a week or two. And even if the two officers involved could "handle it" the base commander would still end up dealing with their spouses.

Base Commander = conflict adverse.

But really, why borrow avoidable conflict?

As for psych'ing their heads... I don't think that women are *biologically* prone to some mental state that makes them not-warriors, but certainly a mind-set to think of one's self as a warrior is necessary and, true enough, few women have it.

Synova said...

But I don't think that, for Obama, the motivation has anything to do with either the military or sexual equality but rather in preparing the ground for his universal 'voluntary' national community service plan.

I doubt it's overt, but certainly, logically, he can't be against the draft without being against the military (which he also can't do) unless he can explain why compulsory service is bad... which he can't do without undermining his call (quite popular, actually) for mandatory volunteerism.

So he's sort of stuck, isn't he.

bleeper said...

Obama is a fundamentally ignorant man. He may or may not be stupid, but he knows very little.

Mmm, scone...

Freder Frederson said...

There was a time when African-Americans weren't allowed to serve in combat .. said Obama.

And why is this statement incorrect? Just because African American combat units were eventually formed and fought bravely (although I am sure Cedarford will drop by to tell us that they actually performed poorly in combat), doesn't mean that they were initially allowed combat roles or that there wasn't resistance from military leadership in creating black combat units (and they were segregated, and almost invariably led by white officers, until after WWII).

You people are morons.

mrs whatsit said...

"But if there really were a draft, wouldn't these unwilling women be put to work in the kitchens and secretarial pools? Wouldn't they -- not me, I'm old -- be stuck with traditional women's work?"

Like you, I'm too old to draft, but my sons and my daughter are not, and one son is on his way into the military through ROTC. What bothers me about the notion of drafting women who cannot serve in combat roles is not the discriminatory consequences for the women, but for the men. If equal numbers of men and women are drafted, and all of the women must be assigned to safer non-combat roles, then drafted men will necessarily be forced out of those roles and into more-dangerous front-line positions. We're talking about draftees, remember, none of whom, male or female, volunteered to face the risks of combat. That's a very different situation than today's volunteer military, where men and women enter the service knowing about, and freely choosing, the differential in the roles they can occupy.

I rather doubt that in today's technologically-advanced military, the only military roles available to women who can't go into combat would be traditionally female. But by definition, the roles they occupy are SAFER. Making the draft gender-equal when military service itself is not, and won't be in the foreseeable future, gender-equal has far more serious discriminatory consequences for the men whose lives are considered more expendable than it does for women, whom the society still finds ways to protect.

mccullough said...

Who would make a better solider, Palin or Obama?

How about Michelle or Obama?

That's what I think, too. So women should register for the draft.

DaveW said...

Lord.

I so wish my daughter had applied to the Naval Academy. I ached for it. I begged for it. But it was not to be.

As a former Marine NCO it is hard for me to explain how much I wanted to see my daughter in Dress Blues and Butter Bars- and I'm talking about right now, in wartime, with a loaded gun in her hand or better yet the yoke of an F-18.

I'd give anything I have to give for that.

SGT Ted said...

The US Military is the most egalitarian work culture in the nation. The idea that in a draft the wimmins would be discriminated against is rather insultingly ignorant. If anything, women in the Military are deferred to.

People talking about an alleged technology making actual boots on the ground combat easier..well, that may be true for *some* niche combat job in aviation and some mechanized forces, the fact remains that your regular "leg" infantry is a grueling job, regardless of who carries the radio. Add in being Airborne, Ranger and Special Forces and the jobs physical demands are excruciatingly hard. SF/Ranger types are in the World Class Athlete category and they have an operational environment that requires them to stay in the field for sometimes months at a time often with little sleep. Add in the harsh, remote physical environments these type of troops operate in and the idea that combat has gotten "easier" is relative. Sure, it's "easier" but, compared to what?

Edmund said...

freder frederson said, in re my commet challenging Sen. Obama's statmenent that African-Americans were kept out of combat: And why is this statement incorrect?

Because, as I pointed out, African-Americans served in every war (major and minor) I could check. Every one. So, when were they kept out of combat?

Were they subject to bigotry and segregation? Yes. Were they viewed as "inferior"? Yes. But they fought and fought as well as their training, leadership, and innate talents allowed them to. Their history starts with Crispus Attucks and carries forward today.

LarsPorsena said...

My guess is BO is in love with the idea of the subbotnik. This is his idea of national service. If it means
a couple of weeks of ditch digging
for Ivy league students, he could get me on board with it too.

Shanna said...

Obama wants national service. If women are in the draft, then it's easier to divert registration to non-military purposes, where diverting a male-only registration to a non-military purpose would be dodgy.

Yes, this is one of about a hundred things about Obama that makes me nervous. This whole conscripting an army of people to do 'volunteer' work and such. We have a military draft in case we need people to go fight. Let's not open that up.

Good lord, dem's. Why couldn't you guys have picked Hillary?

former law student said...

Of my buddies who served during the Vietnam era -- the last time we had a draft -- only two were in "combat arms," and they were volunteers: one joined the Green Berets, and the other joined the Marine Corps (went down to the recruiting station with his mother when he was 17.)

One was a clerk who commuted to work on an Army base in Mississippi. Another was a computer tech in Athens, Greece. A third was a ANG radio tech who activated himself to serve in England and Germany. A fourth was a journalist on an aircraft carrier off the coast of Vietnam. He had stirring tales of running tapes of such shows as Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In over the ship's closed circuit TV station.

These non-combat slots are likely to be taken by women draftees, while guys like my friends will be carrying M-16's instead of typing reports, waiting for the computer to go down, replacing radios in jets, or producing "Your Admiral Speaks."

Synova said...

The problem with the idea that men who wouldn't be in combat would be forced to combat is that if 100 people are drafted and 50 of them go to combat... those 50 will still go to combat. It doesn't make any difference if the 50 who have support roles are male or female, the 50 guys with guns are still the 50 guys with guns.

The difference is... if half the draftees are female, then only half as many men will be drafted. Which means that the men who aren't support troops won't be on the front lines... they'll be at home.

The biggest practical reason to only draft able-bodied young men (after all... a person in a wheelchair can do *some* job in the military, I'm sure... certainly could have done mine) is that after induction they can be assigned without having to fuss over the assignment. When all draftees are essentially the same, they are interchangeable. It's more efficient that way.

mrs whatsit said...

Good point, Synova, I stand corrected.

Synova said...

I agree about the issue of viewing men as more expendable.

My mom talked about this idea, and the fact that she doesn't love her son less than her daughters.

Now that I have children, teenagers even, I can say the same.

mrs whatsit said...

With a son who'll be in the military shortly, I am certainly feeling exactly like you, Synova, and your mom about the expendability of young men!

At the same time, though I celebrate the bravery and toughness of the young women in today's military, I can't help sharing the general societal gut-level unreadiness to send them into direct combat. As a society, we are just not ready to resolve the tension between our ideals of gender equality and the realities of war. I don't think we ought to force the issue by imposing an illusory gender neutrality on a situation that isn't really gender-neutral at all. The best answer, if at all possible, would be to avoid ever having to re-instate the draft.

Smilin' Jack said...

We don't draft women because we as a society need them to be back at home having babies.

Babies tend to be even less effective than women in combat situations. And judging by the traffic jams around here, the country is not exactly underpopulated. Should we ever need a boost in manpower, that's what immigration is for. There are already many foreign nationals in our military.

But if we ever reach the point where we must go with a draft, and women are registered, my bet is that the drafted women will suffer blatant sex discrimination in the military, and the Supreme Court will approve.

Yes, if we are ever in the midst of such an all-out war that conscription is required, I'm sure most people's main concern will be "blatant sex discrimination in the military."

Synova said...

The best answer, if at all possible, would be to avoid ever having to re-instate the draft.

I can't see the need. Not realistically. If we're attacked by aliens I'm sure there will be plenty of volunteers. ;-)

As it is, we have *enough* volunteers.

The people that either want to institute a draft or expand registration are usually anti-war politicians. They aren't suggesting this because they think we need a draft or ought to have one. They're suggesting this as a matter of "fairness" or in an attempt to mobilize anti-war forces domestically.

This isn't and never was about encouraging an ethos of service among the privileged classes, it's been about mobilizing the privileged classes to be anti-war.

I'd love to see an ethos of service promoted among the top 5th demographic... where every young man (and any young woman who felt the pull) would view a stint in the military as a necessary part of their educations... like the Grand Tour.

That doesn't take a draft. That takes Ivy League weenies getting up in public and portraying military service as a valuable element for a well rounded gentleman.

(The bottom 5th demographic gives as few bodies to military service as the top.)

Synova said...

Obama should support JrROTC in San Francisco.

If he wants to do something that helps.

But he'd get reamed a new one by Code Pink.

This is not about supporting military service as worthy for *anyone*, and certainly not about supporting it as a worthy occupation for women.

Freeman Hunt said...

Since a draft is nothing but pure tyranny, I see no reason to subject a currently exempt half of the population to it. Rather men should stop having to register, and we can be done with the whole thing.

Cedarford said...

Althouse - If you aren't ready to treat men and women as equals after they are drafted, what is the reason for treating them the same at the registration point? I have the impression that Obama likes the symbolism of everyone filling out the same paper forms for submission to the government and having everyone on notice that they too could be called upon to leave their comfortable lives and serve.

There is no such thing as "equals" in the military. A Draft would bring in the dregs, but also a significant number of high-performing segment of the population that avoids the military because they have "other options".

Any military bins and sorts its people stock. Some are fit for high performing positions and MOS's, others are not and get assigned to grunt work. A Draft would have the military doing business as usual - except there would be more people on the low end and on the high end to "find useful work for."

Althouse - But if there really were a draft, wouldn't these unwilling women be put to work in the kitchens and secretarial pools? Wouldn't they -- not me, I'm old -- be stuck with traditional women's work?

Nope. You really need to visit a military base sometime in your life. Lots of women doing useful jobs, as well as men that aren't physiologically or mental well-suited for front-line jobs. "The Tip of the Spear" - us folks, or in my case former folk in frontline combat slots range from 10% in the AF, around 20% in the Army, now up to 35% in the Navy since all ship crews are now considered "front-line". And the Marines, always different "Every Marine is a rifleman 1st" - 80% can do frontline combat if called on.

Point being there are plenty of useful duties women can do other than bayoneting terrorists....Same as it was when blacks were drafted when they were not eligible for front line combat MOSs, in general..

=================
Wyatt Gwyon wrote:
The Israelis seem to do well drafting women and men. The women serve less time than the men and aren't eligible to serve in every arm of the IDF, but they are part of the IDF.


And the Palestinians like that, because the Israeli drive for socialist equality means that between university, "exciting careers" with no time for kids, and being drafted in the IDF - Israelis have far less babies than the Pals do - and they are winning the ME Demogrphic race.

The Soviets came to believe their drafting women for front line duty in WWII was a grave mistake. They suffered additional population collapse on top of their WWII casualties because they lost lost of their most fit young women of breeding age, and the ones they didn't lose lost a good chunk of their fertility time. The practice of forcing abortions on female combat, combat support elements to maintain the fitness for duty absolutely necessary strength levels didn't help matters.

==================
Freder - In WWII and notably in Korea, there were big problems with discipline collapsing in all-black regiments. That was part of the reason Truman integrated - knowledge that blacks could do military service adequately to many being true standouts - but performing best when not in "all black outfits".
====================
Expat(ish) said...
Hmm, where to start.

First, the military doesn't want draftees and I suspect would just as soon that selective service registration thing go away.


The Draft is always held in contingency for a National Emergency - a War or Domestic Insurrection where the numbers of volunteers is inadequate. (Remember even in WWII, when we were attacked and had clear enemies, the number of volunteers was inadequate. 9 million of the 16 million who served in that conflict had to be Drafted.)

Many in the military don't want Draftees - fearing they would get unmotivated dregs of society. But their song would change in a heartbeat if they had to commit nearly their full strength as the "professional" military of 1940 found itself doing in 1941 and screaming for more troops.

The other part of the Draft is that national service should be a shared thing - not confined to those with the brains and fitness to be there but lacking other options. We do not want the military to be a closed society - and huge segments of the rest of America never knowing a military person or their family because they are in a different social strata or live in States with no major military presence within 100 miles of them..
And we don't want a society that demands full opportunity for women, then says "well, except we must exempt women from any obligated service to the nation in a National Emergency" - since women, unlike men may make duty elective on gender - and only chooooooose to serve if they deign to.

(That undermines the whole argument for full opportunity if it is not commensurate with full responsibility...Obama GETS that. And I think his position that equal opportunity must also come with equal duty to serve if the Nation requires it is a modern, proper one...And McCain, the Hard Left, and the Right Wing Fertility Cultists and "protectors of women" are behind the times.)

Synova said...

(Remember even in WWII, when we were attacked and had clear enemies, the number of volunteers was inadequate. 9 million of the 16 million who served in that conflict had to be Drafted.)

Oh, bull.

Clear enemies? Sure, and black-outs and citizen watches to enforce the black-outs and no nylons and *millions* of young men marched into meat grinders.

If you need someone to march into a meat grinder you need a replacement to go with him.

The *problem*, if you insist on calling it a *problem*, is that we don't believe in meat grinders anymore. We don't think it's noble to fight for some island and lose thousands upon thousands of young men in a single day, anymore. Why? Because it's entirely unnecessary!

It may have been, back in 1940, but it is not necessary *now* to set nearly untrained young men onto beaches to get mowed down, or drowned on the way to get there to get mowed down.

And while it would be *nice* if more people had the experience of military service, and I *do* recommend it, there is simply not room to have that happen. If we doubled the size of the military it would hardly put a dent in the disconnect between civilian and military experience.

We could go back to fighting the old fashioned way, if that would make you happy.

Port Tack Start said...

It seems funny to me, seeing many here claim to know the military psyche or know what the military finds important or unimportant when they have not actually served. I mean no disrespect and the following is just some thoughts that come to mind after going through the discussion.

As an insider looking out, as it were, the "expendability of young men" mentality simply boggles my mind. Every one of my sailors serves an important purpose and the loss of even one of them is an astounding loss to this country.

"We don't think it's noble to fight for some island and lose thousands upon thousands of young men in a single day, anymore. Why? Because it's entirely unnecessary!" That statement is true simply because the enemy we currently face (terrorist groups known in the lingo as 'asymmetric threats') don't have the ability to really force us into a situation like that. However, if forced into a war with China or any other similarly large or advanced adversary you would again see battles with more than one or two casualties on our side. And though a war with China is not imminent, it is not beyond the realm of reasonable possibility within the next generation or so.

As for the current topic...the selective service, in my opinion, is really just a stopgap measure to prevent a large gap in force requirements and force availability. Currently, for one reason or another, this dictates that only men are able to fill every tip-of-the-spear slot. If that changes in the future, then the registration requirements should change.

mrs whatsit said...

port tack start, thanks for the insider's view. I would just like to clarify that my own use of the "expendability of young men" phrase was not a claim that the military doesn't care if it loses young men. Of course it does. I would never malign either the military as a whole or any individual officer like yourself by suggesting otherwise. I was not suggesting that anybody literally sees young men as expendable. Instead, I was making the point that our society as a whole -- not just the military -- seems to see young men as MORE expendable than young women, if we've got to lose somebody -- as demonstrated by our insistence on keeping women out of direct-combat positions. No insult to you or to anyone like you was intended, and I'm sorry that my comments came across differently.

knowitall said...

The socialists are at it again. The liberal illuminati politicians speak about equality in the war. Freethinking is not going to win a war.

J said...

Under a obama presidency women may be forced to register for the draft, it comes down to the issue of enough people to meet the needs of the nation,

israel is short of manpower and now require women to serve in the military, currently american women are not required to register but are on the front lines in support units remember jessica lynch,

sen. obama has said that he wants to end the war in iraq if conditions on the ground improve but he has also said that he wants to send those troops to afganastain, currently our troop levels are low with reserve units being sent to iraq and Afghanistan in record numbers

if the draft is reinstated men will go to court and demand women be included, sorry ladies but a lot of men will say better you then me, how the courts rule will not be known until it happens but don't forget women are currently on the front lines and demanding to be treated equally.

D said...

The military must not have the power to set aside the Constitution, including the 14th amendment. Females should be required to register with Selective Service and be subject to a draft, along with compulsory combat service.

In fact, I would apply affirmative action whereby females would be drafted exclusively until such time as an equal number of females have been drafted and sent into combat as have men in the history of the United States. That would mean a lot of females dead on battlefields, but such is the price of equality.

I do get a kick out of the line that feminists are somehow causing the military problems over this issue. I have never heard a feminist demand that females be subject to selective service registration or a draft. Most feminists I have encountered seem to think the status quo is perfectly fine.

elizabethanne007 said...

i am a young women in college and i believe women should indeed be included in the draft. equality involves taking the bad with the good. if we truly want to be equal with men, we have to accept the possibility of getting drafted into the military in a time that our country would need us.

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P! said...

Both completely missed a key point. We can't draft women until we solve and prevent the threat they face by their fellow soldiers.

"A female soldier in Iraq is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire."

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1968110,00.html#ixzz1RS9uWbr6

BryanKDonnelly said...

What a surprise! Leftists want to draft women as well as men. They are after all avowed enemies of individual liberty seeking to turn all of us into serfs. There is absolutely NO excuse for military concription except in time of genuine congressionally declared WAR, none whatever! Moreover our volunteer professional military is dong a GREAT JOB. Most generals and admirals want no sullen unmotivated conscripts.

But liberals have a much larger agenda. They really want to enslave ALL young people via "national service.;" an ill defined program designed to force the young, against thier will, to do "good things" as defined by liberals for "society." Rahm Emmanuel, former chief to staff to comrade Obama was a huge exponent of this and it is still part of the red White House's hidden agenda.

Makes sense from a leftist point of view. You can't tax youth into oblivion, they don't make much, so make 'em slaves to "society" instead performing "socially usefull" tasks. Moreover, The current corrupt Chicago mayor thought such a period of involuntary servitude would better attune the young to accept the enslavement of socialism.

One only wishes that our Commisars in Washington had campaigned on this issue. Maybe then the idiot twenty and thirty somethings would not have voted for red Obama.