Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Salvo 25 and the Problem of Solider Women

My contribution to Salvo 25 was an article titled, 'Mixed Companies: Women in Combat, Feminism and Misogyny.'

Reflecting on the Pentagon's announcement last January that it would be rescinding its longstanding policy preventing women from serving in direct ground combat positions, I point out that we haven't adequately thought through the full implications of this policy change.

The main problem I draw attention to (which surprisingly, was completely overlooked in all the public discussion of the policy change) is the implications this could have if there were another draft. In other words, given the egalitarian logic behind the recent decision to officially move females into ground-combat positions, how could the government legitimately defend a military draft that exempted half its citizens (that is, all American females) from  compulsory military service (including service to combat roles) in the event of another draft?

The question seems bizarrely hypothetical since the US military discontinued the draft in 1973, moving to an all-volunteer military force. Nevertheless, a law signed by President Carter requires every man to register with the Selective Service System when he turns eighteen. This enables the government to know who will be available should a draft ever be needed. If the United States were to find it necessary to call a draft in the future (and given our escalating involvement in the Middle East, that is not as unlikely a contingency as it might seem), it would likely differ from all previous drafts in that the military might not merely be seeking man-power, but also woman-power. 

In fact Tommy Sears, executive director at the Center for Military Readiness, told Fox News that the changes announced last January could obligate the U.S. government to draft females into combat roles, should the draft ever be reactivated. "Once you allow women into combat, you are then essentially ordering all women to fight," he said. 

Now perhaps the United States will never need to call another draft, and this will be a moot point. But if (God forbid) the country ever does find itself in the position of needing to conscript citizens into military service, the philosophical and political framework for drafting girls as young as 18 into combat roles will already be in place. 

But is this really a legitimate concern? And what might be the implications, both at home and on the battle field, of drafted females serving our country? These are some of the many questions that my article seeks to address. To read my article, click on the following link:



In 1973 the United States discontinued the draft, moving to an all-volunteer military force. Nevertheless, a law signed by President Carter requires every man to register with the Selective Service System when he turns eighteen. This enables the government to know who will be available should a draft ever be needed. If the United States were to find it necessary to call a draft in the future, it would likely differ from all previous drafts in that the military might not merely be seeking man-power, but also woman-power. - See more at: http://salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo25/mixed-company.php#sthash.RZt5USJJ.dpuf
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