Co-ed Selective Service Proposal in US Stirs Controversy


One of the presidential candidates is reported to have categorized the idea of registering women for the draft as “nuts.” I agree. If the reason for registering women is based in a notion of gender equity, the simpler thing to do would be to discontinue the registration of males. If at some now unforeseeable point in time a military conscription were to appear necessary, there would be ample time to re-establish an appropriate census.

In any case, combat is an athletic enterprise. If we were to draft women at an equal rate as men, but maintain our physical standards, our combat units would still fill with men. The forces of math and equity would then demand we fill our support units with women. We would end up with an army even more gender-segregated than what we have now. On the other hand, if we are not going to go full-feminist and draft in equal numbers boys and girls, what’s the point of a registration?

Or maybe the ultimate goal is to force women into combat? On that score, we pay too much to the notion of ‘being in harm’s way’, that is, to the notion of bravery in the face of physical risk as the core challenge of service. The license we hold is not a license to risk our lives, it is a license to risk others’ lives. The essential hazard is the moral one, not the physical one. The military is for killing, not risking getting killed. As a society, as a whole, as a general proposition, we should not want our women endangered. But it is the more serious proposition that we should want the female to be equalized as killer. There is considerable space for exceptions in the human experience, but it would indeed be “nuts” to implement a national system that generalizes the idea that young American girls are equally as the boys expected to be killers. I see nothing wrong with unequally honoring women as nuturers. Mao says women hold up half the sky. Our nation should encourage them as they hold up the brighter half. (This opinion is personal and does not reflect US Government policy in any way of which I am aware.)