What’s good for the goose…

combat24n-1-webI write this as an Army veteran and the mother of two children who have enlisted to serve their country.

There’s been a bit of a debate lately about whether or not women should register for the draft. After all, if the military is going to open combat arms to females, it is only fair that they get the pleasure of registering for the Selective Service as individuals capable of being drafted in times of war.

I’ve always been of the opinion that as long as women can carry the load – without lowering standards – and can perform the same tasks as their male counterparts without help, more power to them. There are precious few women who can or are willing to do that. It’s not because they can’t. I think with proper and continued training, women can perform the same duties as men, but it requires a lot more work and  determination. Sorry, ladies, but we are physically weaker than men. We do require a lot more physical training to match male stamina and physical abilities. If you can and are willing to go the extra mile, go for it! But don’t expect anyone to lower standards so you can feel good about yourself.

That’s the first hurdle.

Precious few women will meet or exceed those standards, but when they do, they become an invaluable part of the fighting force, and if war breaks out, we will need every capable Soldier to do the job of defending our nation.

Every. Last. One.

At least one Presidential candidate has an issue with this. My husband wrote a very compelling essay the other day about why the liberty movement should choose Ted Cruz, since Rand Paul has decided to end his campaign. But on the issue of women and the draft, Cruz is wrong. Dead wrong.

“It was striking that three different people on that stage came out in support of drafting women into combat in the military,” Cruz said of his primary rivals at Saturday night’s GOP debate.

“I have to admit, as I was sitting there listening to that conversation, my reaction was: Are you guys nuts?” he added during a speech in New Hampshire.

Pinning blame for the idea on political correctness, Cruz said forcing women into close combat “is wrong, is immoral and, if I’m president, we ain’t doing it.”

Couple of things here.

If women are to do the same jobs as men, and do them at the same skill level, and are serving in combat units, doing those jobs, equality demands that they register for the draft just as men do!

Also, no one is forcing women into combat. By training and meeting the same standards as men, and volunteering to serve in the same units, women are volunteering for combat, as mission needs dictate. It’s about equality. If qualified, healthy men can be forced to serve in a time of war, so should qualified, healthy women.

But Cruz is also missing a fundamental principle I think is critical to a defender of liberty. We shouldn’t be forcing anyone – male or female – into military service! The draft is an obsolete, unneeded tool that forces those who are unwilling – for whatever reason – serve during war.

First – I wouldn’t want some doofus who was forced into the military, doesn’t want to be there, and whose head and heart aren’t fully in the mission, in a foxhole with me. I wouldn’t trust them to have my six, and I wouldn’t want to use my strength and honor to defend them, if they’re half-assing the mission.

Second – we have sufficient numbers of brave, intelligent, and dedicated individuals who voluntarily serve, and consider defending this nation an honor. Hell, the Army is cutting down its ranks! We certainly don’t need to pull from the ranks of the unwilling! I just don’t think the draft would be needed.

And third, I find the whole idea of forcing individuals into any kind of service unpalatable and hardly cost effective. Why conscript someone into service on whom you will be spending tens of thousands of dollars in food, clothing, housing, equipment, training, benefits, and salary, who doesn’t even want to be there? Frankly, I think that money is much better spent on individuals who volunteer.

That said, it’s not political correctness to have equal standards for males and females. It’s called equality. Military service is not a game, and it’s not an experiment. You want to play with the big dogs? You’d better be willing to do everything they are.

26 responses

  1. The first time the modern Selective Service (draft) was used in this country was in 1940, just ahead of the US entry into World War II. Only men were drafted, but there were plenty of women who volunteered for the Army, Marines and the Navy. This lasted until 1973, when the military became a volunteer force.

    In the 1960s, when I was a WAVE, I used to think it was unfair that so few positions were open to women, because those that were not, were all combat-related. But I was not as informed then as I am now. I am very aware of the Red Army women who were WWII snipers and the current roles of peshmerga women, but frankly, they were not drafted. They were volunteers, strongly motivated and driven to fill their roles. I am also aware of the sense of disruption that exists in men who have been in the Middle East, that some of the women were not deploying with them for anything other than self-interest, and that there were those who trained with units and used pregnancy as a means of getting out of deployment when they were called.

    Unless there is a real need in the future for a draft, I do not think it’s wise to force it on people. At the same time, if current generations of women really do want true equality, but aren’t willing to serve their country at all, then I see no reason to exclude them from registering for Selective Service. If the Israeli military can require service of all its citizens, including women, why shouldn’t we expect ours to do the same thing?

    This nonsense about putting women into combat-related positions is driven by people (females) who see that as a fast track to promotion. Baloney. It’s a fast track to death. Even I know that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And BTW, the IDF has an all female combat unit.🙂

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    2. I forgot about the IDF women. My bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that a presidential candidate should simply say: “Cancel the draft”

    The draft is good for producing cannon fodder. We know from all the wars this century that a well trained group of professional soldiers can kill hundreds of ill-trained opponents (whether they are Iraqi conscripts, Taliban volunteers or some other group of rabble) with minimal loss of life. In fact there’s contrary evidence in that it looks like the Israeli military, which relies on a draft and reserves, is a lot less capable compared to the UK and US ones that don’t against similar levels of enemy threat.

    However IF we can’t get rid of the draft for some screwed up reason then yes, it should be mandatory for everyone – male, female and genderfluid – at this time.

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    1. We don’t have a draft. We have a requirement that all makes over the age of 18 register for the selective service. That makes them eligible to be drafted of need be. I don’t see that need coming about again.

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  3. I agree with Nikki, with a caveat. If we are ever in another world war, the likes of world war II, which requires the entire effort of our nation to be involved in the defeat of our enemies, I think that even with the way wars are fought today, we will need a draft. And if we do have a draft, we probably will be forced to draft women. I hate the idea of it. I have daughters. I am a middle aged man, and I have sons, one of whom is already in the military. I would send my other son, and I would go myself, gladly. But I would hate to see my daughters go into the military by way of the draft. Call me out of touch with the modern world, or old fashioned. I understand the tremendous contributions that women have made to our efforts in the mountains of Afghanistan and in the sandbox of Iraq and other parts of the world. Often they have fought and died alongside of their male counterparts, even though there is a no combat directive for females policy in place. The bravery and discipline of women is without question. It is just a matter of chauvinism for me, I guess, but I am sorry, I am who I am. I was taught to honor women and to place them in a position of being special and protected. It is hard to just let that go because society now says that things are different.
    I suspect that I am not alone in my beliefs. I don’t hold these beliefs with malice, or to keep women in chains of bondage. And I do believe that women should be allowed to serve in any role in the military that they desire, as long as they can meet the standards. I just think that only men should be drafted.
    I am trying to evolve my position on this, I really am. But it is difficult, coming from the time I did, and with the upbringing I had.
    However, I think that by having a strong military with a strong commander in chief with a smart, well defined foreign policy, we can avoid many of the wars that have taken place in the past decade or so. Our diplomatic strategy from the White House for 7 years has been that we have no real strategy. The result has been chaos and a perceived loss of strength of our nation. The next president has a lot of work to do. We all need to search our hearts as to how we are going to vote, or not vote, come November.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Change “middle aged man” to “older woman” and I could’ve written this. I have never liked the idea of women in combat arms. Period. My veteran husband and I argue about this once in a while. He has no issue with women in the ranks. I just cannot stomach it. In the world I was brought up in, men protected women. Now a woman has a duty to be able to protect herself as well. That I don’t argue against. But to be put on the front lines of a war? No way.

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    2. @ wanderingmuse:

      “Now a woman has a duty to be able to protect herself as well.”

      Actually, that has ALWAYS been true, throughout history, even if not acknowledged, or societally frowned on.

      It’s no more escapable than the laws of thermodynamics.

      And denying it is always far more dangerous to society than any other option.

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  4. I am going to stand up and say something unpopular. Take notes, you get your chance to return fire at the end.

    In the Civil War both the North and the South had a draft. During the later part of WW1, there was a draft. During WW2, Korea, and Vietnam, there was a draft. Will there never be another war that requires the a draft? I cannot say. If men have to register for Selective Service then women should too. Why?

    During the Civil War, it was normal for a drafted rich kid to pay someone to take his place – this was legal and not unusual. During Vietnam, there were a lot of noisy people opposed to the war and to the draft. Some of them figured out how to stay in college and avoid the draft, others dodged the draft and went to Canada or Europe. One of Jimmy Carter’s first presidential acts was to pardon the Vietnam draft dodgers. During every war, there have been people who worked hard to avoid serving.

    The draft insures that the burden of war does not fall exclusively on the “non-rich”.

    I was drafted in 1969, there was still large contingents of US combat arms units in Vietnam and Laos. After receiving my draft notice I enlisted in order to have choices. After two years, I re-enlisted. I served a total of 6 years and departed with an honorable discharge. Nicki, I served with some draftees and some of what you say about them is true. But most of them stood up, became a useful part of their unit, and served well. I would not want to be a drill sergeant for a unit of draftees. Sorting the wheat from the chaff would be unpleasant. But if we need to bodies, in my opinion there is no substitute for a draft.

    Suppose that we end Selective Service and we need to reinstate the draft. Where will those names come from? We know from our own history and the history of most other countries, people will evade the draft – “it is not my war” and “you will do fine without me” and so forth. Without a current list, who gets drafted? Who goes and who stays and what happens to them?

    I too have daughters. My oldest son recently completed 8 years active duty in combat arms with 2 years service in Iraq and 1 year in Afghanistan. It was a long 8 years. But I was proud every day that he did his part. I cannot despise those who stayed here, took the entry-level jobs that were available, and advanced in their careers but it seems unfair that those who served all of us have to start at the beginning when their delay entering the workforce was caused by serving their country.

    Selective service is a terrible system designed to bring some fairness to the sacrifices made in wars. Like many other really bad systems, its only saving grace is that it is better than all the others.

    Your target is clear and stationary. Take aim and return fire.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Suppose that we end Selective Service and we need to reinstate the draft. Where will those names come from?”

      Tax/employment records, driver’s license/vehicle registration records, school records, immigration records, criminal records, voter registration records. The means exist, it would simply be an added level of complication.

      Though I also suspect that would result in another step towards fascism, not to be taken lightly.

      Selective Service, or denial of all Federal benefits. ALL of them. If you want to benefit from the system, you must be willing to sacrifice everything to the system. (And yes, I realize the inherent IRONY of that, r.e. ‘fascism’. The world is complex….)

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      1. “Tax/employment records, driver’s license/vehicle registration records, school records, immigration records, criminal records, voter registration records. The means exist, it would simply be an added level of complication.”

        How many military-aged people are registered to vote? Do you want criminals? Do you want immigrants? People in schools are likely exempt. Vehicle registration and driver’s licenses … maybe but they are State records, not federal. Imagine trying to convince liberal and anti-war Massachusetts and California to participate in this. Tax and employment … maybe, they are federal, that might work. I can imagine lawsuits trying to stop the Federal Government from using those records for that purpose. During every US war, there have been many who opposed it.

        My point was that Selective Service is useful for this one unlikely eventuality and other means of identifying candidates are less useful. I still feel pretty secure in that.

        Every week I work with people in Israel. Every Israeli I talk to has served in the Israeli Defense Force. I also talk to people in the US. Lots of my friends are US veterans but we form a very small minority in the US population, most US citizens are not veterans and do not know much about the military. There is a bond among Israelis – more than the IDF but it plays a part. I admire and respect that bond, I think that it makes Israel a strong and secure place, and I think that the US would be a better place if we had a bond like that. Maybe universal service wouldn’t work here but I think it is a good goal and that it would be good for the country. Selective Service is a place to start.

        YMMV.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Some places don’t have voter registration, ND doesn’t. Though I suppose you could use voter participation records as a alternate, but once again those are state not federal records.

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  5. I raised one son and one daughter. The son had to register for the draft. The daughter did not. Seemed wrong then, seems wrong now. No, I do not want my daughter on the front lines. But, I don’t want my son there either.

    We don’t currently have/need a draft, but our young men register as though there was one. Our daughters should also register.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Reblogged this on That Mr. G Guy's Blog and commented:
    I’m okay with selective service the way it is now. What with the chaotic foreign policy of the last seven years and the mistreatment of our returning and older veterans, there has been a decline in volunteers for military service. I hope the draft doesn’t need to be reinstated.

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  7. I don’t have a problem with women being required to sign up for selective service or being drafted if it comes to it.

    But I don’t think most women would be motivated enough to endure the physical stresses involved in passing Basic (maybe not the mental stresses either). And therein lies the problem. Everyone wants to have equal treatment, but if a significantly large portion of females are failing out of Basic Training (for whatever reason) and then have to endure the associated penalties of a less than honorable discharge, there is going to be political hell to pay. We’ll probably see another revision of training standards. And revising standards even further down would be detrimental to survivability of those in the armed forces.

    So, while I would like to see women required to sign up for selective service/draft just like the men, I don’t think it would be a good thing in the long run.

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    1. Being discharged from Basic does not automatically mean a “less than honorable discharge”. If it’s medical, or mental that would not be punitive. But there also has to be motivation to not intentionally fail, or obstruct the system. That can only be achieved by having some meaningful penalty attached to failure to exert some effort. We’ve been training raw, physically low-quality recruits into serviceable military personnel for a long time now. We’re pretty good at it. We’ve even been doing it with females. Upping the standards shouldn’t be a problem, it just means fewer women will meet the needed requirement. Nothing dishonorable in that, merely evolution and biology.

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  8. I’m not sure whether my comments will be taken as “pro” or “con” the question of Women in Combat Arms.

    But when I was drafted in 1968, right out of college, I weighed about 120 pounds and I was 6 feet tall. I was skinny, obviously without a lot of upper body strength .. and I was male.

    I went through basic training, and in the physical testing drills for the next six months there were many exercises when we were required to carry a classmate through an obstacle course; I was very popular, because I was the lightest member of the class. I didn’t do that well on the exercise, but I got through it as the slowest member of the class.

    Oh, did I mention that I was the “Platoon Guide”? (Look it up). We had an exercise called ‘pugj sticks’ where we were required to beat each up with padded sticks. Because I was the Platoon Guide, I was a target; I got beat up by four of the toughest men in the platoon before my Platoon Sgt took pity on me and put me on the sidelines.

    Then I went to Advance Infantry Training, where (thankfully) I was NOT designated the “Platoon Guide”, so I was just another guy. One time, during a Night Training Exercise, I mouthed off to the Cadre Sgt. He required that I give him 30 pushups when we got back to the barracks. So when we got indoors he ignored me while I was pumping out the first 20 push=ups and then required me to pump out the whole 30 pushups again. I did that. It hurt, but I did it.

    Then I was nominated for Non-Commissioned Officer School (Sergeant school) and I ended up in the top 5% of the class, and graduated as a Staff Sgt.

    Because of this, when I was sent to Viet Nam, I ended up as the Platoon Sgt. in an Infantry Platoon. We lost ONE man in the entire tour …and I was not in command of that unit at the time (the Platoon Leader, a FirstLieutenant, made the decisions which led us into a booby-trapped area.)

    I didn’t re-enlist as a Sgt First Class when offered, because I really did not want a career in the Infantry. I was scrawny; when I got out of the army, I weighted 116 lbs and I was still six feet tall. it took me five years to put enough meat on my bones until my pelvic bones didn’t jut out like a switchblade.

    Why am I providing so much excruciating detail?

    Because I was obviously the weakest man in any unit to which I was assigned.
    But I still managed to do my duty, because it is NOT all about Physical (:”upper body”) strength.

    Now there’s a controversy about whether women should serve in the Combat Arms. I can’t think of any unit which would be more grueling than Infantry, yet I got through a year of training and a year of combat without letting anybody down. Thankfully, I was never called upon to ‘carry my wounded buddy from the battlefield’ (a la “Forrest Gump”, because that’s bullshit; it doesn’t often happen that way.

    So those who think that women cannot serve productively in combat arms .. specifically, the Infantry … I think they are so focused on “upper body strength” that they are not noticing that Infantry people don’t spend a whole lot of time carrying their body out of the kill-zone. (A kill-zone, properly done, leaves nobody to carry anyone ‘out’.)

    I don’t see any physical reason why women cannot be drafted, serve in the infantry, or perform any other duty required in the Combat Arms.

    Well, okay, there will always be those men in a platoon who want to pike their lady sergeant. Any NCO who can’t handle that is not doing his/her job.

    I had a trooper who wanted to kill me, and told everyone in the platoon (including me) that this was his goal.

    I put him oh Point when we moved through the jungle. He was (rightfully) proud of the trust, and we never lost a man because he never missed a booby trap.

    Just saying.

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    1. Strength is of primary importance to an infantry soldier as they now carry loads of more than 100 lbs on their backs.

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  9. I’m not going to make one single argument against Nicki’s post. Goose, gander and all that.

    I was never in the military, but whenever asked what I would do if I had it all to do over again my answer is that I would have enlisted.

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  10. Draft wwomen! They want to be treated equally then treat them like men. Damn the physical BS, they draft weak men too. I’ve seen the military wipe overweight lads into shape, build up the weak. Treat the women the same and ship them to the front. In the next war they should share the opportunities of trench foot, MREs, endless flea bites, moldly unifroms.

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  11. Nicki, I agree with you in theory but as Jonn and the TAH group have been asking: Do we really believe they won’t change standards in order to make numbers? I know what I think.

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    1. Oh, I absolutely agree, and that’s something that needs to be addressed separately. There cannot be quotas, and there cannot be the lowering of standards. That’s the ONLY way I’d agree to this if I was President.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hey, here’s an idea, remove the ‘Rules of Engagement’. You do that and you won’t need a draft, you don’t, you can spend eternity fighting every Tom, Dick and Abdul on his terms. Invest in body bag companies. You’re going to need them.

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  13. I hope we never need the draft again, but it would be a mistake to eliminate preparations like selective service registration. If there was ever a need for total war, I doubt young men and women would enlist in drones like in WW2. The liberal infestation of America sees military service as distasteful, and physical violence as abhorrent. While an all-volunteer force will always be more effective than a conscript army, there may come a day when more bodies are needed.

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    1. I, for one, as a veteran don’t want merely a body in the foxhole with me – someone who was FORCED to be there. Nope. Trust is an important thing among troops. If you can’t trust your buddy, you shouldn’t be going to war with him or her.

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