Three candidates were exposed in the GOP debate Saturday night for falling for political correctness when they said women should be required to register with Selective Service, which means our daughters would be drafted along with our sons in time of war.
Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and Chris Christie each supported registering our daughters when asked about recent changes in Department of Defense policy regarding women in combat. The other candidates were not asked their views, though Sen. Ted Cruz sent out a press release following the debate saying it is immoral to draft women.
“We have had enough with political correctness, especially in the military,” Cruz said. “Political correctness is dangerous. And the idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think, is wrong. It is immoral. I’m the father of two little girls, they are capable of doing anything they desire, but the idea that their government would forcibly put them in a foxhole doesn’t make any sense at all.”
Rubio, Bush, and Christie are not alone in their support of drafting women. Top Army and Marine officials also want to change the law. Gen. Mark A. Milley, chief of staff of the Army, and Gen. Robert B. Neller, the Marine Corps commandant, said during an Armed Services Committee hearing that because the Pentagon has allowed women to serve in every aspect of military service there is no reason they should not be required to register with the Selective Service.
Currently, all 18- through 25-year-old male U.S. citizens and immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, who reside in the United States are required to register with the Selective Service System. While there have been recent challenges to the constitutionality of excluding women, the Supreme Court ruled in 1981 in Rostker v Goldberg that registering only men did not violate the due process clause of the Constitution.
However, advocates for drafting women (I will refer to it as such because this is what registering with Selective Service ultimately means) have been pushing for a change in the law since Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced on December 3, 2015, that the Department of Defense will lift all gender-based restrictions in military services.
In a statement on women in combat, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, “If members of our military can meet the qualifications for a job, then they should have the right to serve, regardless of creed, color, gender or sexual orientation.”
A Brief History of Women and the Draft
Historically, women have never been subject to Selective Service registration or military draft in the United States. We came close to drafting women during World War II when there was a shortage of military nurses, but due to a surge in volunteers, the draft of women was abandoned.
Although the draft has continued to be duty solely of men in our country, government officials have periodically considered registering women along with the men. In 1980, the Department of Defense Authorization Act required the president to send a plan to Congress that would reform the law regarding registration for military service.
In that plan, the president requested reactivating registration for men, but also requested that the act be amended to provide presidential authority to register women for service; their use would be based on the services’ needs and missions. Department of Defense policy, which was not to assign women to positions involving close combat, would continue.
In response, Congress agreed to reactivate registration but declined to amend the act to permit women to register. The Senate Armed Services Committee report stated that the primary reason for not expanding registration to include women was the Defense Department’s policy of not using women in combat. Other reasons included agreement by both civilian and military leadership that there was no need then to draft women and concerns about the societal impact of registration and possible induction of women into the military.
In 1992, a Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces revisited the issue, but by a vote of 11 to 3, the commission recommended that women not be required to register, citing that exclusion from ground combat specialties was a significant barrier to register women.
In 1994, President Clinton asked the defense secretary to update the department’s mobilization requirements for the Selective Service System and “to review the arguments for and against continuing to exclude women from registration now that they can be assigned to combat roles other than ground combat.” Once again, registering women was rejected based on denying women ground combat roles.
Despite maintaining that it was not necessary to register or draft women, the Defense Department review concluded “the success of the military will increasingly depend upon the participation of women.”
Harming Everyone to Satisfy a Few
Now that women are no longer excluded from ground combat roles, one of the major barriers to drafting all women has been removed. Prior to the Defense Department’s policy change and during debates about women in combat roles, many raised the point that including women in ground combat roles would ultimately result in registering all women with Selective Service. Proponents of the policy change scoffed, saying that would never happen.
It appears that’s exactly what might happen, and we have GOP candidates supporting it. According to Panetta, the goal is to make the military gender-neutral. If that’s the case, it’s only logical that required military registration and ultimately the draft (if we come to that in time of war) will also be gender-neutral.
While excluding women from ground combat roles was one of the main barriers to drafting our daughters in times of war, there was another reason cited early on: the societal impact. What will be the impact on our society if we equalize men and women to the point that they are both drafted for military service, to fight, bleed, kill, and die for our country? What will be the societal impact of sending our daughters into harm’s way, along with our sons, having them return home with missing limbs, debilitating head injuries, and broken spirits?
It’s one thing for women who want to volunteer for such service, but it is another thing entirely to require all women to do the same. Yet this is exactly what feminism and its egalitarian fantasy demands. The desires of a few have become the rule for all.
Equal Value Doesn’t Mean Equal Capability
Many say that if men and women are to be treated equally and since we all share in the benefits of living in this country, then we must all be equally responsible for defending our nation on the battlefield. This is a twisted notion of equality and how we contribute to society.
Like it or not, men and women are not equal, as in the same. We are physically different, and we have different roles to play. Men fighting to protect their home is their duty as men, while maintaining the homeland is the duty of women. That’s not on account of societal norms but the dictates of nature.
Of course, individuals are free to make their own choices about switching up these roles—and they do, and they deal with the consequences of those choices. But it would be a detriment to society to use government force to demand that all women make that same choice (which wouldn’t be a choice at all).
Our nation has been seduced by the politically correct lie that men and women are the same, but we are not the same. One sex is not better or more valued than the other, yet we are different—and that difference often translates into differing roles. Women, on the whole, are weaker than men. We bear children. We nurture. We are, like it or not, the “softer sex.” We have our own strength, our own power, but it is not on the battlefield.
‘Weak Men and Disreputable Women’
In “Democracy in America,” Alexis de Tocqueville warned that it would be the tendency of a democratic people to drift toward egalitarianism even to the point of making the sexes not only equal, but alike—and this is exactly what is happening with the issue of women in the military. It’s not about treating women equally, but about treating men and women as if they’re the same.
“One can easily conceive that in thus striving to equalize one sex with the other,” Tocqueville wrote, “one degrades them both; and that from this coarse mixture of nature’s works, only weak men and disreputable women can ever emerge.”
By transfiguring women into men and vice versa, we are corrupting both. Men won’t be challenged to be at their best because they will be expected to be something they’re not, and women the same. We are at our finest as human beings when we are true to who we are, to the identities we have been given by our Creator. Part of that identity is being a man or a woman and respecting the power and strength of each within our particular context.
The dog who is forever trying to be a cat, and the cat who longs to be a dog, is in denial of nature and chasing an illusion that only leads to frustration, defeat, and despair. How is that an improvement for society?
The United States is better than this. We should be a country that raises strong, healthy men who can and will fight for their loved ones. Likewise, we should raise strong, healthy women who maintain the homeland their men are fighting to protect. Both take incredible strength.
It’s Not Like Ladies Lie Around During War
Just ask the women who raise families alone or work jobs while their husbands fight on foreign shores. To say these women are not patriots because they don’t have a gun in their hands is to dishonor them. We praise our heroes who go to war. We unfurl flags and shed tears for their service. But the women who stay behind, who keep life moving forward as the enemy pounds at the gates, they’re heroes too.
The argument that women must be drafted because they have an equal responsibility to protect this nation is a foolish notion. The duty of women to keep our families together and our society working while our sons, husbands, and fathers fight the enemy is just as valuable, just as heroic, and just as patriotic as what the men do. That is their responsibility!
If you don’t see that, then you are blinded by politically correct lies, unable to see the beauty and the strength of being a woman. This is an ironic point because advocates of drafting women, like Rubio, Christie, and Bush, think they’re honoring women by saying they should be forced to register with Selective Service. They think they’re doing what’s best for their daughters by giving the same opportunities as their sons. But being forced to fight a war is not an opportunity. It is a responsibility.
To say women must share in this responsibility is to devalue and disrespect the responsibility women have traditionally fulfilled—the hard, lonely, difficult task of supporting the men who fight, caring for their homes, meeting their children’s needs alone when they’re tired and filled with worry, working jobs—sometimes seven days a week—while their husbands are away, and suffering through the heartache and pain of losing the men they love or watching them come home broken and picking up the pieces of their shattered lives.
It is this service, this duty, carried out by their healing hands and softer natures, that keeps our society together as the men fight on the battlefield. To say this isn’t enough, that this is somehow weak, that they’re not contributing to our nation’s defense, and to force them to abandon their God-given duties in order to take on the responsibilities that belong to men, is despicable.