Efforts to draft America’s daughters for war is the perfect example of how the left’s quest for dissolving the distinctions between men and women in the name of “equality” is in fact anti-woman. The left is doing this with little debate, under the foreboding storm clouds of an increasingly militarily strong and brazenly aggressive China determined to supplant the United States.
Talk of the draft, which the government hasn’t used since 1973, is unsettling enough, but expanding it to women, now, should alert Americans to call their representatives to state their opposition to the Drafting Daughters provision in the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act. Democrats successfully pushed for it, and enough Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, went along with it, as the next logical step for “equality” since the Obama administration opened military combat jobs to women.
This provision is currently in both the House and Senate versions of the Defense Authorization bill. If it doesn’t get stripped from the final bill, it will pass Congress, be signed by President Joe Biden, and become U.S. law.
There are three basic reasons all elected officials should oppose drafting women: It is bad for military readiness, it is bad for women and families, and it is opposed by the American people.
Military Effectiveness Matters More than Identity Politics
Everything from what our military academies teach, to military recruiting aims, to the weapons we buy and deploy should be designed to build, train, and equip the most lethal and effective military.
Studies highlight what common sense and experience tells all of us: men perform better in military training than women. A 2015 Marine Corps study concluded that, in 93 out of 134 tasks that were tested, the all-male groups outperformed the male-female integrated groups. The units with only men got to their targets faster and hit the targets more successfully.
The all-male units were able to evacuate wounded Marines faster and climb over barriers with heavy packs. Additionally, the female Marines incurred more injuries, such as stress fractures. Keep in mind, this is the men and women who are inclined toward military service, not those forced into service through a draft.
Of course, some women can be as able in combat settings as some men, but it is not true that in combat settings, men and women fare the same overall.
Misleading Arguments in Favor
Those in favor of drafting women in the name of “equality” will respond to the evidence that shows most women are not as physically able as men by insisting that drafted women will not necessarily be required to serve in the same ways as men, and especially not infantry. “Let them fly drones!” they say.
First, this is a clear admission that men and women are not the same and that it would be wrong to compel young women to fight in combat. Second, if the United States needs a draft, it would be because America is in a major war with a peer power, and we need bodies.
Advocates of drafting women say to preclude women from selective services would be “denying the country the capability of women.” Yes, but only of those who have chosen to not serve in the military during a time of war. It would be their decision. This is hardly anti-woman.
And what about the young women between 18 and 25 who are mothers or plan to be? Ah, “we will never draft them,” retort those in favor of drafting women. I am not so sure. In the name of “equity,” the U.S. government has changed Selective Services to preclude young men from seeking exemptions they once had.
Before Congress reformed the draft in 1971, a man could receive a student deferment if he was a full-time student, as one example; now he cannot. But perhaps having a family would permit exemptions today? Advocates in favor of expanding the draft to women have explained they are against such exemptions:
Evidence shows that registration shapes society only when it is accompanied by a draft – though not always in ways that national leaders might hope. During the Cold War draft, men factored military service into their life choices by marrying, having children, going to college or choosing professions that offered them legal deferments from the draft. That, in turn, introduced inequities into the draft, undermining the legitimacy of the process. Men with means, especially white men, were significantly more likely to obtain a deferment than working-class men, particularly men of color. The government seems to have learned from that experience. If the draft ever were renewed, these types of deferments would likely not be allowed.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see that in the name of “equity” the married mother of young children would plausibly not be exempted.
If we need more warfighters at a time of dire necessity, the military and representatives can make that case to the American people and elicit more volunteers. If insufficient numbers of available men volunteer, draft men. If numbers are still insufficient, broaden the pool of men for selective services to include men ages 18 to 40. Anticipating objections to drafting men with creaky knees: let them fly drones.
Americans Don’t Want to Force Women to Fight Bad Guys
Last, support for adding women to the draft is low and, interestingly, getting lower. In 2016, 63 percent of Americans supported drafting both sexes. But an Ipsos poll in August found that only 45 percent supported the measure. And 55 percent of men support drafting women, compared to about a third (36 percent) of women. There is some real cognitive dissonance at play when “Me Too” is giving greater attention to the sexual harassment and abuse that some men inflict on women, yet men would force women to take up arms in defense of and instead of men.
Relatedly, a significant portion of Protestant Christians in the U.S. have official religious objections to drafting women. Southern Baptists are the largest Protestant Christian denomination in the United States, and the Southern Baptist Convention in 2016 passed a resolution opposing women being compelled to a warfighting role, as did the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. These Christians do not have a comparable objection to drafting men.
On no other issue is it so clear that following the diktats of the identity politics-pushers leads us to irrational and inhumane policies that often cause women and children to suffer most. These champions of “women’s advancement” confuse equality for sameness. They measure worth by comparing female against male ability and achievement.
To uphold the male warrior as normative and to compare women against him to determine their worth is, of course, deeply sexist. Men and women are of equal value, but we are not the same.
Consider that the 1992 Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces concluded:
A military unit at maximum combat effectiveness is a military unit least likely to suffer casualties. Winning in war is often only a matter of inches, and unnecessary distraction or any dilution of the combat effectiveness puts the mission and lives in jeopardy. Risking the lives of a military unit in combat to provide career opportunities or accommodate the personal desires or interests of an individual, or group of individuals, is more than bad military judgment. It is morally wrong.
Some things are forever true, but in these culturally and politically tumultuous times, the country needs leaders to defend what used to be obvious — like the natural and good differences between men and women.
Republicans Must Act
There are some elected officials willing to take up the side of the science, military readiness, and basic decency to oppose drafting women. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo, has offered an amendment to strip the provision from the defense bill. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., has been vocally willing to fight on this issue, and he and Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith, both of Mississippi, support Hawley’s amendment. In the House of Representatives, Rep. Chip Roy of Texas has led the charge, and the Freedom Caucus joined him in favor of a readiness and sanity and against the Drafting Daughters provision.
Where are the rest of the Republicans, who have rightly called out the pernicious impact of critical theory in the military academies and in public schools? Where are those who have opposed the elimination of the distinctions between biological men and women in sports? Or the erasure of women by using the nonsensical label “birthing persons” to describe mothers?
Forcing women to fight a massive war against a major power is not progress, not good for readiness, and not supported by the American people. This hasn’t stopped far-left Democrats from insisting on having this battle in their long war to change American culture. Unless Republicans fight back, like they have begun to resist the pernicious indoctrination of critical race theory and a biology-denying and exploitative sex agenda, they will effectively surrender this battle and with potentially tragic results.