Should women be subject to a military draft?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 18, 2008 7:39 PM GMT
    According to this video on the nytimes, Obama supports registering women for selective services. Do you think women should also subject to a draft?

    I think that if women want to enjoy the same legal benefits as men they should also have the same legal responsibilities. I'm okay with women not wanting to be forced to selective service registration, but I would take that as implying that they don't think of themselves as equals to men. Thoughts?
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    Oct 18, 2008 9:39 PM GMT
    A tough question for me, because I once taught Army College ROTC from 1983 to 1986, which included women at that time. A little background:

    I enlisted in the Army as a Private in the 1960s. I thought women had no place in the Army, a man's world, that I had joined to be with other men, for sexual reasons still hidden from me at that time, due to my deep denial. I was the perfect male chauvinist back then.

    By 1977 I had advanced to be an Officer, an Army Captain and a Company Commander, something that almost no Private ever managed. And one of my Company's additional tasks was to provide support to a local university ROTC program, supplying trucks and other equipment for their training. They already had women in their course, who would go on to become Army Lieutenants (an Officer rank, like mine).

    By some strange twist of fate, in 1983 as a Major I was assigned to teach Army ROTC myself. And in that Summer I found myself at Fort Lewis, Washington, about to give my initial address to a Platoon of 34 Cadets I would be evaluating for the next 6 weeks, during their field training. They were all Juniors in College, about to enter their Senior year that Fall.

    "Good afternoon, Cadets!"

    "GOOD AFTERNOON, SIR!" [All shouted in unison]

    "Do you all think you'll do well during your 6 weeks here?"

    "YES, SIR!"

    "Good! Now let me tell you about a Cadet I knew some years ago, when I provided logistical support to an ROTC Detachment as a Company Commander, and see if you can do as well here."

    "That Cadet became the Commander of the Corps of Cadets on that campus. Do you think you can do as well yourself when you return to your own campuses?"

    "YES, SIR!"

    "And that Cadet attained a maximum on the Army PT test [physical training]. Will you?"

    "YES, SIR!"

    "And that Cadet was given the Cadet rank of full Colonel, the first time it was ever granted on that campus. Will you do as well?

    "YES, SIR!"

    "And that Cadet was awarded the General George C. Marshall Award, the highest distinction an ROTC graduate can receive in the entire United States. Do you think you can do as well?"

    "YES, SIR!"

    "And that Cadet was commissioned in the Regular Army, the same as West Point Cadets are. Can you do the same thing?"

    "YES, SIR!" [Most ROTC Cadets are commissioned into the Reserves or the National Guard]

    "And that new Lieutenant went to Airborne School [parachuting out of airplanes], and was awarded the Company Guidon [a flag] upon graduation, that had never before been given to any single person. Can you do that?"

    "YES, SIR!"

    "And that Lieutenant's first assignment was to Berlin Brigade, West Germany, where I personally heard the Commanding General say he had never known a better Lieutenant in his entire career. Can you be that good?"

    "YES, SIR!"

    "Now I will tell you the rest of the story, as you may have heard said on the radio. That Cadet was not a man... it was a woman."

    And there was a silence for a moment. And then the female Cadets started to applaud and cheer, and the male Cadets looked puzzled and uneasy.

    "The best Cadet among you may be a woman, or it may be a man," I explained to them. "I already know that the best Cadet in America has been a woman. Whether in this Platoon it is a man or a woman I don't know yet, but you all have an equal chance."

    For my job was to rate them, from number 1 to number 34, when the 6 weeks were done. And there was a pattern we Evaluators had been warned about, that the men always scored at the top, and women at the bottom. And I didn't intend that to happen in my Platoon.

    Whatever happened would be based on merit, not on gender. And my top 3 picks, who were guaranteed Regular Army commissions as a result, and a career, were 2 men and 1 woman. No other Platoon among the 50 we had there rated a woman so highly.

    What impressed me about the female Cadets was their fierce dedication. They wanted to serve our country no less than the men, and in some cases I think more. They loved their country and would not be denied.

    The same GLBT argument that says gays should be allowed to serve their country also applies to women. If you love your country, then you should be given the chance to serve. Not all women can, nor all men, but some women can and should.

    As for a draft, I am oddly ambivalent. I haven't yet decided on the issue of those who MUST, and those who CHOOSE. Those who choose should always be allowed, if they are able. Those who must trouble me.
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    Oct 19, 2008 12:46 AM GMT
    well said red vespa
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    Oct 19, 2008 1:01 AM GMT
    Yes.
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    Oct 19, 2008 1:06 AM GMT
    Red_Vespa, I know you weren't trying to imply that I think women have no place in the military, but just so that everyone is clear: I have absolutely no doubt that women are as capable to serve as well as men. My question is whether women should be obligated to serve under a draft along with men.
  • MSUBioNerd

    Posts: 1813

    Oct 19, 2008 1:18 AM GMT
    I would say yes. While I feel we're better served with a volunteer force than a conscripted one, if we do need to undertake conscription, there's no rational basis for limiting it to just men. Even if you believe that active combat should be restricted to just men--something with which I disagree--there are substantially more support personnel than active combatants in the modern military. There's no logical reason to think that a woman isn't just as qualified as a man to work communications technology, repair a vehicle, etc.
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    Oct 19, 2008 1:25 AM GMT
    dowal saidRed_Vespa, I know you weren't trying to imply that I think women have no place in the military, but just so that everyone is clear: I have absolutely no doubt that women are as capable to serve as well as men. My question is whether women should be obligated to serve under a draft along with men.


    Yes, you are completely correct, that's the question I failed to answer. I tried to answer the implied part of the question, of whether or not women are able to serve. I am convinced they can. The question for me remains whether they SHOULD be required to serve involuntarily in a draft, which is what you actually asked. And I still don't know my own answer to that. Thank you for clarifying that point.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Oct 19, 2008 1:39 AM GMT
    I see no reason why not.
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    Oct 19, 2008 1:42 AM GMT
    MSUBioNerd saidThere's no logical reason to think that a woman isn't just as qualified as a man to work communications technology, repair a vehicle, etc.


    I don't know whether you have ever served in military uniform, but you are absolutely correct about the abilities of women. And don't pussy-foot around with the combat support, and combat service support roles for women (as we designate them in the Army). A woman isn't limited to those secondary jobs.

    I taught an Army ROTC program that produced combat helicopter pilots over 25 years ago. And I was thrilled when one of my former female students was featured in the media as being a decorated combat pilot in the first Gulf War.

    Women are capable of fighting, too. The question for me is whether they MUST fight, in a draft environment. I still have to think that over. I hope others here will share their opinions, because we may all have to make a decision on this issue before long.

  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19129

    Oct 19, 2008 2:22 AM GMT
    Yes, definitely
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 19, 2008 3:04 AM GMT
    If we want to maintain a society that supports violence and inflicting pain as a way of settling disagreements, then we should subject all people to the draft.
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    Oct 19, 2008 3:52 AM GMT
    YES!
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    Oct 19, 2008 7:37 AM GMT
    I think that if equality is expected, equality for women and men regardless of sexually should be universal.

    I don't understand why, if the draft were reinstated, why I would have to go and my cousin wouldn't.

    However, I also wouldn't be surprised if they also did away with draft registration altogether as they most likely would *not* draft women.

    Though one has to remember there is forced military service in South Korea for 2 years, Military or Community service in Finland (not sure how long), and either Military or Community service for 6 months in Austria.

    I think a good alternative would be to have every American, regardless of gender or status, go into a community service program OR the armed forces. Obama mentioned this in the last debate and honestly, I like it.

    Okay I got offtopic, but long story short. YES. Equality for the sexes and all that.
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    Oct 19, 2008 8:32 AM GMT
    I know women who are tougher that some of the most buffest guys on here.... women who could kill most of the guys on here with her bare hands..... I'd rather have her protecting my back in combat than some of the stuck up "all-talk" army guys.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Oct 19, 2008 12:22 PM GMT
    If there is a draft?
    Hell yes
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    Oct 20, 2008 9:11 PM GMT
    If I was a Platoon Sergeant again, I wouldn't want any draftees in my tanks, men or women.

    Since you brought it up, the Democrats are the ones who would bring back the draft. They tried to get it through Congress before and it looks like Obama is open to the idea.

    I wouldn't mind a draft if they only used draftees in the National Guard and then took the National Guard out of the Department of Defense and put them in the Department of Homeland Security. Draftees can throw sandbags at rivers well enough.


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    Oct 20, 2008 9:39 PM GMT
    John43620 said
    I wouldn't mind a draft if they only used draftees in the National Guard and then took the National Guard out of the Department of Defense and put them in the Department of Homeland Security. Draftees can throw sandbags at rivers well enough.


    The Army and Air National Guard are not in the Department of Defense, and no one can be drafted into the Guard. The Guard is under the control of the individual states, and each Governor is the Commander-in-Chief of that state's Guard forces. It is the Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force Reserves that are Federal.

    However, the President can federalize selected elements of the National Guard for specified lengths of time, during periods of extreme domestic civil unrest and insurrection, and under certain extraordinary conditions pertaining to national defense.

    President Bush has used this authority for a longer period than any time in US history, leading to charges that the state Guard has become gutted at home, and often unable to adequately perform its state mission of response to natural disasters. If you place the National Guard under Homeland Security you strip the Governors of their ability to respond to emergencies. You would also have Constitutional problems.
  • Delivis

    Posts: 2332

    Oct 20, 2008 10:57 PM GMT
    I would propose something slightly different, actually.

    There is some sexual dimorphism in the human species and men are, on average, stronger and bigger than women. It is very difficult to create policies based on averages though.

    Consider various famous legal examples throughout history. Consider the cases (which you have probably heard of) where some women back in the day tried to become fire fighers, a "man's job" and encountered serious discrimination, and not the right kind of discrimination either.

    Questions came up as to whether a woman can do the job as well as a man, is a woman strong enough? Should there be seperate standards for a firefighter woman and a firefigher man? When the men do their tests and have to carry a 200 pound human-analog dummy do the women get a lighter load?

    This created a huge hubbub of course and went to the courts in various places in Canada and the US and in most of those cases, if i remember correctly, it was decided that it was not right to have seperate standards for men and women. A firefighter has to be able to handle the average situation and the situation will not change for the fire fighter based on their gender - if there is a 200 pound unconcious man to get out of a building you have to be able to carry him.

    The solution, legally speaking, seems obvious now. It is to have the same standards for men and women based on physical performance. This means that firefighters will be predominantly male. Both the women and the men who are not fit enough to pass the tests will fail, as there are men who are weaker and less fit than average as well, obviously.

    The same should apply here i think, no? If you fall within certain physical requirements regardless of gender, you get drafted. There could be some nuances to this too - different requirements for different roles in the military. Women have some edge over men as figher pilots since they can take higher G force due to their body frame (or so i read long ago).
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    Oct 21, 2008 2:51 AM GMT
    An anecdote: when I was an Army Lieutenant and a platoon leader (about 40 soldiers) in the mid-1970s, we were just beginning to receive our first females in the Military Police Corps. And one of them was newly assigned to my platoon.

    One day I was conducting some field training, and giving my soldiers their instructions for the next phase, all of them standing in a loose group in front of me as I spoke. Suddenly I heard some of them laughing and asked what was so funny.

    "It's Sergeant Wells, sir," they said pointing, and I turned to see the Sergeant slightly behind me and peeing on a tree. And he had a big embarrassed grin on his face.

    "I'm sorry, sir! But I can't stop!"

    And I was wondering why should he stop? Did my soldiers think it impolite that he chose a tree behind me while I was speaking? I was only a Lieutenant and fairly informal with my troops, especially in this field environment. If someone had to pee they didn't need my permission, and I didn't care where they did it (other than on my tent).

    The soldiers realized my confusion, and one said: "It's because of Specialist Jones, sir." And as if on cue the platoon parted, revealing our new female soldier standing there. I'd forgotten she was with us myself.

    "Oh!" I exclaimed. "Specialist Jones, I'm very sorry this happened. We're still getting used to have a woman in the platoon, and forget we just can't relieve ourselves wherever we want anymore."

    "I'm sure Sergeant Wells didn't intentionally mean to embarrass you," I continued, and turning to him added, "Isn't that RIGHT, Sergeant Wells?"

    "No, sir, I didn't, I'm very sorry, Specialist," he said as he buttoned himself up.

    "Well, again, my apologies Specialist, and I trust this won't happen again," as I scanned the platoon with a stern look.

    "Oh, that's alright, sir," she replied. "I've HAD better than HE'S got."

    And we all cracked up hysterically, myself included. And poor Sergeant Wells was even more red-faced with embarrassment, which pleased me, because he was our "exhibitionist" in the platoon, and I hoped this would make him think twice before his next little obscenity (that make for other stories).

    I'm not sure I'd advocate sexual debauchery in the ranks between men & women, but the standards for privacy in the military are much lower than in the civilian world most times, and I think adults can adjust to it. I know we had to and did.
  • EricLA

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    Oct 21, 2008 2:57 AM GMT
    I think things would have to get very drastic in order for the draft to be reinstated. But, yes, I think women should be as subject to selective service as men.
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    Oct 21, 2008 5:42 AM GMT
    Red Vespa, you're indeed behind the times. The National Guard is within the Department of Defense and has been since 1973. That's why it's called the Army Reserve National Guard. In the mid 80s the Army Reserve changed to all Service/Support units and the National Guard changed to encompass all Combat Arms units with some Service/Support units. That's why after 1973 all NG soldiers are required to attend the same BCT and AIT as the RA and ER troops. NG Officers are required to attend an OBC and an OAC.

    I always thought they had it Bas Ackwards myself. States require Service Support units more in a disaster or a riot than they do Combat Arms units.

    For those of you who're having a difficult time understanding the above jargon; Service/Support units are the Cooks, Clerks, Mechanics, facility Engineers, Construction Engineers, Truck Drivers, Medical units and so on. Combat Arms units are the Infantry, Cavalry, Armor, Field Artillary, Combat Engineers and the Air Defense Artillary. Combat Arms units do have Service/Support troops within their units but are a minority. Service Support troops do engage in combat if they have to and are trained to do it. The war in Iraq is a good example, when convoys are attacked the truck drivers fight back just like Infantry troops. MPs also engage in combat, as well as writing tickets and guarding gates.

    RA means Regular Army and ER means Enlisted Reserve. BCT is Basic Combat Training and AIT is Advanced Individual Training. OBC is Officer's Basic Course for their career specialty and OAC is the Officer's Advanced Course for their career specialty.








  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 24, 2008 1:45 PM GMT
    Yes. I've always thought that women should be required to register with the Selective Service System. However, if women can't hold combat positions, and a draft is to fill the needs of imminent combat, wouldn't it be sort of redundant? Furthermore, why can't women serve in combat positions?
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    Oct 24, 2008 2:02 PM GMT
    Sure.
  • Koaa2

    Posts: 1556

    Oct 24, 2008 2:15 PM GMT
    All young people should be part of a draft, with no exemptions. If this happened there would be a lot less use of the military for frivulous actions.
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    Oct 24, 2008 2:18 PM GMT
    Nobody who doesn't want to fight and/or die in a war should be subject to a draft. You have to have some kind of screw loose to want to go to war or to pretend you're not afraid. It's bullshit to call people cowardly for not wanting to die a painful, bloody death. Fuck war. If everyone said no, the guys who start them would have to fight amongst themselves and then we'd see the bushes, cheneys, bin ladens, et al all show themselves for the cowards they are. Fuck em all, let em burn in hell.