The Supreme Court has recently declined to hear a case on the constitutionality of the male-only military draft, framed as “end[ing] gender-based [draft] registration.”
The petition expanding the draft to women does speak of “further[ing] the goal of military readiness” but concentrates upon the unfair imposition of “selective burdens on men”.
The Pentagon has “unequivocally acknowledge[d] that requiring women and men alike to register would ‘promote fairness and equity,'” the petition said, while a male-only draft “‘sends a message’ that women ‘are not vital to the defense of the country.'” Congress “exclude[d] women from [draft] registration” because of “archaic stereotypes about men’s and women’s roles within and outside of the home,” it argued, and current law “reinforces the notion that women are not full and equal citizens.”
What? The draft is bad, but not because it says mean things about women. It’s bad because it’s a huge violation of human rights, and the gender class whose rights are being violated right now is men. The state should not be able to force you to kill or be killed. Conscription — to use the older term that better conveys the coercive nature of the practice — is not “a fundamental civic obligation,” as this petition said. It’s indefensible compulsion, regardless of what sex it affects.
Women are not harmed by exclusion from the draft, however archaic the congressional reasoning that produced the present arrangement. Further congressional action should be along the lines of the bipartisan bill to end multi-decade occupations or war crimes, not this shortcut to “equity.”. ( Damon Linker, The Week, 7 June 2021).
My take: So Mr. Linker is a pacifist. I wonder how he would have reacted, resisting conscription, had the Nazis successfully invaded England?
I don’t know whether, during my two conscripted years of military service, I helped save many Cypriot lives. But it turned me from a gauche teenager into an adult, taught me what leadership was about and brought me face to face with people I would never otherwise have met – and who turned out to be funny and really smart. It was an education. Wouldn’t have missed it. (Can’t imagine what the presence of young women would have achieved. Better strategy and more common sense, probably? But the downsides?).