Women Should Not Be In the Draft

Ramayana Kazazic, Staff Writer

The draft has been a long debated discussion in the United States, especially when it comes to women registering for it. Many people consider enlisting women in the draft as another step towards equality without realizing what that “equality” would mean for our country. Not only are there problems with adding women to the draft, but there are also problems with the draft itself.

One problem in the military and the draft is the Family Care Plan. “I think women are more than capable of being drafted but then you run into the issue of two-parent households with kids and both being drafted so I think it would be a lot harder on families and on the military to try to figure out like ‘Oh, we can’t draft two people from the same household’,” said a 92Y which is a position in the Army National Guard, Rachel Bieirle ’20.  “If you actually talk to people in the military they talk about it all the time how, if we were to add women to the draft, they can’t legally draft two people from the same household because the kids would be unable to have a parent.” The Selective Service would be inconvenient to the military as they attempt to follow the Family Care Plan while also administering a draft.

Furthermore, who made the legislation significantly affects the outcomes of drafts. Historically, it was men who developed the draft because no women in the government had a voice in legislation. The first draft, also known as the Enrollment Act, was introduced in 1863. Women were not in Congress, nor was there a female president, when the first draft was enacted, thus, a Congress and administration of men created the draft specifically targeting men.

In 1917, the Selective Service Act was passed, which allowed the president to increase military establishment through the draft process during the first World War. At the time there was only one woman in Congress. Again, men had the majority in Congress and held the power to choose who joined the draft.

In 1969, when the two draft lotteries during the Vietnam War began, there were only 12 women in Congress, 11 in the House and one in the Senate.

However, the conversation about women and the draft is not about equality and women’s roles in American society, it is about the tyranny of forced military labor. For the government, expanding the draft to conscript women is not about equality, gender issues, or love for country. Rather, it is a massive expansion of government power that will have massive effects on American lives.

In early 2019, a federal judge ruled that male-only Selective Service registration is unconstitutional. Arguably, the draft itself is unconstitutional, for both men and women. The thirteenth amendment states “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Murray Rothbard, an economist, historian, and political theorist, wrote “conscription is slavery.” Slavery is involuntary servitude, and conscription is involuntary military servitude.

The Selective Service is a temporary loss of freedom that causes permanent effects on drafted Americans. Soldiers may suffer disfiguration, mental illnesses like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and even death that affect Americans and their families far longer than the draft is being used.

Women have not yet been added to the draft not because of the sexist ideals of a “woman’s role,” rather because the draft is such a violent impediment on human rights that the modern government doesn’t want to change.

An alternative to the draft is the All-Volunteer Force, which was adopted by the U.S. during the Vietnam War in response to protests of the antiwar movement. The United Kingdom and New Zealand abolished their draft fifty years ago, and have used a volunteer force since. After the Vietnam War, the U.S. first used the All-Volunteer Force twenty years later in the Persian Gulf war, which was a success. According to Britannica, military leaders believed morale, motivation, and longer-term service caused volunteers to be better than a draft force.

The U.S. has been at war in Afghanistan since 2001, at war with Iraq from 2003-2014, and has conducted the War on Terror in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia since 2004. The U.S. has sent 68,000 troops to Afghanistan, 170,000 troops to Iraq, and 183,000 troops to fight the War on Terror. “I think we don’t need drafting because we shouldn’t feel worried about a war, and we do have a lot of military who are ready to step in there”, Fabiola Gamboa ’20, who plans to go into the military, said. 

The draft has not been used in 48 years. The U.S. has been in dozens of wars and military operations using military soldiers and volunteers without a need for the draft. “We’ll most likely never use this [the draft]”, Bieirle said. The Selective Service System is not needed and will not be missed. No one, however, would benefit from the expansive threat of fighting and dying an unsupported war.

The biggest argument supporting women in the draft is equality. To achieve equality on this issue there is a simple answer, abolish the draft in its entirety. There is nothing outrageous about ending a policy that forces people to work for the country against their will. However, there is something outrageous about forcing people to fight wars for the government.