Hot Topics With Nora
The Selective Service was created in order to “furnish manpower to the Defense Department during a national emergency.” However, that mission statement may need some adjustments after the United States Senate overwhelmingly passed a defense bill, which included an amendment to allow women, ages 18 to 25, to register for the draft. The Senate version of the legislation still needs to get by the House, and there is a chance that the White House will veto it. However, the inclusion of women in the draft is a historical milestone for women and the United States military.
The necessity of the Selective Service System, more commonly known as the draft, is a highly deliberated issue. The modern draft was created in 1948 during the Cold War. However, it has not been employed since 1973, during the Vietnam War, and many suggest that it will never be used again. The Supreme Court ruled in 1981 that women were not required to register for the draft, shortly after the draft was reinstated following the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, because combat jobs within the army were not available to them.
Today, those roles have begun to open up, but many continue to argue that women are not capable of filling those positions and that they should not be subjected to the tragedies of war. For example, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced that he could not support “America’s daughters” being sent off into war and forced into combat. Another popular argument against the defense-funding bill is that it “blurs gender lines,” which is a socially based argument that has been used for centuries to oppress women. When researching this topic it will not take long to find comments suggesting that women should focus on their “feminine and nurturing side,” and that women should not be sent to war during their “child bearing years,” or that it is cultural suicide. Those types of arguments draw attention to a larger issue within our society, and this debate is showing a divide not only across parties, but within them as well.
We are coming upon a time within the United State’s history where women are fully integrated into our nation’s army.
Additionally, history has shown that women have continuously stepped up during times of need for their countries. They have served side-by-side with male soldiers, and they have shown time and again that they are capable and willing to serve and defend their nations. Every person should be exposed to the same treatment, regardless of the gender. As Representative Jackie Speier (D-California) stated, “there’s great merit in recognizing that each of us have an obligation to be willing to serve our country in a time of war.” Women have already proven their capabilities, and abilities to pass the same physical and mental tests, and men should no longer be seen as solely responsible for our nation’s safety.
The unfortunate truth is that the selective service discriminates between genders. However, those who support the amendment to require women to enroll in the draft subsequently are stating their support for the draft. As House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) stated, “we need to take a comprehensive look at the entire Selective Service process, and we shouldn’t just deal with one issue at a time.” More recently, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) has announced that he plans on introducing legislation that will end the Selective Service all together.
However, regardless of whether or not the defense-funding bill passes the legislature, women will continue to integrate further into the military, and discussions surrounding war, gender, and selection practices will continue to haunt the political sphere.
Browne, Ryan. "Senate Approves Women Registering for the Draft." CNN. Cable News Network, 15 June 2016. Web. 25 June 2016.
Carney, Jordain. "Senate Set for Showdown over Women in the Draft."TheHill. N.p., 22 May 2016. Web. 25 May 2016.
Clairmont, Nicholas. "The Unseemly Death of an Amendment to Draft Women." The Atlantic. N.p., 20 May 2016. Web. 25 May 2016.
Garver, Rob. "How Registering Women for the Draft Could Save the Government Millions." The Fiscal Times. N.p., 16 May 2016. Web. 25 May 2016.
Powers, Rod. "History of the Draft." About.com US Military. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 May 2016.
Weigel, David. "Rand Paul’s Tribute to Muhammad Ali: Trying to End Selective Service." Washington Post. The Washington Post, 6 June 2016. Web. 25 June 2016.
III, Leo Shane. "Women and the Military Draft: Selective Service's Fate Hinges on the Decision." Marine Corps Times. N.p., 25 June 2016. Web. 25 June 2016.