We had to know this was coming. Over the past several months we've seen the US military make some great leaps toward gender equality; making thousands of jobs, including combat roles, newly available to women. We've also witnessed, for the first time in history, three women earn the Army's exalted Ranger tab, one of whom is now the first ever female infantry officer. With such milestones having been reached, it was only a small matter of time before the elephant walked into the room. I'm referring, of course, to the military draft. Just this week, albeit amid rigorous debate, the House Armed Services Committee narrowly approved the requiring of women to register with Selective Service. A decision that, if approved by the full House and Senate, is likely to spark just as - if not more - contentious of a debate throughout the land. We've already heard some of the arguments.
"But it's sexist to exclude women from conscription."
"But the draft is to put bodies on the front lines to take the hill. And we don't want our women doing that."
"Everyone, including women, should be willing to serve our country in a time of war."
"But the whole idea is flawed biological makeup of women renders them physically less capable than men."
While many such arguments are legitimate topics of debate, I think one's quality as a soldier is entirely unrelated to one's gender. Once upon a time, when I wore the empire's uniform, I had the pleasure of serving with women who were stronger, faster, better navigators, better shooters, better leaders than many of the men. What is most certainly not up for debate though is the combat effectiveness of women, which has been repeatedly proven. Take, for example, the all-female units of Kurdish fighting forces who've been instrumental in combating ISIS.
Though the tide of public opinion is slowly turning, many among us still think that women have no place in a combat zone, certainly not on the "front lines." I would tend to agree only insofar as no human being, regardless of gender, belongs in a combat zone. Still many believe that females should not be conscripted into military service. Again, I tend to agree only insofar as nobody - male, female or otherwise - should be forced to do anything, let alone fight and die.
And it's that bigger picture that inspires me to welcome this development. The more people affected by the empire's aggressive wars of choice, the more outrage and opposition to them. The more debate over who should and shouldn't fight, then the more resistance to do the Pentagon's [and by extension Wall Street's] dirty work, and the less likely for war to begin with. An increasing level of skin in the game, with our daughters, nieces, granddaughters soon at even greater risk of chemical burns, double-amputation, as well as the many other horrors of battle, the general population can less afford to ignore its "leaders" crimes around the globe. Said crimes will come to a screeching halt just as soon as [and only when] working-class people refuse to slaughter each other on behalf of corporate profits. I think the lifting the gender-based standards for Selective Service cannot but help to push that ball forward. What do you think?