Here’s an interesting development, one that other people predicted. Now that women have been admitted to the maneuver arms the issue of the male-only draft has come up again.
The Volokh Conspiracy is a respected center-right law blog. Here’s an article that discusses the constitutionality of the draft in view of this change in policy and also of a court case in 1981 that the exemption of women from the draft was based on. In that case the court found that since women were excluded from combat roles, there was no good reason to draft them. That is pretty shaky reasoning, but even that excuse is gone now.
And then here is a post on Andrew Sullivan’s blog that consists of comments emailed in on the desirability of a draft. These commenters point out the various ways a draft and even just requiring registration for the draft is useless, unnecessary and wasteful.
Here is an earlier post at Sullivan’s that claims that in this perilous age it is insane to leave ourselves so unready. It’s a completely ignorant argument. A draft is on balance detrimental to military readiness and the national defense because it will saddle the military with swarms of sub-standard unusable people. This will sap resources from actual valid missions. So much for the national defense argument.
There are good reasons for a draft, but none of them are directly military. In a huge diverse nation common, residential national service does tow really big things. For one thing it puts people in close and continuous contact, the more arduous the conditions the better, who would probably never meet. It strengthens social bonds across all regions and classes. It also calls on people to invest a piece of their own selves, to or three years of their lives, to building up society, years that they are not investing in their own personal career advancement. This would be some kind of civilian service. There are lots of things that need to be done in this country, and by now it ought to be clear that yet another government contractor in northern Virginia leaching off the taxpayers is not the most efficient way to get all this done.
Draft people – everyone without exemption – if you must, but use them in roles and in jobs where their sacrifice of a couple of years out of their lives will do the nation some real good.
EDIT: Commenter dungone makes soem very good points in a comment below:
In all honesty, this is not the time to be talking about the merits of the draft. Just start drafting women. Period. And I don’t really care what anyone thinks about the implausibility of making this come to pass. If the Supreme Court wants to twist itself into pretzel for the whole world to see and laugh at, then let them. It would just be free publicity for men’s rights.
This is absolutley correct. The need for the draft as a mechanism of social equality is so compelling that its military uselessness is secondary. A draft can fill other needs in public service anyway. He continues:
With all of these recent developments, I have actually changed my stance on being generally against the draft before to being generally for it, now. The reason is that a gender-neutral draft would probably improve the quality of life within the military while also serving as a greater driver of public opinion against war. Whereas on the other hand, an all-volunteer force continue to serve as a stealth draft for men as it always had.
The stealth draft. Exactly. The all-volunteer force has become a stealth draft that selects on the basis of gender and class.
In the interests of social justice and gender parity, the draft should be used to adjust the end-strength of the military – set recruitment targets for class and gender and then fill shortfalls against those targets with the draft. Who could object to a social justice initiative?
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