The role of women in the U.S. military has slowly been evolving from caretaker to soldier. Now, thanks to a vote by the Senate to expand the military’s draft policy, women can now be draftees once they reach 18.
Though adding women to the draft has been a divisive question in Washington, D.C., the Editorial Board agrees adding women to the draft is only fair. However, we still doubt the need for conscription at all.
This Senate bill will go into effect for women turning 18 on or after January 1, 2018. Women must register for the draft in order to receive various types of federal aid including Pell Grants. This bill will not apply retroactively, which means women who have turned 18 before 2018 will not be required to register and any federal aid arrangements for women who do not choose to register will not be affected.
The last vote to add women to the draft took place in 1981 when the Supreme Court ruled women should not be added to the draft because women were not allowed to serve on the front lines of combat. After a landmark decision by Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter last December, all areas of the military have been opened to women.
The U.S. has not used the draft since 1973 during the Vietnam War. However, while the decision to add women to the draft adds gender equality to the practice, it also signifies the draft may be used again. Equality considered, the thought of the draft being used again is terrifying at best.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reflected the views of government when he said to the New York Times, “Every single leader in this country, both men and women, members of the military leadership, believe that it’s fair since we opened up all aspects of the military to women that they would also be registering for Selective Services.”
Although the possibility of being drafted into war is not an appealing thing to gain for women, being added to the draft does signify women are being seen as equals rather than fragile beings that need protection. Being added to the draft means women, albeit forcibly, can fight beside men in the military instead of waiting for them to come home.
Even though many people on both the Democratic and Republican sides support the move to add women to the draft, as well as many women, there is strong conservative opposition.
”I could not in good conscience vote to draft our daughters into the military, sending them off to war and forcing them into combat,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in a prepared statement against the bill last June 14.
We think Cruz is right to say forcing people into war and combat is not great. The Editorial Board would just apply that thought to men and women or the draft as a whole.
But as long as the draft is around, the Editorial Board applauds the addition of women to it.