Ready, willing, able or not, today many young girls may be wondering if their future will include being drafted. According to Fox News, Thursday, Jan. 24, one of Leon Panetta's final acts as President Obama's Defense secretary was to announce the official lift of the ban on women serving in combat.
Almost immediately, the White House said President Obama fully supports allowing women to serve in front line combat roles as a means to "expand opportunities for women." The timing of the announcement follows on the heels of repeated calls from a high-profile Democrat to reinstate the draft.
Democrat Representative Charlie Rangel spoke out in favor of a mandatory draft on the December anniversary of Pearl Harbor, remarking, "The burden that the U.S. military bears must be borne by all." He was quoted by "The Hill" explaining, "I submit that we have to have a draft … not a plea for those people who for economic reasons have to protect themselves.
Rangel has long been in favor of a draft, never attempting to hide that his primary motivation is forcing "rich" kids to serve. In his opinion, the current voluntary military is made up of underprivileged minorities who view military service as a path to monetary security.
In the spring of 2011, the congressman proposed, "All persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 25, if called upon by the president during a declaration of war, a national emergency, or a military contingency operation, [should be drafted] to perform national service for a minimum of two years with few exceptions." It is worth noting, Rangel did not appear to exclude women when he made his call for "all."
Currently, military conscription laws only pertain to men; however, if women will soon be serving on the front lines in armed combat, it can't be a stretch to consider whether laws for conscription might soon be changed to include women. Among critics of the Obama administration decision to arm women and place them on the front lines, serious questions are emerging about whether the decision might hurt combat readiness.
The Wall Street Journal published an opinion of veteran Marine infantryman, Ryan Smith, "The Reality That Awaits Women in Combat," outlining in excruciating detail reasons why women shouldn't be included in combat. Smith's description of the hardships encountered on the way to Baghdad included:
- men forced to urinate in empty water bottles inches from comrades
- men in the throes of dysentery forced to stand and defecate inches from the face of others
- wearing body suits that caused sores and layers of peeling skin with no source of basic care or hygiene
- going a month in suits that were soon covered in filth and blood with no shower
- lining up naked to be sprayed as a group with a power pressure washer
Phyliss Schafly, a constitutional lawyer who many consider responsible for preventing the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the 1970s once predicted if ERA passed, overnight it would be constitutionally necessary to draft women into the all male military. Today her fears must be magnified.
Schafly lamented to Newsmax, “Lifting the ban is contrary to law and the wishes of the American people. It is an embarrassment to the country."
Obama's departing Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, cursed, “I don’t know who the hell controls Selective Service, if you want to know the truth.” According to ABC News, he added, “Whoever does, they’re going to have to exercise some judgment based on what we just did.”
Today, it's likely many young girls on the threshold of womanhood, who never pictured nor desired a future which includes fighting in a war alongside men, may be wondering if they will be required to put their name in the draft lottery when they turn 18. What is a reason for celebration for some women, may be good reason for fear, for others, if participating in a GI Jane social experiment was not on their "to-do" list.