Drafting Women: A Human Right or an Inhuman Wrong?

September 6th, 2021 - by David Swanson / David Swanson.org & Ken Silva / Epoch Times

New law would force women shoulder the load in the military.

They’re About to Add Women to Military Draft in the Name of Feminism

David Swanson / David Swanson.org

(September 1, 2021) — In some future lovely little war, perhaps with China or some other demonized target, some percentage of the US public may suddenly exclaim: “Hey, since when does a draft include young women as well as men?!” Old tunes will be revised and sung in protest with lyrics about being the first one on your block to have your daughter come home in a box.

The tragedies will be played out in tears and screams and flag-covered propaganda-regurgitating rationalizations. Dead women and men will be thanked for the service of stirring up World War III before being dumped in the ground to rot, as some of the living begin to envy them and wonder about the merits of the service they’ve provided.

But the answer to how this happened will be straightforward. The knuckle-dragging sexist Republicans for their own inscrutable reasons refused to add women to draft registration. So, the good liberals of the United States put the Democrats in power. They didn’t get any value restored to the minimum wage or any billionaires taxed. Military spending went up instead of down — as did student debt. The gestures made in the direction of halting climate destruction we’re grotesquely insufficient. But — by God! — women did get the respect of being signed up to be forced against their will to kill and die for the profits of General Dynamics.

Of Course, That’s IF We Let It Happen

The notion that you have to commit this atrocity against young women in order to respect them is obviously as insane as bombing houses in Afghanistan to spread women’s rights. Draft registration in its entirety can be eliminated for men as well as women. (Things that no longer exist don’t discriminate on the basis of sex.) But that’s not an option a warmongering corporate media system will allow consideration of, any more than it will consider the possibility of nonviolent foreign relations in general.

That doesn’t mean we can’t act without the media, if only to be able to tell our young women and men that we tried. In the words of Edward Hasbrouk,

“In the most important Congressional vote on compulsory military service since 1980, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) will vote this Wednesday, 1 September 2021, on rival proposals either to *suspend draft registration and put the Selective Service System into “standby”* or to expand draft registration in its present form to young women as well as young men. 

 The new ‘Selective Service Standby Amendment’ to the NDAA doesn’t completely repeal the Military Selective Service Act or abolish the Selective Service System, but it would suspend draft registration and eliminate all non-criminal state and Federal sanctions for past, present, or future nonregistration. The Selective Service Standby Amendment is our best chance to avoid having Congress expand draft registration to women.”

The Draft as a Tool for Anti-war Activism

And here’s why many well-meaning people won’t help out with this: They believe that a military draft is an anti-war measure. (The data is not yet in on whether they also favor f—king for virginity.)

The United States had an active draft from 1940 to 1973 (except for one year between 1947 and 1948). It also had numerous wars including in Korea and Vietnam. The Vietnam War persisted for many years during the draft, killing far more people than any US war since.

Wars have usually been facilitated by a draft, not prevented. The drafts in the US civil war (both sides), the two world wars, and the war on Korea did not end those wars, despite being much larger and in some cases fairer than the draft during the US war on Vietnam.

On April 24, 2019, the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service heard testimony from Major General John R. Evans, Jr., Commanding General, US Army Cadet Command; Mr. James Stewart, Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness); and Rear Admiral John Polowczyk, Vice Director of Logistics for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

They all testified that the Selective Service System was important for insuring and enabling their war-making plans. Stewart said that enacting a draft would show national resolve in support of war-making efforts. John Polowczyk said, “I think that gives us some ability to plan.”

ACTION: Here’s a page set up by World BEYOND War and RootsAction.org where you can email your Representative and Senators to end draft registration rather than expand it.

Related Background

14 Points Against Draft Registration by Leah Bolger

HR 6415: The Dumbest Idea in Congress, David Swanson

Statement to the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service, World BEYOND War

Bill Introduced to End Draft Registration, Edward Hasbrouck

H.R. 2509, Congress.gov

S. 1139, Congress.gov

It’s Time to End US Draft Registration Once and for All, Center on Conscience & War, Code Pink, Committee on Militarism and the Draft, Courage to Resist, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild, Resisters.info, Veterans For Peace, War Resisters League, World BEYOND War

It is time to abolish draft registration and restore full rights to people of conscience, Bill Galvin and Maria Santelli, Center on Conscience & War

Draft Registration Will Be Either Ended or Imposed on Women, David Swanson

How to Oppose the Draft for Women and Not Be Sexist, David Swanson

10 Reasons Why Ending the Draft Helps End War, David Swanson

The Last Draft Dodger: We Still Won’t Go, C.J. Hinke

It’s Time. End the Draft Once and for All, Rivera Sun

Women’s Draft? Sign Me Up To Abolish War, Rivera Sun

• Video: Why to End Draft Registration, with David Swanson (at 1:06:40) and Dan Ellsberg (at 1:25:40).

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie.

(September 2, 2021) — After scuttling an amendment that would have effectively suspended military conscription, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) took a 180-degree turn Sept. 1 by voting to expand the [124] draft to [125] women.

House Committee Paves Way for Military Conscription of Women

Ken Silva / Epoch Times

(September 2, 2021) — After scuttling an amendment that would have effectively suspended military conscription, the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) took a 180-degree turn Sept. 1 by voting to expand the [124] draft to [125] women.

The decision came late in the markup of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), with lawmakers voting 35-24 to pass a bipartisan amendment by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) and Mike Waltz (R-Fla.).

 “Women make up over 50 percent of our population, and not including them in the Selective Service is not only a disservice to these women, but also to our nation as a whole,” [126] Houlahan said.

 There was a [127] proposed NDAA amendment that would have put the [128] Selective Service System in limbo, but that proposal was scuttled before the HASC started its markup. Anti-draft activist Edward Hasbrouck told The Epoch Times that the amendment was ruled out of order due to what he called “arcane” [129] PAYGO rules, which prohibit legislation that increases the deficit — though these rules contain numerous exemptions.

 The HASC did not respond to Epoch Times queries seeking answers to why the amendment was killed.

 Hasbrouck said an anti-draft NDAA amendment can still be introduced on the House floor, but he said amendments rarely succeed unless they’re introduced in committee first. The amendment’s author, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), has not responded to questions from The Epoch Times about whether she intends to reintroduce the provision — nor did she say why the amendment was killed, either.

The House NDAA is now in sync with the Senate NDAA in terms of military conscription, with both proposing to expand the duty to women. The policy has bipartisan support, as well as a strong endorsement from the national security state.

“The bottom line remains that neither the nation nor DoD will know for certain what a future conflict may entail, what skill sets will be necessary, or who would qualify for draft induction under specific qualification criteria,” the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service — a body established by Congress to study the issue — said in its [130] March 2020 final report. “Therefore, enabling DoD to utilize all the nation’s talents and abilities is essential to mitigating the risks imposed by an uncertain future.”

However, a motley crew of anti-war activists, civil libertarians, leftists and [131] MAGA conservatives has come out against drafting women.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) co-sponsored a bill earlier this year with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) that would “finally put an end to the expensive, wasteful, outdated, punitive, and unnecessary military draft registration system.”

“We believe that a better way to achieve equality under the law would be to end military draft registration altogether and scrap this needless and expensive bureaucracy,” Paul and Wyden stated in a [132] July 23 letter also signed by Reps. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) and Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.).

But Hasbrouck said he thinks the writing is on the wall: “It’s now overwhelmingly likely that the Fiscal Year 2022 NDAA to be adopted in late 2021 or early 2022 will authorize the president to order women to register for the draft at age 18, starting in 2023 with women born in 2005 and after,” he wrote on his [133] personal site.

 Hasbrouck, who spent about four months in a federal prison camp in 1983 for refusing to register for the draft, wrote that he thinks now is the time to shift focus from congressional lobbying to resistance. Citing testimony from former Selective Service System officials, he said most men don’t comply with the registration rules — and that he thinks compliance will be even lower among women.

 “As I pointed out in my [134] testimony in 2019 to the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service (which invited no draft-age women to testify about whether they should or could be forced to register), ‘Both feminist and anti-feminist women will be more likely to resist being forced into the military than men have been, and more people will support them in their resistance,’” he wrote.

 “There’s a long tradition of antiwar feminism that identifies militarism and war with patriarchy. Women have been an important part of draft resistance movements even when only men were being drafted and when most public attention has been on male resisters.”

Ken Silva covers national security issues for The Epoch Times. His reporting background also includes cybersecurity, crime and offshore

finance – including three years as a reporter in the British Virgin Islands and two years in the Cayman Islands. Contact him at ken.silva@epochtimes.us

References 1

123. https://www.theepochtimes.com/house-committee-paves-way-for-military-conscr

 124. https://www.theepochtimes.com/t-draft
 125. https://www.theepochtimes.com/t-women
 126. https://twitter.com/RepHoulahan/status/1433467641411342338?s=20
 127. https://www.theepochtimes.com/should-the-draft-be-abolished-or-expanded-to-

 128. https://www.sss.gov/
 129. https://budget.house.gov/publications/report/faqs-paygo#WhatIsPaygo
 130. https://www.inspire2serve.gov/reports/final-report#expandRegistration
 131. https://twitter.com/mtgreenee/status/1422218741241233409?s=21
 132. https://hasbrouck.org/draft/HASC-letter-23JUL2021.pdf
 133. https://hasbrouck.org/blog/archives/002618.html
 134. https://hasbrouck.org/draft/Hasbrouck-NCMNPS-25APR2019-final.pdf

Draft Registration and Draft Resistance:
Support the Selective Service Repeal Act of 2021 (H.R. 2509 / S. 1139)
and the Selective Service Standby Amendment to the NDAA:
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