Justice has been served, kind of. Men are still forced to register for selective service upon turning 18, but the Senate has decided to drop the version of their Defense Bill that would have (for the first time in American history) forced women to also register for the draft.
Earlier this year the GOP controlled legislature with complete support of the Democrat Party moved forward with plans to require American girls to register for the draft, just like their male counterparts. The only opposition in Congress to the rule change came from conservatives who argued that the notion of women being drafted into combat ran counter to everything our nation has stood for for over 250 years. (Some conservative and Libertarian-leaning members of Congress also argued that any version of a military draft is unconstitutional and immoral.)
“Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree that taking care of national security is more important than running up the score in unnecessary and divisive culture wars,” said Senator Sasse. “Rather than reflexively jumping into a heated debate about drafting our nation’s mothers, sisters, and daughters, we should consider the fact that the greatest fighting force in history—our Armed Forces—is an all-volunteer fighting force and no one is urging Congress to change that. As the Conference Committee negotiates the National Defense Authorization Act, Congress should task an independent commission to study the Selective Service System and determine if it even needs any expansion.”
While the Defense Bill that included language that would force women into the draft initially passed both chambers of Congress, conservatives never stopped fighting.
Conservatives pushed House and Senate negotiators to drop the provision, arguing that requiring women to register was putting “culture wars” above national security.
Led by Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) and joined by Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) (as well as many other conservative leaders) the conservative wing of Congress was finally able to derail the draft.
Here’s what Senator Sasse had to say upon learning that women would not be forced into the draft:
“Defense bills are common in Washington but, this year, the big story is that both sides will put national security ahead of unnecessary culture-warring. This is a victory for common sense. It’s encouraging to see Congress do its work instead of jumping into a fight about drafting our mothers, sisters, and daughters when the military isn’t demanding an end to our all-volunteer fighting-force. Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree that keeping our defenses strong is more important than needlessly scoring points on divisive issues.”
While it may have taken some time, I’m glad the Senate finally got this right.