Women and the Draft

The draft has been a part of the American psyche almost from its birth. The Colonies required able-bodied men to train and prepare in the militia system. Then in the War of 1812, Madison sought to enact a draft but was met with stiff resistance. Both combatants during the War Between the States felt it necessary to employ conscription drafts to fill their ranks. The draft returned during the Great War. But things changed after this war.

In 1940, Roosevelt signed into law the Selective Training and Service Act. This allowed the Federal government the justification to institute a draft anytime that it deemed necessary. It made way for the first peacetime draft in American history.

This does not even mention the sorted tales of the Vietnam draft. There have been those on both sides of the isle who have spoken out against such practices as the draft. They claim that it is not the practice of a Free State.

But now, there is one more concern.

The Washington Times reports

The top officers in the Army and Marine Corps testified Tuesday that it is time for women to be able to register for potential military drafts now that the Pentagon has opened all military combat roles to female service members.

Now, this should not surprise anyone. Why not military service? What have we not given over to women? If they are capable of fighting in combat, why not draft them too?

The issue has larger implication than just whether or not women should be eligible. The more important question is whether the government should draft anyone at all. How has this power of conscription come to be possessed?

Does the government have the right to force anyone to serve? And why would they have to have such a power?

The only answer that can be conjured is that the Federal Government has voted itself such rights, in clear opposition to it citizens’ right not to serve. But, there are those who have argued this better than I, so I will let them speak.

Rep. Daniel Webster said on December 8th, 1814 in a speech to the House of Representatives

“The administration asserts the right to fill the ranks of the regular army by compulsion…Is this, sir, consistent with the character of a free government? Is this civil liberty? Is this the real character of our Constitution? No, sir, indeed it is not…Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war, in which the folly or the wickedness of government may engage it? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest rights of personal liberty?”

And it seems, at least in my humble opinion, that these questions remain unanswered today.

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