# Registering women for a draft

## Given the current situation, I think that registration of women should

6 vote(s)
19.4%

7 vote(s)
22.6%

0 vote(s)
0.0%

1 vote(s)
3.2%

13 vote(s)
41.9%

4 vote(s)
12.9%
7. ### *Extra question: I'm a woman 18-25 AND I would NOT register even if required

1 vote(s)
3.2%
1. Mar 14, 2006

### honestrosewater

In the US, there's something called the Selective Service System. I think this quote from their website sums up quite well what they do:
Basically, if there was ever a draft, this is the list of potential draftees. More information is available at their website.

Here's their page explaining why women aren't required to register. It's short, and there's no point in me repeating it here.

There's actually an option on their online registration form for females. Why, I don't know. Next to the buttons, it says "(Note: Current law does not permit females to register)". And when I filled out the form with my actual information (I am a 23-year-old female US citizen), I received a message saying "Only Males are required to register with Selective Service". From this and my other reading on this a while ago (maybe someone else can confirm), it seems that not only are women not required to register, women are not allowed to register. That is, if I tried to register another way, say, by mail, my registration would again be rejected.

Here's a link to Rostker v. Goldberg, from which the next two quotes are taken, since SSS's link isn't working for me (and I like this site better anyway). I got from it that SCOTUS just deferred to Congress:
From Marshall's dissenting opinion:
I'm not interested in whether anyone, male or female, should be required to register or whether there will ever be a draft. I want to know 3 things:

1) Do you think the administrative burden of registering women justifies this gender-based discrimination? The best estimates I found:
2) You have a list of women. In the event of a draft, if you need women, draft them, and if you don't need women, don't draft them. Do you think executing this plan would be too difficult for the US military?

3) If women were not excluded from combat service, do you think this gender-based discrimination (registration) would still be justified?

I think it's only fair that if men are required to register, then women should also be required to register. I think it's also fair that if men are required to register, then women who want to register should be allowed to do so. I say no to (2) and (3), but I'm not sure how much money fairness is worth in this case. I mean, I don't like having to listen to some ***** tell me that women aren't equal because we don't fight in combat, but I don't really care what some ***** says anyway. I think my real concern is that they might indeed be merely empty gestures, me registering and them letting me. Do you think this is really a battle worth fighting?

(Woops. Perhaps a mentor could kindly fix the fourth poll option to read "be allowed but not required AND I'm a woman 18-25 AND I would NOT voluntarily register".)

Last edited: Mar 14, 2006
2. Mar 14, 2006

### Bystander

Not really. In the $90/mo. days, yeah. The training capacity is no longer up to handling a draft, the budget can't handle conscripts in "cannon fodder" lots ($100k/a, probably \$200k/a per trained pair of boots by the time anything "big" happens).

Selective Service is as outdated as local ordinances requiring motor vehicles to stop and pull off the road when within 1/2 mile of ridden horses or horsedrawn vehicles.

3. Mar 14, 2006

### honestrosewater

So your opinion is that the discrimination isn't justified because there shouldn't be a SSS in the first place? That is, you think the government cannot satify the burden of demonstrating the importance of the governmental objective it serves?

4. Mar 14, 2006

### Bystander

Not "shouldn't be," so much as useful at one time (probably not ever necessary), and so useless today as to be irrelevant. Fighting SSS is not unlike picketing manufacturers of chastity belts --- there are none, there is no market, and, yeah, it'll attract attention, but not necessarily give the audience the message you wish to transmit.

Read this three times, and still can't understand what you're asking --- or offering as a rhetorical paraphrase --- rephrase, please?

5. Mar 14, 2006

### Dawguard

Discrimination? You think it's a bad thing that women aren't included in the draft? I bet you'd change you're mind if we entered WWIII.
On another point, there are several justifiable reasons why they aren't in the draft. Sure women are capable of fighting, just as much as men, but don't kid yourself. Men and women are different, and that's a fact. It's not discrimination, it's just true. There are certain things men are naturally inclined to, and therefore on the stastical whole, better at. Shooting a machine gun and killing people fit neatly in that category. Conversely there are things women are more naturally inclined to, and therefore stasticly better at, then men. Please, don't misinterpret what I'm saying, I don't think men are better then women and therefore the only ones qualified. If a woman puts cares to she can make just as good a soldier as a guy, but the point of fact is that on the overwhelming whole they do not choose too. To use a draft to force them to fight in a war would just be wrong.

6. Mar 14, 2006

### BobG

Given the current situation where registration is still required for males, I believe women should be required to register, as well. While women are excluded from combat service (meaning direct combat), they are not excluded from just about any combat support role. Finding people to fill combat support roles is as important as filling the combat roles.

In fact, in many of the combat support roles women do fill, the line between "support" and "direct" combat is pretty fine. They generally have less of a chance of being killed or wounded but are still serving in roles where they need to be capable of fighting. (16% of the military is female while about 2% of those killed in Iraq have been female).

GAO Military Demographics
Iraq casualties

Personally, I think the idea of a draft is unworkable. Today's military is a lot more than laying in a trench and firing a gun. Too much money is invested in training to spend it on draftees who would tend to lack motivation and would be more likely to get out of the military as soon as possible.

7. Mar 14, 2006

### honestrosewater

I see the similarities, but a difference is that only one would be, in the eyes of the objectors, unjustified discrimination by their government.
Heh, sorry. That was from Marshall's opinion:
In other words, you don't think that registering only men in SS is an important enough thing for the governmnet to do that it is justified discriminating in the process of doing it?

8. Mar 14, 2006

### Manchot

As long as men are required to register, so should women. You can talk all you want about how men are better suited to killing people, but the simple fact is that as a registered male, my chances of getting drafted (and subsequently killed) are more than doubled because women can't be drafted. That's not equal protection, and is unconstitutional.

9. Mar 14, 2006

### honestrosewater

Yes, I think it is unfair, and I think unfairness is a bad thing.
What do you know about me that makes you think so?
I don't know whether I would ever fight in a war (the idea does upset me at the moment), but I suppose my decision would depend mostly on the war. I don't think I would want to be "spared" solely because I was a woman.
Would you make the same bet if I was a man?
That only men are allowed to register is discriminatory. The question is whether that discrimination is justified or not.
This is only a list of potential draftees. If you don't want to draft women, just don't draft them. That was one of my questions.

10. Mar 14, 2006

### Bystander

Selective Service provides a number of "patronage" positions to fill, just like "Tea Tasters," and one can argue discrimination, but asking congress to expand the "patronage" rolls to redress the discrimination ain't gonna fly, nor is asking congress to trim the "patronage rolls" --- Tea Tasters have been around from the beginning, been regularly put on the block, and regularly spared the budget axe. Is it conscious, deliberate discrimination? No. It's just a matter of saving a few "plums" for a few good friends without expanding the orchard and being obviously greedy.

There are no tax breaks or liabilities associated with being registered. No political advantages, social advantages, some liability to being registered when job hunting (not these days), doesn't look one way or the other on a resume (being graded 4F used to be a problem, but the facilities for the physicals are long gone, so no sweat there).

There's a lot more "good" to be done vis a vis gender discrimination in this country in attacking public schools every time a female gets told she'll never pass physics or an advanced math course --- lot of that going around.

11. Mar 14, 2006

### honestrosewater

One of the arguments that I saw against requiring women to register was that, during mobilization, some significant number of noncombat positions, which women could otheriwse fill, actually need to be filled by combat-ready soldiers, ready to be rotated or something like that. But I think this is irrelevant anyway. When this hypothetical draft occurs, if the military doesn't want to draft women, it can just not draft them. Cross their names off of the list. Problem solved. I am only talking about registration, not drafting.

The problem that I see is that I can't shake the feeling that it's a hollow victory, or an empty gesture. Or maybe it's just that people being excluded from certain positions based solely on their gender -- rather than their ability to perform the duties of that position -- is what's bothering me, and SS registration seems relatively trivial.

12. Mar 14, 2006

### Dawguard

Other then direct combat roles there is nothing in the military then men can do that women can't. It's not that they're not allowed, it's that they aren't requiered. Sure you can say that if men are required then so should women, but we have to deal with reality. Most women would not want to be included in the draft, and I don't blame them. I will continue to say this, that men and women are different. It isn't discrimination to recognize that difference and make varying requirments acordingly. One of those variances is that men are required to register and women aren't. If a women wants to join, fine and dandy, but we can't make her. You may say it's discrimination, I say it's common sense. If you want a completely even and nondifferential world then you have to eliminate the sexes altogether, and that just isn't gonna happen.

13. Mar 14, 2006

### mattmns

Women are allowed to serve so they should be required to register.

14. Mar 14, 2006

### honestrosewater

(Everyone,)
As it said in the links I provided, part of DoD's reasoning is that women are excluded from direct combat positions and most draftees would be filling direct combat positions, so registering women for a draft is effectively a waste of resources. The problem there is that administrative burden hasn't been a good enough reason for discrimination in the past.

From Marshall's dissenting opinion:

15. Mar 14, 2006

### Dawguard

That makes for good bumber sticker arguments, but we need to deal with larger issues and more facts. Tell me why they should be required. I have given you my opinion why they shouldn't be. If you respectfully dissagree, please state why.

Also, I'm not saying I don't agree with it for the same reasons as the DoD. Whether they think it is right or wrong is irrelevant to its state as such.

16. Mar 14, 2006

### deckart

Men fight the wars. It's been that way since the dawn of civiliation. Sure, women are capable but they are, in part, why men fight wars: to maintain our way of life which includes keeping our wives and children safe at home.

17. Mar 14, 2006

### Manchot

They should be required to because men are required to, and not requiring them violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. constitution.

18. Mar 14, 2006

### Cyrus

No it does not, being drafted is not a right. I don't think that we should, as a nation, send our women to fight. Women played a key role in WW2, but were never drafted.

19. Mar 14, 2006

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
My opinion is that women have fought long and hard for equality, and that means equality, not just picking and choosing the things that sound good and leaving out the bad. So long as registering for the selective service is required for men, it should be required for women. If the idea of sending women into battle bothers some people, then maybe it will give them reason to give another thought to whether the battle is really the only solution to the problem at hand. I don't think it's any less appalling to send men into battle for anything other than the most desperate situations where no other solution is available.

20. Mar 14, 2006

### honestrosewater

What makes you think the decision is up to men alone? I think the decision is (ideally) supposed to be up to US citizens of voting age, regardless of gender.
But being treated equally, except where discrimination is justified, is a right.