How to Oppose the Draft for Women and Not Be Sexist

For the majority of people in the United States who have no idea, yes, draft registration still exists, but only for males. However, the U.S. House of Representatives is interested in adding young women to the rolls. In fact the House Armed “Services” Committee passed such a measure in April, and it is now part of the National “Defense” Authorization Act pending review, amendment, debate, and passage.

An amendment proposed by Congressman Pete Sessions would undo this “progressive” development. Some rightwing groups that consult the Bible for their standards of women’s rights also want to stop the extension of “selective service” to all 18 year olds. Some peace activists believe that the key to ending warmaking is actually activating the draft in as big a way as possible. And liberal humanitarian warriors want equal war rights for women. Much of the rest of the world, meanwhile, believes the United States has overdosed on military madness.

As a helpful public service, I offer this guide on how (and why) to oppose extending draft registration to women without being a sexist pig.

1. Oppose the draft extension while wearing a Hillary hat.

2. Just kidding. The goal here is to prevent wars, not launch a dozen new ones. Stay principled. This isn’t actually that hard.

3. Join a growing movement backing legislation to end draft registration in the United States for everyone.

4. Take an opportunity if it offers to build an uncomfortably large coalition that treasures young women and views sending them off to kill and die and suffer and commit suicide (top cause of death of U.S. troops) for war profiteers as cruel rather than respectful. Then add the treasuring of young men to the agenda and start treating them accordingly.

5. Respect the fact that young women and men did not live through the era of the war on Vietnam and have not bought into the twisted sense of priorities in which creating a larger peace movement outweighs the damage of creating a larger war. Yes, the draft was a big part of U.S. opposition to the war on Vietnam, but that opposition didn’t stop that war until the U.S. military had slaughtered approximately four million people. No U.S. war since the ending of the draft has done remotely as much damage. The purpose of a peace movement should be to abolish war, not to enlarge the budgets of organizations in the peace movement by facilitating much larger wars.

6. Respect the fact that young women and men have grown up in a political system so thoroughly corrupted that you’ll never convince them that a draft would be applied fairly to the children of the elite. It wouldn’t.

7. Honor the men and women who died resisting the draft. When voting rights are threatened, when elections are corrupted, and even when we are admonished to hold our noses and vote for one or another of the god-awful candidates regularly placed before us, what are we reminded of? People bled for this. People risked their lives and lost their lives. People faced fire hoses and dogs. People went to jail. That’s right. And that’s why we should continue the struggle for fair and open and verifiable elections. But what do you think people did for the right not to be drafted into war? They risked their lives and lost their lives. They were hung up by their wrists. They were starved and beaten and poisoned. Eugene Debs, hero of Senator Bernie Sanders, went to prison for speaking against the draft. What would Debs make of the idea of peace activists supporting a draft in order to stir up more peace activism? I doubt he’d be able to speak at all through his tears.

8. Help find young women and men career prospects outside the machinery of death. Help create the universal right to free college. Repair the unfairness of the poverty draft and the stop-lossing of troops by giving young people alternatives and ending the wars. When we end the poverty draft and the actual draft, when we actually deny the military the troops it needs to wage war, and when we create a culture that views murder as wrong even when engaged in on a large scale and even when all the deaths are foreign, and even when women are equally involved in the killing, then we’ll actually get rid of war, not just acquire the ability to stop each war four million deaths into it.

9. Build a movement with women and men from around the world to create a global treaty banning all military conscription for all people.

10. Build a movement to abolish sexism, racism, environmental destruction, mass incarceration, poverty, illiteracy, and war.

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  • Ministro Gomes

    I totally disagree, whenever somebody peddles mens rights they are told to man up, now that someone proposes for women to “walk a mile in our shoes” you want us to chicken out? Let them die and suffer and commit suicide so that everyone can realise how bad men have had it in the wars and actually stop wars
    Also equal rights in family courts which really don’t exist

    • Brockland A.T.

      The history of feminism is a little more complicated than that, but suffice it to say the feminism of elite women of whiteness, the Hilarys of the security state, do not intend to live below the very high and comfortable standard of privilege they are accustomed to.

      No matter how many poor and middle working class women have to suffer bleed and die alongside poor and middle working class men, of whatever race, the privileged elites of feminism will not walk one mincing step in the tawdry shoes of ‘the other’ women even as they pretend to represent them.

      The Equal Rights Amendment failed in 1976 precisely because women who worked for a living at a conventional job or as housewives didn’t all fall for sisterhood garbage. After all, was it really a victory to have the right, if not expectation, to have a career away from home plus keep house? Not really, at least not if that job wasn’t a high-powered, high paying professional job that allowed for nannys, maids and private schooling.

    • Jenna D

      “Also equal rights in family courts which really don’t exist”

      And using your logic, they SHOULDN’T exist.

      Equal rights necessitate equal prerequisites, right?

      Then why do men deserve equal rights over their children if they didn’t give birth to them?

  • Brockland A.T.

    End the draft. Period. Make it the core headline issue.

    The most important point, number 3, was phrased in milqueoast-speak and followed by unnecessary clutter that would follow from successful implementation of point 3.

    Men and women already volunteer in large numbers for military service anyway; ending the draft should be the number one most paramount issue of importance.

    End the draft. Then deal with the ‘economic’ draft.

  • Joel W

    While involuntary conscription (slavery) has exactly zero place in a so-called free society, women want to be equal to men (or so they say, we all know they want special rights and privileges) so what’s fair is fair. Either nobody can be conscripted or everybody can be conscripted.

    • gamesjon

      To be fair Mr. Swanson is a pretty avid anti-war activist, he runs the co-created the site that is now called http://warisacrime.org/, director of World Beyond War, as well as writing like 3 books against war. So I would bet everything I own that this has absolutely nothing to do with women and everything to do with him not wanting anyone to be conscripted, male or female.

      • Joel W

        Oh I agree with you about him. Its just that every article or mention of this seems to be pushing the wrong issue (more engineered chaos between the sexes) instead of the real issue, which is eliminating it altogether. We need to stop letting “them” frame the discussion and get to the reality of things is all I was saying. In all things, not just this.

    • Jenna D

      Old people want to have equal rights & fight against ageism. Should they have to sign up for the draft too in order to get equal rights? (Don’t say “older men already signed up,” some men arrived in the US when they were older than drafting age.)

      The fact is, if you want to win a war with as few casualties as possible, you send your most capable fighters. Those are young men.

      • Joel W

        The fact is, you don’t send anybody anywhere to fight a war. That is called aggression. And old people aren’t begging to be in the military with special privileges, but if they were they should have to as well (you’re argument has zero basis in logic by the way, but I like to play along). Bottom line is conscription is wrong, regardless of sex. But since its there and women want in, they MUST be obligated to sign up based on any interpretation of ‘equal protection under law.’ As for your last paragraph, you just verified every single argument against women in the military. Yes, absolutely, without a doubt, men are much, much more capable in combat, which means, based on your logic, women have exactly ZERO business being there. Your words, not mine.

        • Jenna D

          Women aren’t begging to be in the military, either. Most women don’t want to be in the military.

          Anyway, YES, elderly people HAVE begged to be in the military:

          https://books.google.com/books?id=TaeLtr0_NsQC&pg=PA40&lpg=PA40&dq=ageism+military+draft&source=bl&ots=qHdD3smnVf&sig=7dPWaYa1TQLCo8btFij32Qq8edM&hl=en&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwjfktvZufzNAhUKOD4KHYlABBAQ6AEIPDAG#v=onepage&q=ageism%20military%20draft&f=false
          “The ageism of the draft law…frustrated some older men. ‘In my opinion…there are plenty of people about the 40 to 50 age limit right here in Chicago simply aching to get into action.”[…] J. Wohlfarth…wrote to the New York Times in 1917 to complain about the “absurdity”…since he was “physically able” despite his more than 55 years of age… After all, “Some men are old at 40…some are young at 60 or even 70.”

          • Joel W

            Well you got me then. Maybe a few, but there is not a huge push for them to do it because after a certain age, your physical abilities diminish, also putting others in danger.And if you agree women should not be in combat, then what is the point of this. My point was there should be no draft for anybody, and that women shouldn’t be in combat, so what are you trying to prove here?

          • Jenna D

            Women’s physicAL ability is also weak compared to men’s, thereby putting others in danger

          • Joel W

            Yet again, arguing I point I already made. why are we doing this again?

        • Jenna D

          And yes, I agree, women shouldn’t be in combat

  • Is something blocking readers from making it as far as point #3?

    • Brockland A.T.

      Point #1?

      Hilary may be to close and too real to be funny for a lot of people. There just no distance at all.

      Point #2 doesn’t take the edge off; many readers are probably diving into their drug of choice.

      Point #3 is the only one that could be decisively proactive, but its wording hides the point; End the Draft.

      The rest of the points are lost in the buzz. ZZZzzzzzzz. We all value the lives of our productive young men and women, in uniform and out and want a better. more peaceful world. It need not be said, especially since pro-war propaganda has repeated it insincerely so often, the words have to be tuned out to protect their meaning.