One of the lesser noted moments from Saturday night’s GOP debate was the conversation the candidates had about forcing women to register for the draft now that they’ve been approved for front line combat service. Most of the hopefuls quickly lined up to vigorously burnish their Absolutely No War On Women Here No Sir No Way credentials by saying they could see making such a change. Ted Cruz, on the other hand, while recognizing the valuable contributions that women make in the military, seemed a bit more hesitant. After the dust had settled he commented on it further, leaving little doubt as to where he stands. (Politico)
Ted Cruz on Sunday said he opposes requiring women to register for a potential draft, breaking with Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, all of whom indicated support for opening up the Selective Service to women during Saturday night’s debate.
“I have to admit, as I was sitting there listening to that conversation, my reaction was, ‘Are you guys nuts?’” Cruz said Sunday, speaking at a town hall here. “Listen, we have had enough with political correctness, especially in the military. Political correctness is dangerous. And the idea that we would draft our daughters to forcibly bring them into the military and put them in close combat, I think is wrong, it is immoral, and if I am president, we ain’t doing it.”
To applause, Cruz went on to note that he is a father to two daughters, and he wants them to follow their dreams.
I’m used to taking plenty of flack from around the political sphere over my views on women in combat roles, so feel free to pile on, but I had to resist the urge to stand up and cheer when Cruz came out and said that. At least for the time being we seem to be stuck with new mandates which will allow qualified female soldiers to take on front line combat roles, despite protests from the Marines after lengthy periods of testing. That’s unlikely to change while this administration remains in power and so be it. But the draft?
First of all, the odds of the draft being put back into use are virtually nil at this point. Sure, it’s possible that things could change in some hopefully unlikely, dystopian future, but I hope most of us won’t live to see it. So why increase the paperwork load and expand the system to force young women to register? Besides, it’s not like we’re having any trouble recruiting enough female volunteers for all of the non-combat roles which need to be filled. So let’s move on to the actual combat roles. Traditionally, that was the area where we had the most trouble filling the ranks back in the days of the draft and we wound up conscripting some men for the job. Nobody is talking about putting women on the front lines unless they can pass some extremely rigorous testing and the number who can manage the task is vanishingly small. What point would drafting women serve?
And none of this addresses the fundamental issue of forcing women into combat in the first place. Is there anyone who thinks the political will exists to start pushing them into combat against their wishes? I completely agree with Ted Cruz. This is, for lack of a better term, nuts.