Dodging the Modern Draft

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In the past week, the media has been abuzz about a House bill proposing that women be forced to register for the draft with the Selective Service. (The sponsoring Republicans have actually introduced this bill to object to the inclusion of women in all combat roles.)

The discussion seems to be primarily about whether women have the ability to deal with close combat situations and anything else that is demanded in the course of war, or whether men and women should train together in basic training or other military preparations.

This line of thinking, to me, means responding with the question, “Do men have the ability to withstand the rigors of war?” The atrocious veteran suicide rates, for one, certainly indicate that war is incredibly harmful to both men and women. Never mind (and people rarely do) the impact of bombings, shootings, and occupation on the people who are the targets of the US military. And the fact that we all pay for that violence.

As anti-war activists have speculated before, drafting women could greatly increase the ranks of conscientious objectors and raise the profile of anti-war activism. But I’m not getting excited about the prospect. Increasing the scope of the draft also increases the likelihood of more people being forced into a servitude from which they don’t know or can’t see how to get out. Cecilia Lucas wrote in her article for Counterpunch, opposing the extension of civil rights in military service:

“Civil rights would dictate that if a military exists, everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexuality, class or religion, should have an equal opportunity to serve in it. But human rights dictate otherwise. Human rights do not support the equal right of everyone to kill. They support the right of everyone NOT to be killed. (Or occupied and exploited, another key function militaries carry out.) As such, human rights are anti-military by nature.”

Regardless of the draft, we can continue to resist the draft of our tax dollars, oppose the modern draft and Selective Service, and support conscientious objection and war resistance wherever they occur!

P.S. This post was inspired by some discussion in the More “defense” spending on the horizon topic on the war tax resistance discussion list.

Post by Erica