It’s time. End the draft, once and for all | Rivera Sun

It’s time. End the draft, once and for all | Rivera Sun

We may be months away from ending the U.S. military draft, once and for all. After a court ruled that the male-only draft was unconstitutional, a Congress-appointed Commission has been studying whether or not to draft women into the U.S. military. They make their report in March, and will likely either advocate for expanding draft registration to women or abolishing the draft, once and for all.

Instead of expanding the draft to women, it’s time to end the draft for all genders.

Drafting women is a deeply unpopular idea. For months, people have been testifying against it to the Commission. Even the former director of the Selective Service thinks it’s time to get rid of draft registration altogether. Currently, the U.S. military draft is in a state of dysfunction. For decades, millions of men have refused and/or failed to register. The consequences can and do impact men’s lives, including everything from being barred from government jobs to being denied drivers licenses. This situation is deeply unjust and has been opposed for decades by several generations of draft resisters.

Expanding the draft to women will only deepen its unpopularity and make it even less functional as women join the ranks of draft resisters.

Some people, particularly men, say that if women want equal rights, they should be equally drafted. Feminists of all genders reject this idea. There’s nothing feminist about drafting women. While we support equal access to opportunity and employment in all sectors of the economy, gender equality cannot be achieved by forcing women against their will into the military. Involuntary conscription — for anyone — is an affront to liberty. No one should be forced into servitude against their will. There are words for that, slavery and exploitation among them.

The only moral form of equality is to end the draft for all genders.

Women, specifically anti-war feminists, have opposed the draft for centuries. They have robustly critiqued war and militarism, and continue to do so to this day. In solidarity with women around the world, they refuse to support wars and decry the specific ways that war disproportionately harms women civilians and their children. True gender equality does not mean forcing women to fight wars they oppose. It means including women’s voices — in balance with people of all genders — at all levels of policy making. It means waging peace, not war. It means incorporating the practical and effective tools of peacebuilding, diplomacy, unarmed peacekeeping, civilian-based defense, civil resistance, and more into our approaches to conflict.

We stand at a crossroads. This is a moment where the United States could take a step forward in ending a policy that is deeply disliked and resisted by millions of men. The military draft is unenforceable, unpopular, unsupported, unequal, and unjust. It’s time to call for the end of the military draft. The National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service is soliciting comments on all forms of national service. They need to hear from people urging them to end the draft and draft registration for all genders. Make your comments to the Commission until Dec. 31.

Here are the three main points many people are making:

• Draft registration should be ended for everyone, not extended to women;

• All criminal, civil, federal and state penalties for failure to register must be ended and overturned for those currently living under these penalties; and

• National service should remain voluntary. Compulsory service, whether civilian or military, is in conflict with the principles of a democratic and free society.

Speak up. Raise your voice. This is an important moment, one that might prove to be a breakthrough moment if we speak decisively and urgently. Tell the Commission: it’s time to end the draft for all genders, once and for all.

Rivera Sun, syndicated by PeaceVoice, has written numerous books, including “The Dandelion Insurrection.” She is the editor of Nonviolence News and a nationwide trainer in strategy for nonviolent campaigns.

More in Opinion

Removing Snake River dams unwise

Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson’s $33 billion plan to remove the lower Snake… Continue reading

Congress dismisses U.S. working class Americans

Events on Capitol Hill and the Southwest border are unfolding at a… Continue reading

Getting kids back in school shouldn’t be this difficult

Kids need to be in school. This seems to be an epiphany… Continue reading

Time for BI to open up about Harrison

Bainbridge Island government has some explaining to do. It came to light… Continue reading

Tribes need seat at table regarding outdoor recreation

Already robust levels of hiking, camping, boating and every other kind of… Continue reading

Super Bowl ads: Super expensive, super perplexing

Why would any company spend $5.5 million for a 30-second Super Bowl… Continue reading

Carbon tax may doom recyclers

In 1971, Oregon was the first state to enact a “bottle bill.”… Continue reading

Childish fun — the good kind — needed on Capitol grounds

Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat and D.C.’s delegate in the U.S. House,… Continue reading

Capitol Police subdue insurrectionists who illegally entered the halls of the Capitol Building. (Courtesy of KUOW)
Kilmer at the Capitol: Surviving an insurrection and preparing for impeachment

6th District congressman says American democracy prevailed on a pivotal day in Congress

Hydrogen a replacement fuel for trucks

In the coming decade, European Union leaders are investing heavily in hydrogen… Continue reading

bw
Biden’s benediction for a divided America

Joe Biden didn’t have to do a lot with his inaugural address… Continue reading