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Chris James

Thr role of women in the military

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​It's coming to a Selective Service office near you. Congress is studying the feasibility of having women 18-26 sign up for the draft.

The moves in recent years to give women an increasing role in military service comes at a time when we have an all volunteer military. The draft has not been used since the 1970's. But many young people see the military as a career, although I imagine the situation in the Middle East has lessened that appeal.

​Not every enlistment leads to a combat position, there are so many support roles available. We have women in positions as fighter pilots, many of them fly the drones used in combat. I guess we need further study on the issue, but I see no reason that they cannot be registered in the draft.

The only people who seem to object to this are current military commanders and their opinions must count for something. What do you think?

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I'm personally all for extending the draft to include women. The "ancient generals" have moved quite far in their programs to extend opportunity to men and women alike throughout the armed forces. (Consider, for example, Arizona's congresswoman who is a retired USAF colonel with combat command experience in the A-10.) Making women register for the draft is an obvious and inevitable part of the program.What has stood in the way of doing so has been a combination of perceptions and realities that are gradually being overcome.

The realities are easy to see. Women - girls - have traditionally not been physically trained and psychologically prepared for the rigors of serving in combat branches of the armed forces. Yes, of course there are numerous exceptions. But as a general rule, the facts stand historically. This is changing in modern times, so the available pool of women legitimately qualified for combat roles has increased. And it's combat roles that are crucial. We would not be striking much of a balance of equality if women got the powder puff roles to free up men for the rigors!

Perceptions are more challenging to overcome. Like it or not, there seems to be a trend among, well, human beings, to want to protect the womenfolk. Although there are always the far-sighted wisemen - er, wisefolks - who see things differently, it takes awhile for change to happen. And change to mindset is even slower than physical change. It isn't just the mindset of the generals, but of the politicians and the very people who elect those politicians to office. And there is no overwhelming demand that draft laws be rewritten to add women.

So bright idea or not idea, it's not likely to overcome resistance anytime soon. In fact, I've seen neither of the presumptive candidates for the presidency take a stand on it. Come to think of it, neither of them served either, despite Donny doing time at a military school.

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In many a revolution or foreign invasion, capable women have often entered the conflict of their own freewill out of a sense of patriotism. This was the result of an on ground invasion.

I don't envision much future conflict on a battlefield as we have known from the past.

Even today, the West just writes a check to pay for proxy armies or mercenaries.

Increasingly, the soldier's role today is, implementation of the bureaucracy, executing logistical tasks and piloting weapon systems. These tasks are gender neutral.

Afghanistan is a laboratory for the next big war. This does not bode well for a future where targets will be dense population centers.

The future war will be executed remotely with the male or female soldier using a joystick. The victims will be thousands of non-combatants.

These are all terrible prospects but they are not far fetched.

The real question is, are women less or more likely to challenge authority if the target is half a world away?

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