Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Former female Army officer mentions draft in arguing women shouldn't serve in infantry

Julie Pulley has a now disturbing commentary on p. A17 of Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, “Women in the Infantry? No thanks”, link here. The online title includes, “As a former captain and airborne soldier in the U.S. Army, I’d say be careful what you wish for.”  The conservative aphorism.
The story relates to a debate going on in the Pentagon following the completion of females in Army Ranger and Navy Seal courses. 

But what grabbed my attention was her mention of the 1981 Supreme Court opinion Rostker v. Golberg, which had held that the practice of requiring only males to register for Selective Service (for any potential draft, which has not actually been in effect since 1973) is constitutional. She asks if equality considerations should mean that women should be drafted into the “infantry” at an equal rate. Ask Israel.

It’s interesting that, while she considers the draft unlikely, she is conceding that sometimes mandatory service can be justified, and that there are situations in life where biological gender really matters.  And that’s after decades of progress in equality. But her beliefs molded the world that I grew up in.

I can remember, on my first pass during Army Basic at Fort Jackson, SC in 1968, having been recycled – and then encountering a soldier in AIT from my earlier company, a draftee, and indeed he had “gotten” infantry.  Whereupon I went into a movie theater to see Truman Capote's “In Cold Blood”.

Today, on a day trip to Cape May, NJ (after riding the Ferry from Lewes-Rehoboth), I visited the World War II coastal defense observation fire tower, 72 feet tall, which I climbed.  There were all kinds of military exhibits about American coastal defenses in the early days of WWII.  Civilians experienced blackout and the prohibition of photography.  I hadn’t realized Nazi U-boats had been so close to the shore.

As I recall, Donald Trump got out of the draft, high lottery number and some other little deferment. But he’ll make us strong, he says. 

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