Will Women be Drafted in Rangel’s Army?

This article’s topic was pitched to me before I formally began my duties as Associate Editor at FrontPage Magazine. Charlie Rangel had introduced a bill to reinstate the draft, in hopes of destroying support for the looming war with Iraq. Jamie Glazov sent me an e-mail saying while FPM’s leadership supported reintroducing the draft, it opposed Rangel’s cynical motives. I replied that I would be happy to write an article about the bill, but I opposed the draft. After consulting with David Horowitz, he allowed me to write the article without endorsing the “blood tax.” I’ve always been grateful I was allowed this diversion from the party line. (When the bill was voted down in October 2004, even Rangel voted against it.) — TRW.

U.S. Representative Charlie Rangel’s ploy to hold the Bush administration’s Middle East policy hostage by reinstating the draft got a hearing in the December 31, 2002, New York Times. In his op-ed piece, the 15-term Congressman from Harlem searched desperately for a justification for his stated goal – stopping a war with Iraq. However, his initiative may throw an unseen swerve at the American military: This time, the armed forces may draft women alongside men.

The initial decision to exclude women from the draft seemed obvious: Women could not serve in combat positions. In fact, the 1981 Rockster v. Goldberg case upheld female exemption on the basis of their ineligibility for any active role in the nation’s armed forces; in other words, the military’s “discrimination” against the fairer sex constitutes the only legal basis for keeping women from being drafted into its service.

One man labored mightily to obliterate the grounds for this prohibition: President William Jefferson Clinton.

Clinton seized an overestimated “peace dividend” to reward his progressive constituency for its electoral support. Following the misguided idealism of his radical ‘60s background, he utilized the Defense Department as an instrument of social, rather than international, policy. Early in his administration, he championed tinkering with the military’s cohesion and competence on the twin bases of sex and sexual orientation. Among his first actions as commander-in-chief, he proposed rescinding the ban on open homosexual service in the military, which ultimately devolved into the laughable “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.

The pay-off to feminist groups was not far behind. Clinton Defense Secretary Les Aspin immediately allowed women to train for combat roles involving aviation, such as helicopters. Women were also crowded into naval combat vessels. In 1994, Aspin eliminated the “risk rule,” which had excluded women from positions likely to result in death or serious injury. Each move brought more women to the front lines. Each time, Clinton trumpeted the moves as precursors of a new era of women’s rights and feminist opportunities.

Even these sops failed to satiate those who had long campaigned against the natural discrimination that stems from innate physiological differences between the sexes. Nothing less than full combatant status would please them. Clinton gladly obliged, as national security’s expense. Although Secretary Aspin adopted guidelines barring women from serving in Direct Ground Combat forces, the Clinton administration allowed eight women to receive training in Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target Acquisition squadrons, or RSTAs. Those in the know, whose number did not include Congress, balked at the move. General B. B. Bell wrote that the mission of an RSTA unit “directly meets the Department of Defense definition of ‘direct ground combat.’” President George W. Bush suspended this program last April and reassigned the eight women at Ft. Lewis to gender-appropriate positions. But the damage may be irreparable.

The fruits of Clinton’s policy have been manifest for nearly a decade. Unit cohesion has suffered. Army officers in Maryland have been accused of sexual molestation of their female trainees. Co-ed basic training facilities have led to a rash of sexual activity. Yet fighting still men voice resentment at the increased workload handed to them when a pregnant “combatant” takes maternity leave.

Preparedness has also floundered beneath the glow of tolerance. Drill instructors were commanded to consider sex when evaluating physical fitness tests. As a result, sensitive positions may now be staffed by individuals physically incapable of fulfilling their more demanding duties. Such pedestrian concerns as military readiness did not fit into Clinton’s domestic policy equation – hardly jolting from a man who once admitted to “loathing the military.”

The disastrous policy of sexually integrating the armed forces may have erased any legal exemption barring women from the draft. The modern feminist (s)creed derides any difference between men and women, even those administered by God, as invidious. If men are eligible for a “career position,” then women – no matter how ill-suited for the work at hand – must be eligible, as well.

Not only does this policy ignore the needs of the military (and hence the safety of our populace), but it has transgressed against its own cardinal virtue – women’s choice. Most women have no desire to serve in the armed forces, much less in a combat capacity. They do not relish the “opportunity” to kill another human being, nor the chance to be killed, or sexually molested by enemy captors. Bill Clinton forced the military to accept female combatants in order to indulge the whim of a tiny minority of women. Because the military followed his orders, one day thousands of women may be compelled to march where no one wants to go.

This article originally ran as the lead on Tuesday, January 14, 2003, on FrontPage Magazine.