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Drafting Only Men for the Military Is Unconstitutional, Judge Rules (nytimes.com)
171 points by yasp 29 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 283 comments

We haven't had the draft since 1973. What's in question is registration for the draft in case we ever decide we should need it again. I think this is largely a moot point, since we're well into the information age, and identifying all American citizens of a draftable age is likely pretty easy whether they are registered or not.

I suppose the draft doesn't necessarily have to be for military service for a war with other countries.

For example, if we learned that something large was on a collision course for the earth, we might have years to prepare to deflect it, or to build shelters, or something along those lines, but I can absolutely see a mobilization being necessary.

Of course, there's no legitimate reason why we'd mobilize men and not women.

There is no legitimate reason to draft anyone.

People aren't your slave. It doesn't matter that there might bad consequences if there is something 'to be done'.

If you don't respect human beings as individuals in the first place, we already lost.

I feel like "the human race will literally be wiped out if we don't all pitch in" is a perfect example of a legitimate reason for the draft.

If you benefit from a society, then you have a certain degree of responsibility to that society. I personally don't think the draft is defensible for anything less than an existential threat to the nation, but the popular notion that the government shouldn't be able to make you do anything you don't want to is silly.

If individuals would rather not participate in a society, with all responsibilities and privileges thereof, there are many alternatives to choose from.

And the path to doing so is quite clear: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/legal/travel-lega...

If you mean unpaid labor, then that's not how drafts work, but I'll assume you mean forced labor.

I've seen the same argument used regarding taxation.

I'd argue that people have duties and obligations to their government, just as a government has duties and obligations to it's citizens.

So I absolutely believe that the government has a right draft people to defend the country. Drafting people just to wage war to advance our interests I have a lot more qualms about.

Do you think slavery is fine then? If compelled labour in the military is permissible by you because people have 'obligations' to the government? What is a government except as an entity to ensure people's natural rights are not infringed. And we are somehow obligated to be slaves to this entity?

I understand there may be a need for compelled labor by the government, in a time of war or national emergency.

Am I okay with it?

I think that depends on whether it's a defensive war or a real national emergency. China invades, or yellow stone's super volcano erupts, yeah, those are legitimate reasons to force humans to cooperate, because survival is at stake. Vietnam type situations, or the Border Wall thing... I'd be protesting a draft.

U.S. law and supreme court precedent both say that a draft is not slavery, but I understand your opinion, or definition of slavery, may differ.

I also believe quarantine laws for infectious people are valid, that police should be able to arrest violent criminals, etc. Basically, I believe if your actions or failure to act endangers the health and well-being of others, then the government has a legitimate interest in compelling or restricting behavior.

Most people would consider providing for the national defense and preserving the lives of citizens to be part of what a government does.

>preserving the lives of citizens

this is completely false. a war is never about killing citizens but about imposing political will. without a defense, the occupier would simply impose their political system on the occupied. a government, being a political entity, is only forcing people to DIE so they can maintain their political hegemony over some people.

That’s just false, since a lot of times political will involves killing civilians. For example: Stalin, Mao, Andrew Jackson

I frankly agree with Robert Heinlein's attitude towards military service. Voluntary, but with the caveat that if you choose not to serve, you do not earn the right to vote.

You might enjoy reading his 1973 address to the naval academy. http://www.phrost.com/blog/society/the-pragmatics-of-patriot...

I like his books, but I don't agree with his ideas.

Forced labour and slavery have little in common, for one you do not own the children of your employee.

> What is a government except as an entity to ensure people's natural rights are not infringed.

People cannot eat freedom nor warm up in the cold with rights. A government intended purpose is the continuation and stability of a country/culture/society. This does not mean that anything is fine if it is for survival nor that citizens are expendable.

> What is a government except as an entity to ensure people's natural rights are not infringed.

If the nation is under existential threat by a tyrannical invader and there aren't enough volunteers for an effective defense, should the government stand by and allow everyone's freedom to be lost permanently?

>If the nation is under existential threat by a tyrannical invader and there aren't enough volunteers for an effective defense,

Why is the existence of a particular political entity more important than the lives of people?

An existential threat to a nation doesn't mean the people that live there are all going to die. It simply means that a political entity will stop existing. Thus a draft is trading human lives for the potential continued existence of a political entity.

That's why I said "tyrannical." You said a government's paramount purpose is preserving the natural rights of its citizens. What happens when the only way to accomplish that is war? That does happen in real life.

I think the draft (and war in general) is a bad thing and we should do our best to avoid it. But sometimes you have to pick the lesser of two evils.

> And we are somehow obligated to be slaves to this entity?

Nope! You can voluntarily renounce your citizenship at any point.

Not really, h less you have another citizenship. If that’s the only option to avoid forced labor, it’s not a real option

"Slavery" is both a narrow term and a broad term. In the narrow term, it applies property ownership laws to people.

You want to use it in the broadest of senses, including for purposes which the ILO Forced Labour Convention of 1930 excludes, listed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unfree_labour .

You are of course free to do that, but I believe 1) it downplays the horribleness of, for example, chattel slavery in the US by equating it, among other things, being obligated to jury duty, and 2) you haven't said what isn't slavery.

Most of use are wage slaves. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wage_slavery

> The abolitionist and former slave Frederick Douglass initially declared "now I am my own master", upon taking a paying job.[31] However, later in life he concluded to the contrary, saying "experience demonstrates that there may be a slavery of wages only a little less galling and crushing in its effects than chattel slavery, and that this slavery of wages must go down with the other". ...

> [Marx:] The slave is sold once and for all; the proletarian must sell himself daily and hourly. The individual slave, property of one master, is assured an existence, however miserable it may be, because of the master's interest. The individual proletarian, property as it were of the entire bourgeois class which buys his labor only when someone has need of it, has no secure existence.

There have been several wars where the slaughter of men was so extreme that the countries involved would have collapsed if the women were slaughtered as well, because the population could not have rebounded.

I heard long ago (sorry, no reference) that the average French soldier was a couple inches shorter in WW2 than in WW1, which was attributed to the male slaughter (though I suspect that food shortages were a more likely cause).

In France and Germany, after WW1 and WW2, it became commonplace for the women to marry foreigners and old men. I don't know if that happened in Britain as well.

Baby booms are common after the end of terrible wars. I read once that people were copulating in the streets of London after the WW1 armistice was declared.

The USSR faced significant challenges to their social fabric following WW2 (The Great Patriotic War) that last to this day. About 14% [0] of their total population was killed in the war. As mostly men were killed over women, that means about 1/5 to 1/4 of all males died in the conflict, all about the age where they were about to reproduce and have/start families. This affected Soviet society in very drastic ways. The edits of 1936 and 1944 outlawed abortion, made divorce very difficult to achieve (including fines), provided for paid maternity leave, and increased payments to unwed mothers [1]. They even gave out medals for mothers of 10+ children with monetary rewards [2].

Anecdotally, from friends of mine who are Russian women, there was such a durst of men that keeping any man became a very large challenge. This shock to the marriage markets fundamentally changed the culture. To this day, with Russian male life expectancy still low [3], Muscovite women will 'dress to the 9s' at all times, as a matter of course. The saying is akin to: "any man is a good man, as long as he's your's"

The changes that WW2 gave to the Russian family still echo.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties#USSR

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Family_in_the_Soviet_Union#Fam...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_Heroine

[3] https://www.google.com/search?q=male+life+expecatny+russia&o...

While I suspected this happened in the USSR, I had no information. Thanks for it!

How would that work? If there were 80 women left and only 20 men would the expectation really be that the remaining men knock up 4 women each? That doesn’t seem like it would ever fit our social norms and seems like a completely unimportant point.

In 1871, only 12% of Paraguayans were male due to massive losses in war. Women were happy to share men in order to have babies.


> Women were happy to share men in order to have babies.

That not supported by your source.

My answer is perhaps too facetious, but I think mostly supported by the link. In particular:

So, what about dating? It's not difficult to see a continuation of pre-war Paraguayan society in this regard. Back then, there were less men than women. After the war, this was still the case. Women were still commonly the head of the family and births out of wedlock were a common occurrence, something that was also the case in the pre-war society.

There is essentially no research into the exact numbers and status of these children born out of wedlock. All that's really known is there was essentially no stigma at this time due to being born out of wedlock:

This is unfortunately where, as Pottshast herself points out, documentation fails us. We don't know. In fact, the documentation in general considering how many of these children were born is not entirely known. With the mother being the identifiable stable force in the family, it seems that identity was tied to the mother rather than the father as in the case of children born out of wedlock. A lack of stigma could therefore be seen as a continuation of pre-war Paraguayan society.

Social norms tend to get suspended when mugged by reality. In your scenario, given no other supply of men (foreigners, old men) I would expect polygamy to become tacitly acceptable.

Nah. It works by men having much better negotiating positions in relationship, men being able to cheat and women tolerating that else he leaves. Or by boy putting girlfriend into situation where she either have sex or he leaves for another. That sort of thing.

People respond to incentives, both genders.

Men outside of mandatory service ages can father children.

As I mentioned, that indeed does happen. But there are downsides to that, too. Older fathers are a risk factor for abnormalities in the offspring.

The young, rich and well-connected won't get drafted or will get perpetual deferments. I'm certain they will be willing and able to play their part.

the social dynamics of mating would change a lot in that scenario, along with social norms. when the supply for a male partner to procreate with drops that drastically, while the demand from women remains the same, things we consider "normal" would change to reflect those new pressures.

Certainly this would be less of a stigma considering 75% of men would be gone.

War baby booms have nothing to with population variations.

It’s all about being away from loved ones and cut off from sex for long periods of time. This is readily observed in both male and female behavior. I am basing this upon myself and the hundreds of people I have personally worked with during my four military deployments.

I think it's deeper than that. It's not just the soldiers who feel the urge to procreate at the end of wars. And it has been quite common during wars for soldiers to have readily-available sex (that the term 'camp follower' exists would seem to illustrate this point.)

But it seems to be a natural human tendency to want to create new life in response to the threat to existing life. I always liked the line from Rent, "The opposite of war isn't peace, it's creation" because it captures that peace is the neutral territory between the destruction of war and the creation of trying to fix what was broken. When the pendulum swings towards war, its return path will swing past peace and towards reconstruction, in all its forms.

How the heck would men dying make the next generation of men shorter?

Armies typically have minimum (and sometimes maximum) heights, to ensure soldiers will fit into uniforms and standardized gear. The US Army, for instance, has had a minimum height for men of 5' 0" for a long time.

If those who are drafted are killed in really vast numbers, a disproportionate share of the children in the next generation will be fathered by men who were not drafted, including those who were too short.

Aside from that, height has a selective disadvantage during times of trench warfare. You don't want to be a 7' tall man trying to duck in a 5' trench.

Is it possible that taller men were selected for the first war? (I have no particular position on this, but if we're asking the question, let's think seriously about it.) World War I and II were about 20 years apart, so it seems just barely plausible that, if soldiers from the first war did not pass on their genes, and taller men were selected as soldiers, then the average height might have decreased based on genetic factors alone.

That was the theory. The fittest were selected for combat, and as they got ground into hamburger the less selective the drafting went.

For a similar example, initially WW1 pilots were selected from the nobility. Once those got massacred, the various Air Forces had to abandon that idea, and allow commoners in. The subtext of the movie "The Blue Max" was about that transition.

(The life expectancy of a British WW1 RAF pilot was 6 weeks. There's also a movie about that, "The Dawn Patrol".)

This also happened to the officers, which ended the notion of officers being restricted to nobility.

Easy - kill more tall men than short men. The offspring of the remaining men will be shorter.

It's like how fishing for big fish makes the remaining fish population shrink over time.

Foreign countries had lack of men too.

Equal rights mean equal opportunity and equal responsibility.

Agreed. Expanding the military draft to include women came up in 2016 as well. In 2016 Republican representative Duncan Hunter introduced an amendment to include women in the draft. Unfortunately his amendment was not a good faith attempt to address equal responsibility. He proposed the amendment as a joke, thinking that the left would never vote for it, and therefore demonstrating that the talk of "gender equality" is all hypocrisy.

It turned out that the amendment actually had broad support among Republican leaders and women in both parties. However, it was fiercely opposed by conservative law makers. Hunter ended up voting against his own proposal (he is a vocal opponent of women serving in combat). The amendment ended up being stripped from the final bill in a procedural move.

It seems that there is a lot of support for including women in the draft both on the Democrat and Republican side. It's disappointing that in 2016, instead of having a genuine conversation about equal responsibility, the amendment was proposed to mock the idea of women being drafted, and to make the idea of gender equality seem hypocritical.

Here are some relevant news articles on the topic from 2016:



I do share this "equality" sentiment, but I think there's a valid counterpoint in that only women assume the risks and responsibility of pregnancy and childbirth. Society depends on women putting their bodies on the line to produce more members of society. There quite simply isn't a way to equalize this burden between the sexes for the foreseeable future. Some people see a male-only draft as a means to artificially balance this biological inequality.

EDIT: Point out another group's reasoning that hasn't been mentioned yet, get downvoted. ???

For all the "forced impregnation" replies, forced impregnation isn't analogous to the draft. The draft and pregnancy are fundamentally different things that can't be made equivalent. The argument being cited here never implied that this would be an equivalent exchange. It's not.

I would be fine with pregnancy & child-rearing responsibilities being a valid reason to avoid the draft.

Of course, in the interest of equality, both parents would be eligible for the child-rearing exemption but only one parent would be allowed to claim it.

In some ways, the reasoning I cited above might simply be shortcutting a system like what you've described (via binning by biological sex). Simpler rules, but less comprehensive.

But once the child is born, their is little reason the parent who gave birth to be the one to provide care. It should be the family's decision who gets the post-birth exemption.

I think that makes sense for the average case. How would you work this out for divorced couples with shared custody? Also, any consideration for stuff like breastfeeding? In times of war, formula could become scarce.

> there's a valid counterpoint in that only women assume the risks and responsibility of pregnancy and childbirth

> The draft and pregnancy are fundamentally different things that can't be made equivalent.

If they are fundamentally different and can't be made equivalent, then having a male-only draft in no way compensates for women having to give birth. Which directly contradicts your first statement that it is a valid counterpoint.

Many things can't be made equivalent, yet we try to "balance the scales" anyway. If you get assaulted then sue your assailant for damages, that monetary compensation isn't going to be equivalent to the physical and psychological damages you sustained.

If we try to "balance the scales" by completely removing them from one side, can they truly be refered to as balanced?


Yes, they are equally indefensible and horrible. Luckily both of them no longer happen in the west since quite a few decades.

You can regard both as detrimental to equal human dignity in different ways.

For most of human history you had exactly this. Women having little means to control their reproductive status (treated as property, no concept of marital rape), and men being forced to partake in the wars of their tribe/nation/state.

As society expands the rights of the individual over the utilitarian needs of the collective, both become less tolerated by society.

People here are mixing up the concepts of registering for the draft vs actually having a draft. Ending the SSS would just eliminate the registry, NOT the possibility of a future draft. Conscription has already been ruled constitutional, and there are a million better ways for the government to look you up today than a partially complete registry of where some people lived when they were 18.

Ending the Selective Service System is certainly an option. It's unlikely the US will need a mass draft any time soon, and if it did need to draft young people (or just men) in large numbers, it wouldn't be all that difficult to assemble lists of them through other records. Just use high-school records, or drivers licenses or census lists.

Perhaps it's unconstitutional, but there are biological reasons why across all cultures throughout history (as far as I'm aware) men are the ones who are sent to war.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but the idea of being okay with sending my mother, or daughter onto the battle field is more unethical than treating the different sexes as if they have biological differences.

If women want to apply, then fine, but I do worry about a society whos men are willing to send their women to war.

Female warriors in a variety of cultures fought alongside with men, or lead people in battle. Some have disguised themselves as men (such as during the US civil war), whereas others have served openly. There were certainly some bad ass women during WWII ( http://mentalfloss.com/article/30254/8-female-fighters-world... has a few examples, plus there was https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lyudmila_Pavlichenko the russian sniper credited with 309 kills, which makes her the 16th deadliest sniper ever).

And women serve in combat in multiple countries, and have for decades in some. The US is rather late to the party, many countries have allowed women in combat roles for decades. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women_in_the_military_by_count...

But even in societies where women didn't themselves fight, women often provided logistical support, as well as working in factories, shipyards, an other places to produce materials for war.

I see this argument all the time and it's so flatly wrong.

You are describing maybe 10% of the tail in terms of physical performance being on par with their male counterparts. And you're also describing _total wars of exhaustion_, where literally everyone had to fight because otherwise it's extinction. These are not arguments in favor of women in combat roles as policy - they're merely observations that Total War forces everyone to fight. Should we also draft kids because soldiers as young as 12 were fighting at Stalingrad?

When would a general draft be justified except when we are facing an existential threat?

In the event of an existential threat to the US I don't think we'd stop at just women. Anyone who is able bodied and can carry a weapon might have to fight.

There are degrees of existential treats. Compare "China and Russia try to nuke the US" with "Mexico tries to get California back" or "the UK is invaded and the US helps".

Citation please.

I'm not describing total wars. Canada, for example, has had women in combat roles for 36 years, and not because they were fighting for the country's survival in the early 1980s.

And even if your un-cited 10% figure was true, and most women couldn't fight as infantry because of a lack of upper body strength, there are combat roles such as being pilot where physical strength is of limited importance.

But it's not true, and it seems you are disparaging female veterans and their contributions.

Even if there weren't women combat roles( and a big part of this decision is because there are such roles now, since 2015) a draft could still bring in women as doctors, administrators, analysts, logistics officers and other roles, because the military isn't just about combat, it's a vast coordinated enterprise.

This argument is such a joke. I’ve seen combat and I’ve seen females in the military. Upper body strength is just one variable of many. I find it really bizarre that Americans are advocating for our ground forces to take on more complexity with gender integration at a time when we still can’t figure out how to beat insurgents that don’t even have the same hardware as us.

Ask yourself this: the ostensible “villain” (Russia) is doing the opposite of us with their Infantry units. Ask yourself why.

They're not making an argument about whether women are on par with men in terms of physical performance. They're making an argument along the lines that it's not abnormal for women to be conscripted along side men.

The determination for duties that would be performed based on physical fitness is to be had after conscription.

There are plenty of roles that don't require much strength.

> Perhaps it's unconstitutional, but there are biological reasons why across all cultures throughout history (as far as I'm aware) men are the ones who are sent to war.

Those conventions predate modern technology. There are obvious reasons why the Roman Legion was entirely male. (In terms of upper body strength, the bell curve for men and women is almost completely disjoint, with the top 10% of women overlapping with the bottom 10% of men.)

Those rationales apply less and less as military technology evolves. There is no obvious reason why fighter pilots should only be men, or Navy gunners, or army helicopter pilots.

> If women want to apply, then fine, but I do worry about a society whos men are willing to send their women to war.

Israel seems fine.

>Those rationales apply less and less as military technology evolves. There is no obvious reason why fighter pilots should only be men, or Navy gunners, or army helicopter pilots.

so a war broke out and half of your fighter pilots got pregnant and can't fight anymore.

That is only a slightly less stupid argument for why women can't fight than the "women get irrational for several days every month" argument.

If you're worried about them getting pregnant, provide access to contraceptives. This is only a problem in the minds of people grasping at every possible straw to prove women can't do something they've successfully been doing at scale for decades.

As a geniune curiosity, what is the distinction between your son and your daughter that makes you prefer sending one over the other? (assuming you have both a son and a daughter)

I'm not a parent but if I had kids I can imagine not wanting any of them to go to war.

I can think of two things:

1. Women are on average physically weaker (I hope this is not controversial) and therefore are much more likely to die in hand-to-hand combat or just plain not be able to carry the gear soldiers have to carry today, let alone another soldier.

2. After a war of attrition women are crucial to population replacement, due to biological limits on procreation frequency, whereas men have much greater "fanout", and you don't need that many of them, even if you're concerned about inbreeding.

That said, I do think women should be draft-able, for two reasons:

1. Women too can be "strong enough" for combat

2. There are lots of non-combat roles

And to anyone who says there can't be another WW2-style war, I bet people said the same in the aftermath of WW1. And yet, here we are.

1. Set the criteria based on abilities, not gender.

2. WTF? When has that ever been important? What sort of situation will we get into where scores of millions of women will die, where they wouldn't die if there wasn't conscription or volunteering, and where we don't have nuclear Armageddon?

WWII wasn't simply a do-over of WWI.

>> When has that ever been important?

Most recently, after WW2. 20+ million Soviet people died in the war, mostly able bodied men. If it were mostly women, that'd permanently decimate their population. I imagine any kind of mass casualty-WW3 scenario would be only worse. Weapons are a lot more deadly now than they've ever been. For the time being the most devastating varieties are constrained by peace-time treaties and such, but if a war of attrition were to break out, it'd all be back on the table in no time at all.

And there's no such thing as "volunteering" when dealing with meat grinders like WW1 or WW2. Easily 90% of people who go to war do so very much against their will. A good number of soldiers are executed at the front lines for "cowardice". Imagine yourself having to get out of the trench during a Verdun or Stalingrad style slaughter. You (and I) would need some _serious_ motivation to do so, and definitely wouldn't "volunteer" for any such thing.

Several objections come quickly to mind.

1) We know that Russian women volunteered for the military, and fought, and died fighting. ("There were 800,000 women who served in the Soviet Armed Forces during the war,[1] which is roughly 3 percent of total military personnel." says https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_women_in_World_War_II )

If women can't be drafted, because it's better to preserve their wombs for population replenishment, then why should women be allowed to volunteer?

2) Since Soviet women did volunteer to fight on the front lines, and even as partisans in German held territory, your statement "there's no such thing as "volunteering" ..." is wrong.

3) People can be conscripted without being ordered to the front for direct combat.

They worked pretty much exclusively in non-combat roles. Medics, cooks, various other service personnel. There was an occasional sniper here and there, but there were hardly any women fighting on the front lines otherwise. I grew up in the Soviet Union. To this day in Russia war is not perceived as something women should participate in. It is perceived that way _by women_, as well. In Russia, war is not something abstract, people still remember.

Two points:

1) By using the phrase "there's no such thing as "volunteering" when dealing with meat grinders like WW1 or WW2", m0zg denies that any Soviet women volunteered to fight on the front lines, or as partisans in German held territory. Quoting from Wikipdia:

> Manshuk Mametova was a machine gunner from Kazakhstan ... Mariya Oktyabrskaya and Alexandra Samusenko were tank drivers. Tatyana Kostyrina had over 120 kills and commanded an infantry battalion in 1943 following the death of her commander and a majority of the staff.

> The 1077th Anti-aircraft Regiment ... fought during the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942 ... like many of the anti-aircraft units, was made up almost entirely of young women volunteers, barely out of high school. They are mostly known for their bravery in the defense of Stalingrad (now Volgograd), when they engaged an advancing Panzer unit by setting their guns to the lowest elevation and firing them directly at the advancing tanks.

The fact that there were relatively few such women doesn't detract from my point that they were volunteers, making m0zg's statement simply wrong.

The earlier argument was that women shouldn't be drafted into the military because their wombs need to be ready for post-war repopulation efforts. My question again is, if that is a valid argument, why should women even be allowed to volunteer? And my follow up is that women can be drafted without being ordered to fight on the front lines. .. eg, as service personnel.

2) You write "perceived". How much of that perception is due to propaganda? In the US, post-war propaganda de-emphasized the importance and competence in doing what was previously considered "male" jobs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_women_in_World_War_II#W... suggest a similar effect in the USSR.

> 1930s Stalinist propaganda promoted the image of women in the home, caring for their families. This ambivalent conception of women's role in society parallels the state's attitude towards females in the military; women's patriotic duty did not include combat until it became absolutely necessary. Even when the efforts of female soldiers could no longer be ignored, state propaganda concealed the full extent of their participation.[24]

> Propaganda concerning female soldiers often functioned to preserve male societal dominance, portrayed them as motherly and sisterly figures, an image more consistent with women's role in Soviet society. Furthermore, propaganda emphasized that women joined the army for patriotic reasons, such as protecting the fatherland or avenging dead relatives. These commendable motivations explained women's ability to kill in combat, a phenomenon that contradicted established gender roles.[25]

> The Soviet state resisted the deployment of servicewomen, using propaganda to justify female combatants after they became necessary.[26] Conze and Fieseler argue that once women soldiers were no longer needed, they stopped appearing in the media. The state prevented female soldiers from marching in the Moscow Victory Parade. The gains of servicewomen towards female emancipation were ignored after the war, and the state encouraged women to return to their duties at home.[

There isn't even a Russian article for that article in Wikipedia. You're the one reading propaganda, not me. Communist state propaganda was the very opposite to "women at home" propaganda. Women were portrayed as working at the factory, in the field, and in general as equals of men. In fact it very much reminds me of the feminist propaganda you see in the US today. The state decimated by revolution and civil war needed all the workforce it could get. In the 30's "women not dying in a war" was common sense, not propaganda. I don't get why it's not common sense to you in 2019.

Everyone knows about Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya in Russia (well, maybe not current generation, but my generation for sure), and about the occasional sniper or pilot. That doesn't change the fact that women were a tiny minority of the forces in combat, and that is how it should be, because women are demographically far more precious than men.

Consider that children also volunteered, and served on the front lines and as partisans. It was a tiny percentage but there were probably more of them there than women, and more than enough to fill up a Wikipedia article. Surely you aren't going to argue that children should go to war just on that basis?

Oh, yes, I'm certain that I'm reading propaganda. My country has all sorts of propaganda about its own history. I think all countries do. Including the USSR. I also know that that propaganda changes over time. So since you think you aren't reading propaganda, I don't think you are skeptic enough.

My question again is, if women must not be conscripted in order to save their wombs for postwar repopulation efforts, why should women even be allowed to volunteer?

If women can volunteer, why can't they also be conscripted? As I point out, conscription doesn't require that everyone see combat duty.

I already pointed out that the percentage was tiny. I quoted "roughly 3 percent of total military personnel", and the source describes that many of them were medical personnel, not combatants. But there were volunteer combatants, and my point was to show that you were wrong about the non-existence of volunteers.

I think "people not dying in a war" is common sense. How about "avoid wars". My country - I am a US citizen - loves going to war. It's been at war for 93% of its existence. I can only conclude that my view isn't that common.

The US also has a history of children lying about their age in order to volunteer in the military. But I don't why we should compare the decisions and actions of adult women with that of minors. (To be clear, the US allows 17-year-old minors to join the military with parental consent. That's how my wife enlisted.)

In the US, which is currently an all-volunteer force, woman can volunteer for combat duty in the military. Children under 17 cannot. The question is, since adult men are required to register in case there is a draft, why shouldn't adult women also be required to register?

Even if there is a draft, it doesn't require that all or even most women must fight in hand-to-hand combat, or other places where they are physically unqualified to work.

> that'd permanently decimate their population.

why? one woman can have 5+ children. so even if you had a 25-fold decrease in population, you can repopulation in a few generations. Why would that result in 'permanent decimation'?

Because mostly healthy and young (suitable for fighting) would be killed (or wounded in a way that compromises reproduction).

>WTF? When has that ever been important?

People who don't understand why this is important have a view of history that doesn't go back beyond the 20th century.

Rather than accuse me of ignorance - falsely, I might add - wouldn't it have been easier to just list one example?

I think it's less being old fashioned and more the idea of what we think gender roles should be or indeed are. While there is doubtlessly an advantage in terms of efficiency in men fighting wars, due solely to physical strength (as far as I understand it), we get gender roles being an issue as soon as we start saying that women need to be protected and shielded - see for instance the degree to which we speak of "women and children" - to many, although they might not want to admit it consciously, they fit very snugly into a category together as something vulnerable.

The other aspect of gender roles here is the idea that women ought to stay away from battle because they should be raising children or doing housework - to me this reads simply as another manifestation of what feminists since the 60s at the latest have been arguing against - the separation of women into the private sphere of life. There isn't much reason I can see why that should be further carried over to the matter of war.

In the end, I'm sympathetic to your concerns, but I must admit they are almost entirely ideological ones, based on new rationalizations of ancient ideas of 'the fair sex' and influenced by modern attitudes towards masculinity and femininity.

There are two good papers on the topic of women and conscription and their actual experiences in places where it's practiced (e.g Israel):


https://digitalcommons.law.msu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?refer... (see section V, "Analysis" on whether women are "different" enough to be exempt from conscription).

> The other aspect of gender roles here is the idea that women ought to stay away from battle because they should be raising children

From a survival standpoint, it's not about raising the children but creating the children. Men went to war and the ones that came back fathered all the children of the next generation. Even heavy losses in battles wouldn't really affect the ability to grow the tribe's population that much. And the fathers of that new generation would be the strongest and most able to survive combat.

A good example of this is Paraguay, which lost about 70% of its male population back in the 19th century in a war with its neighbors. But the population recovered in the course of 1-2 generations because the women mostly survived.

But in militaries that aren't going to experience the kind of staggering losses that Paraguay's forces did and in societies that have no shortage of population like ours does, the policy of sending only men to war makes less sense.

I worry about a society that sends anyone to war. Its completely unethical no matter who it is you send.

Pacifists can exist because someone has fought for their right to be a pacifist.

Not into defending yourself or your country? You sound idealistic at best.

I think we're talking about sending people to war against their will, i.e. the draft.

What would you would do if you were attacked by another country? What if your peaceful trade partner was being attacked? What if there were a genocide occurring in another country?

I'm willing to have a draft if everyone on the draft roll gets veto power over whether or not the war happens. I think your questions boil down to, "what if you were drafted to fight a war that you would have volunteered to fight anyway?"

What are the reasons to attack? Mainly for resources and religion. Resources was solved by better global trade, religion is mainly in decline.

>What if there were a genocide occurring in another country?

How does a military solve this? Create an even bigger genocide?

I would think a military solves a genocide by preventing it. Reading the news or history would provide many examples of genocide being stopped by military action.

Is it safe to assume you would have opposed the US entering the war in Europe in World War 2, because there was a genocide happening but the US couldn't do anything but cause a bigger one?

A society that wouldn't send/draft people to war is one that doesn't care about it's existence.

What about a society that cares so much about its own existence that people volunteer?

At least that way the people affected get to decide what happens rather than being tools in some pointless political dick waving contest.

I'm very much against war but if there was impending danger locally I would sign up to sit near the beach and shoot down any danger coming my way.

It will be interesting to see whether draft exemptions will be granted for new mothers or pregnant women, and how people react to any such rules.

In the past, there were exemptions for pursuing higher education, and (not surprisingly) many people went that route. I would guess that people would do the same to avail themselves of a motherhood exemption.

Speaking from experience, you could tell which Brigade on post was deploying soon because a lot of the females all of a sudden became pregnant. We ignore these things at our own peril.

What country was this in, and when?

US, 2012.


Sorry, I can't interpret this; are you missing a verb?

I think the main reason men get sent to war traditionally is because all wars are started by men. Only men are stupid and angry enough to start and continue wars.

Forcing anyone to go to war or to some sort of slavery (such as mandatory civil service) itself is unethical, plus I can not see any reason why the idea of being okay with sending my father, or son onto the battle field is in any way better (or worse) than doing so with my mother, or daughter.

In the forces there are:

a) Plenty of roles for women to do that don't involve the kind of 'direct combat' type scenarios we may have concerns over.

and b) That they are effectively just as good as men.

Only a small portion of fighting forces actually 'fight'.

The argument remains 'should women be in front line combat' - but my point is that in reality, it's kind of moot. We don't even need that kind of debate in order to have women broadly in the forces.

So if women get drafted, they will mostly fill non-combat roles and push more men into combat roles? Jesus, no thanks.

Why would the total number of draftees increase?

That's how things are now. Presumably, if there were a general draft, then the situation may be different. I don't know if it would ever be as awful as the Normandy invasion but I wouldn't rule it out as a possibility.

I'm not actually taking a stand on 'women in combat' one way or another at all.

I'm saying that for 90% of roles 'gender doesn't matter' really. So it's 90% a 'moot point'.

Without taking a stand on the issue ... I believe that in reality if there were a relatively major conflict today, women would be getting close to the lines but not on front line units for the most part. Pretty much every other role they would do.

Vaguely related question. Should a draft begin, and you’re not keen on shipping out to the front lines. What could you do to avoid that that isn’t illegal? Say I have a lot of experience in something that I would think the military would make better use of like ML. Is the move to sign up pre emptively to do that? Or would you assume to be assigned to such a role if capable?

Probably your best bet, given that there’s no college loopholes or similar, is to work for a DoD contractor like Lockheed. Active Duty doesn’t need ML experts (and active duty has little control over their assignments, so you’ll just as likely be configuring networks on the front lines.)

Be the average american male who is too fat and medicated to serve, or be in a skilled job that is important to the war effort.

Do keep in mind that 90% of the jobs in the military aren't fighting on the front lines so chances are, you would be some support clerk.

Poor vision, as well, is becoming a serious problem for recruitment.

I believe if you volunteer, you have more input into where you're assigned, and if you have a valuable non-front-line talent that would factor in as well. So if you can't find some way to avoid it entirely, then I think volunteering before you're drafted would serve best.


You can also pursue higher education.

I don't have answers for what choices you have once you've actually joined the military.

You could become a conscientious objector, and it’s even possible to get out of the military this way (my father did).

Unfortunately, the Selective Service does not recognize conscientious objectors when there is not a draft so it’s hard to get that status now.

The selective service certainly recognizes conscientious objectors! They mark them for "special attention" [1]

1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad_Ali#Vietnam_War_and_r...

They do, but it's only possible to apply for CO status when drafted. You can not become a CO when registering with selective service. https://www.sss.gov/consobj I know because I tried.

Bone spurs

I'm amazed at how naive a lot of the comments in this thread are. You can hop over to other corners of HN or Reddit and you have people convinced that WWIII is around the corner, or the rise of China is going to lead to a hot conflict in the Pacific again, or that migration and refugee crises will continue to dominate political discourse and cause other security problems. I don't think it's controversial to state that we've returned to the regular flow of history and Great Power conflict.

But a lot of what I'm seeing here amounts to discounting the importance of this because the "likelihood" of a draft is low, or the usual (wrongheaded) arguments about how because the percentage of people in the military who actually fight is low, so adding women to selective service requirements isn't a big deal. Serious countries don't think like this - especially a country that, allegedly, is supposed to shoulder most of the global security responsibility. You don't get to make hand waivey dismissals and still expect peak performance from these huge complex organizations, nor do we get to put off thinking about it because we think an event like WWIII is "unlikely for a while". On what time horizon does it have to be "likely" for us to have to actually engage with it? 50 years? 20? 10?

I don't think we've thought deeply enough about this at all, and frankly I don't view the prospect of my daughter or sister being drafted into a war as "progress".

> I don't view the prospect of my daughter or sister being drafted into a war as "progress"

Neither is the prospect of only drafting men.


Norway and Israel have female conscription. Are you really trying to say that those countries are full of hipster cafes and only populated by naive people?


> As of 2013, countries that were actively drafting women into military service included Bolivia,[58] Chad,[59] Eritrea,[60][61][62] Israel,[60][61][63] Mozambique[64] and North Korea.[65] Israel has universal female conscription ...

> After a law passed in March 2003, Tunisia became the first Arab country to universally conscript women.

> In 2015 Norway introduced female conscription, making it the first NATO member and first European country to have a legally compulsory national service for both men and women

Greetings from Tel Aviv. There are many, many hipster cafes in Israel! Try one of my favorites:


Norway and Israel always come up in these debates. In Norway it's national service - not necessarily direct military conscription. That's something I'd be willing to entertain. Israel is different, since one could argue they have a constant existential threat on their border and it makes sense to have a deliberate military requirement in place. They also side-step the gender integration issue by having all-female units, which isn't what happened when changes were made allowing women in combat roles. I'd still be against this.

Since you know about this topic already, please explain how your quip about "hipster cafes" and "complete naiveté" is a valid or meaningful description.

Regarding "all-female units" in Israel, I'll point out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caracal_Battalion :

> The 33rd "Caracal" Battalion (Hebrew: גדוד קרקל‎) is an infantry combat battalion of the Israel Defense Forces, one of the three fully combat units (alongside the 'Lions of Jordan Battalion' and the 'Cheetah Battalion') in the Israeli military that is composed of both male and female soldiers. ... While Caracal is a mixed gender battalion, it has been 70% female since 2009. It is part of the 512th Sagi Brigade of the Southern Command.

As an Israeli, I'm not sure the IDF has even a single all-female unit. Most of the service is quite definitely fully integrated.

You appear to have no idea of what you're talking about here.

Was there an actual idea in there?

"The prospect of only drafting men is not progress" is an empty, meaningless statement. You probably don't like the idea of the draft at all, and that's fine, but it's naive. If we don't make deliberate choices about this then they get made for us.

Norway and Israel are not melting pots. It's not the same, their conscriptions are colored by race or religion.

Israel very much is a melting pot. Yes, only Jewish people are drafted. But that includes a wide variety of backgrounds - people whose families are from the Middle East, Russia, Ethiopia, the West (particularly recent French immigrants)... The drafting class takes people who grew up in completely secular homes and in religious homes. There's an ongoing political battle over whether to draft people from ultra-Orthodox backgrounds. Additionally, there are some ultra-Orthodox volunteers, as well as volunteers from the Bedouin, Druze, Circassian, and Christian and Muslim Arab minorities.

Indeed, the IDF is what forges an "Israeli" identity within the melting pot of Israeli society.

And it's okay to draft my son and brothers?

Don't be a whiteknight.

There was one occasion in my life where Selective Service registration mattered. I applied for a 911 operator job for a large urban county and it was a question on one of the many stacks of application paperwork. It was on a questionnaire with others like have you ever used marijuana, have you ever lied to your parents, how many traffic tickets have you received.

Most of a year later, after a detailed background investigation that included questioning old friends and people in the neighborhood, they offered me the job. Can't prove it, but I got the feeling they wouldn't have unless I had registered for the draft, denied smoking pot, etc. The registration record was used as a test for lawfulness by that law enforcement agency.

Ladies, you might want to keep that in mind if you think you might ever want a government job or a security clearance. Your choice will be remembered.

Most likely it's not just a test. Even though it's a county government job, the Feds probably made it a requirement to receive federal funds so it's enforced on state/county/city levels too.

The USA should use this opportunity to step back and re-think whether registering for the draft is needed in this age. The whole draft registration program is simply a waste of millions of dollars a year.

This pretty much guarantees we'll never have a draft in America again for bullshit reasons like Vietnam if it's upheld by the Supreme Court.

Drones and robots fight the future wars.

Mandatory military service would alleviate so many social problems in the US.

* people from different backgrounds and walks of life would live and work together at least once in their lives.

* people would recevie excercise and discipline training at it's most basic form.

* there wouldn't be a caste of people that serve in the military from one generation to the next.

* a lot more people would be exposed to the world outside of the US

* exposure to different types of work and training opportunities can alleviate labor shortage issues.

* last but not least, unity! America is dying as a result of extreme social fragmentation. I'd bet a lot less people would see issues as affecting the country as a whole as opposed to their "tribe" this way.

Look at how the society is in countries with mandatory military service (S. Korea,Switzerland to name two)


The majority of the developed world has no mandatory service, and "look at the society" in all of those places, many of which border Switzerland that you mentioned as an exemplar. Are Iceland, the Netherlands, or Canada violent hellholes of tribal insularity? No, and they didn't need conscription. Meanwhile there are plenty of horrible places with mandatory conscription, per the maps on Wikipedia.

You can't magically make people love each other by putting them in proximity or the middle east would not currently be on fire.

Particularly in America, mandatory conscription would be a fantastic way to get people to resent the government more than they already do, which is probably currently at an all-time high.

Finally, you go serve if you want to, but it's tyranny to tell other people what they have to do, esp. when you're talking about many months or years of their life. What's next, mandatory church? Wouldn't that also be great for society, according to some opinions. Church attendance, also, is extremely high in South Korea, are you sure it's the conscription and not the Church responsible for the society you admire?

Your comparisons are all off.

Iceland, the Netherlands, and Canada are much smaller and more homogenous than the US which greatly reduces tribalism. And proximity alone isn't the point, it's about working together and sharing a higher purpose while learning discipline, teamwork, leadership and other valuable social skills.

There's also a massive difference between church vs state. Serving your nation isn't exactly a high price for the privilege of being born in the US.

There aren't any diverse, developed nations of 330 million to compare to so I used the nearest proxy.

Ah yes, the great privilege of no healthcare, stagnant wages, the worlds highest incarceration rate, and largely nonexistent public transportation... and I'm to pay for this privilege with mandatory military service and perhaps cast carelessly to my death with no say in the matter.

Strong sales pitch. If I don't like it, it'll cost me over two months of minimum wage to file the paper to renounce my citizenship.

That's tyranny. If it were such a privilege, conscription would not be necessary, since people would join up for their great nation that they love and that loves them back. That's not where we are, though, is it?

Lastly, I mentioned the church because it's yet another thing some people think ought to be mandatory for the good of society.

Everybody has an opinion about what everybody else ought to be doing.

They don't work as proxies when they're so different.

Healthcare is available. Incarceration rate won't affect you if you're not a criminal. Wages are the only serious issue and more related to global trade and changing industries than any country-specific policy. There are far worse conditions in other countries but my experience has shown people who list these complaints usually do not have any understanding of the plight of billions of poor around the world.

Nobody likes to pay taxes either and won't willing do so if we didn't have laws and enforcement, but it's obvious that it's needed and positive.

Yes, everybody has opinions. That's irrelevant to this discussion. If you really don't like staying in this country though, please do leave. Why would you stay? There are plenty of ways to raise the funds to move and renounce your citizenship, ironically many of which are way harder in other countries.

Healthcare is available, yes, and so are gold-plated Lamborghinis -- these both apply to a certain class (not the same class, mind you, but there is an economic floor here).

Minimum wage is about $1300/mo, good luck paying rent and health insurance with that and not starving. Good luck paying rent and food and power on double that income and still being able to afford even remotely decent health insurance.

As for incarceration...

When everything is a crime, everyone is a criminal. Famous lawyers are writing books about that. https://www.amazon.com/Three-Felonies-Day-Target-Innocent/dp...

If you don't think just about everything is a crime, then you're uninformed. You probably committed a felony when you violated a website TOS today.

I have no problem with taxation as a concept.

Everyone says "if you don't like it leave", but that's a bluff -- until 2010, it was free to renounce your citizenship, and in 2010 it became $450. Four years later, it became $2350. If more people leave, it'll go up again. We say it, but we're afraid of people actually doing it.

I won't renounce my citizenship, but I do think it's silly for us to pretend we want people to do it when we provably don't.

You are stretching everything to such absurd levels that you effectively have no argument. Not everything is a crime and enforcement makes all the difference.

Nobody is afraid of people leaving the country famous for individual liberty, it's just administrative cost. You're attributing another reason without any evidence. And really, why blame the fees as if that's what's really keeping you here. Get your visa, move your stuff, and then worry about the renouncing when it matters.

Perhaps we can have free and automatic citizenship renunciation and revocation for failure to register for service, would you take that deal?

First not sure why you picked on Church but I believe attendance in S. Korea is much lower than in US. No,I don't think people should be forced to Church but you're making a terrible strawman argument with that.

The military is part of the Government. If the country is invaded you will be required to serve and even kill people. Mandatory service is no more mandatory than taxes or jury duty with respect your rights and the governments authority.

I didn't say lack of mandatory service was the cause for tribalistic divide in america,I merely stated it as a solution. Forcing people to seve together will not automagically make them like each other but it fosters opportunity to know each other better. It makes citizens be sevrvants of their country so that everyone takes politics,war,elections and the government as a whole something they took part in building as opposed to a corporation they pay bills in tax form to and complain about like politicians as if they received bad customer service.

Well, they would be unified in their hate of government. Maybe that’s better than unified in their hate if each other.

One does not exclude another. Quite the opposite. E.g. in the USSR conscripts formed "gangs" based on ethnicity to fight with other ethnicities (not unlike prison gangs in the US) and hated government mostly because they perceived their own ethnicity being oppressed in favor of others (and not just in the service).

And the Soviet Internal Security army was adept at using ethnically-homogenous units to suppress populations for whom they had disdain or antipathy. Siberian units would be used in Georgia for example.

But many things about the Soviet forces were utterly broken so I don't know if they serve as useful case studies.

Incidentally it'd be good if we could eliminate 'not unlike' as a phrase in favour of 'similar'.

I did not know of any ethnically homogeneous units (at least after the war, there were local units in the early USSR), got any sources for that? Sending recruits near their home generally was not allowed though was possible through connections but most people went far away from home and the unit's location had nothing to do with the unit's composition.

The US is much more diverse so I don't see how you are going to dodge the issue there. Even sending everyone near home will cause the same issues since the local population is already diverse.

> The majority of the developed world has no mandatory service, and "look at the society" in all of those places, many of which border Switzerland that you mentioned as an exemplar. Are Iceland, the Netherlands, or Canada violent hellholes of tribal insularity?

It seems like many of those countries did have compulsory conscription until very recently. Couldn't find any info on Iceland, but the Netherlands phased it out from 91-96, France from 96-01, etc.

Crucially they had it during the period where the most important social reforms were made, so it may back up OP's point.

New Zealand hasn't had conscription in 50 years and it's also a model society, as is Canada.

Australia is less of a model society, and Japan is culturally homogenous (so maybe you could argue its the homogeneity that begets unity), but neither are bad places to live and neither have conscription.

Europe survived two of the largest, deadliest wars in history within living memory, so of course they recently had conscription and were rightly worried about letting it go.

However, the argument that conscription begets unity is weak and deeply flawed, as is proved by these diverse island societies and Canada, and those are off the top of my head, there are many more proofs.

America, the most powerful hyperpower in the history of mankind... doesn't need mandatory peacetime conscription for any remotely conceivable military reason.

So, if we've shown that we don't need it for either reason, just "some guy's opinion", then I think this argument is resolved.

> New Zealand hasn't had conscription in 50 years and it's also a model society, as is Canada.

New Zealand had compulsory military service from 1909-1972, a period which saw a lot of social reform including the creation of social healthcare. Au, NZ, Canada, US and UK all had conscription during the great wars, so maybe a better framing might be why did Aus lag and US avoid the social reforms? They seem to be the biggest outliers and I know for Australia at least it was more about the domestic political situation (a divided left wing), maybe for the US it was because they were undergoing other big social reforms, like racial equality.

Of course a lot of that could just be timing and competition, but have there been countries performing a lot of social reform (healthcare, welfare, equality) in periods well outside periods of mandatory service?

> So, if we've shown that we don't need it for either reason, just "some guy's opinion", then I think this argument is resolved.

You're assuming there aren't more reasons. Having people trained with a lot of practical skills along with some discipline and fitness are some other positives.

Having people trained in practical and outdoor skills is indeed a benefit to society at large, I agree there -- but I think you can learn this in school, getting kids out of the classroom more often would probably be a huge benefit to everyone involved.

I mean, we do already have kids captive to be taught for over a decade, and a lot of that is repetitive.

There are many other ways to achieve these goals that don't involve mandatory military service, and the benefits of these don't outweigh the costs, risks, not to mention loss of human liberty.

Do you have any examples? Are you thinking about California Conservation Corps types of things?

Maybe if there is a "civil service" arm of the service where you still go through basic training but serve in a social service department.

"not to mention loss of human liberty."

That liberty is only made possible by those willing to step up and do their civic duty.

If there is going to be a 'service' and there has to be in 2019, then it makes much better sense for everyone to serve.

The issues, to me are when we get into 'unneeded' interventions etc..

Perhaps people could 'chose their corps', because there'd surely be a lot of medics, non-combat Engineers, IT etc. volunteers.

Sweden, notably one of the most socialist countries on the planet does this out of obvious necessity: Russian on their doorstep. They stopped mandatory service and then re-started it again.

"and the benefits of these don't outweigh the costs, risks"

What costs and risks? To you? Or to the nation? It might actually be a lot cheaper. And I don't see any endemic risks in having everyone serve a couple of years.

On the other hand, violent conflict is terrible and contributing to these conflicts is, from at least my moral standpoint, not a good thing to do. And then after you deal with the morality of this, you get to the horrible causes of all these conflicts which can usually be traced to either rich people/companies and their {oil, gas, gold, etc} or religious conflict. Count me out of this tyvm.

Some sort of motivation for civil service would be pretty sweet though.

A different perspective: maybe there can be less violence if you and everyone has to take part in the military. Maybe unneccesary wars can be much more politically difficult to start if everyone knew what the military is like and they could be called upon to take part.

You can be counted out but someone else will be counted in to start those conflicts. Soldiers are not mindless but if only those who like soldiering join then you have mostly soldiers that follow most orders.

Violent conflict is one of the most fundamental interactions between living creatures. It is terrible in the same sense that death and taxes are terrible, but that is no reason to shield people from the social customs surrounding death, or the payment of taxes.

If conscription is analogous to tax, then it's analogous to a poll tax, which is equally immoral, and rightly resisted by many people. See:


Yeah but...taxes don't kill people. Warfare is pretty clearly not like taxes.

No, but taxes, like killing people, are unavoidable in any society of non-trivial size and complexity. You can’t have a country without taxes, just as you can’t have a country without a military. And once you have a military, why shouldn’t everyone participate at some level for the common good, just as everyone is forced to pay taxes for the common good?

Isn't there a pretty vast gulf between something that's unavoidable and something that should be actively encouraged?

Without making any further analogies to litigate, isn't it pretty straightward that we shouldn't encourage a thing just because it frequently happens?

Responding to your edit...I'm not really following anymore. Taxes are necessary and mundane. Warfare is mundane, but it's not obvious to me that it's necessary. Therefore why not get all the individual benefits of military service without joining the military?

> Warfare is mundane, but it's not obvious to me that it's necessary.

Warfare's not strictly necessary, but your adversary gets a vote as to whether it's desirable.

Mandatory military service doesn’t encourage more war, which is the bad thing you want to discourage. It encourages broad participation in preparing for and participating in war when it happens.

Taxes don't kill people in the same way that an aggressively expansionist country doesn't cause wars - if you resist, then force is applied to at at least the level necessary to ensure your compliance, up to and including lethal force.

A person pays their taxes and they aren't arrested. If they don't resist that arrest, they'll "only" be imprisoned. A country gives up land to their stronger neighbor and they aren't attacked. If they don't resist that annexation, they'll "only" become a vassal state.

I can't tell if you're agreeing or disagreeing with me?

Unlike other creatures humanity can control the course of evolution and change our very natures. I say if we can control it we should aim for betterment rather than let the natural outcome dictate our path.

Civilization goes through a form of natural selection the natural outcome is for our civilization to die and a another one to take its place. Betterment is not a criteria for natural selection, survival is... and if cavemen replace a technological civilization because of survivability then we have lost from a cultural standpoint.

Aim for something better.

On the contrary: what politician in their right mind would vote in favor of a senseless, needless war? No matter what district or state you're from, the people voting would remember that you sent their kids into a war zone. In a generation, most voters would have served and be able to recognize a bullshit war.

Iraq would have been a political impossibility.

Do we really need a Vietnam for every generation before you learn the damned lesson?! People protested, people ran to Canada, people shot themselves in the foot, and the unlucky ones died in a jungle for literally nothing. If you want to wax rhapsodic about a pure fantasy at odds with thousands of years of history, maybe this isn’t the site for it. At the very least please at act like you’re aware of more than a few decades of history.

History is full of conscription, and far from leading to less war it correlates with endless warfare. The term “cannon fodder” isn’t new!

Maybe? A lot of people at the time believed that the war in iraq was bullshit. There were major protests almost a full year before we actually sent troops in.

The modern military doesnt really contribute that much violence nowadays as society has never been more at peace than ever before. If you look at the numbers there has literally never been a time when the number of conflicts have been so low.

The military nowadays is more of a subsidized project building unnecessary war machines to help the economy keep moving and to show off. I mean look at the f-35.

If you truly want to contribute to killing and violence the special forces arm of the military is where it happens.

Some violent conflict is still a nonzero amount of violent conflict...

And seeing as the f35 has been used in active combat, I wouldn't feel comfortable being forced to be an engineer at Lockheed either.

People who make cars are responsible for more deaths than the F-35. There's more blood on their hands.

If you make an F-35 you are making a tool to further the machinations of the military industrial complex not a killing machine as everyone knows the F-35 is a complicated disaster of engineering.

Agreed. However, as a military officer I think this a bad idea.

The US military is actually somewhat small considering the size of the population, so a mandatory draft wouldn’t apply widely enough for the mentioned benefits to materialize in a meaningful way for social change.

It would also change the internal social nature of the military by filling it with people who don’t want to be there. In addition to being a part time military officer I am also a senior developer at a really big bank. The disciplined young people in the military seem substantially less entitled than some junior developers I have worked with. In the military I can choose to raise performance standards for the people I manage, but in the civilian world if you try that people will bitch and go get a different job.

I heard most recruits join for the college money anyways? When the country goes to war,it's this class of people that fight and the rest of the country that doesn't take part just stands from a distance and thanks you for your service. Mandatory service can change how the country thinks about war and external conflicts.

Actually a very small number of those who serve utilize the benefits they have earned. Mandatory service would create a whole new environment, and likely eliminate everything listed by OP. So while I wish people could have the opportunities I had serving, it just would not work on a massive scale.

The relevant question is how big must a draft be for that change to realistically occur?

Mandatory service isn't draft. It's "before 22yrs old,you must serve 2yrs in the military or civil service" which would rotate a few hundred thousamd "soldiers" each year (probably 70-80% of soldiers).

It would create a shitton of problems too.

* Young people dying for causes they don't believe in and didn't volunteer for.

* Absolutely massive opportunity costs for each individual pressed into service.

* Dramatic expansion of the US military, which is already far too large given our real defense needs and our military strength compared to teh rest of the world.

* Significant economic drag as money and time is diverted away from productive ends toward largely wasted military training. You'd be surprised at how little non-military utility there is in knowing missile destroyer subsystems.

* Labor shortages!? Try diverting ~5% of every able-bodied person's career to military service.

> Look at how the society is in countries with mandatory military service (S. Korea,Switzerland to name two)

Look at how society is in some other countries with mandatory military service! Myanmar is fucked. North Korea is fucked. Russia is fucked. Israel is semi-fucked. You have seriously cherry-picked some of the highest functioning examples out of a set that is not obviously better or worse than the overall population of countries.

This is the biggest waste of time in Iranian society.

This is literally government mandated slavery. The current system already incentives you quite a bit to join the military for all the perks you get once you're done.

I'm honestly surprised the top comment is advocating for something that goes against every core value of the United States.

No, it is not "literally" slavery. It would be nothing like slavery as practiced in the United States. Slaves were property; traded like cattle, killed / lynched without justice, desecrated - left hanging on tress, burned in public. In fact they were not even allowed to serve in the military.

These are not properties necessary for something to be called slavery. In Sparta for example slaves were public property rather than private property and could not be traded, in addition to that they were forced to serve in the front lines of the military.

> lynched without justice

While probably not lynched I do not think that you will have a lot of justice if your superior is pissed with you in the military.

Yeah your superior can really ruin your life if you're not "obedient"

Right because slavery that existed in the United States is the only true definition for slavery?

You're forcing people to do work. What happens if someone says they don't want to do this civic service?

"that goes against every core value of the United States."

This is upside down, but maybe an understandable perspective for someone who is from (or very familiar with) a totalitarian state?

"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" - JFK

Civic duty is absolutely a 'core value' of the US, and most other successful nations.

I'm constantly amazed not only at the level of civic cynicism among large swaths of people, but also that so many don't seem to grasp that our social systems are utterly dependent on civic duty, not self interest.

Civilizations are not made by Mark Zuckerbergs, they're made by your mother, father, brother, neighbour, guy down the street - all doing their jobs responsibly and effectively, and being good citizens irrespective of what the laws are.

The country has money. Pay people for this civic duty. You want to help decrease crime and low jobs? Pay people to do public works.

We have a crumbling infrastructure. This isn't going to be solved by having a boy scouts system of free labor.

Pay people out of high school to do work for the government and for the cities they live in.

"The country has money. Pay people for this civic duty. "

'Civic duty' is not a 'job' - it's the responsibility that every citizen has to be conscientious and to consider their acts in the context of the greater good.

Also, you fail to consider that many acts of civic duty transcend notions of 'money'.

How much would you have to pay someone to risk their life for your little startup's capital shares?

Imagine the 'worker protections' and kind of power a Union might have for a fully privatized military force that had to operate under real rule of law.

It would be infinity.

Well, in reality, some poor people would be forced into it on the cheap, and then you'd have a real social problem.

Again - I'm always fundamentally amazed at the selfishness of some people who cannot grasp that a cause greater than the dollar in front of them is essential to a well formed nation.

All functional states depend on this, if anything, the civic ethos is taken advantage of by selfish people unwilling to do their part, or to consider that it's a requirement.

As this cynicism creeps into the population, it rots from within.

See: the assassination of Roman Emperor Pertinax, who's murderers - the Praetorian Guard, literally sold the seat of Emperor to the highest bidder. The Praetorian Guard originated before the Roman Empire, and was made up of equestrian families i.e. those who could afford to bring a horse into combat. During pre-Empire Rome - all citizens were required to be part of civil defence - and the more money they had - the more they were required to contribute. 'Laymen' brought their own sword and shield, the 'wealthy' brought horses etc..

When a critical mass of individuals within a group fail to recognize their inherent responsibility to the greater good - it eventually collapses.

Military at its core is a mechanism designed to erase all personal identity and free will. You can achieve collaboration, unity, discipline, exercise etc via more peaceful means like volunteering to build houses for the poor, teach kids, build infrastructure in disadvantaged neighborhoods, natural conservation etc. As we become more resourceful, hope is that political boundaries will be erased and nations unite. May be 500 years down the line people will be amazed that we used to keep military and spend large chunk of our fruits of labor on it.

"Military at its core is a powerful mechanism to erase personal identity and free will. "

I dare to hope that you have some military experience to make such a boldly false claim; It's nary impossible to grasp these kinds of organizations from the outside.

'At it's core' - the military is an organization charged with the defence of the community via (mostly) the use of managed violence.

What appears to be fairly extreme elements from the outside (haircuts, indoctrination etc.) make sense, and they work well in that ethos. Almost every participant is essentially voluntary, and it is their 'will' to be a part of the team, because they know by doing so, they will have considerably greater effect.

And FYI - when 'the world comes together' really means 'when the world becomes a 'mono-American' culture, and actual diversity is wiped out in lieu of the false diversity of pop culture. Yes - we can and should all get along, but remember that political boundaries are also usually cultural boundaries.

As for the ruling - it's about time.

Welcome to equality ladies. (I'm not being cynical or sarcastic)

One of my favorite euphemism is to call army as "defense force". Army exist to enforce ones will when other means to do so becomes less economical.

The invention of army is itself a psychological wonder. A person wants to enforce his will using large swath of other humans. So he pays these other humans for no reason except getting trained day after day at following orders without any questions. This requires continuous suppression of counter-thoughts and de-rationalization. One might think this would be impossible to achieve at scale and consistently but apparently there exist a regime and synthesis of moral framework that allows to do this! Technique of creating organized armed forces that can move in unison at the command of a single person despite of any level of risks while heavily suppressing individual counter-thoughts is one of the most powerful innovations that stands in shoulder to shoulder with things like farming.

It's a nice idea but if history is anything to go by it wouldn't work out that way. The rich would just get exemptions (like the current President did during Vietnam).

Not to mention, the countries with mandatory service don't often send those soldiers to foreign locations anyway.

But the poor would be less than likely to take side with rich against other poor people?


Because the poor get to know and serve with other poor people with whom their differences are otherwise used to foster divisions. The line between disagreement and hatred becomes much thicker.

By all means, volunteer if you see so many benefits in it. Try to make my family serve against their will though, and I know who I’d choose to go to war against. If Vietnam and WWI weren’t object lessons enough against a draft, then I guess the simplest solution to an attempt to impose one is to remove the people who want to make such an imposition in the first place. Especially in an era of asymmetric warfare for questionable ends, rather than fighting to survive as a nation or people.

Sounds fine if we can replace "military service" with "civil service".

Exactly. You would get so many more benefits if you got those people planting trees around the city instead of shooting each other.

Maybe the military should just be tasked with more civil service work during times of peace. Then people will notice the absence of this work during times of war, putting political pressure towards ensuring wars are short and extremely justified.

Civil service is better, just barely though. Even only the loss of liberty is enough to make the negatives outweigh the positives.

How about we replace both with "service"?

Because that's vague enough to be meaningless.

> Look at how the society is in countries with mandatory military service (S. Korea,Switzerland to name two)

And China, and Russia, and Thailand, and North Korea...

You really can't simplify something that huge. There are pros and cons. Even Israel's military, often one of the first countries bandied about for compulsory service, has seen negative side-effects from the implications of compulsory service. If you just conscript everybody, often they'll perform poorly because they're not really motivated to make it their career. And often religious or other reasons will cause people to want to find a different way to serve, or they'll end up draft-dodging.

With regard to the US, conscripting is a very quick way to make the "undesireable" parts of society "more useful" without actually doing anything to support those populations. The US military often chews up poor people and then doesn't support them once their tour is over. So this policy would have very real oppressive effects on certain populations.

Here's a list of all countries and their military service policies: https://www.quora.com/What-countries-presently-require-manda...

> a lot more people would be exposed to the world outside of the US

Lol is this meant to be satire? Too bad most of “the world” doesn’t wish that kind of exposure

The US has a peaceful presence in many countries. I’m pretty sure that’s what OP is talking about.

They still don't want that kind of exposure. The servicemen at the US bases at Japan are considered as parasites by the locals for example.

> people from different backgrounds and walks of life would live and work together at least once in their lives.

I have to disagree with this one. Rich kids would be butter bars and everyone else enlisted. They would probably also get to go to college first since you need a degree to be commissioned. Also, it would likely eliminate the only guaranteed escape hatch for non-wealthy people to finish at least a four year degree without crushing debt.

I seem to remember a couple articles by Army Generals that specifically thought mandatory service is a real problem given budgets and discipline problems. They want people motivated to be there. It apparently got fairly bad in the 70's.

Well, there was that whole Vietnam War thing going on. That might have had something to do with it. The Vietnam War was much worse for us than Iraq+Afghanistan combined. Ten times worse. We lost 60,000 and had 300,000 wounded in Vietnam. In Afghanistan, we lost 2,419 and had 19,950 wounded. In Iraq, we had 4,496 and 32,252 wounded.

It was a stupid meat grinder and after a decade, do you think soldiers wanted to be there?

I'm pretty sure the papers took it into account. I still cannot find the things, but they mostly were talking about non-Vietnam troops. I remember Germany being mentioned.

I'm well aware of Vietnam as it didn't go too well for some of my relatives.

Mandatory service by the government is slavery. It is anti-liberty. The government does not own the fruits of your labor.

The government already owns the fruits of a percentage of your labor. And a percentage of your income from assets.

That's also wrong when the percentage is too high (and it's too high in almost all countries). Doesn't change what parent comment said.

I'm not seeing much of a conceptual difference between owning a portion of your life by having a monopoly on all of your time for a limited period vs. owning a portion of your life by owning a percentage of your working hours in perpetuity.

I should have clarified that it's not by consent.

Neither are taxes.


We had until about a decade ago a system in Germany that forced us to choose between 9 months of military service or 9 months of civil service (everything from emergency service to elderly care). It was highly unfair in the sense that women were exempt and all male with physical "disabilities" unfit for military service were also exempt from civil service. (I put disabilities in quotation marks, because people found ridiculous things that never impacted them in regular life that gave them an exemption for military service; think the chronic backpain of the sports team captain.)

It made sense to give up mandatory military service, but I still think it was a bad idea we also gave up the civil service system instead of making it fair and mandatory for everyone.

How exactly do you pay to train and provide foreign trips to every person in the country? Another few trillion dollars to the military budget?

Who said everyone needs to take a foreign trip or have a combat role?

I disagree. For me, I'd be a lot more of willing to accept an order that could get me killed if I has signed up voluntarily. If you press me into service & then order to me to charge in the direction from which the bullets are flying, I'm much more likely to tell you to go eff yourself.

To look at it a different way, would you rather be shoulder to shoulder with people who had all signed up willingly, or with people who had been drafted against their will?

I am not a fan of draft, never have been but your argument however well intentioned bolsters that of a (VN) vet I know, he was & remains a pacifist, He believed he would be drafted so he signed up just so he could have some choice and became a medic. Bad things(tm) did happen. He supports the draft because in most groups there would be an unwilling participant or two who would function as a tiny shred of moral compass. When you got a group entirely self selected to do bad things(tm), he reports it gets much worse.

>I'm much more likely to tell you to go eff yourself.

That will probably get you shot for treason, so the smarter thing to do is to take decisive action preemptively. I'm not making any claims as to what that action should be, but I can't think of any reasonable possibilities that would be good for the ones who forced you to be there.

You think sending people against their will to fight imperial, immoral, and unjust wars would bring people together? That's ridiculous. It would just make me hate the government more to involve me in its wars for profit. I'd rather go to jail or revoke my citizenship than fight in these disgusting wars (all wars the US has fought since WWII fit this criteria).

On the other hand, if someone's enslaved me, handed me weapons, and is pointing me at killing someone who deserves it probably as much/little as I do; then it's weird they'd trust me there since I'd be much more convinced my commanding officers are my enemies.

I wonder what the fratricide rate was in times of conscription.

> Look at how the society is in countries with mandatory military service (S. Korea,Switzerland to name two)

Or France, or Germany, or Israel, or Eritrea.

The US is unusual in that it never had a mandatory peacetime military service program [1]; this is a practice that has been fairly typical in many countries, particularly European countries. There doesn't seem to be much actual correlation between having a mandatory military service and having a cohesive social structure.

[1] We have had conscription, which was a lottery system, and we even had peacetime conscription, although that was in a period of time where the US knew it was likely to be drawn into a major war very soon and that preparing before war broke out might be a good idea.

> (S. Korea,Switzerland to name two)

Here's a couple more: North Korea, Turkey, Egypt, Colombia

> discipline training

I would argue that teaching people about how to be free and respect the freedom of others is more important than teaching them how to follow your every command that might go against their morals.

> Look at how the society is in countries with mandatory military service

Greece, Turkey, Iran, North Korea, multiple African countries. Does not sound that good. Why not look how society is in countries without military service instead?

There are multiple European contriea with compulsory service as well. I dont know off the cuff all of them, but I'm pretty sure Switzerland still requires service of all able bodied men for 2 years.

Thing is, in the US, we have the 14th amendment to the Constitution, that among other things, guarantees equal protection under law based upon sex. This ruling was long overdue, even before the female combat restriction was removed. In a time of need for a draft, there are still plenty of non-combat roles to be filled.

Discipline training is also about self-discipline which I would define as the motivation to deviate from the state of least-effort in order to pursue intangible or delayed benefits.

Military service isn't the only way to instill that, but most ex-forces people I know have good self-discipline.

Many countries don't actually have military conflicts though.

In many countries (Korea, Israel), they are defending their homeland. American military has been engaging in military conflicts all around the world, and right or not, many may disagree with them.

And this will solve that too. Foreign conflicts would imo be reduced if it meant everyone takes part instead of volunteers. Vietnam could have lasted longer without the draft if they had a large number of volunteers like Iraq and Afghanistan. Democracy isn't all that effective on warmongering if only a select few class of people do the dirty work.

>Look at how the society is in countries with mandatory military service (S. Korea,Switzerland to name two)

I would like to know exactly what you mean by this.

Social unity,a stronger unifying bond between people from different parts of the country.

It would introduce a very serious social problem that has otherwise (mostly) been eliminated: the use of force to make people do work. That is: slavery.

The USA has always had a culture and set of laws (back to the founding documents) that prioritizes individual volition. Mandatory (ie, enforced with violence) military (or civil) service would be a refutation of the very things the military is there to protect.

We (the USA) are really not at war (despite the problems with the executive branches' increasing power to use military force without declaration of war). Mandatory military service is very wrong and immoral in that context.

The military will be there no matter what. The US spends $700/bn a year on it. This is a question of who takes part in it. A lot of modern countries have mandatory service,look at it this way,you pay mandatory tax which is a result of your labor in order to support government. This is a tax except you pay directly by labor.

Slavery is a very specific thing, and narrower that coerced labor generally. Societies compel their members to do a wide variety of things for the social good. For example, forcing kids to go to school is not slavery. Nor is forcing kids to do community service as part of school, or sentencing an to do community service. Forcing children to do chores. Forcing people to give up 50% of the proceeds of their labor via taxes is not “half slavery.”

Equating compulsory military service with slavery as it has been experienced in this country is disingenuous. Getting paid vs. not paid, universal vs. race based, done by all vs. forced by one group onto another for the purposes of economic extortion and fundamental oppression...

I do think that military service is a bad idea; but that some kind of civil national guard / social service like EMT, nursing, and service to the poor and elderly might go a long way to bringing the country closer.

Just to be clear. I'm equating compulsary service of any kind, military, civil, or whatever, with slavery. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery#Forced_labour

I don't know where to start... First, it would be NOTHING like slavery as practiced in the United States. Slaves were property; traded like cattle, killed / lynched without justice, desecrated - left hanging on tress, burned in public.

Second, The US did not "always" have such a culture - in fact the DRAFT i.e. forcing young men to join the military, was in use until the second half the 20th century (heard of Vietnam?). The very rights you speak of are defended via a military, globally, with the blood of draftees up until recently. Also, all laws are ultimately "enforced with threat of violence" - from speeding tickets to taxes.

Also, the US "culture" of prioritizing individual volition did NOT extend to women or black people, until the suffrage movement, and the very historically recent civil rights era. US was basically a European colony that first removed the Native inhabitants with genocidal frenzy, and then enslaved millions of Africans, basically to make $; i.e. not this land of the free you speak of. More like we'll take your land if you're native, and your liberty if you're black, to make a living.

Third, the US is most definitely at war in multiple countries. It's bombing ~7 of them actively, with thousands of them falling every year. "The U.S. military is officially fighting wars in seven countries, according to the White House’s latest war report. Known formally as the “Report on the Legal and Policy Frameworks Guiding the United States’ Military Force and Related National Security Operations,” the unclassified portion flags ops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Niger — all under the banner of the same war authority granted in the 2002 Authorization for the Use of Military Force to fight al-Qaeda-linked militants." Reference: https://www.defenseone.com/news/2018/03/the-d-brief-march-15...

It is lamentable that we have come to devalue gender in the name of equality. An army of women will lose and that is independent of wanting equality for women.

How about getting rid of draft altogether?

On the contrary, make it mandatory with no exemptions. That way rich or poor, we all have skin in the game and suddenly people’s opinions on foreign policy directly impact their sons and daughters.

Just make all the politicians go to war. See how their decisions change.

Then you get Israeli politicians. Service is compulsory so they've all got at least an idea how the military works, and the older folks were involved in wars, and therefore ex military or intelligence officers. Some work toward peace and improvements, and some become hard-liners. So, sorry, but it's still hard to pidgeonhole them even if they've been to war.

You know what will happen then? They will never be exposed to actual combat.

If society believed it was immoral to start a war unless you're personally exposed to the risks of warfare then there would be outrage every time it happened.

In my opinion any politician calling for war needs needs to at least have a family member fighting in real combat. If I find out they don't then I will happily vote against them, even if it means voting against my ideology.

> In my opinion any politician calling for war needs needs to at least have a family member fighting in real combat. If I find out they don't then I will happily vote against them, even if it means voting against my ideology.

What if it's a family member they don't like?

> If I find out they don't then I will happily vote against them,

That would not work because it would work only after the fact. You want to prevent this kind of things from happening BEFORE they are even elected.

That's true but if it's an expectation we all have and violating it comes with social consequences then they will at least think twice before doing it

Or as System of a Down says:

> Why don't the Presidents fight the war? > Why do they always send the poor?

It's easy to send someone else to die when they're just a number on a report.

That didn't prevent Vietnam.

Yea because a fuckton of rich white men were able to get their sons deferments. Have you not listened to Fortunate Son? Also women were not in the draft, to the previous commenter's point.

Women, transgender, non-binary etc should all be included in a draft.

It's a nice thought but look at, for example, Donald Trump's deferment to see how it actually plays out for rich people.

How is that an interesting response to "make it mandatory with no exemptions."

You could explain why you are cynical about it happening, but just saying you are cynical about no exemptions is pretty boring.

So we should force a quadriplegic to join the military? We should force a hemophiliac to crawl under barbed wire? A blind person should have to learn to shoot a rifle?

You said "no exemptions".

Only a fraction of military assignments are combat positions. I knew one Viet Nam vet that spent his entire tour in an air conditioned bunker in Saigon hanging tapes on the computer that printed payroll checks.

Another, technically in a combat role, spent his tours in the radio room of navy destroyers banging out Morse code.

The problems you list are mostly surmountable.

Someone who enters the military goes through military training. If we're just forcing people to work, it's not military service. It's slavery.

Indeed, the abolition of the Selective Service System appears to be an option:

"The ruling comes at a time when an advisory panel, the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service, is studying the draft system, considering whether it should continue and whether women should be included."

Makes sense too: the government already has all of its citizens' personal information. Why keep maintaining the SSS as a separate and redundant database - after all, they can draft whomever they wish at any time by decree, whether or not they're registered with the SSS.

How about expanding it instead?

If upper middle class families knew that their sons+daughters were going to Iraq, we wouldn't have done that stupid thing. Instead, we relied on a 'volunteer' class who didn't have anything better to do and then we kept them there with a backdoor draft.

The Vietnam War protests ended when the draft ended. The war didn't end. Just the draft.

Having a draft means that if you're opposed to a dumb war then you have to get out in the streets and in the politicians faces.

If you think the military is mostly composed of those 'who didn't have anything better to do' then you don't really have any idea about the composition of the US military.

>How about expanding it instead?

In the US the draft just allowed the US government to continue the Viet Nam war far longer than it otherwise would have gone. Over 2.7 million Americans served in Viet Nam. If the politicians could have possibly gotten millions of young people to drop what they were doing and go 5 thousand miles to fight in a civil war in a country most had never heard of before, they would certainly have done so. There is simply no obvious way they could have gotten that many troops on a volunteer basis, or they would have done so.

>...The Vietnam War protests ended when the draft ended. The war didn't end. Just the draft.

Nixon ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1973. The war continued, but US involvement ended.

Having a volunteer force means the soldiers have to treated better and paid more than a draftee. Having a volunteer force in the 1960s would have meant that if the USA got involved, the Viet Nam war would have been fought with a lot more concern for the loss of life of the solders, and it likely wouldn't have been fought anything like it was fought.

They would still get out of it.

It's highly unlikely that the US will return to conscription, particularly for anything less than WWIII. The problem with draftees is that they tend to be less effective soldiers (since they didn't sign up to be a soldier), and the terms of conscription are too short to effectively train them--if someone is in the army for a year, and it takes 6 months to train them, you're spending a lot of money to little effect.

The main value of undertrained infantry soldiers is to provide literal boots on the ground to bolster the mass of a fighting force, but modern warfare tactics have generally lessened the effectiveness of this kind of mass: an integrated combined arms team can easily steamroll a fortified infantry line, as was shown quite clearly in the First Gulf War.

Getting rid of selective service registration seems like the best outcome. In the case of need for the draft again, we could implement it without the SSS. There's also the weird problem that a truly existential war which would otherwise justify the draft is also the kind of war which would likely escalate to WMD and thus make the draft irrelevant.

My preference is, in this order: 1) No draft 2) Universal draft registration-only 3) Universal draft and national service of some form 4) Male-only registration-only 5) Female-only registration-only 6) Male-only universal draft/service 7) Female-only universal draft/service

Good news! There already is no draft.

Now that all people will be effected by the selective service's demands it's much more likely to happen. This is progress on that path.

That is simply impossible. We’ve been at peace for a long time, but one day war will break out, and not enough people will join the military voluntarily.

> We’ve been at peace for a long time

Who's we? And what peace? America's been at war for the last 17 years. It is America's longest war and it's still not clear when it will be ended.

At this point what is the win condition? How do you know when you're finished?

> We’ve been at peace for a long time, but one day war will break out

Say what? Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bosnia, Iraq, Panama, Grenada, ...

If there's not enough volunteers then pay them more. Conscription is slavery.

Nail on the head here. The US increases the military budget year over year yet soldiers pay does not increase.

Instead the president looks to raid funding for military housing for his own boondoggle.

Sounds like that might factor into the country's willingness to enter war at all.

So now the war has been prevented. Seems like a good solution.

Evil Communist Islamic Fascist Caliphate of Mexico, Canada and China: "We're declaring war."

USA: "We done have an army."

ECIFCMCC: "Nevermind then."

No, it means countries would be much more willing to negotiate a fair deal rather than die over it. Why would you start a war over resources when you can cheaply buy them.

I'm not sure I understand your argument. Are you claiming that countries don't go to war because to do so is irrational? Because that clearly contradicts reality, countries do go to war.

Evil Communist Islamic Fascist Caliphate of Mexico, Canada and China: "We're declaring war."

Drone operators in air-conditioned office buildings in Nevada: "Bring it."

Not a native speaker, I confused army and military.

Wars changed a lot since WWII, having a very large military with cheap guns does not work at all anymore. The army is much more specialised than in the past, nowadays you need a smaller amount of well-trained people with expensive gear.

The us is waging wars in seven countries. How is the us at peace?

I think if they do that now, women will regret it for decades to come. Ending the draft the moment they would have been asked to stand beside their brothers, matching their promise to risk themselves in defense of our shared values? It would be a hollow victory for peace, and a great defeat for equality and solidarity. Expand the draft. Have all women of age sign up. Give it a few years to sink in, and then decide together whether to abolish it.

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