17 votes

Supreme Court turns away challenge to the rule that only men register for the draft

10 comments

  1. [10]
    joplin
    Link
    This is an interesting case. It is unfortunate that the group bringing the case is The National Coalition for Men. In any event, my first thought on hearing about the case was, "It seems...

    This is an interesting case. It is unfortunate that the group bringing the case is The National Coalition for Men.

    In any event, my first thought on hearing about the case was, "It seems reasonable that if men have to sign up, so should women." My second thought was, "Why do we require anyone sign up for the draft at all? That doesn't seem reasonable." I've never been OK with that.

    It seems as though they had the same thought:

    On appeal to the high court, the National Coalition for Men didn't ask the justices to require women to register. Instead, the organization wanted the court to recognize the draft's unconstitutionality and then pass the ball to Congress to craft a solution.

    Not that I trust Congress to craft a reasonable solution, though. In any event, the case was not taken because Congress is already scheduled to reconsider the issue this year. It would make no sense to me if they did not start requiring women to sign up if they're going to continue to require men to sign up.

    11 votes
    1. knocklessmonster
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Men's rights have, unfortunately, sort of always been the domain of an offended conservative contingent, sort of like the angry "white rights" stuff that pops up in opposition to race-related...

      Men's rights have, unfortunately, sort of always been the domain of an offended conservative contingent, sort of like the angry "white rights" stuff that pops up in opposition to race-related civil rights movements. AFAIK, an actually good, even intersectional, branch of that movement is actually a fairly recent evolution of it, the only place I know of on line being /r/menslib (I'm not too active in feminist/progressive circles, however).

      I agree that perhaps simply abolishing it is the best solution: Why drag women into a problem that still sucks, no matter how inclusive it is?

      11 votes
    2. [6]
      Loire
      Link Parent
      Honestly, I don't think abolishing the draft is a good idea. Our most recent example of it in action (Vietnam) is obviously a bad one but there are scenarios where a draft may be completely...

      Honestly, I don't think abolishing the draft is a good idea. Our most recent example of it in action (Vietnam) is obviously a bad one but there are scenarios where a draft may be completely necessary. Perhaps stricter rules concerning it's implementation would be better?

      For example, the north may not have won the Civil War with the draft. Is that a preferable scenario? War is terrible and most people in a liberal society don't want to participate, to the point of preferring to just role-over if that option is presented.

      Maybe if the draft is restricted entirely to wars occuring on United States of America sovereign soil (within the North American continent to get around any shenanigans) is a better solution? It's a scenario that is likely.to never happen but one serious enough to require drastic measures.

      8 votes
      1. babypuncher
        Link Parent
        I think drafting civilians also makes the electorate more cautious about supporting foreign conflicts. I feel like Vietnam wouldn't have been nearly as controversial as it was if all the soldiers...

        I think drafting civilians also makes the electorate more cautious about supporting foreign conflicts. I feel like Vietnam wouldn't have been nearly as controversial as it was if all the soldiers we sent there were volunteers, even though the deaths of drafted civilians was not at all the worst of our crimes in the war.

        7 votes
      2. vektor
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Maybe this is specific to the US, but I don't think this would work as a general rule for liberal societies. Some countries are just too small to rely on their own military to do all the...

        Maybe if the draft is restricted entirely to wars occuring on United States of America sovereign soil (within the North American continent to get around any shenanigans) is a better solution? It's a scenario that is likely.to never happen but one serious enough to require drastic measures.

        Maybe this is specific to the US, but I don't think this would work as a general rule for liberal societies. Some countries are just too small to rely on their own military to do all the defending. In the case of EU countries, I would think that defending other EU countries would work as well. The same argument could be made for the US and NATO too, as I think the US wouldn't exactly like what would become of the world if liberty overseas was snuffed out. The problem then becomes one of reacting in a timely fashion to your ally being attacked. Do you blindly jump in? Do you have time to investigate who threw the first punch? (Spoiler: In this day and age, you don't.)

        As a german, the main hypothetical aggressor is Russia. I don't want russia to take the baltics or poland. It's a losing strategy to say, as germans, that we'll only institute the draft once Russia is here. We have to institute the draft once Russia is in the Baltics. Because if we didn't, here's what happens: There's no drafted germans defending Lithuania. Lithuania falls. Somewhere between immediately after and a decade later, Germany is attacked and there's no drafted frenchmen to defend it.

        I'm not asking the US to play world police; not at all. I'm just saying that we should consider our allies. I think the EU is perfectly capable of its own defense.

        But I also think that the US has quite the privileged position, being nearly untouchable by China or Russia. But if the US relies too much on that natural defensive barrier, if expansionist powers take over the allies overseas, it'll get lonely over there. And then they won't be out of reach.

        Edit: I have just read the relevant section of the german constitution. I recalled it to say: Men and women are equal before the law. Also, men can be drafted into the military. If they're conscientious objectors, they can be made to serve in replacement services. These are not related to the military. They are usually medical or emergency services or disaster protection services.

        In actuality, it's a little better: The law permits, if germany needs to defend itself, to draft women into away-from-the-front military medical services, as well as to draft all germans into e.g. industrial jobs. That at least ensures a semblance on the other side. My personal opinion here is that we'd need to fix that up a bit: We only draft in case we need to defend the country or an ally who is himself under attack. We can draft anyone, and anyone can object to combat roles. This leaves e.g. maintenance, logistics and medical open. Sure, those are also potential military targets, but whatcha gonna do? It's still a war. Gender doesn't play into my draft at all, instead we allow conscientious objection. I can appreciate that this (only drafting in case of defense) leaves the military requirement behind of needing to have a bunch of somewhat-trained draftable individuals at the ready. Peacetime draft will ensure that there is a large pool of trained civilians, who can be called upon very quickly. I think it's preferable the military pay fair rates for proper reserves instead, as this also guarantees higher standards of continued training - which is super important in modern war, compared to sheer numbers.

        To summarize my position: Use the draft only when necessary for defense. But if you do, use it for all citizens of the appropriate age. If you're not ready to send your daughter off to war, don't send your son either.

        6 votes
      3. [3]
        teaearlgraycold
        Link Parent
        I’ve been wondering for a while if much of the civil war could have been avoided with naval blockades and supply chain disruption. That’s still an act of war, to be fair. Anyone more historically...

        I’ve been wondering for a while if much of the civil war could have been avoided with naval blockades and supply chain disruption. That’s still an act of war, to be fair. Anyone more historically educated than me that can give a rough run down of what a more pacifistic approach would have done?

        1 vote
        1. Loire
          Link Parent
          The north did use naval blockades to strangle the South. It can actually be argued that they played as big of a part in the Confederacy's surrender as the open warfare. Two problems exist for the...

          The north did use naval blockades to strangle the South. It can actually be argued that they played as big of a part in the Confederacy's surrender as the open warfare.

          Two problems exist for the pacifist approach:

          1. The south was a belligerent, militaristic pseudo-fascist state with well trained and motivated soldiers. There was no scenario where the South didn't attack the North and with D.C. almost literally spitting distance from the south, it was necessary to at least defend the capital.

          2. The naval blockade could not be complete without control of the Mississippi River. As long as the Confederacy held the Mississippi it could subsist. The entire point of the Western Campaign was to gain control of the river and essentially complete the blockade by fully encircling the south and crushing any capacity for trade and logistics. There was no gaining control of the Mississippi without open warfare.

          Ignoring both those points: limiting the Union's response to just a naval blockade and limiting the Confederacy's response to just trying to be their own nation. It is very likely one of two things would happen. There would still be two countries, and how each would have involved is unknowable. Or, in reality both Great Britain and France weighed supporting the Confederacy for a number of reasons. Should the Union have taken a pacifist approach and not strictly deterred those countries from openly supporting the South, the Confederacy would have very likely gained the upper hand and taken control of the continent.

          10 votes
        2. gpl
          Link Parent
          The Union did actually engage in extensive blockade activities that seriously affected Confederate trade.

          The Union did actually engage in extensive blockade activities that seriously affected Confederate trade.

          7 votes
    3. [2]
      babypuncher
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I'm about as bleeding heart anti-war as you can get. I even struggled going fishing with my dad as a kid because I did not enjoy hurting the fish, that is how much I detest real-world violence....

      I'm about as bleeding heart anti-war as you can get. I even struggled going fishing with my dad as a kid because I did not enjoy hurting the fish, that is how much I detest real-world violence. But I am not opposed to the general idea of a draft or other form of required civilian military service. I think facing the potential of having to send themselves or their children to fight forces the electorate to think more carefully about what conflicts are actually worth engaging in.

      When it's 100% volunteer, it becomes really easy to hide behind a shield of "they chose to fight for their country".

      7 votes
      1. joplin
        Link Parent
        That's a really interesting take and I think there's some truth to that. I think there is a segment of the population for whom that is a reasonable way to think. Unfortunately (and I may just be...

        That's a really interesting take and I think there's some truth to that. I think there is a segment of the population for whom that is a reasonable way to think. Unfortunately (and I may just be thinking cynically), I think a large portion of the populace (here in the US, at least), is either so pro-war, or is so deferential to authority, they wouldn't think about it at all.

        3 votes