Women in World War III?

Pia Sharma

The trending hashtag #WWIII was a result of Trump’s order that killed the Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Qasem Soleimani, in an airstrike on January 3rd. Taking into account that World War One began because of the assasination of an important political figure, it wouldn’t be so farfetched to ponder over what type of military conflict could result from this assasination. Not to mention that since the airstrike, Iranian government officials such as Iran’s supreme theocratic ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have vowed that “the criminals who have the blood of General Soleimani and other martyrs of the attack on their hands must await a tough revenge.”.

With all of this debate whether we are going to war or the media is blowing this event out of proportion brought to attention to whether there would be a military draft sending troops to Iran to fight in this alleged world war. Not only has social media raised the question of whether there would be a hypothetical draft if war was upon this country, but it raises the question if women would be drafted along with men. 

The United States hasn’t used the draft since the Vietnam War in 1973, however, the Selective Service System was put in place in 1980. Drafting was common because there was a need for military troops however this isn’t as much of an issue in today’s day and age because the US military doesn’t need as many people as it would have needed one hundred or two hundred years ago. The Selective Service system was implemented as a backup plan, almost like a safety net that just means whoever is selected is registered in the database for potential service, not a guarantee.

 Even though American society is gradually striving to approach the ideal of equality among the sexes, would this apply to military selective service?  It seems as though under such extreme circumstances, theoretical drafting rules and regulations would change since 1981 where the supreme court ruled that the exclusion of women from drafting was “fully justified.” 

There is a reason  there is still debate over whether women could be included in the drafting process. Since the supreme court ruled this precedent as just because women weren’t legally allowed to fight in combat yet, it has been assumed that this precedent remains even in our progressive society. Drafting ranges from the age 18 to 25 which means that drafting would begin soon for teenagers. Jasmine Sanchez, a tenth grade student at WESS who happens to be approaching drafting age, was asked the question. If there were to be a world war III, and there was a draft, would you want women to be drafted? 

“I honestly don’t see a reason why women shouldn’t be drafted, so yes I would want them to be. Women already serve in the military and have proven how mentally and physically strong and capable they are.”

 Taylor Nord, another female sophomore at WESS who is approaching drafting age, believes “we live in a time where women are considered equal so if an opportunity presents  itself to display this idea, it would be hypocritical of the system for women not to be drafted.” Both Taylor and Jasmine bring a very crucial point to the table: if men and women both voluntarily join the military, why should men be forced to join in times of war and not women when they are both equally capable? Whether the individual wants to or not, should the sex of the citizen determine who should be sent out against their will to fight in a war on behalf of their nation?
Including women in the draft makes the most logical sense, however, almost all the 10th grade female students at WESS I have asked anonymously about this topic believe that drafting should include women but they wouldn’t want to be drafted themselves. This could be misinterpretted as entitlment or a stereotypical ‘fake feminist’ where one will fight for the equal rights of the sexes but only when it benefits them. This is not the case when it comes to drafting. Women who wouldn’t want to be drafted themselves don’t want their lives taken away by war and don’t want a randomized drafting system to determine their life paths. The problem with being drafted roots not from their gender or sex, but their unwillingness to fight in a war they were reluctant to be apart of and the Selective Service System.

Jasmine brings up an interesting point in her response because a federal judge in Texas agrees that there is no reason for a debate on whether women belong in the military or not. On February 22nd 2019, a court hearing was brought by the ‘National Coalition for Men’ who claimed that the male-only military draft was unconstitutional, violating the due process clause of the 5th amendment.  US district judge Gray Miller ruled declaratory relief since the court didn’t specifically provide a way to change SSS to make it constitutional. Although it was decided that it is unconstitutional to have a male-only SSS, there were no changes made to the system. To sum up the entirety of this convoluted controversy, in a hypothetical war, women legally and constitutionally should be included in the Selective Service System, but aren’t because no changes were made even after the court setting the precedent in 2015 and 2019 that a male-only military draft is unconstitutional.