GOP Sen. John McCain just added to the raging debate on women in combat by saying it’s perfectly logical for women to be forced to sign up for the draft.
In a statement issued Wednesday, McCain said that the reason he supports the idea of drafting women is because women now have access to combat roles in the military, Stars and Stripes reports.
“As women serve in more roles across the armed forces, I support the recommendation of the Army Chief of Staff and the Commandant of the Marine Corps that women should register for Selective Service,” McCain said. “It is the logical conclusion of the decision to open combat positions to women.”
But despite his support of drafting women, McCain also added that it’s unlikely the draft will ever come into play again because the military has operated on a voluntary basis since the Vietnam War, a policy which has proved successful due to the provision of benefits and other incentives.
The debate has come up following a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, in which top generals said they supported the draft for both men and women. While a 1981 Supreme Court case blocked women from the draft, the rationale at the time relied on women being excluded from combat roles. But since this changed in December after Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered that all services open all combat roles to women, the debate has been unstoppable.
Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Ryan Zinke of Montana introduced a bill soon after the SASC hearing called the Draft America’s Daughters Act, which would require women age 18 to 26 to sign up with Selective Service. Hunter, however, admitted that the bill was largely just to illustrate the logical consequences of extending combat roles to women and said that he might not even vote for his own bill.
GOP. Sen Mike Lee of Utah, who also opposes drafting women, has said he’s moving in the exact opposite direction and intends to introduce legislation barring women from the draft permanently.
Still, a surprising number of Republicans have taken the position that drafting women is the right decision. This includes most of the GOP presidential candidates, with the exception of Sen. Ted Cruz, who said that the idea is a prime example of political correctness gone amuck.
Photo by Derek Bridges