Monday, February 25, 2013

My Grandmother is a Vet

There's been this on-going debate about the American military opening up the front lines to women.  In addition to this, the Supreme Court ruled that because women were ineligible from combative roles, they also were ineligible for selective service (forced conscription for all you non-Americans).

Just some background about me:  As the title says, my grandmother is a vet.  She's in her 80s and is eligible to receive veterans benefits on her own.  In addition, she is also a widow of a veteran and as such receives military privileges that way.  My grandfather did not die in battle if you want to know.  My grandmother's now deceased brother received a purple heart.  My grandmother and my grandfather went on to have three children one of whom was in the military (my uncle).  They also had seven grandchildren, three of whom went into the military.  My father is a vet.  And my brother is currently serving.

I am, however, a pacifist.  Which makes me both an oddity and at times the subject of scrutiny among family members who firmly believe that we should all bleed on the battle ground red, white, and blue.

I recently read Cam's post about conscription and in it I was a bit shall we say confused.  It seemed at times that she was equating women being eligible for conscription service as the same thing as sending them into the front lines.  So I'd like to tease out the two.


Did you know that even pacifists are required to register for selective service?  In fact their are some who have received medals because they too were on the battle field minus the gun.  Pacifists serve as paper pushers all the way to medics.

Having women eligible for selective service does not automatically mean they will have to join the front lines or even get any where close to a battle.  My grandmother never did.  My father didn't.  And my brother hasn't either.  They were all paper pushers.  Which is required for a military to operate.  My brother works in human resources.  While he's trained to use a gun, he uses a computer.

If we conscript women along with men, it can free up the stronger more battle hardy men to fight at the front lines (like my brother, the paper pusher).  Women can fix humvees, keep telecommunications going, fly drones, and yes, work in human resources.

So why not?  Why not conscript women?  If it's all about protecting our country, don't you think we need women to serve a function as well?

Women on the Front Lines

One of the reasons why the government has opened up women in combative roles is two-fold:  1) women are already on the front lines 2) and since the government hasn't recognized this, women have been over-looked in promotions.

Before anyone jumps on me about how women and men are built differently, etc. etc.  I know that my brother and my husband and even my aging dad can bench press more than me.  I'm not stupid.

But since we've invaded Muslim-sensitive areas, and the "enemy" uses it's women in their battle as human grenades, women have to go into hostile environments and search other women for explosives.  These women have been over-looked in their service.  And this, to me, is wrong.  These women are vital to protecting fellow soldiers, and they can't be replaced by men since this is a Muslim-sensitive area.  Even if it weren't, I don't think you'd like it if a member of the opposite sex patted you down even at the airport in front of tons of witnesses.

And it's more common than you may think.  Here's a list of countries were women are allowed combat roles (although some have restrictions): Canada, Denmark, S. Korea (which incidentally requires all men a year of military service), Finland, Germany, France, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Romania, Australia, Eritrea, Japan (although they are only allowed a militia), and Switzerland. 

A lot of the countries do two things:  1) require physical fitness.  Canada for example allows women but none have managed to pass the physical demands to be in their elite-squad.  2) restrict which roles women are to take.  Israel, for example, only makes only 12 percent of combative roles ineligible this includes armored corps and infantry.

In my personal opinion, we can take a leaf after Canada and open up combat roles to women, but not make allowances.  If a woman qualifies, why not?

Concluding Thoughts

I'm not sure why people are getting up in arms about this.  Cam was worried about child bearing for women.  But if you put the shoe on the other foot, what about men?  Aren't we all supposed to be couples?  How does having a country made up of child-bearing females and too young or too old men make us more virile?  If you recall, after WWII we ended up with the baby boomer generation.  I'm pretty sure adding women to the mix will not change the waters much especially with high-tech equipment.

So to answer Cam's question:  Yes, I am eagerly hoping to sign-up for the draft.  Although being that I'm too old and a pacifist, I'm kinda ineligible.  But not too many years ago, I certainly wanted to.  The main reason being that I believe it's unfair to men to force them into military service.  If it's required that men protect the country, then it should be required of women.  But what do I know.  I'm a pacifist.


  1. Hi Deltaflute,

    Sorry that the post was a bit disjointed. I had so much to say and had already written so much... and I didn't want a ten page post!

    The reason for the worry about front lines is that the Supreme Court ruled (back in Vietnam I think, without clicking over and reading the article again) that women couldn't be drafted because they couldn't serve on the front lines. The logic is that now that they can serve on the front lines we should serve on the front lines, just like men, or it would be unfair.

    I don't think that men or women should be conscripted. But I think that the inherent differences between men and women mean that it is more wrong to force women to serve on the front lines. This is very much rooted in my understanding that men and women are inherently different. I also believe it would endanger both to have the standard's lowered (which is what we usually see happening to "level the playing field" with women having to meet different standards than men).

    There is also a difference between women being drafted and not being able to have children and men being drafted. Plenty of women do become pregnant in the off time when there husband isn't deployed. It doesn't work quite the same way for women, who are pregnant for nine months. And the logic being argued is that these women would be required to take heavy duty hormones to supress ovulation. So not only conscripted but forced to take hormones, which research shows, have increased health risks as well.

    Those are some of the points I didn't touch on as thoroughly, in the name of brevity.

    But all in all I don't think anyone should be conscripted and forced to fight.

    1. The suit you're referring to was about men being forced to sign up for selective service. The SC ruled that because women could not be put into combative postions women were ineligible for selective service. Even invoking the draft for men does not mean men will be placed in combat roles. It just means that the are obligated to serve in the military. It should be the same for women. The SC was just looking for a reason to not make forced conscription legal.

      As I said you don't have to lower the standard just give the opportunity. Women managed okay in rockets why not the opportunity on the battle filed especially if they are there already which you haven't addressed.

      Nobody is forcing women to take Bc. And not every women is married. Pregnancy can be deferred. The conscription age is 18-25. The average age of matriomony is roughly 25. Please address where you see the govt is forcing women to take Bc who are already in combat zones.


I love to read your thoughts. Thanks for sharing!