ACTION ALERT: Don't Draft Women; Don't Draft Men. Support H.R. 4523 and Abolish the Selective Service System
June 2, 2016
Edward Hasbrouck / Hasbrouck.org & Resist.org
This year, Congress is having its most serious debate about draft registration in decades. The Selective Service System maintains contingency plans for a general "cannon fodder" draft of young men and/or a separate Health Care Personnel Delivery System for men and women up to age 44. A provision requiring women to register for the draft remains in the Senate version of the Defense Authorization Act. Meanwhile, a new bill, H.R. 4523 would abolish the draft.
ACTION ALERT: Urge Congress to remove the provision in the National Defense Appropriations Act for registration of women for the draft, and support H.R. 4523
Edward Hasbrouck / Hasbrouck.org
* End draft registration -- Don't extend it to women.
* Abolish the Selective Service System.
* End contingency planning for a draft of health care workers.
* Restore Federal student aid for people who didn't register for the draft.
This year, Congress is having its most serious debate about draft registration in decades -- but so far, the debate has ignored the peace movement and the history of the draft, draft registration, and draft resistance.
If we don't speak up, we will miss our best chance to put an end to preparations to reinstate the draft, and to put an end to the fantasy of military planners that the draft is always available as a fallback if the military runs short of troops.
Even when the "poverty draft" and the outsourcing of war to civilian contractors obviates the need for a draft, draft registration indoctrinates young people that they have a "duty" to fight.
All male US residents, regardless of citizenship or immigration status, are required to register with the Selective Service System when they turn 18, and notify Selective Service every time they change their address until their 26th birthday.
Draft registration is one of the ways that all young men (and possibly soon young women as well) have to interact with the military and think about their relationship to military "service".
The Selective Service System maintains contingency plans for a general "cannon fodder" draft of young men (based on the current list of registrants) and/or a separate Health Care Personnel Delivery System for men and women up to age 44 (based on professional licensing lists in 57 medical and related occupations). These plans could be activated at any time that Congress decides to reinstate either or both forms of a draft.
Few young men comply fully with the draft registration law. In May 2016, Selective Service officials finally admitted publicly, in interviews with US News & World Report, what has long been obvious: The government abandoned enforcement of draft registration in 1988.
Men are supposed to notify the Selective Service System every time they change addresses until they turn 26, but almost nobody does. Most draft notices sent to the addresses in Selective Service records would wind up in the dead letter office. Passive resistance has made registration unenforceable, and has made the registration list all but useless for a fair or inclusive draft
Most men who register for the draft do so only if it is required for some other government program. Men who haven't registered for the draft are ineligible for Federal student aid and some other Federal programs.
In some states (although not in California), men of draft age are required to register in order to obtain a driver's license, or are automatically registered (sometimes without even realizing it) when they get a driver's license. Male immigrants of draft age must register before they can be naturalized as US citizens.
Will Women Be Required
To Register for the Draft?
In May of 2016, both the House and Senate Armed Services Committees voted to attach a provision to the pending "National Defense Authorization Act" (NDAA) that would authorize the President to order women as well as men to register for the draft.
This provision was removed from the House version of the bill, but remains in the Senate version. Eventually, a House-Senate conference committee -- meeting behind closed doors -- will decide whether to leave this provision in the final compromise bill agreed to by both houses of Congress.
Meanwhile, a separate bill has been introduced, H.R. 4523, which would end draft registration, abolish the Selective Service System, and restore the eligibility of nonregistrants for Federal student aid and all other Federal programs.
Why is Congress talking about this now? In 1981, the Supreme Court upheld requiring men but not women to register for the draft. The court based its decision on "deference" to the military policy which, at that time, excluded women from combat assignments.
Now that this policy has changed, it's likely that continued registration of men but not women will be found unconstitutional. Lawsuits against male-only draft registration are already working their way through the courts; the next hearing in one of these cases will be scheduled soon in Federal court in Los Angeles.
Most members of Congress would prefer to avoid the issue of the draft. None of the leading Presidential candidates -- Clinton, Sanders, or Trump -- has taken a position yet on any of these bills. But if Congress does nothing, court rulings are likely to invalidate the current male-only draft registration law.
Congress will soon have to decide whether to expand draft registration to women as well as men, or to end draft registration entirely. Now that Congress has been forced to address the issue, we have a rare opportunity to be heard -- if we speak up.
This is our best chance in 20 years to put an end to plans and preparations for one or another type of draft, and to restore the eligibility of men who didn't register for the draft for student aid, government jobs and training, naturalized citizenship, and other government programs from which they are currently excluded.
A vote on the floor of the Senate could come any day. The time to and to contact your Representative and Senators, and the Presidential candidates, is now.
Don't register for the draft. Oppose both the draft and draft registration, for women or for men.
Support resistance by young women to the expansion of draft registration to women.
Sign the petitions to Congress (See Action Alerts below):
* Tell your Senators to vote to remove the provision for registration of women for the draft from the National Defense Appropriations Act (NDAA). Tell them resistance will make draft registration of women unenforceable, as it has for men.
* Support H.R. 4523 to end draft registration, abolish the Selective Service System, and restore eligibility for Federal student aid and other programs for men who didn't register for the draft. Urge Senators to introduce a similar bill in the Senate.
* Sign the petitions to Congress (they were started independently, and there's no reason not to sign both and also contact Congress directly):
* Oppose continued contingency planning for a draft of health care workers. For more info, go to: www.MedicalDraft.info
* Support continued resistance to draft registration as long as it remains the law. For more info, go to: www.Resisters.info
* Oppose any attempt to reinstate the draft or compulsory national service.
Published by Edward Hasbrouck, individually and not on behalf of any organization.
Tell Congress: Don't Force Women to
Register for the Draft, Dump the Draft Entirely
Julie Mastrine / The Petition Site
ACTION ALERT: Sign the Petition Here.
About This Petition:
The House Armed Services Committee just passed an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would authorize the President to require women to sign up for the military draft.
Right now, every man has to register for the Selective Service at age 18, and they can be drafted for war until they reach age 26. Not so for women. While this is unfair and sexist -- women should be allowed to serve in combat roles just as men are -- it is immoral to force people to go to war, no matter their sex.
The full House will consider this bill in May 2016. Please sign my petition to trigger an email to your Representatives to vote NO on forcing women to register for the draft and to introduce legislation ending the draft requirement for both sexes!
While this amendment may make things equal, bodily autonomy should be taken into account and military service should be based on choice. Our bodies are not communal property, and we should NEVER be compelled to fight in a war we may disagree with.
Many say forcing everyone to register for the draft will cause Americans to think twice about going to war. But, as writer Lucy Steigerwald points out, anger over the draft helped to end the Vietnam war only AFTER 60,000 Americans and 2 million Vietnamese died.
"You don't stop the runaway truck of US foreign policy by throwing a man in front of it, and you definitely don't stop it by throwing a man and a woman, just to make things equal," Steigerwald writes.
Pass the New Bill to Abolish the Military Draft
Campaign created by David Swanson
TO: THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS
Pass the new bill to abolish the military draft: "H.R.4523 - To repeal the Military Selective Service Act, and thereby terminate the registration requirements of such Act and eliminate civilian local boards, civilian appeal boards, and similar local agencies of the Selective Service System."
Why Is This Important?
A bureaucracy unused since Richard Nixon left office, an institution that has served no purpose since before people already too old for it were born, a machinery whose only function is to send huge numbers of unwilling young men (and some hope to expand it to include young women) into immoral actions should be abolished. This bipartisan bill would make that happen.
The selective service budget is $23-26 million every year. There are also costs to the states and financial aid offices that must ensure people are registered before administering benefits.
Many states automatically register men who obtain driver's licenses for selective service; that technology should remain in place but be used to automatically register men and women to vote.
Opponents of war and supporters of conscientious objection back this bill. You can too.
ACTION: To sign, click here.
H.R.4523 - To repeal the Military Selective Service Act,
and thereby terminate the registration requirements of such Act and eliminate civilian local boards, civilian appeal boards, and similar local agencies of the Selective Service System
For the latest updates, click here.
Sponsor: Rep. Coffman, Mike [R-CO-6] (Introduced 02/10/2016)
Committees: House - Armed Services
Latest Action: March 4, 2016 -- Referred to the Subcommittee on Military Personnel.