Sen. McCain in Lockstep with Obama on Drafting Women for Combat

By Tony Perkins, President
Family Research Council

After the last seven and a half years, it’s safe to say that the greatest threat to our military is the administration in charge of it. The legacy of the Obama administration will not be advancing the war against global jihad, but rather advancing the culture war — which started with the toppling of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and continued on to the latest phase of the military’s sexual revolution: open transgenderism and opening the draft to women. In this administration, gender isn’t just being redefined in bathrooms, but on battlefields, where this president seems all too content to assign America’s wives and daughters to the most dangerous ground combat units in the world.

And unfortunately, he’s had plenty of help. In the Senate, where members are debating the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Navy veteran John McCain (R-Ariz.) gave the effort a helping hand by including an amendment into the bill from three female Republicans, Senators Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), and Deb Fischer (Nebr.), that would require women to register for selective service — a decision that even his primary challenger couldn’t believe. Dr. Kelli Ward, who’s trying to unseat the longtime senator, is already making McCain’s position a campaign issue. Like most parents, she can’t imagine a nation ordering her child to war. “I have a 20-year-old daughter, Katie, and when I think of her being forced to go into combat, especially in the Middle East against the barbarians who are there. Who are basically salivating at the prospect of getting their hands on our young women… I have no qualms about women who want to volunteer and who want to go and do whatever they want to do in our military — but to force them to a draft is unacceptable in my opinion.”

As a father of three girls, I couldn’t agree more. I will support my daughters if they decide to serve in the military, but I will not stand by if the government tries to draft them in the military. What does it say about a nation that sends its mothers and daughters to fight its battles?

In part, this is all the unfortunate byproduct of opening infantry and other front line positions to women, which Defense Secretary Ash Carter approved earlier this year over the objections of military leaders. When the DOD removes the barriers to women serving in all positions, it removes most barriers to drafting them as well. And while some senators seem either oblivious to the risks or too frightened to fight the political correctness, plenty of conservatives are standing up to the members of both parties who want to use our military as the laboratory for social change.

“I cannot in good conscience vote to draft our daughters into the military, sending them off to war, and forcing them into combat,” Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) argued. Together with Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), Cruz is doing everything he can to strip the language out of the high chamber’s NDAA. He’ll have the support of more than six dozen conservative leaders, veterans, and activists — including FRC’s Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.). In a letter representing hundreds of thousands of American families, the group urged every member of the Senate to join Mike Lee in pushing back on the real war on women.

“We strongly support the heroic, capable, and honorable women who choose and will serve our country in the military…” the group writes. “There are exceptional women who are capable of meeting or exceeding the combat standards put forth by each branch. We support them as we do all individuals willing to put their lives on the line for the greatest nation in the history of the world. However, the female draft discussion should revolve around combat readiness, efficiency, and national security, and weeding through applicants that are overwhelmingly biologically unable to meet combat standards would be a logistical nightmare and would force the lowering of combat standards. The capabilities of these rare women should not mean all appropriately aged women are involuntarily eligible for combat.”

Not to mention, they write, “Women are not clamoring for this ‘opportunity.’ Only 15 percent of our active-duty military forces are women. We find it demeaning to suggest that women who have instead chosen to serve our nation in other civilian roles — such as manufacturing, commerce, medicine or even caring for their children — are not contributing to our nation. They are indeed!” At the very least, this issue deserves to be a standalone bill, debated out in the open after a thorough and transparent review. Congress needs to decide: Is the military’s goal to be the great societal equalizer — or the most lethal fighting force in the world? Contact Republican Senators Kelly Ayotte (202-224-3324), Joni Ernst (202-224-3254), and Deb Fischer (202-224-6551), and let them know that it’s one thing for our daughters to choose to fight and quite another to force them to.

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