Step Right Up, Ladies

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    Lines of Departure - Should women be drafted?

    Janey get your gun, get your gun, get your gun.
    Take it on the run; (we’ll shoot you if you run).
    Hear them calling you and me,
    We’re bound for the infantry.

    Hurry, right away, no delay, go today.
    Choice was what you had, now you’re just treated bad.
    Tell your sweetheart not to pine,
    To be proud his girl’s supine.

    Over there….

    ~ George M. Cohan, Over There, Brought up to date1

    Recently, and perhaps significantly, two of the senior military officers in the country, Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley and Commandant of the Marine Corps Robert Neller, testified before Congress that women should be required to register for the draft.2 Interestingly, their civilian chiefs, acting Army Secretary Patrick Murphy and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, called instead for a national debate. I suppose those latter two mean something like the debate that accompanied the decision to open up all combat arms branches to women. That debate? Well, it was short so you probably missed it, amounting to, “Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and Marine, the facts and the truth don’t matter in the slightest when matched against our fantasy of a glorious egalitarian future. Now shut up and do what you’re told.” Oh, a fierce debate, that one was.

    Interesting, though, is it not, that after imposition by fiat of gender integration now the civilians are saying “nuance” and “debate” and, impliedly, “go slow,” while the generals are shouting, “Charrrge!“and “Full speed ahead!”?

    Here’s what I think is going on there: Both the generals and the civilians realize exactly the same things, that: A) Mom and Dad, while not thrilled about sending their son to war, absolutely don’t want their little girl being forced to go to war, and B) rallying that sentiment is the last chance to strangle in the cradle this execrably stupid notion of gender equality in combat before it has a chance to utterly ruin the United States armed forces, which, yes, it will. Am I sure of it? Of the ruination, I am absolutely certain, which should surprise no one here. It could have been done in a non-ruinous way but that would never fit the fantasies of the left, of course. As for the attempt at political sabotage, no, I can’t be sure, but that’s what I think. If I am right does this mean that the Chief and the Commandant are in a quiet and minor rebellion against their civilian masters? Well, it wouldn’t be unprecedented.3

    Note, here, that if the Republicans take the White House, next year, this may play a part in it. Hilarious, no, if a move that both Pink Bernie and the Hildebeast certainly approve of keeps them out of power.

    Okay, now sit down. You’re not drinking anything at the moment, are you? Good. No food in your mouth? Nothing you might choke on?

    Yes, we should make women register for the draft. Moreover, if we ever institute a draft, they should be required to serve. Note that I am not saying they should serve in gender integrated organizations, at the morally important squad, platoon, company, and battalion levels. Note that I am also not saying they belong in the combat arms, though under certain conditions, scrupulously adhered to, they might.4

    Note that I am not saying that merely because it might make Mr. and Mrs. America wake up for a change and cause them to dispose of those politicians who have pushed their little girls (but surely not the craven pols’ little girls) closer to the line of fire. Nope, there are sound reasons for doing so anyway.

    A non-exhaustive list of those sound reasons follows:

    1. Look, folks, we no longer have the young men to fight an existential war, such are our low birthrates, our high abortion rates, and the numbers of young men who are disqualified by reasons of character, morals, criminal record, education, intelligence, physical and mental health, drug abuse, etc. Indeed, under thirty percent are qualified.5 We could perhaps increase those percentages some by dropping standards, but to think we can drop those standards very much and still have much of an armed defense is fantasy. Sorry, lefty, I was in the Cat IV Army in 1974. It was amazingly worthless.

    Moreover, of those eligible, likely a third or more would resist being drafted, further reducing the numbers available.6

    It was mostly nonsense propaganda when the phrase was coined, “free a man to fight.” It’s not nonsense anymore. When that existential war comes – and it will; or, at least, it will if we last long enough – there is no reason for four healthy males to be fixing electronic components in the rear when four women could do it as well, and they could crew a tank or provide the dismounted infantry for a Bradley. There’s no reason for a healthy young man to be driving a truck if a woman can do it as well. There’s no reason for four healthy young males to be running a fire station if six woman can do it as well and the men are needed for other things. I cannot imagine a reason for leaving a healthy and fit young man as a clerk when riflemen are needed at the front.

    2. You may not have noticed it, but not only are registered nurses largely female, as they’ve always been, but about a third of doctors are female now and they are disproportionately younger, hence more eligible.7 Probably not too many of our readers here will know it, but conscription of doctors was a distinct thing from conscription of machine gun fodder, for example, the doctor draft had wider age limits than the machine gun fodder draft. It’s not clear to me that we could conscript enough male doctors for an existential war, hence should be able to draft women, as well. Moreover, to the extent that female military participation grows substantially, and given that females have some distinct medical issues, and further to the extent that gynecologists tend to be female, we simply must have them.

    3. One of the nice things about a draft is that failure to report and serve is, generally speaking, a criminal offense, indeed a felony. Felonies, of course, carry certain penalties. I really like the idea of those who refuse to meet the ultimate obligations of citizenship, fighting and, if necessary, dying, being booted from the body politic, as well. It would move the country somewhat – and possibly substantially – to the right, were it rigorously carried through. Some, of course, would emigrate to other countries, taking out citizenship there, to much the same effect. And good riddance.

    4. And, finally, who knows, maybe Mom and Dad will get a sudden rush of brains to the head and vote against progressivism, generally. But, even if they do, we still need to plan and prepare for a female draft.

    So c’mon, Janey, get your gun.

    Addendum: When, as is sure to happen, a doctrinaire libertarian, anarchist, objectivist, or anarcho-capitalist shows up in comments to point and shriek, “involuntary servitude!” I’ll deal with that then.

    __________

    1 The original song is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5v33jF5TGLw . No, contrary to rumor I was much too young to go over the top at the Marne.

    2 http://www.moaa.org/Content/Take-Action/Top-Issues/Currently-Serving/Top-Generals–Issue-Women-Draft-Cards.aspx

    3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolt_of_the_Admirals

    4 http://www.amazon.com/Amazon-Legion-Carerra-Book-ebook/dp/B00AP91RNU/
    I hate pimping my own books, but sometimes there’s no real choice.

    5 http://time.com/2938158/youth-fail-to-qualify-military-service/

    6 http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/newsweek-poll–youth-vote-shows-bush-kerry-neck-and-neck-47-for-kerry-45-for-bush-but-kerrys-lead-grows-among-likely-voters-52-to-42-74376292.html

    7 http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/physicians-by-gender/

    Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

    Tom Kratman is a retired infantry lieutenant colonel, recovering attorney, and science fiction and military fiction writer. His latest novel, The Rods and the Axe, is available from Amazon.com for $9.99 for the Kindle version, or $25 for the hardback. A political refugee and defector from the People’s Republic of Massachusetts, he makes his home in Blacksburg, Virginia. He holds the non-exclusive military and foreign affairs portfolio for EveryJoe. Tom’s books can be ordered through baen.com.

    Note: If you follow the retail links in this post and make purchases on the site(s), Defy Media may receive a share of the proceeds from your sale through the retailer’s affiliate program.

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                • Ori Pomerantz

                  I’m surprised this is even an issue. Conscription isn’t just about getting people to fight a war. It’s also for getting cheap labor for whatever it is the government wants to do / thinks needs to be done.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    As mentioned elsewhere, Ori, military labor, for the US, is anything but cheap, while the costs of training that military labor are huge, not to mention the costs of feeding, clothing, billeting, and in general supporting. Different issue for us than Israel.

                  • Ori Pomerantz

                    Good point. Most rear troops in Israel commute from their parents’ home, it is usually less than an hour’s commute. The military provides them with pocket change (60 $/month when I was in) and lunch. The US is a lot bigger and less centralized, so the government won’t be able to depend on the parents.

                    OTOH, training is going to cost what you want it to cost. When you recruit people as cheap labor, you don’t need to train them to military specs. I had four weeks of basic training, during which I shot maybe forty bullets. Women doing the same job had two weeks of basic training, and shot even less.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Uh, uh. When we draft, every troop is somebody’s son (or daughter). It’s a political imperative to arm, equip, feed, clothe, and train them as well as possible.

                  • TBR

                    Yes, the draft has the effect of binding society and armed forces together. All voluntary forces can seal themselves off from society or, as has become the more prevalent case, are expelled from “society”. The draft inoculates society from divorcing itself too far from the reality that the state and ts society in the end need the capability for violence to survive.

                    If every young man spends, say, 15+3 months in uniform, that is active draft service and manouevre recalls in the first decade after (I would prefer more but this I consider the minimum in peacetime, anything less and you get massive performance loss), then that political imperative exists and is real.

                    If only “people too dumb and inept to do anything else” serve then in the end DOLISTS (or rather their “representatives”) effectively have more political clout than soldiers as they are so easily manipulated and numerous voting cattle.

                    The other thing is that if your education system actually works you can get a higher quality of soldiers in a draft system, both in the draftee and the volunteer components. In Germany the reduction and, recently, hiatus in the draft has lead to a massive loss in intake quality, at all “candidate” levels. This has been exacerbated by an asinine and idiotic personnel policy, the “Senior NCO candidate” system. It worked, after a fashion and not well, when it began in (IIRC) 2004 and as long as there still was a draft

                    Now there is no draft and this system makes the “career” choice of non-NCO and even NCO candidate entry so unattractive that even with a massively reduced entry standard there are not enough takers. Oh, and SNCO and officer candidate applicants are, as a group, also less qualified, even though the relative recruiting base (relative to the birtheyear “class”) has doubled with unlimited female service options.

                    Germany is finding out that in a voluntary service system you simply do not get the 60K annual applicants for all service options you need to keep up any reasonable entry standards to the armed forces, even at the frankly anemic force level we currently aim for (185K) but do not reach. And the same politicians responsible for that development, both the hiatus of the draft and the reduced force level, now want to raise the force level again, by about 30%, so we are not talking small change here. We are not getting 60K applicant, we will never get 80K without a systemic change. Another problem is that with volunteers serving it is difficult for the Ministry of Defense to gain enough political capital to generate an attractive system of incentives for voluntary service for the reasons stated above. Career system, pay grades and pensions for volunteers are stil an ugly compromise barely changed from when the draft was actually in effect.

                    In the draft system every young man had to face the question of service and many who would not have done so without this impetus even served voluntary extra time or went “career”. While only 30% of the long service “volunteers” in the time of the draft actually joined from draftee service (70% were direct entrants) at least as many joined because the very existence of the draft made them consider military service. If you have a draft that rediuces the effective time of an enlistment contract, 4 years is a lot shorter if you consider you would have to serve 18 months anyways, and at far less pay and with less choice about the nature of that service to boot. If you never had a reason to really look at military service as a career option being mustered forces you to do so and you might like what you see.

                    All of the above, furtheron, is influenced by culture. German culture is such that in a draft system you get positive effects on military effectiveness and societal “mental health”. In other societies peacetime draft can serve as a poison both to society and the armed forces.

                  • James

                    Jesus christ why the hell don’t they train you longer? Hell why don’t ya’ll start training when kids? I can remember one of my favorite books was a old manual the gave to the national guardsmen on making basic trenches, emplacements and other things. Loved that book it fell apart and then my mom threw it away.

                  • Ori Pomerantz

                    They don’t train non combatants for longer because that would be more expensive. This way they can get 35 months of nearly free labor out of them. Also, training accidents make the military look bad. A lot of the people in non-combatant basic training are going to be cooks and drivers, not necessarily the country’s best and brightest. The less they shoot, the less likely an accident.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Oh, some other parts to it, conscription is – or can be, in practice – also about making sure that people have the training to not only resist a foreign enemy but also to resist their own government. The second amendment is nice, of course, but not worth much without training to use those arms in groups. Additionally, it is an educational – no, not a brainwashing, an _educational_ – tool in the sense of character building or releasing. If one were to look closely at, say, German kids, both before they go into service and after, there’s a world of difference. For perhaps good reason, German society has long had the effect of, so to speak, suppressing testosterone. Short version, travelling though there at age 15, German boys struck me as wimpy. Cue a year or two with the army; they change back to what they naturally are.

                    I’m not the only one ever to notice this about Germany, by the way; a certain statesman of the last century seems to have observed it, too, in a book the title of which I am struggling to remember… In fact, Germans seem to know this themselves, generally, as many recognize that the Heer is the soul of their country.

                    Cue the reduction in size of the Bundeswehr, in conscription (possibly gone entirely by now), and the failure, so far, to string up their politicians, as those treasonous bastards _clearly_ deserve…

                  • Ori Pomerantz

                    I agree that my right to keep and bear arms isn’t very important for the preservation of liberty, whereas you and your fellow veterans having that right is.

                    Are you saying that conscription educates people to be more, rather than less, likely to fight for their rights? Maybe – my experience has been the reverse, but what I was in was a degenerate case in many ways.

                  • Jack Withrow

                    Ori, Miltary training gives the citizen the ability to effectively exercise those rights, especially the 2nd Amendment.

                  • James

                    Think about it this way. A country where everyone of a certain age and or sex must perform military duty means a Entire nation that has largely trained for war in some form or fashion.

                    It means you have people who have been trained in a lot of the most important non combat and support task that kill armies and lose or win wars.

                    It also means that any enemy foreign or domestic has to factor in the fact that instead of a largely harmless and unorganized populace you could if angered face a populace that has the training and because of the second to form a MASSIVE military force within a matter of weeks.

                    The greatest Irony about this is only through a draft system could you ever have a hope of getting the great Peoples Libertarian Ninja Army of Freedom.

                    Yes A draft would provide the necessary training and skills that Libertarians would need to be there. Also the common bond.

                  • Ori Pomerantz

                    “Think about it this way. A country where everyone of a certain age and or sex must perform military duty means a Entire nation that has largely trained for war in some form or fashion.”

                    Only until the military develops some unnecessary tasks to keep the children of the elites, and then the upper middle class, nicely safe. I’ve been three years in a conscription military, and I still don’t consider myself competent in any war tasks.

                  • James

                    Yes but you have some training. Remember what professionals study? If you have a group of people that can effectively maintain, haul, and resupply you have a hell of a advantage. Plus if you actually give your people military training it helps.

                  • soft_water

                    If you peruse the CIA fact book you will see that they already factor in most males as combat effective. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/

                  • James

                    I think my standards of combat effective are higher. Being able to hold a gun and shoot isn’t enough for me. And physical fittness is only a part. You can train up and get a man fit if you have some time.

                • John Becker

                  It seems to me (a layman if ever there was one) that not drafting women would raise 14th amendment/equal protection issues

                  • Scooby

                    The Supremes have already said that it doesn’t violate the 5th & 14th to draft only men. My concern would be with the 13th, but the Supremes have also waved their hands on that one to make it go away (their reasoning- slavery and/or involuntary servitude isn’t bad when it’s the gov’t making you do it).

                  • Tom Kratman

                    No, their reasoning is that it isn’t servitude. Servitude means being a slave. The elements of being a slave and being a conscript are simply too different. Conscripts can’t be sold, for example. Conscription is for a term, not normally for life unless early death intervenes. An individual master, with the law having nothing to say about it, can punish and even execute a slave on his own word. Female conscripts, unlike female slaves, have a right to refuse sex. Etc. Etc. Etc.

                    The draft power arises from the militia, which, yes, has always been compulsory in the English speaking world and, indeed, most of the world, as far back as we can see. If they’d wanted to do away with the militia with the 13th Amendment, they certainly could have said so. They didn’t. Since they left it out of consideration, _real_ strict construction, as opposed to libertarian fantasy masquerading as strict construction, means they thought it was different.

                  • Scooby

                    But the drafters of the 13th did exempt involuntary servitude as a punishment for a crime after conviction (i.e. hard labor as a sentence for a crime). Since they left out conscription, they must have meant to, instead of the fascist fantasy of “the government has always owned lives and labor of the people within its borders” and therefore the Supremes are right to justify it afterward.

                    The volunteer professional army is of much better quality than the draftee army ever was. Maybe we shouldn’t worry about how to enslave citizens into fighting for the government, and worry more about guaranteeing that there is always a sufficient number of people that deem the government worth fighting for.

                  • Justin

                    Yes, and what’s your systemic plan for making that happen in such a manner that our internal weaknesses don’t leave us open to defeat in the long-term inevitability of a existential war? Or, if the government is unable to secure the enthusiastic participation you think can win a major war, does that mean the citizens of that country should be subject to the vagaries of foreign aggression? You could make a solid argument for that, but the results would be pretty horrific.
                    How many major wars against peer or near-peer competitors have we won without conscription, how many wars against third world shitheads in the last couple decades have we lost without it?

                  • Scooby

                    How many major wars against peer or near-peer competitors have we fought since December 1865? The only post 13th amendment conflict that posed any kind of existential threat to the US was WW II.

                    We didn’t do too great in Vietnam with conscription. Since then, I’m not aware of any other conflicts against third world shitheads that we’ve lost that would have been won by draftees. Our forces seem to do better when the officers and NCOs have their weapons trained downrange instead of on the backs of the private soldiers.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    And we did very well in WW II with conscription. So what are you trying to prove? That it’s not a panacea for every problem? Okay. so? What’s IS the panacea for facing a hostile world in arms against you, when that hostile world uses conscription?

                  • Scooby

                    Well, our fearless leaders could stop sticking our collective dicks in every hornet’s nest that we can find. That might reduce the number of existential threats we face.

                  • The Didact

                    That would only reduce the existential threats that America creates for itself- which actually aren’t very many.

                    The existential threat that is Islam, on the other hand, will never go away. That war has been going on for 14 centuries, and counting, and will NEVER stop until either dar al-Islam is destroyed completely, or everything else is.

                  • Scooby

                    Do you think any of our current (or realistically foreseeable future) leaders in the US or any of the other western powers are seriously contemplating conscripting a grand Crusading army to drive every last Muhammadan into the sea?

                    Conscription is much more likely to be used to enforce some grand Social Justice war on any of a host of -isms that plague the world.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Yes, which doesn’t make militia service, without criminal conviction, the same as making license plates after criminal conviction.

                    Just get it through your head; involuntary militia service is old, traditional, predates AND postdates the adoption of the constitution, and is different in its elements from involuntary servitude. Again, if they had wanted to do away with the traditional compulsory aspects of a militia they’d have done so and said so.

                  • Scooby

                    All kinds of bad behavior go back to time immemorial, and have plenty of tradition behind them. Congress could have easily drafted the 13th to allow conscription, but didn’t. It didn’t matter for 50 years after it was ratified, but Wilson insisted on claiming ownership of the lives of citizens in his zeal to expand the power of the state, and the Supremes went along with him.

                    “I also think there are prices too high to pay to save the United States. Conscription is one of them. Conscription is slavery, and I don’t think that any people or nation has a right to save itself at the price of slavery for anyone, no matter what name it is called. We have had the draft for twenty years now; I think this is shameful. If a country can’t save itself through the volunteer service of its own free people, then I say : Let the damned thing go down the drain!” – Robert A. Heinlein

                  • Tom Kratman

                    No, it doesn’t work that way. One doesn’t draft a new law to allow something that’s already allowed. One drafts a law – or an amendment – to make a change.

                    Heinlein, in this case, had fallen victim to the intellectual disease, the innate assumption that the fantasies contained inside one’s skull had some bearing on the real world. In this case, it was that it was somehow better to be conquered, ground down, raped, and enslaved by people who don’t share your fantasies than to compromise one’s fantasies. I’ll quote him in a different context, “Well, ain’t, see?” The country that refuses to use conscription, when faced with a peer who does use it, will cease to exist, all other things being approximately equal.

                    That’s another way to tell if a philosophy is idiotic, by the way; is it suicidal.

                  • Scooby

                    They did draft an amendment- the 13th- to say “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” It’s plain English language.

                    It wasn’t ’til more than 50 years after its ratification that the Supremes “interpreted” that laws requiring service to the state on a non-voluntary basis, with deprivation of life, liberty and/or property as a consequence for non-compliance, did not equal “involuntary servitude”.

                    Congress put one exception in the amendment that was ratified by the states- forced labor as a punishment on conviction of a crime- but didn’t put in an exception for conscription. Forced labor is a long-standing traditional punishment that goes back to time immemorial. Why did the drafters of the 13th include this carve-out explicitly if others (such as conscription) were to be included implicitly?

                    Do you interpret all of the constitution so narrowly? Does the 2nd amendment only guarantee the states the right to form organized militias? Does the 1st amendment freedom of the press only apply to the product of actual printing presses and freedom of speech to unamplified verbal utterances?

                    If the US can’t defend itself without sacrificing what makes it exceptional, then it’s already committed suicide.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    When something existed before an amendment, existed after it, existed in the common law for many centuries before that, existed all over the world as long as there have been societies under threat, and the people didn’t address it and had never considered it equivalent to slavery previously? Yes, in that case I interpret it to be, “Let’s ignore this libertarian fantasy.”

                    And I interpret your last sentence as, “If the US refuses to commit suicide then it should be killed.”

                  • Scooby

                    But it didn’t exist after the 13th amendment, until the Wilson/FDR progressive spasms that greatly expanded the role of the federal government in the daily lives of citizens. There were a lot of questionable handwaving decisions by the Supremes to justify the destruction of liberty- people distributing leaflets arguing against the draft became “yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater”,

                    An no, what I said was that if the US does things that are un-American, then there is no America to defend- it’s already committed suicide.

                  • James

                    Yes it did. Your problem is your looking at the strict Law. There are written laws and non written laws.

                    If you were in a small town in the early America’s and someone was coming to burn your homes you were expected to fight. If you didn’t and you were full capable of doing so you weren’t shit. You were seen as a coward.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Or you can move, since you refuse the obligations of citizenship. I recommend Albania.

                    Addendum: you really have no idea how intellectually bankrupt, self serving, solipsistic, and circular your argument is, do you? In effect, you are saying, “I don’t like it, therefore it is wrong, because I don’t like it. I don’t care if it works. I don’t care if it’s traditonal and traditionally lawful. I don’t like it and since I don’t like it it’s wrong. I don’t care what the terms mean; if I have to pervert them to advance my own likes and dislikes I will do so, and that is proper and just because I don’t like it.”

                    Bah.

                  • PeaceMaker

                    I do believe that in many state constitutions of the first 13 or so states. It talks about mandatory militia service, how many times you have to drill, provide weapon and ammo(shot and powder) and the fines you had to pay if you missed to much drill. But back then Americans did not want a large standing army. And it was understood that you had to participate in the common defense …………the common good. Today the propaganda runs so deep. Most believe they can do what ever they want and if it hurts people so what, I am important. I do not owe anything to anyone but I want my trophy and free stuff because I am important.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Pretty much.

                  • Ori Pomerantz

                    I hate to agree with you, but at the time conscription had been recently used (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enrollment_Act), so if they had meant to outlaw it they would have been more explicit.

                  • http://batman-news.com Rick Randall

                    I would argue that they differentiated between “servitude” and “slavery”, as *both* are explicitly prohibited. Likewise, convict.laborers (well,.in the American modern system- note that, technically, the 13th Amendment still allows for enslavement of convicts) are *not* slaves – they cannot be sold nor forced to have sex, either. And voluntary servitude not amounting to slavery is still permissible – such as indentures.

                    I think they simply dropped a stitch when they failed to exempt traditional civic duties (conscription, jury duty, hue & cry, etc.) when they inserted the exemption for road gangs. But omit it, they did. When you explicitly exempt one, or some, categories from a general.prohibition, generally a among, it is interpreted as making that *only* those explicit exemptions were intended.

                    Of course, tying ” voluntary” conscription to the franchise and certain government benefits (for example, eligibility for government grants, programs, and jobs) would solve that pedantic issue just as nicely as if they had explicitly exempted civic duties when they exempted road gangs.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    That’s part of the trick I suspect the two four stars are trying to invoke. The draft is for cannon fodder. Women could not be cannon fodder, so were exempt from the draft. Now women CAN be cannon fodder hence should not be exempt from the draft. Now, Mom and Pop, how do you like the decisions of your elected representatives, and appointed and approved chiefs of executive departments?

                • Ming the Merciless

                  Mom and Dad, while not thrilled about sending their son to war, absolutely don’t want their little girl being forced to go to war

                  I am absolutely opposed to sending my son to war — because any war we fight will be a stupid war, fought for stupid reasons, fought in a stupid manner, in pursuit of stupid and unattainable goals, under inept military leadership, under absurd rules of engagement, and without any desire to achieve decisive victory. My boy ain’t gonna be part of that. I’ll send him to live with his relatives overseas first.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    You are you and only you. “Mom and Dad,” however, are a larger class than just you.

                  • Ming the Merciless

                    Oh I think there are other dads in America who feel the same way.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Which are still a small class than all moms and dads. _Please_ don’t waste my time with quibbling; i’ve been having a rough week.

                  • Ming the Merciless

                    Actually, no. Opinion polls in the past decade show 75% to 85% opposition to a draft, and that’s drafting men, not women. It is safe to say that an overwhelming majority of American moms and dads are, like me, opposed to conscription of theirs sons. Period.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    What part of “I don’t have time for quibbling bullshit” will be hard for you to understand? I don’t really give a flying Philadelphia fuck about those polls. They may object, they may be just rapturous at the prospect of the insurance money. DOES NOT MAKE A FUCK OF DIFFERENCE. NONE. The point is that however they feel about boys going to war, they’re even less enthusiastic about girls.

                    NOW, ONE LAST MOTHERFUCKING TIME; SSSTTTOOOPPP WASTING MY FUCKING TIME WITH QUIBBLING BULLSHIT, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU CAN’T QUITE GRASP THE GRAVIMEN OF THE THING, WHICH IS THAT THEY FEEL SOMEWHAT DIFFERENTLY ABOUT BOYS AND GIRLS.

                  • Ming the Merciless

                    If they actually felt significantly differently about boys and girls, then they’d object to women volunteering to serve in combat, not just being forced to serve.

                    The public is so repelled by the idea of conscription that the additional revulsion caused by the idea of conscripting women isn’t all that significant.

                  • Justin

                    It does not follow that Sally’s parents care if Sally’s friend Jane volunteers, as long as they know that Sally, whose life they have some influence over, will never be FORCED to fight. The American public has never cared much what happens to the regular military until one media outlet or the other pulls at their heartstrings.

                  • James

                    Yes but they have had the idea drilled into them for decades now that its a womens choice. If you object-Sexism.

                  • BigGaySteve

                    If parents hear that Sally’s friend Jane was renting her vag out in the back of a Humvee ambulance in Moslemland they are ok knowing that Sally will be giving it away for free at college.

                  • Justin

                    Why wait? Feel free to migrate now. If you don’t think the country is worth serving, find another one.

                  • Ming the Merciless

                    If I thought we were going to fight a war that was actually about defending the country – and that we were going to fight it competently – I’d feel differently. And when was the last time we did that?

                    But fight an unnecessary war in an incompetent manner? Forget it.

                  • Justin

                    So you think your country is only worth serving if you agree with not only its policy decisions, but the specific details of its execution. I think that puts you in the ranks of Thomas Paine’s sunshine patriots. Like I said, since you no longer feel this country worthy of your children’s service, and you’re certainly entitled to feel that way, why don’t you leave? It isn’t as if you have to climb over a wall or escape in a balloon.

                  • Ming the Merciless

                    You are confusing “the country” with “those in power”. The problem is not that the “country” is not worthy, but that the national leadership is not worthy. They are corrupt, depraved, and cannot be trusted to run the nation or direct its military.

                    If our so-called leaders want to fight stupid wars, using stupid methods, without any real intention of winning, but they employ an all volunteer force, then fine, let them do that and see who signs up for it. We have seen from recent wars that they will get some volunteers.

                    If our so-called leaders want to fight stupid wars, using stupid methods, without any real intention of winning, and they want to conscript my kids, then fuck that no way. I will take to the streets along with tens of millions of other Americans and scream at my Congressman and Senators to make it stop.

                    If we got a new national leadership that wanted to fight necessary wars, with competent methods, with the objective of decisive victory, then it would have to be a pretty damn big war (e.g., Chinese crawling ashore on Manhattan Beach) before conscription ought to be necessary, but in that case I would not object to my kids being conscripted.

                    If the country is worthy but the leaders are not worthy, then the correct solution is not that people like me should go away, but that the corrupt, depraved, and untrustworthy leaders should go away.

                  • http://www.windsofchange.net/ Joe Katzman

                    Ming’s is a classic Jacksonian response.

                    Col. Kratman remains correct that widening draft registration (not the same as a draft) will create a different reaction.

                  • BigGaySteve

                    Hey lets put Kuwait back on the map with US tax dollars and kick out that secular power Sadam who protects Christians jews and gays from moslems. A male travel nurse in Kuwait got arrested for drinking water during the day during Ramadan. If he was a moslem he could have used the 100+ deg heat as a medical necessity excuse.

                  • goldushapple

                    It’s funny his handle is “Ming the Merciless” then he acts like a little pussy when it comes to war. I guess we need a Red Dawn or another World War to convince dear old Ming. Merciless? Only in his head.

                  • Ming the Merciless

                    Let’s see, LBJ and Dubya committed us to wars that had only the most tenuous connection to our national interests, got thousands of men killed and wounded, wasted billions of dollars, and seriously eroded our international power position. But hey, at least nobody could call them a “little pussy”, so that’s awesome.

                  • Foolish Pride

                    As out of shape as I am, if I someone came over and I didn’t like them I’d take my rifle and go straight to the frontlines. Short of an existential threat, I’m with you.

                  • goldushapple

                    Oh shut it.

                  • Ming the Merciless

                    That’s what the coach said when he saw you getting ready to blow the entire football team.

                • Grumpy Guy

                  Sauce for the goose.

                • Michel Maiorana

                  I am personally against a draft. However I am not so rigid that I can’t see a future necessity for one. My preference would be a service garuantees citizenship setup. That would probably require a major collapse a’la starship troopers.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    well, at the least it would require no exemptions, no penalties beyond loss of voting rights and rights to run for public office. In effect, that would give you starship troopers, since everyone would be, in effect, a volunteer, with no penalties but those in SST for not serving.

                  • Michel Maiorana

                    Considering the privileged crybabies in colleges and the progressive anti-Americans running the country these days. That would be a feature not a bug.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    I agree.

                • James

                  I guess it all depends upon how far the rabbit hole mom and dad are. If they are very far into “believing” then they will see no problem what so ever. Often they will think that wars will always been like the last ones we have fought or will be even easier.

                  I think the big problem is that the general run of the mill person in the US seems to have fuck all in terms of a idea what the world is really like and none on what war is really like.

                  And I have found a LOT of people who will ignore everything to make sure they feel happy and that their world view is untouched.

                • Jack Withrow

                  I think you are giving those two 4 Stars far too much credit. The timing of their announcements is suspect, they only came out for this after a bill was introduced in Congress requiring females to register for the draft.

                  It looks to me like they are pandering to the Repukeians. They would not open their mouths until the Repukeians introduced a bill. I would suggest they see the writing on the wall, and a Repukeian will be in the WH come Jan 2017 and they want to keep their jobs. Where were their opinions when the “debate” was going on?

                  As far as drafting women, I have said for years they should be required to register. Mainly for the reasons you put forth. That said, I believe Hell will freeze over before they are required to register. It’s political suicide for either the Demoncrats or Repukeians to push this, and their low animal cunning will prevent them from trying.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Possibly, but note that their political masters obviously understand the political implications. I would suggest to you that four stars are MUCH more politically astute than mere secretaries.

                  • Jack Withrow

                    To get to the 4 star level they have to be very able politicians. And I would agree they are probably more politically astute than the service secretaries. But I somehow doubt they would have brought this up, if there had not been that bill introduced in Congress.

                    This strikes me as just the 4 Stars being passive/aggressive. They would not fight all this crap while it was being forced down their throats, but now that it is more or less set in stone, until at least the next election, they try this. This is just more a day late and a dollar short military leadership at the highest levels. It is it any wonder that the troops do not trust them?

                    I don’t understand how anyone with any military experience can believe anything good is going to come out of all these SJW experiments. And it still floors me that none of the GO Corps did anything to fight this.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Put that one in caps: “NONE OF THE GO CORPS…”

                    Still, it was predictable that the subject would come up, so no need to poison it by the soldiers bringing it up themselves. And we’ve had female artillery and ADA officers before, and got rid of them. The current administration has been trying to set this is stone, but that’s much tougher than they’re equipped to think.

                  • Jack Withrow

                    How do you think this will eventually play out?

                    My money is on a shit pot of flag draped coffins with large numbers of females inside in the next war will finally wake the public up. I don’t see anything less doing it.

                    BTW. I sent that letter off, I doubt I get a reply that addresses anything in it.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Yeah, as the Sphinx told the Aussie, “Don’t expect too much.”

                  • BigGaySteve

                    About your RNS being mostly female. You wouldn’t believe how many military nurses thought that they magically reduced their 2 mile run time when the special department of nursing PT test happened that allowed them all to no longer be pt flagged against promotion. One Hispanic sow LT actually thought she reduced her run time by over 20 min.
                    Reporting their timekeeping fraud at BAMC when I left was Major Schadenfreude. They basically worked part time when they should have been putting in 40hrs a week when not taking leave or sleeping their drunk off in an empty patient bed. Agency nursing for 3 shifts paid better than their base pay for the month, and them not working full time caused BAMC to hire agency nurses removing their competiion & creating more work.

                    Since all military hospitals use the same 3 documents I showed the inspector general how to compare to find fraud I probably influenced the number of blacks & Hispanics in nursing than any other individual.

                • http://otherwheregazette.wordpress.com sotarrthewizard

                  Frankly, I’m for it. I’m tired of having to show that **I** registered back in 1979, despite 6 years on Active Duty in the USAF as an Officer, and an Honorable Discharge, whenever I fill out ANY Federal Paperwork.

                  My wife doesn’t. My daughters don’t.

                  Want Equality ? BE Equal. . .

                  • James

                    But it was never about equality. It was about power.

                  • goldushapple

                    Then you stuipidly give into the feminists and “equality” movement. Congrats. You served yet you’re bitter that your wife and daughter didn’t have to sign up? Good grief. People like you are backwards – the irony.

                • The Didact

                  Sir- putting aside the, as you say, usual philosophical objections to the draft (which I agree with), how would it be possible to write a draft law such that women who dodge the draft would be punished appropriately?

                  I ask this because we already have, in Israel, an example of a nation where there is a compulsory universal draft law in place. Yet young women can get out of that by being conveniently married off or conveniently getting knocked up. Young ultra-Orthodox men could, at least until recently, avoid military service on religious grounds.

                  You state that one possible punishment would be the revocation of citizenship and the rights, privileges, and responsibilities therein. This strikes me as an effective deterrent against shirking for male conscripts, but would it necessarily be as effective for women? Moreover, would it be possible to relax such a punishment IF women’s suffrage were completely revoked instead?

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Well…to be frank, there’s another motive underlying the Israeli conscription of women; in short, to put old spinsters of 19 in the company of as many men as possible so they’ll get married and start pumping out kids.

                    Me, I’d just say, “here’s your draft notice. If you don’t report you will not be able to vote or hold public office until you do. If that takes until you’re 89, so be it.”

                    Effective? If it improves the body politic and provides enough cannon fdder, directly or indirectly, that would be good enough.

                    I would reduce nothing. Go in, eventually, or never vote. If not enough women care about the society to go in, or if none do..well, why do we want people of any sex voting if they don’t care about society?

                  • Scooby

                    But that’s not how conscription works in the real world. Here, it’s “report, or we’ll throw you in a rape cage”.

                    I know nobody’s been prosecuted for failure to register in a over 30 years, but it is still on the books and enforceable as a felony. I guess that’s one way to say “register or never vote (or own a firearm, or a decent job, or…).”

                  • Tom Kratman

                    As a practical matter, no. That said, even if it had been true, that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t do it differently.

                  • Scooby

                    I’m curious why you would want to try to conscript an army either way, the same old way or in some tweeked fashion. Can you envision any realistic conflict where conscripts would do a better job than volunteers? And not just on the tip of the spear, but at any point- from munitions manufacturing to maintenance to sustainment, etc.?

                    Volunteers tend to be motivated, more amenable to training, and more effective soldiers. With conscripts, the right side of the Bell curve isn’t cut off- you get some good, many so-so, but you also get the malingerers and malcontents, and if you get bad apples that have a little self-motivation, you get the fraggers and saboteurs. As a result, you have to direct a lot more effort into internal security measures that reduce combat effectiveness. Even if those non-productive and anti-productive draftees are shunted away from the infantry and into maintenance, sustainment, etc., do you want the precision guided munitions being dropped danger close to your position being tuned up by some flunky that is pissed that he’s being forced into his job at gunpoint?

                    Even if conscription wasn’t wrong on a philosophic basis, isn’t it just stupid and counterproductive on a practical basis in our modern world? We are not going to be in any 1st or 2nd generation conflicts where we need to line up a bunch of bullet-catchers to absorb an attack.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Because, as Stalin observed, “Quantity becomes quality at some point in time,” further, as we say, “Quantity has a quality all its own,” and finally, because conscription is like any other weapon, “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight,” so don’t go to an existential war – in the real, not the libertarian fantasy universe – against a serious enemy using conscription, without using it yourself.”

                  • Scooby

                    Nothing sells conscription as all-American quite as well as quoting Stalin. You gonna give every three draftees one rifle to share, as well? I mean, the second guy can pick it up after the first is killed, and the third guy can pick it up after the second is killed.

                    Why reduce your own combat effectiveness just because the enemy does? I’d rather bring a well-trained, well-motivated army to fight against an enemy’s slaves any day of the week.

                  • Ori Pomerantz

                    I think Tom Kratman’s point is that if three conscripts could at any point be better than one volunteer, he wants the option to have those three conscripts. Or to conscript four and kill one for malingering to motivate the other two who wouldn’t have volunteered.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Because, historically, and properly done, it doesn’t reduce your effectiveness.

                  • soft_water

                    ie. WW2 firing rates of 40% versus Vietnam firing rates of 98%.

                  • Jack Withrow

                    It is basic math, especially in the infantry. You need X number of people in the unit for it to function at a reasonable level of combat effectiveness. With conscripts you have a supply of readily available replacements in known quantities, with a volunteer force you do not normally have a readily available pool of replacements. With a volunteer force, you have to either wait for replacements to be trained or raid another unit for said replacements with the reduction in combat effectiveness that entails. Your volunteer force is subject to whims of the population they draw recruits from. In short you may or may not have a ready source of available manpower and you will not be able to count on the number of replacements available for any given period of time. Why do you think the military has to spend so much money on recruitment and retention bonuses?

                    You are like a lot of other people you fail to understand there are costs and benefits for both a conscript army and an all volunteer force. The all volunteer force is normally more highly trained, but is highly sensitive to casualties. The conscript force is not as highly trained at the beginning but is not that sensitive to casualties as there is a readily available pool of replacements. And another major difference is cost. The cost of an all volunteer force is much higher than a conscript force in peacetime. While an all conscript force is normally does not start a war with as high a combat effectiveness as a volunteer force. With as little as 30 days in combat you will not be able to tell the difference between the two, if they have the same levels of leadership.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    I’m quite sure nothing would sell you. I’m not even trying; having learned many years ago that nothing can talk a libertarian, objectivist, anarcho-capitalist, or anyone of the sort out of the fantasies that can only exist inside their skulls.

                    One would hope that any American – well, anyone who wasn’t a moron – would note that Stalin won the war.

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Could have sworn I answered this.

                    It doesn’t necessarily or even commonly reduce combat effectiveness; that’s just libertarian fantasy-speak. Oh, if your people are weak and rotten it may not work, but then those same people are ripe for a professional army to do away with popular government, anyway.

                    But if you have a decent population; it works well historically. Ask Pyrrus. Ask Hamilar Barca. Ask Hannibal. Ask the professional knights routed and massacred by Swiss citizen-soldier militia. Ask any of the professional armies of Europe, routed by French conscripts in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Ask the French, who had a much more professional army than the Prussians in 1870 how it worked out being outnumbered by about two to one, and more than the difference being conscripts. Ask the Russian how well they think they’d have done with a small professional army against the conscript masses of the Wehrmacht. Ask the NVA how well their conscripts held up against a much more powerful force.

                  • http://batman-news.com Rick Randall

                    There’s a difference between a small, limited war, and a large war where defeat means destruction as a nation.

                    One is better fought with a smaller, better trained, more “professional” force (I.e., generally volunteer), and the other requires a large mass.

                    It’s somewhat analogous to the difference between special operations and conventional forces – no matter how good your SEAL/SF/SAS unit of 10-12 guys are, they are only still a squad, and can only handle a certain amount of frontage. A rifle company of regular grunts won’t be there individually as good – hell, a platoon of them would have problems dealing with a single ODA… and small special operations teams have repeatedly demonstrated get can give a larger conventional force a bloody nose and get away. But the grunts have a total strength in a straight up fight.

                    I’m generally opposed to conscription on a philosophical basis, and feel the 13th Amendment should have explicitly exempted “traditional civic duties” as it does using convict labor if the express intent was to still allow conscription (and, for that matter, involuntary jury duty), but even I can easily see the difference between, say Desert Storm and WWII in terms of personnel requirements.

                  • BigGaySteve

                    Look at the video of 100+ blacks attacking 3 whites in a Krogers parking lot at White Girl Bleed A Lot. If we pretended blacks exist as seen on fictional TV, having a 6 round revolver wouldn’t save you.

                  • BigGaySteve

                    They have to fight jewish women trying to become lesbians, and try to get jewish men to endure putting up with jewish women. Jewish lesbian gatekeepers are massively overrepresented in every place that there is a push for less white males.

                • The Didact

                  Sir- as you know, in the old days of the Roman Republic, in times of true crisis, republican government would be suspended and a single man would be appointed Dictator with virtually omnipotent powers for the duration of the emergency. This included the ability to draft conscripts at will and to completely suspend basic personal freedoms under martial law.

                  Given the accelerating decline of American society and culture, do you think that the Society of Cincinnatus might one day go into abeyance “for the duration of the current emergency” here in the US, with an armed takeover by the nation’s military? If so, under what specific circumstances do you believe that such a thing would occur? And could the American military ever recover from the extreme stresses placed upon it if such an unthinkable event should occur?

                  • Tom Kratman

                    I did a column on that a few months back, To Coup or Not to Coup, IIRC.

                  • The Didact

                    Yes sir, I read it at the time and went back and re-read it earlier today. It seems as though the USA today has actually gone farther down the road to Hell than Allende’s government did in Chile before Pinochet came along, hence my questions. From what I can see, the American people appear to be willing and able to put up with a far greater degree of abuse and stupidity from their government than the Chileans were.

                    To my last point, do you believe that the US military could recover from the stresses of a coup? The reason I ask is that the concept of the Society of Cincinnatus appears to be drilled into every member of the military that I have ever come across, whether active or not. While I believe this to be a very Good Thing, as you like to say, “survival cancels programming”.

                    The question really therefore becomes, “how bad do things have to get specifically in the US before survival kicks in and programming gets the boot?”

                  • Tom Kratman

                    Breakdown or impending breakdown in the electoral system, in such a way as to indicate there is no other choice but to launch a coup, that short of that we’ll never have another fair and free election again.

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