September 15, 2021

-The Federalist


The congressional debate about “Draft Our Daughters” legislation—whether Selective Service should include young women in registration for a possible future draft—has taken a new and disturbing turn.

For clarity, consider President Joe Biden’s unilateral imposition of unprecedented COVID shot mandates on millions of Americans. Signing executive orders affecting private employers and individuals without congressional authorization, Biden announced with a grimace, “This is not about freedom or personal choice.”

Even for vaccination advocates, Biden’s use of a public health emergency to expand big government power smacks of tyranny. Now consider this: What if Congress authorized even more executive power for use during another type of emergency—one involving national defense?

We could find out, too late, if Congress approves a pending defense bill that would authorize Selective Service registration of both men and women for reasons that have never justified conscription before.

On September 1, five misguided Republicans joined with all but one Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee to approve an amendment that Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pennsylvania, sponsored for addition to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2022.

The Houlahan amendment would authorize Selective Service registration and possible conscription of all “citizen(s),” including women, “[To ensure] adequate personnel with the requisite capabilities to meet the mobilization needs of the Department of Defense during a national emergency and not solely to provide combat replacements” (emphasis added).

This is a blank check that the full Congress must not sign. If enacted in law, Pentagon bureaucrats would be empowered to interpret and stretch the open-ended provision beyond anyone’s expectations or imagination. The fact that such a radical, unjustified change is being made without hearings, public debate, or informed national discussion is unconscionable.

There are few reasons the federal government may restrict personal freedom. From World War I until today, the purpose of a Selective Service draft always has been to provide replacements for soldiers fallen in battle during a nation-threatening war.

The goal is military readiness, not “equity” between the sexes. The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of this limited purpose, which the Houlahan amendment would acknowledge for the first time by summarily erasing it.

Even with the new language, however, nothing would preclude a draft to conscript equal numbers of minimally qualified men and women to fight in a future war. Persons in the Selective Service pool would be sent to units where the need is greatest, such as the infantry.