As early as next week, the U.S. Senate is expected to vote for the massive military bill, the "National Defense Authorization Act" (NDAA). [The House version has already passed and is awaiting resolution with the Senate version.] If this "must-pass" legislation passes without significant change, women will be legally required to register with the Selective Service, with all of the penalties that entails. Moreover, if there would ever be an actual Draft, women would be drafted into the military, in the name of "Equality."
Basically, it is a most egregious error to force women into battle situations; it subjects them to a most unequal life and death struggle against physically advantaged males. Furthermore, if ever captured, the enemy might abuse them in a most brutally unequal manner. This is in addition to the more frequent danger of "unequal" harrassment by fellow male soldiers and superiors.
And other tasks? Said legislation would morph the very purpose of Selective Service (SS herein) - from replacing troops dying in battle - to commandeering registrants to fulfill federal dictates in a "national emergency." That could potentially include fighting a raging pandemic, a "climate change crisis," or who knows what else. Distortion of the purpose of Selective Service to allow drafting of Americans for unpredictable reasons or pretexts would also render the actual invocation of the draft considerably more of a possibility than would a military draft alone.
Including women in Selective Service would also further advance the broader progressive societal crusade, one that harms all of society but is clearly against the exclusively cherished position and treasured roles females are granted by the Torah. Either of these two scenarios - drafting women into the Military, or open-ended "emergency" conscription - would be disastrous, and perhaps irrevocable, practically speaking.
If ever actually provided the facts, most Americans would understand the dangers involved. That includes many non-Jews, secular Jews and even many on the Left. The vast majority of those who sacrificed, fought, and died for America struggled to protect future generations from the types of tyranny that this legislation would enshrine into law.
Towards a Solution:
In my humble opinion, the most rational, practical and patriotic thing that could be done to save our daughters, the U.S. Armed Forces, and the country from the precipice of self-inflicted decimation [surpassing what any external enemy could inflict] is to impede both of these proposals - by eliminating the Selective Service - altogether. That's because, in a Democratic-dominated Congress, little else effective is likely to gain enough bipartisan support to pass. Existing legislation, the "Selective Service Repeal Act," S.1139 / H.R. 2509, would do precisely that. It has bipartisan support, but needs more. That requires more people to realize that the repeal of Selective Service requires our immediate and unapologetic support - not despite patriotic sentiments - but precisely because of them.
Given the alternatives, this approach is precisely what those who sacrificed all for this country would want us to do, at this most pivotal juncture in history. This is something many on the Right do not fully grasp, but desperately need to. As one womens' organization put it, if it comes down to a choice between the two, "Kill Selective Service - not our daughters."
1. Sen. Charles Schumer (D) must be urged to provide proper time and notice for full and fair floor debate for SS Repeal legislation [S.1139], and, if possible [and not counter-productive], any other proposed legislation that has a fighting chance of success in this Democratic-dominated Congress.
2. Republicans must be told that they will be held accountable for "fighting to lose," i.e. grandstanding for principle - knowing that can't get enough votes (cf. https://www.rollcall.com/2021/07/23/conservatives-riled-up-over-registering-women-for-draft/ ) - when they could have supported legislation, e.g. Selective Service Repeal, which does have a fighting chance of passage - if the GOP would engage properly.
3. Watchdog organizations must maintain ruthless dedication to the truth in rating legislators, scoring otherwise favored legislators according to their actions on this epic threat, not their patriotic rhetoric.
4. Voters must awaken to the threat, and not continue to allow other issues, as important as they may be, to divert attention from saving our daughters. We may not get a second chance.
5. Jews in particular have a vested interest here. Leading Rabbis from across the spectrum, including Israel's Chief Rabbis from the first days of the state (both Religious Zionist and Haredi Chief Rabbis who would have liked to eliminate the women's draft entirely but had to settle for exempting girls who declare they are observant) have declared, in particular regarding the IDF, that the prohibition against women enlisting in the military is immutable (unchangeable). Additionally, the very passage of such legislation in Congress would immediately "validate" the Israeli female draft and green-light the acceleration of the IDF efforts to enlist religious girls (who are legally exempt).
6. Congress, and organizational leaders, must not be allowed to parade faux solutions. This includes existing proposals that actually facilitate the dual threats of SS expansion - by deferring implementation thereof, e.g. by defunding or "freezing" it. Such "pass the buck" bills actually validate the toxic policies whose implementation they temporarily stall.
Nor should we accept being thrown crumbs in the form of religious exemptions, maternity exemptions, or other carve-outs. They too facilitate passage - in the name of "protecting" various groups. The way to defeat this is to act on Torah principles - to fight for what is best for everyone, not just for the few because such exemptions ultimately will likely fail to protect all but the politically connected.
Recently, for example,the Israeli Draft Office has reinterpreted the religious exemption law by shifting the burden of proof onto the girl. According to the Chotam Organization, "periphery" religious and traditional girls - "Ba'alot Teshuva" (those who returned to their religious roots), immigrant, Sefardic and Ethiopian young women - are often summoned to "religiosity" interrogations where they are asked personal questions about their religious life. Many girls who - according to Israeli law - are exempt, are instead pressured into enlisting, while those from higher socio-economic backgrounds are being persuaded to enlist for elitist reasons instead of doing National Service.(Several months ago, a series of weekly ads in a newspaper read by many religious Zionists featured individual religious young women who had completed army service and are leading normative religious lives without stating the dismal statistics on that subject in comparison to National Service alumnae)
Message to Congress:
Each legislator in Congress must be held to:
1) Either just repeal the SS altogether, or
2) ALSO act to remove ALL of the relevant problematic language from the NDAA (via a "Direct Strike" amendment) -- if AND ONLY IF that can be attempted without squandering the opportunity to secure proper floor debate on SS Repeal (being the most realistic prospect of success);
3) and, IF at all possible, hold up the entire NDAA package, especially if that could somehow evoke the bipartisan cooperation needed to detoxify it.
Be they hawks or doves, those legislators (and organizational leaders) who fail to act to save our most precious resource - the mothers [and fathers] of the next generation - from the potential of this harmful decision ought to consider alternative, commensurate volunteer and patriotic employment (perhaps for kindred causes, like Israel's Volunteer National Service does).
Rabbi Leiter serves as Executive Director of Help Rescue Our Children, a N.Y.- based advocacy organization involved in combating sexual exploitation of youth and adults in the U.S., as well as in Israel. He can be reached via text or phone at 845.642.1679, or from Israel (by phone only) via the Israeli Helpline: 03.721.3337.