US army uniform soldier
US army uniform soldier iStock

On Thursday, November 18th, the ranking Republican member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator James Inhofe (R, OK), spoke for about 20 minutes on the Senate floor about the NDAA, the yearly "must-pass" National Defense Authorization Act He spent much of the time lauding the importance of passage of the mammoth legislation, loaded with member-items (apparently a reference to funding proposals).

In the final segment of his speech (approximately 2 hrs., 19-20 minutes into the video) he declared his opposition to NDAA's inclusion of the provision to expand Selective Service to women. That provision mandates a potential female military draft. [From a Jewish perspective, that is something that is absolutely prohibited, involving Torah violations of the highest order. Even in Israel, which insists on drafting women (although there is no manpower shortage) - even at the expense of their own national social services, manned by female volunteers - all leading Torah authorities across the spectrum prohibit Army service for women, regardless of the recruits' religious background or lack thereof.] The Oklahoma Senator made it very clear that he strongly supports the Draft, from which he personally benefited -albeit that was a peacetime draft, in the late 1950's - in an age in which society was so much more healthy.

"... Get ready for that fight, because that fight's coming..." he proclaimed. However, by "a fight" he means promotion of an apparently futile amendment to remove the objectionable language his own Armed Services Committee inserted. This is dubbed a "Direct Strike" [more accurately, "Strike-Out"] Amendment. This occurs in the backdrop of an unusually late session, in which the GOP will likely get only one opportunity to bring an amendment to a vote, to at least partially alleviate the monumental flaws in the current NDAA.

Time is indeed short; earlier Thursday, Senator Schumer (D, NY) stated he plans to finish this process next week, before the Thanksgiving recess (about 21 minutes into the video Subsequently, it was reported that Schumer has scheduled a final vote on the NDAA for Monday Nov. 29, the first day of Hannukah* - immediately after this week's vacation.

Moreover, Senator Inhofe is pushing his legislation in the presence of more viable legislation, S.A. 4161, Selective Service Repeal. Notice his body language in promising a "fight." Now, if he would be intent on a fighting to win, one would expect that the effort would be laser-focused on forcing a vote on an amendment that actually has a fighting chance of garnering enough BIPARTISAN support in this Democratic dominated Senate to pass. A game-plan for victory would not be predicated on promoting his amendment to remove the offensive language. That's simply because very few, if any, Democratic senators would support his amendment.

Additionally, a revealing number of Republicans are known to be positioned or even ensconced on the wrong side of the issue. Even in the Senate Armed Services Committee itself, reportedly 8 out of 13 REPUBLICANS voted to include women in a potential military draft. [This one fact says more about the actual orientation of the contemporary GOP than most critics ever could.]

Additionally, all but two REPUBLICAN Senate Committee members voted for the final package bill, despite it's inclusion of said female expansion - which, in any lucid legislature, would be a poison-pill. Similarly, most of the House Republicans demonstrated what type of cloth they're cut from in voting to enable the Department of Defense to force young women into battle with and against hardened, violent men, by voting for the NDAA package.] So how does the esteemed Senator expect us to believe that his amendment - to remove the very language inserted by eight of his fellow Republicans - will pass in this Democratic dominated Senate?

In contrast, S.A. 4161 (sponsored by Sen. Wyden), clearly has a fighting chance. It is an amendment to repeal Selective Service altogether (akin to S. 1139, a stand-alone bill with bipartisan support). SS Repeal is a policy that has long had much Democratic support. Although this amendment too, at this moment, may not have enough openly-declared support yet, the very tangible potential for passage is clearly present - if the GOP would only get behind it.

So why promote losing legislation when there is an alternative that has a real fighting chance of passage? Specifically, why should a leading Republican push an amendment that requires swinging resistant Democrats - something quite impractical - when they could alternatively promote legislation that really just needs Republicans themselves to get their own act together, which is doable, provided willingness?

Conventional wisdom may answer that the senior Senator, who remembers the end of WWII, is more dedicated to preserving Selective Service than preventing the drafting of women [and the expansion of Selective Service to purposes other than replenishing troops lost in battle]. Some also suspect that some Republicans actually wish to fight to lose (euphemistically "going down fighting") - in order to leverage the passage of including women in Selective Service - and the fear of any future female or "national emergency" draft - as a campaign issue to take back Congress next year (cf. the recent Op Ed by Rep. Chip Roy

However, neither of those calculations would be seen by much of the Republican base as justifying laying the groundwork for forcing women into the exploitive military environment. How much more so is that the case in regard to the specter of forcing women into actual combat, facing violent male enemy troops, and the possibility of capture.

If we are correct in the assessment that there's no intention here to fight to win, that may account for the enthusiasm in the Senator's praise of the bipartisan 23 to 3 vote on the entire NDAA package, female registration and all, in the Armed Services Committee - to put that Committee vote into proper context).


The choice is clear. The Republicans must choose: Kill Selective Service, or require women to register for any military or national emergency conscription that may be activated at ANY point in the future. As one conservative women's organization put it, IF the issue comes down to that choice, their message is clear: "Kill Selective Service, don't kill our daughters" (or granddaughters). And Republican devotees will have to choose whether they're going to tolerate the GOP sacrificing their daughters and granddaughters on the altar of Jimmy Carter's aborted attempt at one of the closest things to legalized human-trafficking.


The "Grand Bipolar Party:" Why the Republican Devotion to Selective Service, the Lingering Legacy of Leftward-Listing Jimmy Carter?

The Selective Service was initially instituted by President Woodrow Wilson. It was eliminated by President Ford (on March 29, 1975, It was reinstated by President Jimmy Carter on Wed., July 2, '80 [the 18th of Tammuz, 5740 (Parshas Pinchus), at the beginning of the three most tragic weeks of the Jewish Year..

Female draft proponents, among others, raise concerns about having a mechanism in place to expedite a military draft in a real emergency. America already has that - without recourse to Selective Service. It's called the computer. In the high-tech era, the Department of Defense has access to the requisite technology to expedite a draft, if, G-d forbid, one would ever be necessary. Why this superfluous, outdated relic of the logistical limitations of the pre-Computer Age has garnered so devout a Republican choir is an interesting question. This question is particularly fascinating in light of Mr. Carter not being at all venerated by the GOP base, for a range of reasons, including statements like this, which he made on occasion of the reenactment of Selective Service:

"The freedom-fighters (Mujhadeen - ed.) in Afghanistan, who are striving for the liberation of their country, deserve the admiration of the entire world, and their courage and persistence in fighting for freedom is the greatest single deterrent to the Soviet aggression being successful."

[Many conservatives would probably cite President Carter's attitude embracing the cause of the Afghan Muhjadeen - to the extent of being prepared to send young American men - AND WOMEN - to fight and die for them (followed by support of administrations of both parties) as a factor leading up to the events that made both attacks on the World Trade Center possible - in turn leading into America's 20-year military campaign in - and heartbreakingly chaotic flight from - that same country. However, despite Carter's overseas investment strategy persisting to pay hefty dividends till this day, many Republicans aren't discouraged from perpetuating the tradition. And, of course, it's all about patriotism, and "supporting the troops."]


Some Additional Reasons to Repeal Selective Service:

° Most importantly, instituting and maintaining Selective Service is perhaps the most effective means to manipulate the American People into eventually forcing women into the military, and even into combat. Americans of sound mind and body would not directly agree to drafting women. However, they would possibly be open to the notion of requiring them to sign an ostensibly harmless form for a theoretical draft. Once the Selective Service requirement would be extended to women, it's just a matter of time before a draft. By that time, it will most probably be too late to fully step back from established law, without monumental efforts, if then.

Quite evidently, this was the calculus of Carter himself in reinstatement of Selective Service. At the time, he sought, and failed, to require women to register as well.. Allowing the NDAA to pass as it is would constitute an ironic case in which recidivist Republicans play a pivotal role in passing revolutionary policies Carter himself failed to enact.

°In Torah terms, drafting women would be categorized as an antireligious edict, inasmuch as it would seek to compell Jews to violate the Torah prohibition against the conscription of women. Accordingly, a system geared towards advancing that antireligious edict would itself earn the status of anathema. This would be one of several specifically Jewish arguments against maintaining Selective Service.

°Projecting weakness globally:

It's important to listen, carefully and analytically, to the entire speech of Senator Inhofe. Ironically, his speech is one of the strongest arguments to end Selective Service (which he apparently very strongly supports) - from a strictly military perspective. His dramatized description of looming military threats from powerful adversaries (Russia) and belligerent enemies (e.g. North Korea), even if partially overblown (particularly regarding Russia, which is quite apparently not interested in a hot war with the U.S.), is all the more reason to end Selective Service now.

That's because, if Congress fails to eliminate Selective Service now, the NDAA will pass, as is, including women. That itself will erode the taboo of forcing women into the Armed Forces, and even into combat. It will also contribute to robbing military women of their cherished status as deserving the dignity reserved for women for thousands of years, by men of all walks of life. The natural consequences of degraded attitude is degraded conduct. That will translate into normalization of mistreatment of women who volunteer to enlist. Americans will thus be stuck with the escalation of exploitation of women in the U.S. Armed Forces, even before any draft is invoked, G-d forbid.

Those skeptical of this gloomy projection are invited to learn what is already happening in the U.S. military, by reviewing the extensive materials posted at the site of the Center for Military Readiness (a conservative advocacy organization specializing in military and social issues), e.g. page 6.

"... Commissioners also debated a cultural question: If military policies conveyed the message that violence against women was acceptable – provided it happens at the hands of the enemy – would that be a step forward for civilization or a step backward? [12]

"The commission’s debate followed testimony from instructorsfrom the Survival, Evasion, Resistance & Escape (SERE) program, an intense Air Force course that trains potential prisoners of war. The instructors told the Commission that gender integration in the combat arms could succeed, but only if the nation became “desensitized” to the reality of combat abuse and violence against women. [13]

"That disturbing argument proved too much for most commissioners. “Good men,” said commissioner Kate O’Beirne, “protect and defend women.” [end of quote]

Many readers may be wondering if a government that chooses to desensitize its people towards combat abuse and violence against women is a government worth fighting and dying for. Congress seeks to impose a fate not that divergent, albeit indirectly, against those young women whose only crime is being a draft-age female.


In the final analysis, the message that expansion of Selective Service to women would send to America's many enemies worldwide - both actual and latent - is that we're being led by bipartisan weakness (political and cognitive, in that order), and consequently barreling towards military-readiness vulnerabilities unprecedented in recent decades.

Senator Inhofe correctly waxed eloquent about the dangers of broadcasting weakness to enemies of America. However, allowing the NDAA to pass in current form - including expansion to women - would accomplish precisely that. The inclusion of women in a future armed conflict may prove shockingly worse than what Americans have become accustomed to in recent decades ( And the disadvantage of such toxic messaging would outweigh any micro-advantage that maintenance of Jimmy Carter's Selective Service legacy may ostensibly provide.

Thus, even if we were to accept the hyperbolic implication that America is facing military threats even greater than it was after Pearl Harbor, almost exactly 80 years ago - that would be all the more reason to (1) vote no on an NDAA mutation that sports harmoniously bipartisan channelling of Jimmy Carter's unfulfilled vision - and - (2) by being resolute, help ensure that Congress passes a genuine military budget - not a social engineering mandate at the expense of the security of America and its servicemen and women

In the aforementioned Beraishis Rabbah, our Sages exhort us that even when G-d may choose to remain silent, so to speak, over transgressions against Heaven (i.e., sins against Him), He will not remain silent in the face of persecution of innocent individuals. Sodom experienced the lesson the hard wa. In fact, the annihilation of Sodom and the destruction of Ancient Egypt were both triggered by the heartless, community-sanctioned persecution of INDIVIDUAL young women (Beraishis Rabbah, ibid.; Rashi 18:21; Rashi, Sif'sei Chachomim on Ber. (Gen.) 19:4; Ha'amek Davar; regarding Egypt see Pirkei D'Rebbi Eliezer 48;.commentary of R.Dovid Luria). Congress would be best advised to avoid demonstrating the dictum (attributed to a known intellectual figure) that "the sign of an idiot is repetition of the same actions expecting different results."

When those who seek to save women - from the manifestly faulty Republican battle-plan - inform the GOP that they will score them accordingly, based on their actions, not their patriotic rhetoric or staged fencing bouts (, - then they will have hope of success, G-d willing.


We have very little time. The time for decisive action is now. The young people you help save may be your own. Again, the Senate Amendment to repeal Selective Service is S.A. 4161. It would be most beneficial to ensure all women age 16 and up call. The legislators should be accessible in their district offices this week.

To reach your Senators and Congressmen: Congressional Switchboard: 202-224-3121


For more information on the impact of drafting women on sexual abuse and military readiness, see

Binyomin Feinberg was formerly a contributor to The Jewish Press.