By Joey B. King
There is a move in Congress at this time to require 18 year-old women to register for Selective Service. Some say it is about equal rights. I say, the time has come to end the Selective Service System (SSS) altogether.
From 1975 until 1980, the country no draft, nor did we have SSS in place. I should know. I graduated high school in 1980 which made me among the first group of young men required to register for SSS when it was reinstated amidst the fear posed by the twin threats of the Iranian hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. That “peace monger” Jimmy Carter reinstated the SSS.
In fact my mother sat me down one day in early 1980 and said, “You should consider taking ROTC for your college physical education, because we are going to war again. You’d be better off as an officer than an enlisted man.” I took my mom’s advice. As the threats subsided, I decided to commit to ROTC and became an Army officer. It was one of the worst decisions I could have possibly made.
I cannot support any scheme which would force young people into servitude in an institution that is extremely violent and oppressive, internally and externally. Because I do not support the draft or mandatory draft registration, I will not support its extension to women. This is not about equal rights, in my opinion, but rather about equal oppression. I understand that another amendment has been proposed that would eliminate Selective Service altogether. I could support that.
There are no plans underway to bring back the draft. Neither the Pentagon nor the politicians need it or want it. However, the Selective Service law requires young men to register when they are 18.
Those who do not register can theoretically be prosecuted and jailed. In order to minimize resistance, however, the government is relying on “passive enforcement.” If young men seek federal assistance for education or job training, they must show proof of registration.
To require young women to do the same would certainly spread the burden, but I don’t see how this would advance women’s rights
Joey B King
Veterans For Peace National Board of Directors
US Army Paratrooper 1985-87