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Obama's New Rite

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

President Obama announced last week in a statement to USA Today that he was altering his previous “neutral” position and now fervently favors forcing my 17-year-old daughter to register for the military draft.


Perhaps the Great O, the drone-striker-in-chief, is angling for a second Nobel Peace Prize.

Of course, the change is mostly symbolic. The switch comes as Obama is about to leave office, and he no doubt knew that the very next day the Republican Congress would pass a defense bill blocking the beginning of a Christmas draft sign-up for America’s young women.

As usual, the president’s symbolism is all wrong.

“Obama believes adding women to the draft would serve two purposes,” the newspaper reported, “showing a commitment to gender equality throughout the armed services, and fostering a sense of public service that comes from requiring draft registration as a ritual of adulthood.”

Term-limited Obama seems a pleasant enough fellow, but this is one very strange new government ritual. Involving our daughters. In addition to our sons.

Politicians, on the left (and the right), are totally focused on political correctness. On gender equality. Draft registration for men between the ages of 18 and 26 has been challenged in federal court for violating equal protection, since it applies to men but not women. The Supreme Court upheld the registration program, but predicated the ruling on the very fact that women were not permitted in combat.

Women are now welcomed into combat units. Which means that male-only draft registration is living on borrowed time. The program will be struck down in federal court unless the Congress adds our daughters to the pool of young Americans registered and then subject to being drafted into the military.


The registration is for symbolism sake, don’t forget. For good old-fashioned gender equality symbolism. There won’t be a draft; they’re not for a draft, supporters such as Obama always explain.

But, come on, it is registration for the draft. And the U.S. is involved in “military conflicts,” formerly known as wars, in at least eight foreign nations with no end in sight.

Some believe registration has value as a deterrent, serving as a symbol of our nation’s resolve against foreign adversaries. Really? An incomplete list of names of untrained young people, with badly out-of-date addresses, frightens foreign leaders and their military strategists?

I don’t think so.

Moreover, our All-Volunteer Force is the best military in the world. Even come a major war — and my biggest hope and prayer for President-elect Trump is that he will be far less a military intervenor than Mr. Obama was and I fear Mrs. Clinton would have been — the best way to build a larger fighting force, when we need it, would be by asking for additional volunteers and watching millions of young people come forward.

Ever since the Vietnam War draft delivered many more poor than wealthy men onto the battlefield, we’ve been told any future draft would be fair and universal. But a mandatory manpower mash-up of more than 35 million young people (between 18 and 26 years of age) is not a smart military response. Our modern military isn’t designed to make use of a universal draft.


Not to mention it’d be a very expensive new federal program.

So, if registered, will your daughter actually be called up and forced into combat should politicians find “intelligence” or salivate over some regime change that demands we go to war?

Yes? I think so. If not, if more women than men were being conscripted and dying on the battlefield, wouldn’t that be a disaster for gender equality? What if the sexist generals claim men are better suited for combat? Will the gender wars prevail against the actual war?

Progressive politicians might solve this thorny, little (political) problem (for them) by demanding “choice.” Coerced choice. They’ll push for a mandatory universal “national service” to reachthe Kumbaya of “shared experiences.” They’ll act like dragging our daughters out of college to pick from two involuntary servitude options — bureaucracy or military — will be “good” for them.

Somehow, the logic runs, young women’s lives are the federal government’s to live. And spend. Just like the politicians believe when necessary (for them), they can grab our sons’ lives.

My kid has other plans.

This isn’t one whit about gender equality. Or actual national defense needs.

It’s about government power and social engineering. And, on the other side, it’s about how a free society should defend itself. Not through forced service.


“The draft or draft registration destroys the very values that our society is committed to defending,” as Ronald Reagan put it.

These are our kids, not the government’s. We don’t need a new national government-enforced “ritual of adulthood,” whereby young people — male and female and transgender — are forced to register for the military draft. Instead, end this worthless Selective Service draft registration program for everyone.

Let’s focus less on symbolism and more on truly defending the freedom of Americans.

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