H-CENTRAL COAST

Jan 30, 2013 7:47 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Should women have to register for selective service

"A lot of women are physically able to do the job, and I say 100 percent go for it, go for it if that's what they want," said one San Luis Obispo resident.

Now that the US military has given women the green light to serve in combat, should they be required to register for the draft?

Last week's decision will open as many as 200,000 positions to women by 2016.

The debate now is if a Supreme Court decision making it a requirement for men between the ages of 18 and 25 to register for the draft should also include women.

In 1981 the Supreme Court ruled men would be required to register for the draft because only men were allowed to serve in combat.

Last Thursday, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta lifted the 1994 ban on women in combat.

Military leaders have to decide by 2016 if particular positions will remain off limits to women such as the navy seals or the army's delta force.

So, if women can now serve in combat should they have to register?

"If they want equal rights, then that also comes along with it," said a local women.

With the long fought debate about women on the front lines now over, a debate over the selective service is just getting started.

"I think that it's great that women are out there fighting and have that opportunity," said June Little, "But I don't think for those of us who don't choose to go and do that, it shouldn't be made mandatory."

However countries like Israel not only allow women in combat but require them to register for the draft.

"If they want total equality then they have to be totally equal across the board," said George Grosse. "So yes, they have to be drafted then, and in equal numbers."

Granted the draft has not been implemented since the Vietnam War, the dwindling number of volunteer troops in the US military still leaves the option open in a time of crisis.

"I would not like to go because I'm scared of guns," said 18-year-old Audrey Sloan.

But that reasoning may not be enough. And with the defense department's new directive allowing women in combat duty, a law requiring women to sign up for the draft could be destined for the Supreme Court.

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