It has rankled some American women that they were denied the opportunity to serve in combat in their nation's military forces. Now the outgoing Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, has opened the door to admitting women into the fighting trades.
It didn't take long for the other shoe to drop.
If combat trades are to be open to women, should women be required, as men, to register for the draft?
When women turn 18, will they now need to register, as men do, so that
they can be conscripted in the event of a World War III, or any military
emergency where the US government decides it needs troops quickly?
“The answer to that question is clearly yes,” says Anne Coughlin, a law
professor at the University of Virginia School of Law in
Charlottesville. “The legal argument is clear: If it comes to that kind
of wrenching emergency where we have to press young people into service,
there is no legal justification for saying that men alone need to
shoulder that burden.”
“My belief is that if we open up combat arms to women, even on a
voluntary basis, if there is a draft, we should be able to force women
into those positions,” says retired Col. Peter Mansoor, a professor of
military history at the Ohio State University in Columbus and a former
US Army brigade commander who served two tours in Iraq.
women are acceptable to serve in combat, they are acceptable to serve
whether they volunteer or not. You can’t have the frosting on the cake
and not the cake underneath,” he says.