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135 Republicans Want to Draft Your Daughters

In passing the NDAA, GOP congressmen capitulate decency to the War Lobby.

USMC senior drill instructor Staff Sgt. Amber Staroscik salutes before presenting female United States Marine Corps (USMC) recruits from Lima Company, the first gender integrated training class in San Diego, their Eagle, Globe, and Anchor pin to officially become US Marines after completing a 9.7 mile hike on Edson Range to the top of a mountain called The Reaper, during The Crucible, the final part of phase three of recruit training on April 22, 2021 at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County, California. Marine Corps. (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

In what’s now an annual rite of passage, the House of Representatives voted to approve the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) last week. The NDAA is a rare example of bipartisanship; the 316 total “Yea” votes to pass consisted of 181 Democrats and 135 Republicans. That the NDAA is the legislation that commands such bipartisan support says a lot about the defense industry’s enduring power in Washington.

This bipartisanship is not praiseworthy. As Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) wrote in TAC making his case for voting against the NDAA, the Biden administration’s botched handling of our Afghanistan exit alone warrants accountability from Congress. The 135 Republican “Yea” votes are especially condemnable this year, though, considering what the Biden administration has shoved into the NDAA.

The proposal to require women to register for Military Selective Service drew mild outrage from the Right when it was floated earlier this summer. In July, TAC’s Shaun Rieley analyzed why the Right might be ineffective at stopping the effort to draft our daughters. And now, we see Rieley’s analysis come to fruition. The 2022 NDAA, passed last week, includes a provision to require women to register for the draft, with 135 House Republicans lending their approval.

I have two daughters. The thought of them fighting in whatever stupid war our elites concoct next—let alone being conscripted to do so—is repulsive. It’s a barbaric capitulation of any semblance of chivalric obligation among men, to say nothing of considerations of military readiness. A civilized society would find the very proposal offensive.

We shouldn’t underestimate the damage that drafting our daughters will wreck on a society already deeply confused about masculinity and femininity. TAC’s Carmel Richardson commented recently on viral reports that men are abandoning higher education in large numbers. She wrote:

There’s not much left for men in higher education. There’s not much left for men anywhere, for that matter, and one has to ask what reasonable means remain to try to close Pandora’s box.

One would have hoped that saying no to conscripting women to fight wars—a quintessentially masculine pursuit—would have been one of these reasonable means to try to close Pandora’s box. Apparently not.

Conservatives need to make support for drafting women a “red line” issue. We have been remarkably successful in bullying Republicans into compliance on the issue of abortion. A vote for a bill containing pro-abortion measures can be a career-ender in most districts.

Every GOP congressman who voted for the NDAA deserves to be grilled on this vote, and whether they really want their constituents’ daughters forced into battle. For now, the NDAA vote is instructive. The war lobby rules in Washington; its interests are powerful enough to override many sensible concerns about conscripting women. A civilized society requires we resist its power.

about the author

Emile Doak is the executive director of the American Ideas Institute, which publishes The American Conservative.  He is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he studied political philosophy and theology, and previously worked in education before returning to the field of his studies.  His writing has appeared in First Things, Front Porch Republic, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and elsewhere. A proud Virginian, Emile and his wife split their time between their hometown of Herndon and the Shenandoah Valley.

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