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"There are only three things the guys let you be if you're a girl in the military - a bitch, a ho, or a dyke."
Anonymous Female US Soldier
If there is any institution in the world today that embodies the “ideals” of violence and male supremacy, it’s the US military.
Not only is the US military engaged in murder and mayhem all over the world against civilians and insurgents, it holds its troops in very little regard, and female troops even lower.
Recently, the US Senate passed a bill (included in the war funding bill—sorry, “Defense Authorization Act”) that would require women over the age of 18 to register for “Selective Service.”
This excerpt is from an article in the New York Times (June 4, 2016):
Under the Senate bill passed on Tuesday, women turning 18 on or after Jan. 1, 2018, would be forced to register for Selective Service, as men must do now. Failure to register could result in the loss of various forms of federal aid, including Pell grants, a penalty that men already face. Because the policy would not apply to women who turned 18 before 2018, it would not affect current aid arrangements.
I found the word “forced” to be very telling in the above. Liberal feminists and many female politicians are celebrating the move as a step for equality, but in my opinion, no one should be “forced” to be conscripted to be a soldier for the profit and power of the oligarchy.
As of this writing Hillary Rodham Clinton is the presumptive nominee for one wing of the capitalist War Party and not surprisingly, she supports the bill which would force women to register for the draft, but after telling the liberal Huffington Post that she supports a draft, she uses poli-speak weasel words to say:
“I am on record as supporting the all-volunteer military, which I think at this time does serve our country well,”
“All-volunteer” does serve the interests of the ruling-class “well,” because, I am still told all the time, “Your son volunteered to join the Army,” as if this bellicose rationale gives The Empire the perfect right to send troops to violate the sovereignty, peace, and security of other countries and murder those “volunteers.”
Even though the US already has Selective Service for men, I believe that there is little danger of forced conscription because the draft radicalizes young people and their families. The draft radicalizes the young members of the WORKING-class, however. No 1%ers like Clinton’s granddaughter have any chance of going into the military, although their families profit off of the Military Industrial Complex. Resistance to forced conscription was intense during the Vietnam War and there’s nothing the ruling-class fears more than uprisings of the working-class.
Even though there are slim, to no chance that the US will reinstitute forced conscription, I believe from a revolutionary point of view that NO ONE: gay-straight, male-female, should register to be cannon fodder for Uncle Sam—-but note in the excerpt from the NYT, that young people who do not put their name in the draw for Murder, Inc, cannot have access to Pell Grants or other Federal help for astronomically priced college or university. The dichotomy is that education is considered a human right in countries where Empire building and maintenance don’t suck economies dry, but our young people have to but our young people have to balance potential human rights violations as members of Murder, Inc, with an education.
Besides the simple fact the women are being “gifted” with this chance to be “equal” to men in our opportunity to be cannon fodder, women still do not have equal pay or equality under the law here in the land of male supremacy. Women’s suffrage came at a great cost to activists, yet women still do not make up 50% of political offices—yet many of the women who are in office (like HRC) are absorbed by and beholden to the tenants of male supremacy.
One of the best reasons for me as a women revolutionary-activst-mother-grandmother to oppose forced conscription for women is that 1/3 of all females are raped by their fellow soldiers and superiors in the military and if we think it’s hard to get justice for rape in the civilian world, it’s nearly impossible in the US military.
I have heard horrifying tales of women being raped, or sexually assaulted, or harassed and retaliated against if she had the gall to stick up for herself and report the abuse. One of the worst cases I heard of was the case of LaVena Johnson.
LaVena was murdered in Iraq on July 19, 2005.
Her parents were told that their daughter committed suicide and then her character was assassinated by insinuating that she was a “ho” and slept around quite a bit.
Through years of relentless quest for truth, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson discovered the real story that LaVena was (by fellow troops) brutally sexually assaulted, beaten, and then her body was burned to hide the evidence--while key parts of her anatomy were excised and removed postpartum to hide the crime!
It’s my opinion that the US military is a brutal institution and we must use whatever influence we have in our own spheres and to other young people (I have heard as young as 4th grade) to resist registering for Selective Service and recruiting our young people which is against international prohibitions against child soldiers.
Most of the time being “equal” in the Empire means being co-opted into violence and patriarchy and that is certainly not liberation.