Categorized | News, Opinion


Long ago in the mists of time, I debated the Student Government Chairer on whether Ohio should ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.  I actually recall my research (My hero Phyllis Schlafly who ought to be on a postage stamp [This post was cited by Eagle Forum (How cool is that – perhaps even read by Mrs. Schlafly?) and my one and only appearance on Right Wing Watch!] and be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom had helpful information for me here) and the main thing was that women could be required to serve in combat.  (I recall thinking that’ll never happen nor would one of the other things I suggested the ERA would bring, what we today would call gay marriage.)

Well, now we have the Secretary of Defense, a person I admire very much, Leon Panetta (Why?  Well, he once suggested the US should not snatch people in violation of extradition treaties.  He was also President Clinton’s Chief of Staff and started to run for Governor of California.  Panetta’s liberal but struck me as a doer not a talker.) who has rescinded the 1994 policy on women in combat.  (I thought there was a statute prohibiting it but further research is needed.)  Here‘s the Washington Post’s take on it:

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta plans to announce Thursday a lifting of the ban on female service members in combat roles, a watershed policy change that was informed by women’s valor in Iraq and Afghanistan and that removes the remaining barrier to a fully inclusive military, defense officials said.

My take on this is conflicted:  I can admire those women who want to serve in combat (and some are qualified) but yet I find it troubling to send women to combat.  The only wars we fight anymore are the feel-good interventionist variety.  Certainly if the nation were invaded everybody, including many women, would fight for the defense of the nation.  But our recent wars (Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan to a large extent, Libya etc.) are not wars I want my daughters to have to fight in.  We have sent mothers of young children to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Where’s the outrage?

Suppose they bring back the draft?  Any woman who now joins the military risks being sent to combat.  They must go where they are ordered to go.  I must ask again:  Where is the outrage?  Since we had women in what was in effect a combat situation and some, maybe many, served bravely and heroically, now we will have women sent to war.  If it would give pause to interventionists and neocons, I might live with it but it won’t.  So I ask again:  Will we DRAFT women to SERVE IN COMBAT?  That is what Phyllis Schlafly fought against when she made her lonely stand against the ERA.  Seems like it was all in vain.  I know where I stand:  I will not recommend the military service for any of my children unless there is a true national emergency.

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)


  1. Jack Lee says:

    If the draft after has to be reinstated, how do u think all women age 18-25 are going to react when they get called to “register”?


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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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