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Momentum builds for drafting women.

As predicted in these pages (see "Reviving the Draft" in our January 26 issue), the Selective Service System (SSS) "has proposed registering women for the military draft and requiring that young Americans regularly inform the government about whether they have training in niche specialties needed in the armed services," reported the May 1 Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

"The proposal, which the agency's acting Director Lewis Brodsky presented to senior Pentagon officials just before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, also seeks to extend the age of draft registration to 34 years old, up from 25."

"In line with today's needs, the Selective Service System's structure, programs and activities should be re-engineered toward maintaining a national inventory of American men and, for the first time, women, ages 18 through 34, with an added focus on identifying individuals with critical skills," stated the February 11, 2003 proposal to the Pentagon, as cited by the paper. SSS spokesman Dan Amon insisted that the proposal was merely "food for thought," and that the agency would have "to market the concept" to Congress in order to persuade it to re-institute the draft in any form, let alone expand it to include women.

However, as the Iraqi morass deepens, congressional leaders and Pentagon officials are pointedly referring to a critical and worsening military manpower shortage. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), a staunch internationalist and Council on Foreign Relations member, was the first supposed conservative to endorse the re-institution of the draft, and chances are he won't be the last. But it's a foregone conclusion that any move in that direction will have to wait until after this November's elections.
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Title Annotation:Insider Report
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 31, 2004
Words:271
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