Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Hillary Clinton had endorsed forcing women to register for a draft. Now the issue is taking on new urgency. Despite the left’s anti-draft posturing, it has fond memories of its protests during the Vietnam War and it is the biggest supporter of bringing back the draft. Proposals to move to a draft army invariably come from Democrats in Congress and left-wing pundits who believe that a draft will create a higher barrier to any future conflict. Forcing women to register raises the barrier even higher.
And anything that makes it harder for the military to function properly is also part of that agenda.
But the debate over the role of women in the military is also a subset of the bigger debate about the role of our military. The military no longer exists to win wars or even to fight them.
Nobody thinks that Obama will fight China if it tries to take Taiwan or even Japan. If North Korea attacks, our people will have no air support while Kerry pleads with Kim Jong Un to allow them to be evacuated. Obama refused to provide military equipment to Ukraine. If Russian troops march into Poland, Putin knows quite well that NATO or no NATO, we won’t be there.
A global warming treaty, no matter how invalid and unenforceable, will be zealously followed by the White House to the letter. But security agreements and defense pacts are utterly worthless.
Obama is not going to stand up to any major power. That’s a given. He’ll deliver another speech explaining that they’ve isolated themselves and are on the wrong side of history. But that fighting them would only make matters worse. Unless Europe starts deporting Muslims, we are not going to be fighting any world powers or even any countries with any military capabilities worth mentioning.
That leaves the smaller non-war wars that his administration has become bogged down in.
Obama’s bloodiest war in Afghanistan took place not only under sharply constrained rules of engagement, but a stated policy that the goal was not to kill the enemy.
As General McChrystal said, before falling to one of Obama’s political purges, "We will not win based on the number of Taliban we kill... we must avoid the trap of winning tactical victories-- but suffering strategic defeats-- by causing civilian casualties or excessive damage and thus alienating the people."
Obama avoided winning those “tactical victories” and so we’re stuck indefinitely in Afghanistan while the Taliban are advancing. We’re also stuck indefinitely in Iraq and probably Libya, Obama’s own war.
But we’re not in any of these places to fight. American soldiers and contractors are there to “advise and assist”. And occasionally carry out raids trying to fill in for our incompetent and unreliable local allies.
The American military has been mostly limited to the types of tasks that European allies would undertake while eschewing the dirty, nasty work of actually fighting the enemy. Like them, we’re not even trying to win anymore. Instead our government goes through the obligatory motions.
American soldiers died in large numbers in Afghanistan because Obama needed political cover for his appeasement in Iraq. In the same way, American sailors were attacked by Iran because he needed to go through the motions of enforcement for his nuke deal to appear credible. But the White House did not have their back. It had sold them out and denied them support. And our enemies knew it.
Obama avoided engaging ISIS for as long as he could. Once he had to, his plan was to stage flights without dropping bombs, and bombing ISIS as little as he could get away with. This isn’t war either.
But these non-war wars are what the military does now. Soldiers are deployed to make it look like Obama cares. They’re deployed as a distraction for a disastrous policy. They’re deployed to provide plausible deniability for when yet another government falls or ISIS takes yet another city.
So what if anything is the role of the military under Obama? That’s easy to answer. The military is a problematic institution being stripped for its assets after a hostile takeover. As an institution with a deep level of national backing, the military is there to provide support for Obama’s social policies, it’s there to help fund his environmental policies and it’s there to endorse any other agenda that he can think of.
Draft women? Why not. One of the left’s fondest obsessions is imposing some sort of mandatory volunteerism. Bring back the draft and then declare that Global Warming or income inequality are dire threats to our national security. Then dispatch them to teach inner city schools or clean up parks.
If you think that the left can’t or won’t do that sort of thing, you haven’t been paying attention.
Most of the Democratic presidential candidates agreed that global warming was our biggest national security threat. Passing off income inequality as a national security threat is a favorite talking point at the Council on Foreign Relations or the Wilson Center. That’s what the claim that Muslim terrorists kill because they’re poor and jobless is really about. Turning lefty agenda items into national security priorities not only gets them funding, it can allow for the transformation of the military and the nation.
The Democratic Party does not see the military in terms of front line combat. It sees a warren of bureaucratic positions and leadership roles that it can fill with its own political allies. It glares at a massive amount of personnel who can be redirected to carry out the left’s political programs. And it smells a giant pile of cash that it is already busy redirecting to its donors and consultants.
Drafting women makes sense to a leftist elite that is not interested in combat anyway. And if the military is not primarily a combat force, but a social justice experiment, it makes no sense not to do it.
The left has no interest or investment in a functional military. Why would it? It has always believed that the real threat comes from internal reactionaries, not external enemies. External threats are caused by inequality, not motivated foes. Our enemy isn’t Al Qaeda or ISIS; it’s the root causes of colonialism, poverty, joblessness and climate change. You don’t attack root causes with artillery or air power.
The classic military setup made sense if you believed that the threat came from an enemy force that had to be neutralized. The people running things now no longer think that way. And so they don’t particularly need a large fleet or tanks. As Obama jeered at the debate, you might as well go back to horses and bayonets. And when you view military force as being thoroughly outdated, then the military has to be retooled to fight income inequality, global warming and all the other root causes.
And this is what the real debate must be about. Are we going to have a military that is capable of defending this country from real threats or are we going to have social justice brigades that are as useless as some of the military forces in the NATO “social democracies” that are there for show?
Is out greatest national security threat the weather or the lack of jobs in Pakistan, or is it an enemy force capable of killing thousands of Americans in a single attack? That is the debate we need to have.
And if we settle that debate, then the left’s military social experiments will be exposed for what they are.