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Should women fact combat in Iraq? HUMAN EVENTS asked members of Congress if women should be sent to fight, or compelled to register for the Selective Service.

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Should U.S. Send Women into Combat in Iraq?

Should women fact combat in Iraq? HUMAN EVENTS asked members of Congress if women should be sent to fight, or compelled to register for the Selective Service.

In 1980, to counter the perception that he was weak on national security issues, President Jimmy Carter called for reinstating mandatory registration for the Selective Service.

Carter wanted to force women as well as men to register. "There is no distinction possible, on the basis of ability or performance, that would allow me to exclude women from an obligation to register," he said.

Then-Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan opposed Carter’s proposal. "Perhaps the most fundamental objection to draft registration is moral," said Reagan. "Only in the most severe national emergency does the government have a claim to the mandatory service of its young people. In any other time, a draft or draft registration destroys the very values that our society is committed to defending."

Congress approved mandatory registration for all young men, but not for women.

In 1982, President Reagan reversed himself and decided to allow registration-of men only-to continue.

Since then, women have become increasingly integrated into the all-volunteer U.S. military, in some cases facing risk of combat. Last week, HUMAN EVENTS Assistant Editor David Freddoso asked members of Congress if they favored sending women into combat in Iraq, and whether women should be required, like men, to register for the Selective Service.

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Since the Persian Gulf War, American military women have been assigned for the first time to combat aviation and front-line engineering units. Do you support sending American women into combat in Iraq?

SEN. PETE DOMENICI (R.-N.M.): Well, I don’t support asking military leaders to change things on this sort of notice. You can’t send somebody to do something they haven’t been trained to do. This kind of training is tough. It takes a long time. So my answer would be evasive. I’d say, whatever they’re authorized to do, I support.

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Since the Persian Gulf War, American military women have been assigned for the first time to combat aircraft and front-line engineering units. Do you support sending American women into combat in Iraq?

REP. WALLY HERGER (R.-CALIF.): No.

Would you support a congressional tightening of the combat exclusion rule for women?

HERGER: I definitely would. And I’ll tell you to begin with that I think it’s positive that we have women in the military, that we allow them to have an opportunity to make the most of their lives and the most of their career that they can. But certainly anything that would be in the front lines of combat is something I think is unwise for a number of different reasons. And I think that there are plenty of positions, plenty of responsibilities that young women who want to serve our country can fulfill other than being in the front line during a wartime situation.

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Since the Persian Gulf War, American military women have been assigned for the first time to combat aircraft and front-line engineering units. Do you support sending American women into combat in Iraq?

SEN. JAMES INHOFE (R.-OKLA.): Yes, I do, I think so long as there are women in those positions. I’ll give you an example. I’ve been a flight instructor for many, many years-decades. Women often respond better to flight instruction than men do. However, I’d want to be selective, because I remember during the Persian Gulf War there were some small groups that were out there where there is a problem-where you don’t have the ability to have types of segregations. So I would say, yes, to use individuals as they’re best suited for it-I used the example of pilots-but also to not allow that segregation to interfere with an effective combat team.

Right now, men have to register for the Selective Service when they turn 18. Do you think that a similar provision should be passed for women?

INHOFE: I wouldn’t think so, no.

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Since the Persian Gulf War, American military women have been assigned for the first time to combat aircraft and front-line engineering units. Do you support sending American women into combat in Iraq?

REP. CARRIE MEEK (D.-FLA.): Now, that’s according to what you mean by combat-do you mean front-line service?

Front-line, even if the position isn’t intended to see combat, and also aviation, where it’s combat but it’s from the air.

MEEK: Yes, I think so. I think women have put up a strong fight in this country. We represent the majority of the people in this country. And I think that women are brave and courageous, and if we’re ever needed, we would fight. Not that I want to go to war with anyone. I’m against going to war.

Congresswoman, right now, men have to register for the Selective Service to be available for the draft when they turn 18. Would you support a bill that would require women to do the same?

MEEK: I’m not supporting any bill right now for Selective Service. If it should come up and the demand is there, I guess women as well as men would be called in. But right now to ask me to hypothesize a bill, I can’t do that. But if the demand comes, and we are in such a dire strait in this country that war is declared and there aren’t enough troops-if that’s the case-then I’m sure at that time I would look at it the same way I told you just now, about women going to war.

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ince the Persian Gulf War, American military women have been assigned for the first time to combat aircraft and front-line engineering units. Do you support sending American women into combat in Iraq?

SEN. ZELL MILLER (D.-GA.): Nope.

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Since the Persian Gulf War, American military women have been assigned for the first time to combat aircraft and front-line engineering units. Do you support sending American women into combat in Iraq?

SENATE MAJORITY WHIP DON NICKLES (R.-OKLA.): I imagine that our leaders in the military would use ample discretion to try and avoid situations if they can where [women] can be taken hostage and abused in any way. Of course, there’s always a threat. Anyone wearing the uniform is under potential harm and danger. So there would be some threat. I think we’d like to see it minimized as much as possible. I don’t think we’re putting women in the front-line artillery units or front-line Army, and they’re not in the Marine Corps that are going to be invading the shores. But there’s some danger and some risk, of course, and there may be some casualties. We just want to minimize it where we can and try and avoid any casualties if at all possible. And I have confidence in our secretaries that they’ll do a good job.

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Since the Persian Gulf War, American military women have been assigned for the first time to combat aircraft and front-line engineering units. Do you support sending American women into combat in Iraq?

REP. DAVID WU (D.-ORE.): At this point in time, I do not see facts which warrant sending anyone to war in Iraq.

You plan to vote against the resolution?

WU: Unless the administration produces evidence of an imminent threat-and my mind is open to that-I will vote against it. Unless the evidence is produced, and I do not believe that thus far, either in classified or in open briefings, they have produced evidence of imminent threat.

Congressman, if you do see that evidence, back to the issue of women in combat, do you support sending them to front line position where they may see combat?

WU: I believe that we all share the benefits and we all share the burdens of our society.

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Since the Persian Gulf War, women have been put into more forward positions in the military for the first time: combat aircraft, front-line engineering units. Do you support sending American women into combat in Iraq?

REP. ALBERT WYNN (D.-MD.): I believe that if women train for combat, and pass all the necessary qualifications, yes, they should be able to fight in combat.

Would you support a bill requiring women to register with the Selective Service, the way men have to at age 18 now?

WYNN: Yes. I believe that we’re at a point in time in our country where there’s essentially equality of the sexes. We’re certainly striving toward that. And with all rights come responsibilities, and I believe it would be appropriate for women to have to register.

Written By

Mr. Freddoso is the senior political reporter for the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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