May 10, 2020
Happy Mother’s Day to our beloved Moms!
This week’s one hour radio broadcast focuses on the history of the draft between WWII and Vietnam, women that have elected to join the military service of the United States and future draft guidelines that may require all women to register for military service.
Draft, Selective Service & Women
Race and Class Inequities
Amy Rutenberg is the author of “Rough Draft” that exposes the race and class inequities of the Selective Service during the Vietnam War. Amy J. Rutenberg argues that policy makers’ idealized conceptions of Cold War middle-class masculinity directly affected whom they targeted for conscription and also for deferment. Federal officials believed that college-educated men could protect the nation from the threat of communism more effectively as civilians than as soldiers. The availability of deferments for this group mushroomed between 1945 and 1965, making it less and less likely that middle-class white men would serve in the Cold War army. Meanwhile, officials used the War on Poverty to target poorer and racialized men for conscription in the hopes that military service would offer them skills they could use in civilian life.
As Rutenberg shows, manpower policies between World War II and the Vietnam War had unintended consequences. While some men resisted military service in Vietnam for reasons of political conscience, most did so because manpower policies made it possible. By shielding middle-class breadwinners in the name of national security, policymakers militarized certain civilian roles―a move that, ironically, separated military service from the obligations of masculine citizenship and, ultimately, helped kill the draft in the United States.
Amy discusses with host Jim Fausone the implications of a draft today and the upcoming report to Congress on the adjustments if a draft was to be implemented. While young citizens fear a draft as a result of current military action, what is the reality of implementing a draft?
Inspired to Serve offers a bold vision and comprehensive plan to strengthen all forms of service to address domestic and security needs, invigorate civil society, and strengthen our democracy. The Commission’s final report contains 164 recommendations addressing civic education, the federal workforce, national service programs, military service, and the selective service system.
Navy Lt Cmdr Eric Fretz (ret) is an academic lecturing at University of Michigan. He is also the State Director of the Selective Service Board.
Dr. Fretz talks about his military service and veteran advocacy. Eric gives his insight into the National Commission on Service report on national service – Inspire2Serve.gov – that was finalized in March 2020. The commission recommended that women be registered by Selective Service in case Congress authorized a draft. Fretz discusses all of these issues with host Jim Fausone.
For more information and to read the Final Report – www.inspire2serve.gov
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