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Expand or Abolish Registration?

The success of the all-volunteer military has some in Congress favoring the abandonment of military draft registration, while others want to include women in the registration of 18-year-olds.

I saw a wire service story about how there are quiet discussions in Congress about whether to include women in the requirement that 18-year-olds register with the Selective Service System, or do away with it altogether.

The UPI story says those who want to scrap the system say it’s a waste of money, around $24 million a year. Others want to include women for equality’s sake.

And it’s all to keep a list of draftable people–all of them men–in the event they are needed.

The story brought back memories of my own registration at the age of 18. For guys of my generation, it was different then.

This was 1969. The Vietnam war was on and the draft was very controversial. These were the days when soldiers would return home from the war to derision, in many cases, after serving their country in an unpopular war.

I registered, knowing full well the military would never take me–they weren’t taking diabetics, especially not drafting them, and I doubt they are now.

But I had my II-S student deferment and for a couple of days at the end of 1972 I was I-A, prime draftable material. But I had dropped my student deferment on the advice of the McCook County draft board because they weren’t going to be calling anyone for the rest of the year.

And again, in my case it would have been a matter of showing up, flunking my physical and going back home.

It wasn’t long before the SSS began the lottery system and eventually went to the all-volunteer military.

For me, it’s going to be interesting to see if registering for the draft is expanded to women or abolished altogether.

As I said, things were very different then.

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