|Obama believes women should register for draft
Also would consider opening combat positions to females
WorldNetDaily | October 13, 2008
Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama may not have drafted a woman to be his running mate, as his rival John McCain has, but he does believe that America's young women should be eligible for the military draft and possibly combat duty.
"I think that if women are registered for service … I think it will help to send a message to my two daughters that they've got obligations to this great country as well as boys do," said Obama in a debate last year.
Obama's comments at the July 23, 2007, CNN/YouTube debate also suggested that while he doesn't support a draft and doesn't "necessarily" see women in combat roles, he does see restricting women from the battlefront as a breach of equality.
"There was a time when African-Americans weren't allowed to serve in combat," Obama replied when asked if women should register for Selective Service. "And yet, when they did, not only did they perform brilliantly, but what also happened is they helped to change America, and they helped to underscore that we're equal."
A recent interview of Wendy Morigi, Obama's national security spokeswoman, further confirmed that Obama would consider expanding the role of female soldiers in combat.
"Women are already serving in combat (in Iraq and Afghanistan), and the current policy should be updated to reflect realities on the ground," Morigi told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "Barack Obama would consult with military commanders to review the constraints that remain."
Obama and McCain differ on the issue, with the Republican candidate supporting current Department of Defense guidelines restricting female soldiers from direct ground combat with the enemy, including service in armor, field artillery and special forces.
According to his campaign, McCain also disagrees with Obama's position that women should be required to register with the Selective Service.
Leaders of women's organizations are mixed on the subject.
Nancy Duff Campbell, co-president of the National Women's Law Center believes women should be able to compete for any position on the battlefield.
"I hope a new president will revisit the restrictions," she told the Post-Gazette.
Elaine Donnelly, former member of President Clinton's Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, however, sees strategic military reasons for restricting women from the front lines.
"There are differences between men and women where physical strength is an issue," Donnelly told the Post-Gazette. "There are a lot of civilian feminists who are making unreasonable demands on the military."