With equality comes responsibility

To the editor:

I received my legislative update from Senator Carl Levin, D-Mich., via e-mail, Jan. 31 that discusses who, what, when, where, why of life as the senator experiences it. My curiosity was caught by the heading “Levin statement on expected announcement on women in combat.”

On January 23, Sen. Levin made the following statement regarding Secretary Panetta’s expected announcement lifting the direct combat exclusion rule for women in the military: “I support it. It reflects the reality of 21st century military operations.”

I guess the senator will choose to announce at a later date that with this new equality comes the responsibility of all eligible females to register with selective service. For those too young to understand what this means, let me help the best I can. The constitutionality of excluding women was decided in 1981 by the United States Supreme Court in, Rostker v. Goldberg, with the Court holding that requiring only men to register did not violate the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

(“The existence of the combat restrictions clearly indicates the basis for Congress’ decision to exempt women from registration. The purpose of registration was to prepare for a draft of combat troops. Since women are excluded from combat, Congress concluded that they would not be needed in the event of a draft, and therefore decided not to register them.”) 453 U.S. 57, Rostker v. Goldberg (No. 80-251), Argued: March 24, 1981 – Decided June 25, 1981, Cornell University Law School, Legal Information Institute [LII]

The senator never served in the armed forces but has served on the armed services committee and has chaired it. I wonder if the senator’s granddaughter(s) will have to be in a combat infantry unit now that he supports this new reality of 21st century military operations or will that be for my granddaughters and others like them?

I wonder if other prominent politicians’ daughters and granddaughters will get their selective service number and an opportunity to serve in a combat infantry unit or is this “equality” being championed for other people’s daughters and granddaughters? It’s probably time to let the girls know what lies in store for them or you could wait for the senator’s future press release.

WILLIAM GREEN

Hancock