When Dave Carter was on active duty in South Korea in 1993, he wrote a letter to Air Force Times setting forth the reasons he supported combat exclusion for women.
Carter has four general reasons: women don't have the physical strength for combat, their presence in combat units will introduce distractions, if they are eligible for combat, they will have to register for the draft, and the moral point of view that a nation should not send its mothers and daughters into combat.
The issue of the draft has heated up with the Obama administration's opening all military positions, including front-line combat, to women.
So Carter has an excellent article over at The Federalist elaborating on his fourth point: that a decent society doesn't draft women for combat. (Just for the record, though I vehemently oppose sending women into combat, there is some nuance here at IWF. Senior Fellow Amber Smith, in fact, does support requiring women to register for the draft.)
Carter quite correctly uses the word conscription instead of draft: people register for the draft so that, if necessary, they can be conscripted into the military. The draft sounds different and theoretical–we haven't seen it used since Vietnam. Using the word conscription brings home why we have the Selective Service.
Carter captures the failure to face the reality of conscription, especially in the silly remarks of Senator Claire McCaskill:
At the Senate hearing, Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Marine Corps, opined that “Every American who’s physically qualified should register for the draft.” Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-Missouri) stream of consciousness swerved into the following: “Part of me believes that asking women to register as we ask men to register would maybe possibly open up more recruits as women began to think about, well, the military is an option for me.”
Well, senator, part of me thinks that part of you should consider that the federal government doesn’t “ask” men to register any more than it “asks” anyone to pay his taxes. It demands it, senator, even as it would demand (if you had your way) that our daughters, wives, mothers, and sisters register to be taken forcibly into government service.
Many of us accept that possibility with heavy hearts with respect to our sons, because they are generally endowed with the physical and mental strength required to defend the homeland, but no such case can be made with respect to our daughters. Quite the contrary, as noted above. Under this prescription, senator, the military wouldn’t be merely an option, but rather a mandatory sentence, and if you don’t know the difference, well — you’re in the right political party at least.
The U.S.'s volunteer military is one of the marvels of history. according to Carter, who thinks conscripting women would make it less effective:
Leave aside for the moment the suicidal absurdity of poking our meddling paws into the ethos and composition of such an effective fighting force in pursuing a formula the Marines have already tried and found lacking. Leave aside the fact we are as unlikely to prevail against semi-savage Islamic fanatics as we are to strike fear in their black little hearts by throwing prom queens at them, and consider the message conscripting women sends about a society so blinded by political correctness that it will assist in its own destruction.
In sort, Dave Carter maintains that conscripting women is "barbaric."
I bet the feminists are going to have a field day with Carter's article.