The Instigator
Con (against)
18 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
2 Points

Female Excemption From The Selective Service System

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/12/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 7,989 times Debate No: 14375
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (21)
Votes (6)




Resolved: Women should be exempt from the Selective Service System of the United States.

Clarifications: By women, I mean persons of the female sex. I do not consider personal conceptions of gender relevant to this debate. I am referring to the entire Selective Service System (SSS from here on), not the registration, lottery, drafting, or any other particular aspect of it.

I will leave the exact meaning of the word "should" up to discussion. I would prefer that my opponent not simply argue that the word "should" is meaningless because that would render the discussion irrelevant and generally be a waste of time.

Important Rules: The debate will consistent of three rounds, and Round 1 will be used by my opponent to indicate his or her acceptance of the debate and not any relevant agreement or disagreement of terms. This round shall not be used to debate.

Also, my opponent may not argue that the SSS should be done away with entirely or that men should be exempt from it as well. The purpose of this debate is to discuss gender roles and equality, and to argue that no one should be subjuct to the SSS would be counterintuitive to my goal. I realize I could side-step the need for this rule simply by phrasing the resolution differently so as say that men and women be subject to the same requirements, but I prefer a simple resolution and cumbersome rules to the reverse. I also wanted to make it explicit that this is not allowed.

If you do not know about the SSS, I suggest that Wikipedia is a go place to start for gaining a general understanding of something you are not familar with.

Additional Comments: This debate is part of a series that I intend to do on gender roles and gender equality. If my opponent sees a good reason to move the topic of the debate away from this in a way other than what I have specifically requested above (not arguing for the complete abolition of the SSS) than I see no problem with that, although it will probably result in my reposting of the debate afterwards until I get the discussion I am looking for.

I will do another debate about the SSS in general later (arguing for its complete abolition) but that is not what this debate is about.

Best of luck to my opponent, and I hope for a good debate.



I will argue in favor of Female excemption from the selective service system. I agree with CON's terms. My argument will be based on the theory that males and females have distinct gender roles. I will try to place no value judgments on war, although I will analyze the psychological effects of war.

I thank CON for instigating this interesting debate.
Debate Round No. 1



Thanks to my opponent for accepting this debate. Note that in addition to accepting my terms, he has also accepted by spelling of the word exemption as "excemption" so I should not be penalized in points for this egregious error in the title.

Openning Statements:

My argument is that all citizens share an equal burden in ensuring the future success of their society; the task of upholding and defending civilization cannot fall more heavily on some than others. The United States upholds a law that permits the government to conscript soldeirs to supplement the voluntary Armed Forces in a time of great need. This requires those able bodied citizens of the appropriate age to risk their survival and physical well being in the defense of the society in which they go about their day to day lives.

Whether or not conscription is ethical or violates the rights of individuals is a serious question, but this does not change the fact that in order to ensure the continued success of a society it is often necessary to wage war against dangerous adversaries. It is obvious that everyone in the United States benefited greatly from the victory over the Axis powers in World War II, a victory that many conscripted soldiers gave their lives for. Why, then, should everyone in the country not be required to contribute equally to such a profoundly important and costly effort as the waging of war?

In the United States, the Selective Service System requires that only male citizens register, and only male citizens can be drafted. For what reason should able bodied women of the same age not be required to make the same sacrafices to ensure the continued existence of their nation? This exemption is, a best, based on antiquated notions of female weakness or the deep-seated delusion that the lives of women are intrinsically more valuable than those of men. There is no practical or ethical reason to support this blatant act of discrimination.

Argument One: Sexual Dimorphism Does Not Play A Significant Role In Military Utility

The go-to argument in defense of male-only conscription is that due to differences between the sexes, only men are useful for military service. This claim is patently ridiculous for a number of reasons. First and foremost, the differences between individuals often outweigh the differences between the sexes. Suppose, for instance, that size is an important factor in whether or not a person is eligible for military service. The average weight of an American male is 190 pounds and the average weight of an American female is 163 pounds [1]. The differences between individuals vary enough that many men weigh less than the average female and many women weigh more than the average male. I weigh only 145 pounds, should I be exempt from conscription on the grounds of physical frailty? Other supposed male advantages, such as muscle density, likewise vary between individuals significantly.

These traits do not necessary play a significant role in how useful someone is to the Armed Forces in any case. Training in hand to hand combat training has been greatly deemphasized in the United States military since World War II because it is used only rarely and in very specialized situations [2,3]. Almost all fighting in modern warfare involves the use of weapons that can very easily kill an enemy and rely primarily on the skill of the operator.

A large number of the tasks required by the military do not even require a soldier to fight against the enemy on the ground. Men certainly have no advantage in operating artillery, flying aircraft, or crewing ships. Women are prefectly capable of all of these tasks. That is even beside the noncombat roles that comprise many of the roles in a mechanized army. Approximately a third of the personnel in the US Armed Forces are civilian, and there are many areas included logistics, medicine, and engineering in which women could be useful without having to serve a combat role [4]. Men who are drafted can elect to serve their country in a non-combat position if they object to killing on moral grounds, so there is absolutely no justifiable reason why women should not be required to fill these roles [5].

Argument Two: Practicality and Efficiency

By required women to register for the SSS, the United States would effectively double the number of potential conscripts [4]. This would make it considerably easier to raise an army of a given size simply because more potential recruits would be available. It also gives more oppurtunities to replace draft resisters with people who will comply with military service requirements. Furthermore, it would be easier to educate people about the need to register for the SSS and its civil importance if it applied to everyone and not only some people. It is generally inefficient to abitrarily exclude some people from the SSS.

Argument Three: Fairness and Civil Equality

In the United States, women can vote to elect politicians and female politicians can vote to start a war and instate a draft. These are all policies that place an immense risk on responsibility on the people of the United States, but women play a role in making these decisions safe in the knowledge that they will never be the ones to pay the ultimate price. As women undoubtedly should have an equal role in the decision making in a society, they must share the burdens and responsibilities of these decisions equally. Outdated notions of female frailty and reproductive importance have resulted in women effectively enjoying the rights of protected citizens. The truth of the matter, however, is that women are not fundamentally weak and in need of protection: they are not only capable of sharing the burdens of upholding society but they are obilgated to share them equally.

In any project, including the project of maintaining and improving civilzation, women cannot simply be "brought along for the ride" as pretend equals without being given their share of responsibilities. This is patently sexist against both men and women: it puts men in a position where they alone must bear a terrible responsibility, and it suggests that women are not capable of bearing this same burden.

A rational society ought not consider "men" and "women" as two separate entities subject to different rules and expectations; the differences between the sexes are far too slight to justify this archiac outlook. Both men and women must simply be considered people; sex needs have no more rule in defining a person's responsibilities and expectations than height or any other physical characteristic.

Concluding Statements:

The conceptions of sex roles and expectations in the United States are simply outdated and delusional. Sexual dimorphism has had such a profound effect on human psychology that people in the United States built the first aircraft before they granted women the right to vote. As human technology and science advances, we continue to distance ourselves further and further from our animal past and move toward a society of rational beings. If we are to build a human civilization that is based around reason, truth, and justice, we will have to abandon the vestigial traits of our animal past. The ridiculous notions of gender roles and expectations that pervade our society must be one of the first delusions to go, and the best place to start it is at the point of its most profound significance.






I thank PRO again for instigating this debate. It should be noted that the policy of SSA is designed to deal with a crisis of limited resources in the military and to win wars. If policies of the SSA fails to achieve these objective of improving the likelihood for success in military campaigns, then the policies should be rejected. The objective of military success should be above any other factor such as political correctness or furthering equality.


*Physical differences*

First my opponent tries to mislead you by explaining how BMI has many individual differences between genders. I can assure you that BMI is very little indicator of fitness, strength, or susceptibility of injury.

Genetics and environment determines the differences between individuals. Recruits are trained in the same environment, so differences between individuals based on environment are unimportant. Thus, it is no surprise that the fitness test to graduate basic is more rigorous then the fitness test to join the military. However, after training, differences caused by genetics are more important. Females have a different genetic makeup as males, and are biological pre-determined to be have less muscle mass, more prone to musculoskeletal injury, lower red blood cell counts, lower hemoglobin levels, smaller cardiac outputs and slower speed. Studies have shown that after training, the physical differences between males and females are still apparent [1] [2]. This difference is especially profound in upper body strength. Thus even if you and I are in worse shape than the average person, we have more potential to become stronger and faster than a female soldier.
My opponent also mistakenly states that physical fitness is not that important in modern day military, due to changes in technology. Again, this is false. Both the US Army and US marines both conclude that our failure in the Korean War was partly due to our troop’s unsatisfactory level of fitness. The U.S. Army reports that soldiers left behind wounded soldiers and heavy expensive equipment that training had not adequately prepared them for. Indeed there are many physical challenges that the military must face. In combat, the wounded must be carried to safety. Soldiers must march long distances with heavy loads. A study was done that examined the relative load-carrying ability of men and women. Nineteen male and fifteen female soldiers carried loads of 18, 27, and 36 kg during individual voluntary maximal speed 10-km road marches. Men completed the marches an average of 21% faster than the women [4]. Soldiers must be able to carry their weapons and artillery under long time frames, perform field maneuvers under strenuous combat terrain. The marine corps combat training guide describes some other challenges soldiers must face such as "Rapidly emplacing crew-served weapons; handling large-caliber ammunition for extended periods; climbing walls, cliffs, and other high obstacles; and Performing field maintenance on air craft or heavy machinery"; [5] many of these tasks rely heavily on upper body strength, and as I stated earlier, females are biological determined to be lacking in this. There is also a concern that females cannot handle the g-forces as a combat pilot. Also, while my opponent states that close quartered combat is used less in the military, it is still used. The marines also emphasis the importance of learning close quartered combat not just for practicality, but it also increases one confident that a soldier can face any challenge, and less prone to stress induced battle fatigue.

A special emphasis should be placed on disease and non-battle injuries. DNBI account for more casualties then combat, resulting in 77.2% of casualties. Data also shows that 408.6 per 1,000 combat-years among females and 244.0 per 1,000 combat years among males; and the incident rate ratio for becoming a DNBI was 1.67. Also females were more likely to have a medical evacuation. 74% of these medical evacuations were due to pregnancy, a feat physically impossible to happen with men.[6]
It is incredibly important that our soldiers are reliable and stay healthy. Victory depends on these soldiers staying in combat. Treatment uses extra resources. Unfortunately, even though females are not even in combat roles, females only increase this problem.

*Psychological differences*

Females tend to be less aggressive then males, making them less effective in combat. Also, psychological harm is more likely to occur to women in times of warfare. This is especially the case if they are captured in which they are more likely to be sexual assaulted, or raped. These events are more likely to lead to PTSD then actual combat.


Enemy forces are less likely to surrender if combating females. Grossman writes " Islamic militants rarely, if ever, surrender to female soldiers. In modern warfare where intelligence is perhaps more important than enemy casualties, every factor reducing combatants' willingness to fight is considered. " It's the same concept of why it would be considered embarrassing to be beaten up by a girl. Enemy forces would be too prideful to surrender.

Men also have a strong biological impact to protect women. While women do not have an intrinsic value higher then men, we biological do not feel that way. This biological tendencies would further offset the main priority of completing the mission and triaging soldiers effectively.

Females have also shown to have a negative impact on unit cohesion. "A study conducted in 1988 found that a higher percentage of women in the work group was negatively correlated with male horizontal cohesion, as well as acceptance of women and combat readiness among male junior enlisted soldiers in combat service support units."


It is imperative that in order to win wars, the attitude of the public is the most crucial factor. Losing the Vietnam War is largely attributed to America's increased resentment for the war. Sun Tzu, author of "The Art of War", a military strategy guide that has stood the test of time, notes the importance of the effects of war on the state.

The media receives a lot of viewers by reporting shocking, saddening, and horrible problems. There's a saying in the media: "If it bleeds, it leads". While it is true that men are no more intrinsically valuable then females, society thinks otherwise. Hearing about the deaths, and rape of women in warfare would only increase resistance to the war. [1][3][4][5][6][7][8]
Debate Round No. 2



Thanks to my opponent for his reply. I think it touches on many important points. However, while my opponent has made valid points against some of my arguments, he has neglected others. Because I feel my opening statement in the previous round adequately explained the debate, I am going to move right in to the arguments.

Argument One: Sexual Dimorphism

I will first note that I made no mention of BMI, only pure size in my discussion. Larger people can carry weight more easily than smaller people of the same fitness.

In absolutely no way do I dispute that males are physically superior to females in most regards on average. However, there is a considerable degree of divergence between different individuals in this regard. Both males and females who are too physically frail or weak for military service should not be required to serve under Selective Service. This does not mean that female professional athletes are inferior to average males in these traits and are therefore somehow less useful for military service simply because others of their sex tend to be.

I do not mean to imply that physical fitness is not important to the military, only that women are not so physical inferior as not to be useful. The standards that males must meet to graduate from basic training are not very high to begin with (35 push-ups and a 20:06 two-mile run are the minimum) [6]. These tests don't even make a lot of sense; there are males on my cross country team who could do 70 push-ups and run 10:03 but are much smaller and frailer than many women. It is true that upper-body strength is extremely important in the military, but it is not so clear cut as saying that men have it and women don't. Some women have above average traits for their sex and some men have below average traits for their sex. Wouldn't it be more reasonable to make one standard for everyone?

I would also like to point out that every one of my opponent's points could be used to argue that only blacks should be eligible for Selective Service. Black males produce more testosterone, have less body fat, and are faster and stronger than white males on average [7][8]. This also applies to my opponent's psychological argument: black males tend to exhibit more violent behavior than white males [8]. Of course, we know that these differences are not important on a case by case basis and that they don't lead to the preposterous conclusion that only black people should be required to fight in the military. We simply set the same standards, and if more blacks reach those standards because of genetics then that's just how it is.

My opponent's arguments also do not explain why women cannot serve noncombat roles. While I think women who display excellent physical performance could serve combat roles, I agree that they should primarily be given support roles (as should weaker people in general). There is no reason why women can't drive supple trucks, prepare food, repair equipment, treat wounded soldiers, or do any other support role. Remember, men drafted by Selective Service can elect to serve in a noncombat position if they are opposed to violence [5].

Counterargument: Unit Cohesion and Combat Effectiveness

The first point my opponent makes is that Islamic militants are less likely to surrender to female troops. I would like to note that we are debating about the SSS, and it is unlikely that a draft would be called to eliminate Middle Eastern terrorist cells. In a war against a trained military unit or in a slightly more liberal country than Afghanistan (even Iran) it is probable that this would play less of a role. In any case, is having enemy combatants killed rather than surrendering worse than not engaging them at all because the female soldiers were not present to engage them? All women that aren't sent into battle aren't automatically replaced by men; women add to the size of the army.

On the next point, it is inappropriate to discriminate against people simply because soldiers have certain biases. There was a struggle to integrate blacks into the army in the early 20th century, but now people of all races fight side by side without issue. Recent, DADT was repealed and homosexuals are allowed to serve in the military openly. While the feelings of those in the military should be respected, bigotry should not be catered to. The US Army should continue its tradition of holding its troops to the highest professional standards and not tolerate, let alone give in to, sexist attitudes.

Counterargument: Media Outrage

The problem that my opponent poses does not seem realistic. Eighty-two women have died in the war in Iraq and I have not noticed anything that could be called a "media outrage" [9]. I don't think anyone is shocked by the fact that women are killed in war, and my opponent has not backed this claim up with a source.

In any case, the belief that women are more valuable than men should not be conceded as true or reinforced by adjusting policy to cater to people's biases and dispositions. This belief is a relic of a time when females were needed to maintain the population, and it must be discarded to move society forward.

My opponent seems to suggest that what most people think is true is more important than what is true. Well, that seems grounds for dismissing evolution, special relativity, and quantum mechanics just because uneducated people don't understand them. Just as it is irresponsible to make scientific judgments based on the opinions of those who go off their gut instinct and lack the proper training to understand the topic, it is likewise irresponsible to make moral judgments this way.

Dropped Arguments:

My opponent completely dropped the argument on civil equality and fairness, which I think is pivotal to the debate.

The argument on practically and efficiency has been partially dropped. My opponent suggests that because some male soldiers are sexist and do not behave appropriately toward women, we should accommodate their problems by excluding women from the armed forces. I was not aware that the US military was in the business of tolerating misconduct, and a little extra brawn certain doesn't make male soldiers who cannot even meet the military's professional standards more useful than female soldiers who can.

The advantages to drafting women that I proposed have not been addressed. However, I will add another point. Encouraging women to serve in the military and requiring them to participate in the SSS will improve social attitudes toward women and help to solve many of the problems my opponent described. Women should be treated as competent members of society and not as frail children to be coddled and protected. The fact that society sets lower expectations for women is a product of this sexist belief, and government policy should seek to reduce rather than encourage these attitudes.


In order for the SSS to truly fail at its goal by recruiting women, the associated problems would have to outweigh the advantage of doubling the number of potential draftees. This is virtually inconceivable. In any case, this issue is not entirely about combat effectiveness. Unless there is a World War III, it may very well never again be necessary to call a draft. If there is a war that truly taxes the US military, then a reasonable step in pulling out all the stops to win would be to draft women.

More importantly, though, this is a matter of principle. Women in the United States vote, run businesses, develop technology, and run the government. They have all the privileges of members of society and they make many contributions, so why should they be exempt from some of their civic responsibilities on the basis of physical traits that don't apply uniformly and outdated social attitudes?


Links posted in the comments section for lack of room. If my opponent wishes to do this in the follow rounds, I would consider that fair. His previous argument was only 7000 characters, so this is not unfair to him.


Unjust discrimination should not be tolerate. However, men and women aren't the same

I. Sexual Dimorphism
My opponent and I agree on the following
a. Men are on average more physical fit than females
b. Physical fitness is important in the military

However, PRO thinks that individual differences are more important than gender differences. I concede that a few females are stronger and fitter than a few males. However, physical disparity between males and females are so great, that is justifiable to have the selective service act apply only to males.

Lieutenant Colonel Gregor testified before the Presidential Commission:

"(a) Using the standard Army Physical Fitness Test, the upper quintile of women at West Point achieved scores on the
test equivalent to the bottom quintile of men.
(b) From these data, he concluded that if the Army selected those who met a nominal standard on the test, 80 percent of
the women who applied could not get an Army commission"
(c) Only 21 out of the initial 623 (3.4 percent) achieved a score equal to the male mean score of 260 points.
(d) On the push-up test, only seven percent of women can meet a score of 60, while 78% of men exceed it."[9]

Averages and statistical measures are important. Businesses use them constantly.

If I were to choose between buying two types of products: let's say Products A, and Products B. If there was a 78% chance that Products B worked while only a 7% chance that Products A worked, then obviously I would choose Products B over Products A, even though there are a few from Product A that are better than Product B.

This is why it is difficult to receive a loan if you have a low credit score. This is why you have to pay more for insurance if you get into an accident that is your fault. This is why in the military one can only become a commissioned officer with a college degree. PRO would have to show that all of these forms of 'discrimination' are unfair if he believes individual differences are more important than group differences. It is possible that someone with a low credit score can pay his/her loan while someone with a high credit score cannot. However, the laws of statistics are against them.

Pro then states that based on my logic, these statistics can apply to blacks, since "blacks produce more testosterone, have less body fat, and are faster and stronger than white males on average". This would be a good argument; however the differences between blacks and whites were not as profound as the differences between males and females. Blacks only have 14% more testosterone on average than Whites while males have over 900% more testosterone then females [10]. It's like comparing the difference between Harvard, MIT, and University of Phoenix graduates. MIT might have better engineering graduates than Harvard, but both these colleges have much better engineering graduates than University of Phoenix.

Pro next tries to state that the standards are not very high and states. He states he knows males that can exceed the military standards yet are frailer than women. He offers no proof that these males are "frailer" than women. As shown above, most females cannot meet the same standards as males. This statement is only in my favor, since it was males that were able to exceed the standard, not females.

Finally, the SSA is designed to recruit combat soldiers, so saying that women can serve noncombat roles ruins the whole purpose of the SSA.

II. Media Outrage

The article on female troops' death had a tone of disgust. There is little media outrage since the women death rate is small compared to total deaths. If the death rate of women were higher, there would be a greater media outrage.

I only express that the moral foundation of others are not supported by logic, only emotional programming. While Pro might think otherwise, moral truths are far different from scientific truths.

Nonetheless, that still does not change the fact that people view that the life of a women (especially of fertile age) as more valuable as men in society.

III. Unit Cohesion and Combat Effectiveness

Right now, Middle Eastern terrorist are a great threat. The war in Iran is a strong possibility [11]. Even in western society, there is still a stigma against losing against women [12]. Pro then sets up a false dichotomy on whether it is better to have enemy combatants killed rather than not engage in them at all since there were no female combatants. We would still have troops combatants if there were no female combatants. I will explain this point later. However, it would be much better if they surrender, since less allied soldiers would die, and fewer resources would be expended in battle.

Next PRO believes that we should not cater to soldier's bias. However no matter how much soldiers are trained, you cannot reprogram the emotional circuits for mating and reproduction. It is the BOP of my opponent to show otherwise. Extend analysis that females' death and injured decreases morale, and cause soldiers to act irrationally, harming the mission [13].

Practicality and Efficiency:

PRO states that by allowing women into the SSA, you double the size of potential recruits. There is an error in this logic. This does not make the military twice as good. Female soldiers in combat decrease morale both for combatants and civilians, increase additional expenses for female needs, are not as fit as male soldiers, are a burden and distraction to soldiers, and in general decrease the efficiency of the overall unit.

PRO seems to forget that people are needed in the home frontier. Sun Tzu, author of the Art of War, stresses the importance of resource management and keeping the economy going during times of war. "The expenditure at home and at the front, including entertainment of guests, small items such as glue and paint, and sums spent on chariots and armor, will reach the total of a thousand ounces of silver per day. Such is the cost of raising an army of 100,000 men."[14]
It is not about winning battles, but managing resources which is important to war.Women would be much better off farming land, manufacturing supplies for soldiers, and providing goods and services needed to keep the economy running than actually fighting in wars. In World War II, women were sent to work and this was just as necessary and honarable as soldiers fighting[15]

The SSA is designed specifically for those ages 18-25; the age men are at their potential peak fitness. This is why they are drafted. This has been a sufficient amount in previous wars. Based on PROS logic, we should send everyone to war, including the elderly and the minors.

Fairness and Civil Equality:

PRO seems to suggest that since women have been given more rights and responsibilities, they should also register for the SSA.

This simply does not follow. Females are mentally competent, so they should not be denied the right to vote, education, job opportunities, etc. The demands for civilian life are completely different from the demands from military life, especially as a combatant soldier. This same logic applies to why senior citizens are not eligible for conscription.

In the case of Rostker v. Goldberg, the SSA constitutionality was questioned due to "gender discrimination". However, it was considered constitutional based on the following majority opinion:
"[t]he 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."[16]

Even, the Equal Opportunity act can reject those with physical impairments if it is an undue hardship that causes a financial restrain. Well in war, resources are scarce and can be allocated efficiently by having women work rather than fight
Debate Round No. 3



Thanks to my opponent for his reply.

Argument One: Sexual Dimorphism

My opponent refers to the fact that we agree that women are physically weaker than men, but then goes on to devote much of his argument to reaffirming this.

His whole argument completely misses the difference between group and individual traits. Requiring a college degree to be a commissioned officer is equivalent to barring women? One is a minimum standard to be achieved; the other is an innate characteristic that lacks relevance. On an individual basis, it is not logical to deny a woman who meets physical standards entry into the military. On the other hand, it is logical to deny someone a commission for not having a college degree. My opponent’s attempted analogies do not apply because each person can be tested individually. This is not equivalent to credit or a group of products because recruitment is not done wholesale. Both men and women who do not meet physical standards are not allowed entry into the army.

This distinction between individuals and groups is ignored by my opponent. His only reason for drafting whites is that blacks are not sufficiently superior in his opinion. If black physical superiority to whites was profound enough, he would have no basis to oppose an all-black military. My opponent reused my source without credit to back this claim.

But let us take the problem of groups and individuals further. People who are 5'2" are certainly weaker on average than people who are 6'4". Shall we establish a height standard for military service? However strongly correlated a group characteristic is with physical fitness, the physical fitness of each individual in a group must be assessed individually. Why are the 20% of women who could meet the nominal standard exempt from service because 80% of people who happen to be of same sex as them could not?

It goes without saying that some very small people can do many push-ups, complete obstacle courses, and run very fast. I do not see the military emphasizing strict weight-lifting standards, so they are clearly more concerned with fitness than pure strength and size. [10]

The SSS is designed to recruit combat soldiers, but it allows men to serve non-combat roles. Drafting women could reduce the need to keep men out of combat for other duties, and some women can serve as combat soldiers.

Counterargument: Media Outrage

Obviously if more people die, there will be a stronger media response. The point is that women do die in war and there is not a massive social outrage. There is no evidence that the fact that women have been killed is a major factor in opposition to the war in Iraq. [11]

I have not disputed the fact that some people value the lives of women more than the lives of men; I have declared it a problem. It is not a problem that will be solved by validating irrational whims. My opponent’s argument boils down to the claim that appeasing primitive instincts to protect child bearers should be prioritized over equality and fairness in an advanced society.

Counterargument: Unit Cohesion and Combat Effectiveness

Using a draft against Middle Eastern enemies would be unlikely because the US military can easily handle any such threats. Even Iran's military is extremely weak compared to the US's. [4][11]

My opponent, not I, is the one who is confused about possible alternatives. He consistently assumes that in any case where female soldiers are not employed, male soldiers could always step in to take their places. Women increase the size of the army; there aren't an unlimited number of men to just replace them.

Furthermore, this argument is still advising discrimination against women on the basis of something that is not their fault. Men are not biologically incapable of respecting women and treating them as equals, no matter what my opponent would like us to believe. It is the constant acceptance of this error, both overtly and tacitly, that encourages such sexist behavior.

Soldiers have always compromised missions and their own safety to save comrades of the same sex, so protecting women is certainly not their only motivation. Soldiers develop a strong sense of unity that is based on trust and equality, and to suggest that women cannot be a part of such a bond is simply to demean their mental competence. [12]

My opponent's source for this argument is a sexist image.

Argument Four: Practicality and Efficiency

I suggested doubling the number of potential recruits, not doubling the size of the military. If women were admitted by a nominal standard, they would increase number of draftees by 20%. This could alternately be used to keep more men on the homefront, resolving any of my opponent's economic concerns. If keeping the military's size under control is a major priority, why instate a draft?

My opponent's arguments assume a state of total war, as in World War II. [13] The United States has a strong enough nuclear arsenal to turn the Earth into a wasteland, so this kind of situation simply will not happen. [14] The draft is used for the purpose of increasing recruitment, so limiting selection to a certain group without a rational basis is counterintuitive.

Women are not so useless and incapable that the "expenses of female needs" and "distraction to male soldiers" outweighs their utility. My opponent is basically arguing that because some soldiers can't behave around women and tampons cost a few cents each, female soldiers are a net loss to the military.

Argument Five: Civil Equality

Throughout this debate, my opponent has compared the drafting of women to drafting children, the elderly, and the disabled. This is absurd: children are not mentally competent, the disabled are not physically competent, and the elderly are not fit for military service for a myriad of reasons. None of these factors apply uniformly to women.

The court case that my opponent references ignores that fact that the SSS drafts men for noncombat roles and is it based on the assumption that women cannot serve combat roles, which is not a given. The United States upholds plenty of backwards and irrational policies, so its law is no basis for determining what is right. [15]

Under the current law, if a man and a woman are at the exact same level of physical fitness, the man can be drafted but the woman cannot. This is discrimination against both individuals, pure and simple. As my opponent has made abundantly clear, the distinction is based on false notions of female uselessness and inferiority that stem from nothing but differences in average physical fitness, and meanwhile the man is forced to risk his life while someone else is spared the responsibility solely on the basis of her extra X chromosome.


My opponent's argument does nothing but fallaciously demean the utility of the female sex, suggesting it is a "physical impairment" in his suggestion that being female is comparable to being disabled. Being female does not impede you quite as much as being confined to a wheelchair, nursing home, or nursery. As long as there is at least one woman who is fast, strong, and fit, she should not be exempt from military service just because other women aren’t as fit.

My opponent seems to undervalue the fact that this is largely a matter of principle. The US can annihilate all human life on Earth; maximizing draft effectiveness is a minor priority. It's mostly a matter of principle: women should be expected to register for SS because they should be expected to fulfill the same responsibilities as men. I am strongly opposed to classifying women as a special group of citizens the way the disabled, elderly, and young are. This absolutely encourages, and indeed implicitly condones, the patronization that holds women back.

Modern humans are beyond these primitive notions of gender. Irrational double standards must be abandoned if we are to move forward as a society.


In the comments section again.




Thanks to my opponent for a great debate.

//Sexual Dimorphism//

CON's thinks that physical fitness should be tested individually and those that do not achieve a satisfactory level of physical standard should not be let into the military.

However, he missed the point that one simply cannot test physical fitness on in individual level, at least not until after training.

Many people live a very sedentary lifestyle. People spend time watching television, on computer, and an office job. Many people simply do not work out. I used to run a 5k in under 17 minutes yet due to my sedentary lifestyle it now takes me 23 minutes. The question: How does one know one's true innate level of endurance, and strength? One cannot. Modern society does not test one's potential. The difference in physical fitness between two persons might be lifestyle, not innate ability.

The initial physical fitness test to get into the military is a lot easier then the physical fitness test needed to graduate from military boot camp [1]. There is no good way to test how physically fit a soldier will be. The difference level of fitness for those of different height, race is nominally small compared to the differences between gender and age. Thus the most practical option to choose who should be trained and who should not is to train males between the age of 18-5, the age they are at their physical peak. Hence, why the SSA recruits males between the age of 18-25.

CON also seems to question the physical fitness standards of the military, stating its more concerned with general fitness than pure strength and size. However, what the military is concerned about is muscular endurance, hence why there is no weight lifting standard.

It takes a lot of resources to train soldiers, and based on the data I researched in previous rounds, very few women would be able to pass the physical requirements if they were held to the same standard as males. It is a matter of statistics. It's a waste of resources for women to be recruited in the military if they have a low success rate compared to males.

It would also be highly effective if soldiers were able to perform combat skills since in the military ones purpose is to fight battles. I would prefer a soldier who could fight and perform their MOS, rather than either or.

//Media Outrage//

We agree that people value the lives of women more than the lives of men and that a stronger media response would occur due to these deaths. However, my opponent believes that equality and fairness should be prioritized.

However, CON seems to underestimate the importance of the media, and how it affects whether one wins a war or loses it. We are pulling out of Iraq due to the media's opposition to the war. Even if our sense of morality is illogical, does not mean it is unimportant. This undermines the whole system of democracy, in which laws our based on our sense of values and morality.

//Unit Cohesion and Combat Effectiveness//

However, our troop our already in Afghanistan. A war in Iran would cause us to use more troops. My opponent still does not get the point that the value of unit cohesion and combat effectiveness is more important then any ideals of fairness.

Economic resources is the limiting factor in warfare, not the size of the military. This is what my opponent does not seem to understand. My opponent also does not seem to understand that human instincts play an important role.

The SSA is designed to win wars. The whole system, is unfair to begin with since one is forced to do acts against one's will. If you allow women into combat under the SSA, you might as well just remove the SSA in general, since the military becomes less effective with the act in place, not more. It's not fair that women have to go through periods and pregnancy while males do not, yet should we create a system to simulate these events for males in the interest of 'fairness and equality'? No, because there is no purpose.

Same applies here. There is no purpose for women to fight in wars, since they are essential more harm then good. You can label me a sexist all you want, that does not change the data I presented.

//Practicality and Efficiency//

CON's problem is that you cannot now measure the nominal standard, until after boot camp, as I explained earlier. This wastes resources. Even if the women are capable of combat, it still faces the problem of unit cohesion and combat effectiveness, an issue my opponent seemed to dodge.

Also, if we are in a situation in which the SSA is needed, obviously we are also in a state where economic resources are needed. Economic resources are the limiting factor, not soldiers. By sending soldiers to war, your essential reducing the amount of people available for work, thus reducing GDP.

It's not just the cost of tampons. Essential new facilities need to be made for women, women have different medical needs, etc. These expenses become very significant.

Argument Five: Civil Equality

However, even those of older age are more fit then some of younger age. In fact, middle age men actually have an equal physical assessment as middle age females. Some children are mentally competent enough to serve in the military. Actually, there are children soldiers right now as we speak[3]. Where does one draw the line? If one accepts that there are children mental competent to serve in war, and older people physical fit enough to fight in war, then all of CON's logic can be tossed aside and basically anybody should be selected into the military. However, these groups are obviously not part of the SSA the same reason why women are not in the SSA.

I have explained earlier of why women should not serve in combat roles. In war, one would prefer if a person could fight during combat since during war there is always the possibility of combat. Even in boot camp, everyone is trained to use a gun. There's no reason why military soldiers can not both be able to fix a tank and fight in combat also. It makes one more effective as a soldier.


My opponent seems to believe that fairness and equality is more important then winning war or increasing the strength of our military. It isn't. By allowing women to enter the SSA, it is harming the military as a whole and poses a huge hazard. The SSA isn't fair to begin with? How is forcing people to fight a war and possible die fair? It isn't.

I thank my opponent for the debate. However, I believe CON should lose points on source since I was unable to see the sources from the previous rounds, thus making it difficult to confirm the information.
Debate Round No. 4
21 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by HeathBar 7 years ago
Personally, as soon as women decided that they should be treated equally, then equal it shall be, if you dont want to be drafted, support the 1950's housewife model as how things should be :)... come on this argument should have stopped there. To go any futher makes the women of America look like hypocrites and the men look like they've been right about being superior to women...
Posted by WillMurray 7 years ago
Yo Paradigm, I liked your solution but I did have one question. I realize as a nerdy white college kid I am stepping outside of my realm of understanding here, why if making the initial requirements harder, cut down on failures and loss of money have they not already done it? I would assume it is because of the need for the a larger pool of potential candidates. This would imply that their initial assessments are imperfect at best at guessing who will succeed. I know you don't like the idea of wasting the money on a social experiment, but as it appears that the navy seals are struggling to find people for their program, it seems to me the addition of women would only be a boon to them as it increases the potential pool, and would allow them to raise standards. Also your stat seemed oddly specific 98.5%? did you just make that up or is that a legitimate stat you are taking from some other program.
Sorry for my abuse on grammar I just woke up :P
Posted by PARADIGM_L0ST 7 years ago
You both argued very well, and I can't determine who won the debate, nor will I allow bias to influence my vote. You both made excellent and reasoned responses. Perhaps I will read it a second time to make a final determination.
Posted by PARADIGM_L0ST 7 years ago
Here's my argument, because I'm in the military and I actually see it on a day-to-day basis. Females should only be allowed to apply for combat roles provided the initial assessment is more difficult for everybody. What do I mean? The Navy SEAL's is one of the most arduous, physically and mentally demanding training in the world. I went to BUD/S in 2000, and I can tell you that getting in to the program is fairly easy, but staying in is incredibly difficult. In fact, this is what accounts for their 70% failure rate. It costs roughly $200,000 for each prospective SEAL to go through the program. At a 70% failure rate, that's an awful lot of money wasted.

Allowing females to go through, only an extreme minority would make it, simply because, like it or not, they just don't have the same biology for it. I would say that maybe 98.5% or 1 in 100 of females would actually complete the program, if that. The US Navy isn't a test tube for social experiments, and we cannot waste money like that. Therefore, make the standards to get in higher so that if a female makes it in, she is far more likely to make it.

Now, with Selective Service. No, females should not be obligated to serve, they should want to serve. The Selective Service should be a last ditch effort to begin with for males, and even then, there should be an Executive Order for females which is the last, last ditch effort. The reason is that some people will never be cut out for the military, it's just not in their personality. People who truly do not want to go will be an hindrance, male or female.
Posted by Grape 7 years ago
@ Darkkermit: you do not make any of the dumb errors of random spelling, punctuation, and capitalization that usually cost people the grammar vote. There are lots of more minor errors like:

"Genetics and environment determines the differences between individuals"

Here the word "determines" should be "determine" because there is a compound subject. You also need to say "the enivironment" because you are refering to a certain environment. I am sure these errors seem obvious when people point them out, but they are easy to overlook in editing.

It would be easier to mark every mistake if I could do so with a pen and paper, but that's not possible. I made a few similar mistakes from carelessness, but your writing contained quite a lot of subject/verb disagreement, pronoun/antecent disagreement, inappropriate comparisons, and all the mistakes that most writers make. I spot these types of errors very naturally because I practiced it a lot for the SAT a year ago and the skill stuck.

My spelling and grammer was better overall, but I would personally probably not have actually awarded points in a debate over the difference because it was so small.
Posted by darkkermit 7 years ago
@ Grape. Can you show me of an example of a grammar mistake I made, for future references.
My opinion if I were voting:
Tied for everything. Grape had better arguments. However, I had better sources.
Posted by Grape 7 years ago
Okay, that is fundamentally different than what the rule meant. It is an acceptable argument under that interpretation.
Posted by darkkermit 7 years ago
My bad. I simply meant that the SSA would be so ineffective with women drafted, that one would be better off scraping the SSA then allowing the SSA with women. Of course, the best option would be to keep the SSA.
Posted by Grape 7 years ago
I am not voting, but here is my hypothetical RFD. Do not be influenced by my positive evaluation of myself.

Conduct: Tied. Both debaters displayed good conduct and Pro's minor violation of the rules had a minor effect on the debate

Spelling and Grammar: Con. My opponent had considerably more mistakes in grammar than I did. Both sides had minor typographical and spelling errors.

Arguments: Con. My opponent focused too much on the details of the combat effectiveness of women and offered weak answers to big-picture issues. He also made weaker arguments in Round Four that seemed to rely on the fact that I could not address them ("my opponent does not understand this and that")

Sources - Tied. Both sides made excellent use of sources.

Suggestions: I think my opponent and I did a great job in the debate. I can't say what I'd suggest to him because he brought up all the strongest arguments I was expecting. In retrospect I see how I could have done the debate better, but I am fairly satisfied with it.
Posted by Grape 7 years ago
"The whole system, is unfair to begin with since one is forced to do acts against one's will. If you allow women into combat under the SSA, you might as well just remove the SSA in general..."

This argument was specifically not allowed in the rules in Round One.
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