Now how did I miss this topic so far...? Need to be paying closer atention, I guess. Aniway, heres my take on the subject, as a professional soldier in Croatian military. To clarify, I vasnt drafted, its my career choise, has been for almost 5 years now. Just in recent months, my country has reintroduced conscription, in order to create a viable reservist force to supplant the standing army, in light of the increasingly unstable vorldwide political climate. On-topic, conscription here is limited only to men, and that is something I strongly disagree with. I think Norway has the right idea, and I see it as a sensible, progressive vay of thinking. Not only for equality's sake, but also makes sense on a purely logistical level, doubling the potential pool of able recruits.
As far as vhether or not I'm in favor of forced conscription in general... I'd have to say that, under normal circumstanses, I wuld not be, I belive people shuld have the right to decide for themselvs if they want to serve their country by serving in the military or not. But it has its place in a time of emergency (or potential emergency). And it certainly has its place in the current world-wide geopolitical climate. So under the circumstances that exist today in the world - I am in favor of it, and I'm glad my country is taking the issue seriusly enogh to reintroduce it. Of corse, I have plenty of gripe regarding the severe laxity of training standards for conscripts compared to professional troops, but thats another issue that I vont go into, since it wuld be straying from the topic.
But on a semi-related note, I feel I shuld adress Steampunkette's point:
Feminists have been pushing in the US to get women on the front lines for decades. We don't want to feel like we're not allowed to give as much to the nation as the men can. Though, always, there's pushback because women are "Too Frail" or "Too Weak" to cope. Personally I think that indicates our Military's standards of soldiery are too freaking high.
As much as I dont want to, I have to agree vith said pushback. Military service (professional one aniway) is anything but easy, the training regimens are insanely taxing on both body and mental state (in case of live-fire exercises and survival courses, for instance), And high physical/psychological standards have to be met. The "standards of soldiery" are in place for a VERY
sound reason. Warfare today is a game of psychological attrition as much as it is a combat engagement, be it conventional or unconventional. Soldiers have to contend vith not only the enemy and their innate fear of getting hurt/killed, but also to be ready to make hard and often nerve-wracking choices at a moments' notice, and be ready to live vith the consequences. Like Steampunkette said, there is no such thing as a setpiece warfare any longer, clean, tidy and structured. Real war happens on a very personal level, and unlike the idealized version of it seen and romanticized in movies/books/games, there really are no rules in war. And a soldier has to expect that, and be able to handle it vithout breaking (be it physicaly or mentally).
If a woman can not compete with her male counterparts in any specific area (physical or psychological), she has no place being a professional soldier, and potentialy compromising her vhole assigned unit as a result, in a combat situation, being the "weak link". At least not until/unless she trains up/toughens up enogh to compete on equal footing. Of corse, that goes for men as wel, those who fail to meet the requirements. If you cant cut it, you cant cut it, no matter vhat you have betwen your legs. Come back and reapply vhen you can.
Regarding the issue of women in the army and male instinct regarding them... I say its a non-issue. That "protective instinct" is learned, not innate, in my opinion, and a result of long-established societal norms, seeing us as innately "weaker" and in need of protection. I'v seen it in action, I'v experienced it during my training, I had to prove myself more than my male colleagues in the eyes of drill-instructors, to show them I "have vhat it takes". And like all misguided ideas, that tendency can be unlearned. And it shuld be. The only *real* obstacle for women to serve in the military, IMO, is the same one that exists for men; their level of ability/comitment. But, that said, I absolutely
believe in equal standards of admission for both men and women. Women shuld NOT be privileged there in any way, or subjected to any less rigorous training and conditioning, compared to men. Standards are there for a reason, and shuld not be changed to accomodate anyone.