Saturday, January 22, 2005

Restoring The Draft

When I talk to people about restoring the draft, immediatly, I get the nobody is home look. They don't take the idea seriously as they don't expect anything to happen. Most don't think about it and if forced too, are simply against the draft. The reasons are many but I think it is a lack of understanding of what the draft would do.

First of all, we are not going to have a draft! During the election campaign both candidates said, NO. It was even in the Republican platform. The Congress even had a vote on a bill sponsored by Congressman Rangel and a few other Democrats. Overwhelmingly defeated! The good Congressman's motivation in introducing the bill was like all politicians, in my opinion, political but trying to make a statement. He has said, which I agree with: it is totally unfair to have a small segment of society bearing the burden for war: i. e., the Volunteer Army. He is primarily talking about minorities. I would take it several steps further. It is morally reprehensible to have the most vulnerable of our society act as our surrogates in war. An example of the ambiguity of the subject, a guy like Don Hewitt who created the TV newsmagazine, 60 minutes, went so far as to say that we should hire mercenaries to fight our wars: an almost direct quote, "we don't want our young boys and girls fighting our wars." I could hardly believe it.

The scare tactic of fighting the return of the draft became one of the causes of the "anybody but Bush/hate Bush stances during the election. But, in my opinion, the groups against the draft totally missed the point. I remember reading this "hit" email about the draft. What those who developed the email, especially the peace groups, or any of those who oppose the war, don't "get" is that a form of the draft would accomplish their goals much better than any possibly thing they can do. The draft or better still, a type of Universal Service would be a good thing. If AllServed, it would be about or should be about serving the country. Giving back for all the great benefits that the country has given us. And, if we AllServed, we would have a president who would be incredibly reluctant to commit us to war because he or she would know they had to pay a price for that decision. This includes the Congress that might support him.

George W. did not have to pay a price when he made the decision to invade Iraq because only a small segment of the society has any personal involvement. It only become a national issue because of the election. If it had not been for the election, we would, as most are doing anyway, going about our business. Through the voluntary Army, which is terribly unsuccessful other than numbers, only those youngsters who have little or no options end up in the military. This is not a putdown of the American soldier. It is an indictment of us as a nation. For those who care, letting someone else's children fight our wars is morally reprehensible.

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