Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Re-instate the military draft

I never thought I'd be writing this, but I strongly believe we should bring back the much-maligned military draft that we suspended in this country in the early 1970's.

First, the disclaimers. I am way over the logical draft age, so I am now officially a member of the middle-aged white guy population that we railed against when I was 18 years old, protesting the Vietnam War and mistrusting all institutions, especially the military. So, admittedly, it's much easier to be in favor of sacrifices that I personally will not be called on to make.

Also, I'm not about killing, except in self defense. When I was 18, I applied for and received conscientious objector status from my local selective service board, based on my then-held belief that I was unwilling to kill the enemy (in Vietnam) for my country.

That being said......

Universal military conscription (yes, including women....and LGBT's, serving openly!) might be an effective deterrent to hopeless, silly wars such as the two we are now pursuing in you-know-where. I was saying to Luca Sunday at lunch that part of me believes we'd still have troops in Vietnam today were it not for the draft, through which the war touched (and took) lives in almost every significant community in the nation. And generated a massive protest movement that toppled one president from power.

Today, on the other hand, we have 'outsourced' our wars to the poorer, less educated segments of our society as well as to guns-for-hire organizations such as Blackwater. We pay; they play. The ultimate sacrifices are borne by other families, most of them way out of sight of those of us who dwell in media and political centers like NY, DC, Los Angeles, etc.

The draft brings our roles and responsibilities as a nation home to each of us. And it's about time.

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