Bringing back the draft would be good for nation
Ken Burns’ Vietnam documentary poignantly illustrated that outside military intervention could never be the solution for that unstable, marginally supported, corrupt South Vietnamese government. After all the sacrifice and loss of life, it was widespread, persistent U.S. civilian discontent that finally brought the war to its inevitable conclusion on April 30, 1975, after 10 years.
Yet on March 20, 2003, we arbitrarily invaded Iraq. “Stop loss” was instituted, causing U.S. reservists and National Guardsmen to do double and triple combat deployments. Utilizing non-citizen soldiers and private armies like Halliburton and Blackwater is expensive, hazardous and introduces security problems. Pandering women for combat is cowardly and revolting. With all these factors, there’s been hardly a peep, even with the onerous repercussions and expense in Iraq, while destabilizing the Middle East.
This contrasting disconnect of U.S. citizen participation can be attributed to discontinuing the draft. Many considered this decision a victory along with getting out of Vietnam. But reducing the public’s stake in the perils of future wars severely reduces legitimate civic concern and actions against military overreach and unjust wars.
The draft is an economical way to fill the ranks. Living, working with and depending on a cross-section of fellow Americans unifies and makes better citizens and future legislators. Young people who acquire skills and earn benefits in the military or in the Peace Corps are better equipped for civilian pursuits. The draft’s dynamic of mandatory direct personal investment in government operations makes it an essential cornerstone for maintaining our country’s greatness.
Louis L. Boehm