Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Draft Again? The New York Times Suggests It Might Be a Good Thing

In an op ed piece in The New York Times today, Thomas E. Ricks says: Let's Draft Our Kids.  He writes;

"In late June, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the former commander of international forces in Afghanistan, called for reinstating the draft. “I think if a nation goes to war, every town, every city needs to be at risk,” he said at the Aspen Ideas Festival. “You make that decision and everybody has skin in the game.”

"This was the first time in recent years that a high-profile officer has broken ranks to argue that the all-volunteer force is not necessarily good for the country or the military. Unlike Europeans, Americans still seem determined to maintain a serious military force, so we need to think about how to pay for it and staff it by creating a draft that is better and more equitable than the Vietnam-era conscription system."

Very interesting proposition, particularly since the major reason the US quit the draft system was because Main Street was affected by it, prompting massive protests over the War in Vietnam.  I thought that argument was over, particularly since so much of the jobs formerly done by grunts are now done by contract workers with the profits spread around quite cozily. 

But maybe it will be open again, which might be a very good idea.  As Ricks ends his essay: maybe "having a draft might, as General McChrystal said, make Americans think more carefully before going to war. Imagine the savings — in blood, tears and national treasure — if we had thought twice about whether we really wanted to invade Iraq"


The Mound of Sound said...

Conscription doesn't facilitate bogus wars. It's one thing when you can simply recycle gullible enlistees through three, four, five or more combat tours using "stop loss" provisions. That works for the warfare state.

Once you start delivering letters telling dad and mom that little Jimmy needs to pack his bags and go to war, folks become far less tolerant of bogus wars that achieve nothing and never end. That's especially true for the rich and powerful.

Yes, America should reinstate the draft and really narrow down exemptions or deferrals. If George Bush and Dick Cheney had been packed off to Viet Nam you can be sure their ardour for war would have been dampened.

Martin Langeland said...

How about two years of National Service for every 18 year old in the country? Lots to do with literacy programs,
CCC type projects, Peace corps, Americorps as well as Military. Point being to involve as many as possible in community experiences different from their raising. Might even build some empathy. In return the state
(tax payers) could send every one through whatever schooling or training they needed.