Veterans Day — Let’s Bring Back The Draft

It’s Veterans Day, a deserved recognition of the work done and the danger faced by those with military service. There will be parades and speeches, but few will get to the essential point: We need to bring back the draft.

Today we have a nation of 312 million people. Of this number, 1.4 million are on active duty in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard. The Ready Reserve, an essential part of of military structure, has 1.1 million members.

In other words, fewer than 1 percent are willing to do the nation’s fighting.

Service Options

The protest movement that arose in the 1960s largely ground to a halt with the end of the draft in the early 1970s. Mandatory military service — the draft — united protesters. They had skin in the game — their own — and very real political and practical reasons to oppose the war in Vietnam.

There were exceptions to the draft: If you were married or in college there was no draft for you. If you were gay, no military service was allowed. If you were former vice president Dick Cheney you got five deferments and never served. And if you were Rush Limbaugh you too never served because of alleged “anal cysts” or an “ingrown hair follicle on his bottom.”

You could also volunteer to join the military — but then you would serve three or four years instead of two under the draft. The attraction of the additional years is that you would not serve in Vietnam. Or, you could join the National Guard or the Reserves and serve at home for six years.

Today there is no mandatory draft. Men are required to sign up for the Selective Service System (SSS) at age 18 and otherwise do nothing.

Why The Draft Ended

Historian Stephen Ambrose argues that President Nixon shrewdly wanted to end the draft precisely because it would then reduce the power and effect of the anti-war movement.

Bring Back The Draft

It was the draft, the fight for racial equality and the Vietnam war which created the modern protest movement. Today, if there was compulsory and universal military service and not just registration at age 18, there would have been no wars in Iraq or Afghanistan and thus far less strain on the federal budget.

But don’t bring back the old draft. Bring back a new draft where everyone serves. Make the rich serve with the poor. Make the Californian serve with the Alabamian. Include both men and women. And if someone doesn’t want to serve in the military, fair enough — we have a lot of bridges to fix and inner cities to clean. Service at home should be honorable, compulsory and worthwhile.

Right Now

The political fact of life is that no one in Washington and no candidate will support a mandatory and universal draft. Until we can get some politicians on board with this idea, let’s at least do something useful: Join the movement to end income taxes on military salaries. Since we have a voluntary military, let’s increase the value of such service by simply making all military income tax free. We would create a larger pool of volunteers with more skills and training in the same way that higher salaries at corporations bring in more qualified applicants. Moreover, there would be a real incentive for individuals to continue with a military career, a choice that would reduce the cost of training and equipping a constant flow of new service personnel.

For more, please go to RightWorx.com. And please tell others. Let’s support our troops by making their service more worthwhile.

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3 Comments on "Veterans Day — Let’s Bring Back The Draft"

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  1. Mary says:

    There is no lack of people trying to join the military. My husband was a Navy recruiter for 10 years. Out of every 20 who tried to join, maybe 1 would be accepted. They push for recruits and they flow through the doors daily, but then deny them access to the military. The rules are strict to an extreme. One broken finger from early childhood can cause a rejection. The testing is intense. Its very difficult to get in. They don’t even accept GED any more except for the Army.

    There will never be a draft as far as I can see. The military is amlmost an elitist program.

  2. John says:

    Here’s the problem with the theory that bringing back the draft will end the wars we’re in. For every person in the streets protesting, there are going to be as many allowing themselves to be drafted or volunteering on the basis that it’s their “patriotic duty”. Likewise for every person on the street protesting against the war, there will be many leaving the country or finding other ways out of the draft. The point is that you will never have enough protestors to really change things.

    Also it is idiotic to believe that you will ever be able to draft the wealthy. Most wealthy will just leave the country or bride officials. And the wealthy do get away with bribes in nations like Russia and Korea with strong nationalist leanings so the rich in the U.S. won’t have any trouble getting out of it here.

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