Publisher’s Note There has been a call for reinstat-ing the military draft in the United States in recent months. Some cringe at the thought of forcing this nation’s young people into a minimum of two years in the U.S. Army; others say it is long overdue.
At the heart of this discussion is the Iraq war, which has dragged on now for almost five years and claimed the lives of more than 3,600 men and women in uni-form, wounding almost 30,000 others and killing (depending on who you believe) as many as 650,000 Iraqis, while displacingupwards of two million more, turning them into refugees living hand-to-mouth in neighboring Jordan, Syria,Iran and Egypt. Those who want the United States toreinstate the draft charge that the Iraqwar is being fought by an under privileged few, the members of an all-volunteer armed forces who, for the mostpart, are products of the lower incomeechelon of this nation.
Because of this,they claim, the vast majority of the population of the United States has little con-nection to the horrors of the war and thedespair of death and dismembermentthat family members of our military experience on a daily basis. Bringing back the draft, they claim, would inevitably result in sending thesons and daughters of this nation’s more affluent families into the heat of battle.
The resulting death and injury, they say,would immediately impact the power structure of this country and bring abouta quick end to a war that nobody seems to want except George Bush, Dick Cheney and the Religious Right.At the same time, there are those who say there is no need to reinstate the draft; that the system of an all-volunteer military was working very well until thecurrent administration stretched thearmed forces too thin by involving it intwo wars, with no solution and no exit strategy for either.
They maintain thatimmediate withdrawal from Iraq wouldallow the military to finish the job in Afghanistan and get back to business asusual, though its reputation as theworld’s pre-eminent military force would be more than a little tarnished.And then there are those who say that Iraq and Afghanistan aside, the draft should be reinstated to force thisnation’s young people into serving theircountry for a minimum of two years,either in the military or in some non-militaristic entity such as the Peace Corps.
I am an advocate for the latter, I havemore than a little support for the firstidea. I do believe that bringing back thedraft would result in an immediate endto this senseless conflict in Iraq.
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