There hasn’t been a lot of outrage, at least from what I’ve read, from the right or left on Thomas Ricks recent call to bring back the military draft. Perhaps the story just isn’t out there enough for people to take notice, or maybe it’s because the anti-draft sentiment is limited in nature.
Ricks’ premise is much like that of Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), who has introduced “national service” legislation in each of the last several Congresses, is that in order to prevent war, the federal government must force able adults out of high school to serve in the military. This would include the children of politicians and the wealthy. Working to alter the United States incredibly misguided foreign policy is apparently not enough, the federal government must DRAFT ALL THE KIDS!
As I explained yesterday, this is a terrible idea, but over at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf completely tears apart Ricks’ arguments, though from a practical perspective, better than anyone else who has written on the subject:
Let me get this straight. Presuming that these 18 months of conscription don’t affect college plans, except to delay them for two years, its effect will basically be to shift two years of a person’s working life from whatever they spend their career doing to menial labor compensated at below market rates (sorry, everyone who presently does those jobs to feed their families!).
Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) is back on his crusade of reinstating the draft in an effort to promote “national service” to the state. Here is an excerpt of the letter he sent to his colleagues in the House:
If there were a Universal National Service Act, there would be no shortage of troops to fill the ranks without repeatedly deploying the same exhausted troops over and over.
I urge you to support my legislation for the Universal National Service Act as a co-sponsor.
• Requires all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 25 if called upon by the President during a declaration of war, a national emergency or a military contingency operation to perform national service for a minimum of two years with few exceptions.
• Cuts down the number of deployments for active duty and reserve military units who now see multiple deployments during the course of their enlistment due to troop strength shortages.
• Provides a National service to work education, health care, ports, security and other services as deemed necessary by the President.
• Benefits us ALL as Americans by helping ensure the United States is ready to protect and respond to our nation’s needs at home and abroad at times of peace, national emergency or war if necessary.
The question of whether we need a Universal National Service Act will be important as long as this country is placing thousands of its young men and women in harm’s way. We make decisions about war without worry over who fights them. Those who do the fighting have no choice; when the flag goes up, they salute and follow orders.