Is it Getting Drafty?
I don't know how I could possibly be finding myself say this — though I was too young, myself, I still vividly remember when many of my friends’ older brothers were faced with the terrifying decision of deciding whether to run away to Canada or stay to get drafted for Vietnam — yet I find myself in agreement with today’s NYT op-ed contributor, Paul Kane, who proposes bringing back the selective service — i.e. the draft — only this time for both men and women, and without deferments. His primary argument is that this will send a message to Iran and our allies that we’re serious and will actually make war less likely. Personally, I’m not sure I buy that argument, though I am more sympathetic to this one:
But most important, America's elites and ordinary citizens alike will know that they may be called upon for wartime service and sacrifice.
And frankly, this is what appeals to me. It is often said that Democracies are less likely to go to war than Dictatorships. In fact, Bush himself — apparently unaware of the irony — made the same argument in the run-up to the Iraq war. If the past six years has taught us anything, a Democracy without the reality of shared sacrifice is far too apathetic to care about whether our predominantly Black, Poor, and Southern volunteer army gets sent off to war.
Frankly, it seems to me that this may be the only thing that could wake up the White Suburban Middle-Class voter, too prone to vote their own selfish pocketbook. Will it make wars less likely? After all, the Vietnam War happened on a basis of lies and misinformation as well, and the middle class sent their kids to war and elected Nixon twice. So maybe not. But I do know that the Middle Class is so totally untouched by this war that it is no surprise that they have abdicated any responsibility for it.
Sending a giant conscript army to occupy Iran is a terrible idea. If you think our current troops lack the appropriate training for the occupation of Iraq, just wait until I'm the one doing it.
I don’t doubt it. But the point isn’t to send drafted kids to war. The point is to make voting parents think twice before pulling the trigger on arrogant chickenhawk incompetents who never served a day in their lives in the military.
Maybe these voters won’t be quite so gung-ho about “kicking some Ay-rab ass” if their own kids were the ones doing the kicking.