The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Thursday, April 29, 2004


Via Michael Totten's page I came across LA journalist Marc Cooper's excellent blog. One of his posts advocated the return of the draft:


In the fall of 2001 as the war in Afghanistan was getting underway I wrote a column proposing we reconsider a draft – but this time with NO deferments or exemptions. Some friends thought I was being ironic. I wasn’t:

"For three years, in the late ’60s, I actively and successfully resisted the draft without ever securing a student deferment. I spent two summers working as a volunteer "counselor," advising my peers how to similarly dodge the call-up for Vietnam. But as I — and millions of others — resisted, our call was clear: Stop the draft. Stop the war. I can’t recall anyone demanding the draft be ended but the war continued.

The draft became the ultimate, popular and democratic governor on the war policies of the state. When a consensus among the American people prevailed that the Vietnam War was a noble and honorable endeavor, the draft functioned without a glitch. When that consensus collapsed, so did the system of military call-up. And with American youth in rebellion, inside and outside the armed forces, the butchery in Vietnam was called to a halt."


I have come across this idea before: Institute a draft so that every American is at risk of being shipped off to Iraq -- or being the relative or loved one of a draftee. Then the people will oppose the war.

But this is an illusion, borne of the aging liberal's habit of treating any military action as a reoccurence of Vietnam. The days when America would conscript hundreds of thousands of young men and hurl them at Communist armies are over. Today's armed forces use relatively small amounts of highly trained professionals, and back them up with overwhelming technology and airpower. The army has no use for masses of poorly trained draftees, and even if a draft were instituted would not use them for anything important. Draftees would be faced not with the possibility of death in the Iraqi desert or Afghan mountains, but rather with boring garrison duty in Korea or Europe.


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