Tuesday, May 04, 2004

A War for Us, Fought by Them: Bring back the draft (NYT OpEd)

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Contributor: A War for Us, Fought by Them

I can't really excerpt meaningfully from this NYT OpEd essay. It's a succinct and well written piece by a playwright who's a former (involuntary) marine and a father of a marine serving in Iraq. Unlike most wars, including Vietnam, no child of any administration official is serving in Iraq. Not only is this unfair, it allows the corporate and ruling elite to neglect our soldiers. The Abu Gharaib disaster is, on first inspection, partly a consequence of that neglect. If you drop young people into a terrible environment, and don't provide relief, structure, and support, you get 'The Lord of the Flies'.

The author says we need a draft, presumably of both genders, for the 'war against terror'. Since I have three young children, and since this is likely to be a Forever War, I can't claim much personal enthusiasm for the idea. Nor, however, can I deny the logic. On the other hand, as the author notes, GWB and Cheney managed to avoid service (in Cheney's case he was honest about his avoidance) during a draft. I find it hard to believe, in today's world, that a draft would be any more fair than it was in Vietnam. The result might even be less representative than our volunteer army.

Philosophically though, I don't disagree. I suspect if we had such a draft, Bush would not be up for reelection.

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