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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

The Draft 

There's been some humming about how re-electing Bush is like voting for reinstatement of the draft.

I think there's something to that. The problem with this line of reasoning is that Bush Co. has so stretched our military capacity (what with optional wars and all) that given any sudden occurrence that would require a fairly massive military response, the draft would become a practical necessity regardless of who is in office. And unfortunately, we have fanatics running around the world blowing shit up with frightening frequency these days. Now the blowings-up may not require massive military response in and of themselves, but remember that wars can start when the wrong person/thing/idea gets blown to bits, and wars often require massive military responses.

So, although I think there is a greater likelihood of a draft if Bush manages to win (or more likely manages, again, to steal) a second term, the likelihood is nearly as high even if a Democrat is in office. Though the background giving rise to that distinct possibility is largely Bush's fault, the damage has already been done. (When I say Bush's fault I refer not to the acts of terrorists, which are the fault of terrorists and religion, but to the Iraq war which I do not feel is central to the "war on terror", which I define differently as protecting ourselves rather than trying to somehow annihilate a paramilitary tactic, and was an optional exercise in nation-building that has devastated our ability to respond to future threats that really...what's the word...oh yeah: exist).

I'm not saying this is a reason to vote for Bush...far from it. I just think we need to be pondering our military situation with greater reason and clarity and without all the reactionary hubbub. These are our friends and neighbors we're talking about...not chess pieces. And if the draft does get reinstated, it will be ME we're talking about.

So the question follows...if there is a draft, will you serve? I've an answer to that question personally, and it will remain personal. But if you're 18-24 and not currently serving, you might want to mull that over a bit.

On the draft: click here for Ron Paul's take, which I find enlightening.
Here's a short quip stating Colin Powell's position and that of Charles Rangel.
And here's Fritz Hollings supporting reinstatement.

Do I personally think we should have a draft? It's a tough question. There are serious questions of equality with a non-conscription based military and serious questions of liberty with a draft. It's a tough call...and one I'm glad I don't have to make. So I'll answer selfishly and say I oppose the draft since I might get caught up in one were it reinstated tomorrow and I don't feel like dying or having to kill.

Another interesting moral/policy question: Now that females serve in the armed forces, do we draft women as well? Do we give them a break if they are pregnant? I think that would seriously increase our teen pregnancy statistics. Just a random thought.

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