(I’ve been kicking this around a bit, undecided on how I feel about reinstating the draft. However, I am very clear on my agreement with the point Damon is making – that we all, of all social classes, need to share in the burden and risk of protecting our country. So on with the post.)

I know the idea of reinstituting a draft is incredibly unpopular – and why wouldn’t it be? Why would anyone want compulsory military service when being a stock boy at Home Depot is so much safer? But perhaps a draft would make the American people (and politicians) more reluctant to go war. More likely to do so only when necessary.

OTOH, conscription has some serious problems – many of which are why it is so rare in western democracies. The chief of which is the idea that it infringes on personal freedom. Additionally, there is the risk that it will increase nationalism and militarism. While that might be viewed as a grand thing by our friends over at RABid, I would point out that nationalism and militarism were prime movers in the causes of WWII.

It’s a real dilemma, but I can appreciate Damon’s contention that as a society we should all shoulder a share of the burden when we go to war. More sacrifice than sticking a yellow magnetic ribbon on your SUV.

HT: As Ohio Goes.

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  • What about a flex draft? A mandatory 2 year commitment to your choice of military, civic works, or charity work. You still have choice in what you want to do service-wise, but the flex means if we do indeed go to war everyone converts to military for that time period.

  • Brian

    Seems like a pretty decent solution. Guarantees we’ve got enough troops, the reluctance to use them – and a heck of a lot of civic works and charity work getting done.

  • Charlie Rangel has been saying the same thing for years- and it always makes me think twice. But hearing this rich, white movie star talk about ‘class inequity’ in the military just makes me laugh.

    The fact is: Going to war is a crappy job and, with or without the draft, the poor end up doing crappy jobs.

    As proof- just listen to the conversation between Keith David (King) and Charlie Sheen (Chris Taylor) in Platoon:

    King: Hey, Taylor, how in the fuck you get here anyway? You look educated.

    Chris Taylor: I volunteered for it.

    King: You did what?

    Chris Taylor: I volunteered. I dropped out of college, told ’em I wanted the infantry, combat, Vietnam.

    Crawford: You volunteered for this shit, man?

    Chris Taylor: Believe that?

    King: You’s a crazy fucker, giving up college?

    Chris Taylor: Didn’t make much sense, I wasn’t learning anything. I figured why should just the poor kids go off to war and the rich kids always get away with it.

    King: Oh, I see, what we got here is a crusader.

    Crawford: Sounds like it.

    King: Shiiit, you gotta be rich in the first place to think like that. Ever’body know, the poor are always being fucked over by the rich. Always have, always will.

  • Brian

    You are, of course, correct Joseph. But what Damon says stands in stark contrast with what a lot of other rich white men say on this issue, including one who looks vaguely like a chimp.

    Of course, Pat Tillman put his money where his mouth was, and look what it got him (I don’t mean KIA, I mean used as a political pawn by the right, while fighting in theaters he didn’t think we should be in as a country.)

    In the end, I continually end up running in circles on this one. I’m opposed to compulsory military service for all the obvious reasons, just as I’m supportive of compulsory military service for all the obvious reasons.

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