Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's drafty in here

I emphatically support reinstating the draft in some form as I believe it puts the responsibility of war on the shoulders of John Q. Public and that everyone, particularly our elected officials, would take war a bit more seriously if it involved all of us.

I do not believe the United States would have declared war on Iraq had the draft still been active. Al TRAG and I started to tangle with this in the comment section over here. Al said he would not want to serve with non-volunteer forces and therefore does not support a draft.

What do you think?

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm selfish. I have a draft age kid, so no draft.

Glass Houses said...

Erin, I hate to do it, but part of me has to agree with Al here. I think our soldiers would be there anyway, and I think that they are safer because they all want to be there. They all care.

You make the argument that our elected officials would take war more seriously if we still had a draft. The problem is, as I see it, our elected officials would not be drafted. Their sons and daughters would not be drafted. They would make damn sure of it.

I think the opposite is true actually. A draft would dramatically increase the number of troops at our disposal. When you have a lot of something, it's more expendable, isn't it?

Erin O'Brien said...

If the war is really worth fighting, I believe they'd all care even if they were drafted.

I think most of them cared in WWII.

Also, as it is, our armed services are disproportionately from lower income families.

I surely respect the opposite opinion, but I think the burden of war should be upon all of us.

Glass Houses said...

You're right, the burden should be on all of us. But to believe that a draft would automatically make that true is overly idealistic, I think.

A draft can be dodged. Especially if you have the money to make it happen. (Which, I will admit, I do not, so you may consider this a biased opinion if you like.)

I wasn't there, and I haven't researched this, but I heard that many palms were greased during the Vietnam War...and that the burden then too was placed squarely on the shoulders of the poor.

And while yes, most people cared during WWII...well, your whole point is that this ain't WWII. And 40 years ago our government proved that they will send draftees into a stupid war with little thought as to whether they wanted to go.

Tony said...

War has become a sideshow. The majority of Americans are spectators with all kinds of opinions about how the show is going.There is no substitute for involvement. I agree that no one wants to see their child drafted.Perhaps the threat of that will cause the type of activism which will deter war.

Earl Tesch said...

I'm afraid I must disagree with you on the idea that a draft would create a more class diverse military. As the above poster said, the Vietnam era draft didn't see a cross class population. College deferments kept many upper-middle and upper class young men out of the military.

The other troubling factor behind a draft is that you populate the military with underqualified soldiers. Some of the worst things to come out of Vietnam (I.e. My Lai) were at least somewhat influenced by a less than stellar quality of soldier.

I agree with you though, that not enough of America is interested in the war in Iraq. No matter whose sons and daughters are being killed, we should all be paying much closer attention to bringing the rest of our children home safe.

Ken Houghton said...

Milton Friedman has steadily been shown to be wrong about everything else over the past year-plus, why not this too?

Side benefit: Rush Holt wouldn't be the only one in Congress arguing that former GIs deserve benefits for their service.

Bluegrass Geek said...

There's a reason the military has boot camp, besides simple training: to wash out the people who aren't dedicated to being a soldier.

It's a grueling period of giving up your own life in exchange for being capable of defending your nation and fighting on its behalf around the world. That takes dedication.

Draftees don't necessarily have that drive. They're in the military because they have to be, typically on threat of imprisonment if they refuse. This means accepting people who don't want to be in the military, don't want to fight, or just plain don't work well with others. Some of them you can forge into good soldiers, but many will simply be weak links in the chain.

The only driving force keeping a reluctant draftee in the fight is fear. And fear is not a good motivator for success.

jonas said...

A point (or two) for consideration:

1) Europeans countries have, historically had conscripted service

2) They've has World Wars in their backyards. Scratch that. Their front yards.

2a) We have not.

3) European people (as opposed to their gov'ts) have generally been opposed to war, intervention, etc for quite some time. I'm speaking in popular terms.

4) Someone can correct me on this, but my understanding is that some? many? European countries are reducing or have done away with mandatory service.

5) Mandatory service is different from a draft, I understand.

6) Europe, in aggregate, is not like American in many important ways.

Shake that all up, and it makes for interesting, if not completely apples-to-apples, comparison. Maybe there is no real comparison.
But what does it mean that countries that have tended toward a more pacifist stance in the world have also made their young men and women (mostly men) actually train and serve? How much has/does that affect national attitudes toward war? I should go look it up, because I would be alot of money I don't have that people have written on this.

So, on the one hand, Erin might be onto something: maybe we're letting people off too easily by not serving, and by serving, there could be some long term pay off of people wanting to generally be nicer to each other.

On the other hand, as many people have suggested: war is not something you want anyone doing who isn't of the right mindset. That might sound simplistic and crass, but I mean that quite respectfully. I have always been thankful that there have been people willing to do terrible things, in essence, on my behalf. That's...awful in many ways, but its the world we've inherited.

This raises questions about what we think the US's place in the world is, or should be. Maybe, as many think, we should go back to a 1900's isolationism. But, I think we know we're in too deep for that. We've helped create and foster a world economy that now demands our involvement. Capitalism and globalization, while making us rich, by making us rich, have helped shape a world from which the American presence cannot be neatly withdrawn.

Anyway, there's a much larger rant lurking beneath all this. Probably best skipped for now. The short version is this: its not about the draft, or oil, or globalization singularly. These are symptoms of systemic issues. In order to "fix" any of them, everything needs to change. And frankly, the vast majority of us would me mighty unhappy with those changes. So, idealism and reality will continue to point and laugh at each other...

Al the Retired Army Guy said...

"If the war is really worth fighting, I believe they'd all care even if they were drafted.

I think most of them cared in WWII."

They had to. The survival of democracy, as we knew it at that time was in the balance.

"Also, as it is, our armed services are disproportionately from lower income families."

Erin, this is bullshit and you know it. What are your sources?

I am not from a lower income family. I'm middle class. Many, if not all of the folks I served with during my 20 plus year military career came from a class other than lower class income. I know this from experience. Unless you can give me hard, irrefutable evidence to the contrary, your assertion here is specious at best. Again, I was a career military professional. With respect, you were not. I served with these folks, and they were anything but "lower income" as you mistakenly assert.

After 9-11, I can tell you from personal experience that we had no problem keeping those in service in service. Our in-service recruiters had no difficulty in meeting in-service recruiting goals, from initial term soldiers to career soliders.

I surely respect the opposite opinion, but I think the burden of war should be upon all of us. That means your daughter when she comes of age.

Al
TRAG

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

BTW, by "burden of war" I mean all the privations that come with it.
I don't mean that everyone shoud serve in the military for the reasons I've noted here and elsewhere.

Al

The Fool said...

No draft. It won't ensure against stupid wars (there was a draft during Vietnam)...and the rich kids, and the senator's kids always get out of it. So it's down my kid's asses your asking to go and get shot for for the political idiocy that runs this Ship o' Fools. No thanks...not even no - HELL NO!

Erin O'Brien said...

Yep. That means my daughter. It means everyone's daughter. Because if everyone's sons and daughters were subject to a tour of duty, we'd be a little more careful about going to war.

George Bush was not very careful about going to war.

And I'm not so sure the draft made bad soldiers. Vietnam was a bad war. Maybe bad wars make bad soldiers.

Remember Abu Ghraib?

And Al, I'm sure the spectrum of military personnel is as broad as this country's demographic. I can't find numbers on how many (per capita) recruits come out of Appalachia versus how many come out of Lake Forest, Illinois, but Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb agrees with me on the socioeconomic imbalance.

Ironically, it's the Fool's comment above that makes me believe we need to reinstate the draft in some form. We need people to say "HELL NO!" again.

I'm sure abolishing the draft was a complex issue, but I'm also sure that there was a manipulative component from the far right that knew abolishing the draft would snuff out all the cries of "HELL NO!"

It worked.

Erin O'Brien said...

I'm not sure why I said "I'm sure" so many times in the previous comments, but I sure said it a lot.

james2285 said...

on a totally diferent note. i made the your turkey bone soupe last night and it was very verrrry good. thanks for the receipe.
jim

Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks James. Here's the recipe if anyone else out there has a turkey carcass and wants to know what to do with it.

garrett said...

EOB:

I agree with you that if everyone's children were subject to a draft, the U.S. would be involved in less wars. (And that would be a good thing.) But there are other non-evil ways to solve that problem (see the rest of my note below on the question of the draft as an evil - starting at the [1]). (For example, Americans could start electing representatives to Congress who take seriously their oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution which requires Congress and Congress alone to make a formal Declaration of War before war can be initiated by the U.S. President.)




[1] But how do you address the question of a compulsory draft or "national service" requirement as anti-freedom (i.e., slavery)?

If I own my body, and I don't want to participate in an activity (e.g., military combat), I don't have to participate. If the government owns my body, it can force me to participate.

In a "free" country, people own their own bodies. The government was created and exists to serve the people, not vice versa. It's written into the founding documents. For a very good reason.

I know there are learned people who have written extensively on this topic far better than I can, and depending on how you respond to my comment, I'll track down some stuff and leave another comment here.

Please let me know your response to my position: a compulsory draft is slavery, and slavery is evil.

Thanks for creating this post specifically to address this point.

You go, girl!!

garrett said...

I couldn't help myself. Here's some links ...

There is apparently an entire website named after my point:

http://www.draftisslavery.com/

Also, Ron Paul had some good stuff to say on the topic in this article:

http://www.counterpunch.org/pauldraft.html

What Dr. Paul said that most closely resembled my points above follows:

"The basic premise underlying conscription is that the individual belongs to the state, individual rights are granted by the state, and therefore politicians can abridge individual rights at will. In contrast, the philosophy which inspired America's founders, expressed in the Declaration of Independence, is that individuals possess natural, God-given rights which cannot be abridged by the government. Forcing people into military service against their will thus directly contradicts the philosophy of the Founding Fathers."

I also thought Al TRAG might be interested in this part of what Dr. Paul had to say:

"Instead of reinstating a military draft, Congress should make military service attractive by finally living up to its responsibility to provide good benefits and pay to members of the armed forces and our nation's veterans. It is an outrage that American military personnel and veterans are given a lower priority in the federal budget than spending to benefit politically powerful special interests. Until this is changed, we will never have a military which reflects our nation's highest ideals."

Thanks again.

G

garrett said...

@Ken Houghton:

Friedman is proving to have been wrong about a lot of stuff (monetary theory, I assume is one of the things to which you are referring).

There are also people who have been saying for decades that Friedman was wrong about monetary theory (Austrian economists - von Mises and Hayek, for example) and who have been RIGHT about a lot of stuff that entire time.

We shouldn't throw out Friedman's views on the draft just because his views on economics are wrong. They're completely different topics.

But what I think is instructive is to see what the same people who were right about why Friedman was wrong on monetary theory have to say about the draft....because maybe those same people (Austrian economics/libertarians) are right about the draft too (just as they were right about monetary theory).

What do you think?

Cheers!

Erin O'Brien said...

I don't buy it, Garrett. Civic duty is not slavery.

What about jury duty? It's a mandate. You may or may not be opposed to the proceedings. Do you consider that slavery?

Will peruse your links later. Thanks for posting them.

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

"Yep. That means my daughter. It means everyone's daughter. Because if everyone's sons and daughters were subject to a tour of duty, we'd be a little more careful about going to war.

George Bush was not very careful about going to war."

No President, George W. Bush included is anything less than careful about going to war. Say what you want about the man, but I can't believe for one moment that he woke up one day and said, "say, let's send a bunch of folks to Iraq and Afghanistan, stay there for 7-10 years, and get a lot of people on both sides killed, maimed, and wounded." I'm sure that he, like Roosevelt, Truman, Wilson, Lincoln, Nixon, George H.W. Bush and yes, even Bill Clinton before him thought long and hard before sending our troops into harm's way.

"And I'm not so sure the draft made bad soldiers. Vietnam was a bad war. Maybe bad wars make bad soldiers."

What a draft does is create less than committed soldiers. As I noted, many draftees performed well, but equal or more numbers of them didn't. I'd rather have a greater percentage that perform well than those who don't. Again, when it's my ass on the line, I don't want to have to wonder whether the guy/gal on my left or right will do what needs to be done in a very difficult situation.

"Remember Abu Ghraib?"

Yes. And why did it occur? Who were the soldiers? Most were reservists, commanded by a Reserve Brigadier General. They were not full-time professionals. This isn't to denigrate our reserve forces - they've performed extremely well in Iraq and elsewhere. But to infer that we're all capable of what occurred there simply because we're soldiers is unfair. 99.9% of the folks who've served in Iraq and Afghanistan have performed well and honorably. Yet the media only tells us about the soldier who executed an Iraqi, about Abu Ghraib, or the SF Sergeant who cut off the ears of an Afghan man suspected of being a terrorist. If you're going to bring up Abu Ghraib, you should be fair about it and mention folks like the Marine given the Medal of Honor for falling on a grenade about to explode in his HMMWV, or SFC Paul Smith, Medal of Honor winner who manned a .50 caliber machine gun to save his troops under attack by Iraqis, at the cost of his own life.

"And Al, I'm sure the spectrum of military personnel is as broad as this country's demographic. I can't find numbers on how many (per capita) recruits come out of Appalachia versus how many come out of Lake Forest, Illinois, but Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb agrees with me on the socioeconomic imbalance."

Again, I'd ask what the statistics are. The bottom line is that our Army, like any Army, is a reflection of the society that creates it. As such, we get nut jobs like William Kreutzer who open fire on a payday formation (at Fort Bragg no less; I was on my way to work on post when it happened); the folks at Abu Ghraib; SFC Smith, etc. It never ceases to amaze me that when the media reports on someone who's done something bad, they always say "former Army/Air Force/Navy/Marine/Coast Guard" whatever if they've ever served. Rarely do I see things that talk about someone's service to our country when they do something good. Again, show me statistics.


"I'm sure abolishing the draft was a complex issue, but I'm also sure that there was a manipulative component from the far right that knew abolishing the draft would snuff out all the cries of "HELL NO!"

It worked."

Has it? What about all the folks on the campaign trail that nearly soiled themselves when Obama laid out his "plan" for Iraq, to include withdrawing our troops? People still say hell no.

Finally, the belief that a draft will lead to our nation engaging in fewer conflicts doesn't hold up if history is any judge. We've had the draft during the Civil War, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. If we look at the periods before, in between and after, the following conflicts/operations occurred:

The Revolutionary War
The War of 1812
The Mexican War
The Indian Wars (in the west)
The Spanish American War
World War I
Somalia
Haiti
Grenada
Panama
Operations Desert Shield and Storm
Kosovo
The Former Yugoslavia
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan)

The lack of a draft did not deter our elected leaders, regardless of party affiliation from deploying our armed forces when they felt it was in the national interest of our country do so. To asssert that a draft would prevent such deployments in the future ignores the historical record.

Al

Anonymous said...

Hurumph! HELL NO! The wars would go on no matter, many good points about this made already. I think you've jumped the rails on this one EOB.

RJ

James said...

Totally agree with RJ on this one.

If I've understood your argument correctly then you're saying that having a draft would force voters to vote for a pacifist for fear of being sent off to war, thereby making war less likely.

That's some pretty convoluted, and I would suggest flawed, logic there.

To take the example of 9/11 (and why not it is relevant?):

1. George Bush wasn't elected by the majority anyway

2. Do you really think that response to 9/11 (i.e. the invasion of Afghanistan) would have been different if Al Gore had won the election?

The point I'm trying to make is that a draft wouldn't have changed a single thing.

Furthermore, if I'm honest about it, I find the idea quite repulsive because you're suggesting that we motivate voters through fear, and that is a political ideology to which I am implacably opposed.

I'd also suggest that its very easy to be for the draft when you have absolutely zero-chance of being drafted yourself, and I include your daughter in that because you know very well that women don't get drafted.

To put it another way; you're asking that I potentially give my life so that you can scare voters into making a better choice and I'm telling you to go suck eggs.

Slowly but Surly said...

If I understand correctly, Erin’s proposal to bring back the draft is to make war more ‘real’ to the rank & file. If so, then I’d like to suggest that congress should be also be required to declare war as the constitution requires and do away with the war powers act.

Why? Well, IMHO the WPA allows congress to vote for, and then take credit for popular wars, and then blame the president if said war turns out to be a mistake. The result is what I consider to be artificial accountability and is what is known as “delegating blame” in the modern corporate world. If the Executive is to blame for Iraq, so to is Congress which allowed it to happen.

deangc said...

They had to. The survival of democracy, as we knew it at that time was in the balance.Al, you're a nice guy, but no it wasn't. Great Britain was threatened, but Hitler couldn't take them even before he invaded the Soviet Union, and once he did THAT the writing was on the wall.

Now, people may have believed that the demise of democracy was imminent, but there are people who believe that now, of the minimal threat posed by Al Quaeda and their ilk.

Even if Hitler had kept peace with the Soviet Union, there is no realistic possibility of the Axis even invading North America. Democracy was not hanging in the balance.

Erin O'Brien said...

James, none of that is accurate. I don't think the draft would force people to vote for a pacifist. I never mentioned Afghanistan and it seems at the moment there is zero possibility of you being drafted either. That said, I would imagine an updated draft would include women. I also think plenty of women bear the weight of war via the loss of their sons and husbands and brothers.

Al, my point in bringing up AG was to show that there was incompetence in the Iraqi war without the draft, not to generalize all the fighting forces there.

I just think there is a sinister agreement on this issue from both sides of the aisle. Plenty of people are happy to let someone else fight the country's wars and the ones doing the fighting are happy to have less public involvement and therefore less public scrutiny.

So everybody's happy and nothing's likely to change. Nonetheless, so many people in tighty whitey righty communities like mine support the war--as long as their kids aren't in it.

Jumped the rails? Perhaps. I am surely in the minority, but that's still the way I see it.

deangc said...

"Also, as it is, our armed services are disproportionately from lower income families."

Erin, this is bullshit and you know it. What are your sources?
Erin is probably talking about the over-representation of lower income families in the casualty lists. This is as old as warfare, and is related to the fact that people with more education tend to be shuffled into logistics officers, bomber pilots, etc. while less educated people become grunts.

This is true whether or not there's a draft, and is thus irrelevant to this discussion IMO.

Kirk Jusko said...

During the Vietnam War, some young men burned their draft cards. Other young men fled to Canada.

Since you're in favor of bringing back the draft, Erin, what should the penalties be for the two above acts? After all, a draft is meaningless if you don't ENFORCE it.

Erin O'Brien said...

I can tell you this, Kirk. I'd probably be one of the first to find out because if there was a draft and I thought the war was a sham--sort of like how I feel about Iraq--I would be the first one harboring dodgers on route to Canada.

That's my whole point. I think the draft was abolished in no small part to mollify the angry left. And I still think it worked. I remember interviewing all the shiny white kids at BBHHS during the 2004 Bush rally. All of them were pro-war and pro-Bush and none of them were enlisting.

deangc said...

Most of the anger was because of the draft. Up till that point, most Americans took relatively little notice of the Vietnam war.

The web is full of people who are very pro-people-like-Al-going-off-to-war, but who would probably sing a very different tune if they were in harm's way themselves. And I think that's your point in all this: if the sons of congressmen were really at risk of being drafted into an infantry grunt's role in Afghanistan or Iraq, there would be fewer wars.

deangc said...

Erin sez: I also think plenty of women bear the weight of war via the loss of their sons and husbands and brothers.It's not quite the same thing.

Erin O'Brien said...

You got my point exactly, Dean.

And of course it is not the same to have a relation in the military as it is to serve, but families with members serving overseas are paying a much much higher price than I am for the Iraq war--I think that is a fair statement.

Erin O'Brien said...

I should also say that everyone has made good points here. Thanks.

Al, I couldn't find any data on family income and enlistment.

I.:.S.:. said...

"George Bush was not very careful about going to war"

And you know his military record.

Good idea, Erin, but it has to be that the political classes and their children would never face the draft.

As far as mandatory service goes - we can take as an example say Finland, attacked I think 42 times by Russia, the last one still in living memory. So perhaps understandably there is a strong tradition of mandatory military service there, to the point it is a national institution and rite of passage for all young men, and it is seen entirely as a civic duty/service. Dodging service can have disastrous effects on your future career.

Quite aside from the fact that the wars fought by the USA are qualitatively different and their connection to national survival tenuous at best and a fiction at worst, the military command in Finland are - previously unthinkable - considering abolishing service.

This precisely for the reasons enumerated by soldier Al - they would rather have a small, highly trained and highly motivated professional army, than one dependent on a large and ragged force of reluctant conscripts and reservists.

Glass Houses said...

While both are civic duties, I think to compare jury duty to military service is apples and oranges. I may not want to serve on a jury, but it's not likely to get me killed.

Erin, I respect the hell out of you, and I think that your argument would make a lot more sense if there was no way for anyone, ANYONE, to buy, cheat, or lie their way out of serving.

But the powerful and wealthy will always find a way. So it will never be them, or their sons (or daughters), who have to bear the burden. It never has been.

Glass Houses said...

Oh, and also, I just want to clarify that when I say you are being overly idealistic...well I mean it in a good way.

If you personally were drafted and sent into combat, you would do your best. You would protect those around you so that you could all go home.

But a lot of people will do the bare minimum to survive. And if that means not backing up their comrades...well, so be it.

garrett said...

Erin - yes, jury duty is also a form of indentured servitude (jurors are not able to negotiate the compensation they are paid for their time and generally receive below-market wages).

Incidentally, that the government requires Americans to do the work of marshalling our own data about our taxable income and then reporting that information to the government is problematic on two fronts: forcing people to do the work is slavery, forcing people to report on themselves -- under penalty of perjury, if you've read the signature line on your tax return -- violates the Fifth Amendment.

Please explain to me a substantive difference between what you're calling "civic duty" and slavery?

Governments can (and do) enslave people just as egregiously and immorally as private citizens.

Thoughts?

Thanks again!!

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

"Also, as it is, our armed services are disproportionately from lower income families."

Erin, this is bullshit and you know it. What are your sources?Erin is probably talking about the over-representation of lower income families in the casualty lists. This is as old as warfare, and is related to the fact that people with more education tend to be shuffled into logistics officers, bomber pilots, etc. while less educated people become grunts.

This is true whether or not there's a draft, and is thus irrelevant to this discussion IMO."

For the record, I hold a Bachelor's Degree in History from the Ohio State University. And where in the Army did I start out? In the Infantry, you know, the "grunts." Many of the NCOs and soldiers I served with in the 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry (organized as mechanized infantry); 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry (organized as mechanized infantry), and 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment had college credits and in some cases degrees (Associates and/or Bachelor's). Sure, we had our share of less educated folks, but to make the sweeping generalization that the "grunts" are far less educated than bomber pilots etc. is to ignore both reality and the facts.

In terms of casualties, there are jobs in our military more dangerous than others. The infantry is one of them, as is artillery, armor, aviation, combat engineers, etc. And I can tell you from personal experience that one's prospect of becoming a casualty is a very random thing. I truly believe that when it is one's time to go, they're going no matter how smart or how dumb they are. I know this because I had a mortar round explode about 30 meters away from my vehicle, right in between mine and my platoon sergeant's vehicle during the first Gulf War. It wasn't my time to go. I also watched as a friend of mine's vehicle took a direct hit from a 100mm anti-tank gun; his gunner, who was in the turret of the Bradley with him, was killed. My friend wasn't. Education has nothing to do with it - bullets don't have education levels marked on them.

People with higher general technical scores (GT scores) on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test (ASVAB) generally have more options in terms of jobs available to them. Most folks with a high GT score end up in jobs requiring more technical knowledge, e.g., intelligence, psychological operations, etc. Those with a lower score have fewer options, and usually the combat arms (infantry, armor, artillery, combat engineers, aviation) is what they're offered. That's how the Army works anyway. They don't put folks into a job because they come from the lower class - they put them in a job based on their aptitude for it and what they qualify for.

Al
TRAG

Erin O'Brien said...

Garrett:

Please explain to me what you're offering to pay me for authoring said explanation?

Thanks again!!

garrett said...

I'm not offering you anything for the explanation. But, you are completely free to provide it or not provide it at your discretion.

It is neither your "civic duty" to provide an explanation nor will I "enslave" you for said purpose.

Just thinking that you were engaged in semantics. The phrase "civic duty" implies some obligation. Under freedom, obligations only arise by consent. In other words, if I am free (if my claim to "me" is of a higher order than our government's claim to "me"), I only become obligated to discharge a "civic duty" if I consent to be so obligated. If I don't consent, I'm not obligated.

If there is a draft -- compulsory military service -- this condition of my giving or withholding consent is not present. So I am not free. (If I am not free, I am a slave -- at least to the extent of the obligation or "duty" imposed on me without my consent -- whatever words are chosen to describe my circumstance.)

Now, you and I can reasonably disagree over whether Americans SHOULD agree/consent to perform some duty in service of their government (or their fellow citizens).

But if you cram down your view of what is appropriate service on me against my wishes, I am not free. My inalienable rights to my life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness have been violated.

Note that the immediately preceding sentence is true whether you do the cramming down through brute force (e.g., you have better guns than me, or I'm just a spineless milquetoast who caves to your threatening glance) or whether the cramming down is accomplished by a marshalling of larger number of votes from the group of people who share your view over the group of people who share my view (e.g., the "tyranny of the majority").

G

Erin O'Brien said...

You know Garrett, right about now I'm thinking you would look really good in a red ball gag.

garrett said...

Did you mean "gown"?

I don't know what a red ball gag is!

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

I think Erin is referring to the Quentin Tarentino "Pulp Fiction" scene.

Al

garrett said...

Al, I hope not. That's not polite!

Al The Retired Army Guy said...

Not only is it not polite, but it's definitely a painful image .... ;-)

It's OK ... you can get "medievel on someone's ass with a pipe wrench and a blow torch" later ... ;-)

Al
TRAG

Hal said...

A draft should be a last resort when there is a lack of willing and able bodied volunteers.

The only things that will make politicians think twice about entering a war is the people who elected them keeping them honest with the aid of a responsible media. The latter was sadly lacking as the Iraq War neared.