Home > Uncategorized > An Argument to Reinstate the Draft Misses Two Points… But Makes Several That Need to be Considered

An Argument to Reinstate the Draft Misses Two Points… But Makes Several That Need to be Considered

April 5, 2019

Danny Sjursen, a young retired military officer, wrote a thought provoking post for Common Dreams titled “Was Ending the Draft a Grave Mistake?” He believes it was… and I tend to agree with him with a huge caveat.

Mr. Sjursen’s reasoning is that if we had the draft in place now politicians would be less likely to commit troops to unwindable wars in remote outposts and less likely to spend huge sums of money on military misadventures. His solution, “...a lottery system (with no college or other elite deferments) that gives draftees three options: serve two years on active duty right after high school, serve six years in the reserves or go straight to college and enroll in the ROTC program” is off the mark, though. Instead, I would prefer that all 18-year olds perform two years of community service in a milieu that would require them to come in contact with citizens outside of their typical orbit.

In sum, I see two major points Mr. Sjursen misses in his analysis:

First, the biggest obstacle to re-imposing the draft is the war profiteers lobby. Not only do we run the military like a business, we’ve outsourced a lot of the military functions to private corporations and those making a bundle by providing “support” are unlikely to buy into an expanded military.

And second, a universal service obligation does not require military service. It could take the form of community service. With a shredded safety net and crumbling infrastructure and a complete lack of opportunity for those raised in affluence or in segregated communities to ever cross paths with those raised in poverty or those of a different race or creed it is imperative that we find a way to restore that opportunity ASAP. A community service/military service mandate wold do that.

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