Friday, April 18, 2008

The Draft

It must be an election year--that's the only time you ever hear calls for a military draft, and it's always by lefties. The first paragraph of this opinion piece offers up a small collection of these lefties, including the public editor of the major Sacramento newspaper.

Go read the link. I'm a big fan of "modest proposals".

P.S. You know whom you never hear calling out for a draft? The military brass.


Anonymous said...


I recall a similar idea from Charles Rangel and in a rare displace of guts from the then Republican majority, they actually put his proposal up on the floor for a vote.

Rangel voted against his own proposal.

He only wanted the debates in committee to show himself off on TV.

About this time I saw a similar “iditorial” from a “professor of ethics” calling for a draft. But get this and I know you’re going to be shocked, the young would not have to give two years to the Army….they could also “serve their country” in other ways like Americorps.

Strange, I wonder if the ethical professor or others pushing this spent a few years in the Peace Corps when they were young and needed to serve their country. Or do we already know the answer.

If the idea of "universal service" comes up I think I'll help the young get up to Canada

Here is the letter I wrote to the Editor of the Houston Chronicle in November 06.

C/O Houston Chronicle
PO Box 4260
Houston TX 77210

Re: Rangel is right about the need for national service. By Paul A Wagner.

Professor Wagner’s writing on mandatory national service reminds me of George Orwell quote: “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals could believe them."

One of the federal governments few unqualified successes since the 60’s has been the volunteer military. The armed forces don't exist to teach good character to 18 year olds. In the words of General Douglas MacArthur, the Army's "...mission remains fixed, determined, inviolable: it is to win our wars." For that we need professionals who desire to be there, for whatever the reason (e.g. it’s a good career, desire to serve their country, getting a start in life, wanting college assistance) than disgruntled young people who in many cases will see this as an interruption to their life. I speak as a 20 veteran of the Army and USAR, having recently returned from a year in Kuwait

On the subject of drafting people as "fire and police personnel". It takes three to six months to evaluate an applicant for a police force. We need to evaluate them for, among other things, financial responsibility and psychiatric stability. Then you looking at a three to six month academy, followed by two to four months of field training and then you cannot be a full peace officer on the street until one year after you start the academy. In other words as soon as you’re just getting an officer on the street he’s almost finished his time. This does nothing but burden our police training program while doing nothing to solve our legitimate manpower shortages.

If parents don’t teach their children character and how great this country is, a ten week basic training, aka indoctrination will not solve that. These are things to be handled at ages 0-18, not 18-26. Also, how will “The increase in enlistee we could anticipate from reinstatement of a draft would increase the professionalism of the services above.” If you inject a large group of people into an organization who don’t want to be there, how do you motivate them to perform well? How to discipline them into an effective team? If fifty thousand young people go on the street and scream “hell no, I won’t go” what is the consequence? Prison? Fines?

It’s ironic Dr Wagner’s proposed basic training would include “a great deal about freedom (and the loss thereof).” Taking young people in the beginning of their lives for a forced indoctrination into what sounds like the need for a large federal bureaucracy to tell you what to do with your life sounds much like those socialist utopias that people risk their lives to escape. I really don’t see how that will help this country.

Ellen K said...

It's funny how many folks like the idea of imposed national service until it comes down to their kid. Even the Israelis, who require two years of military service for all people, would probably prefer to have a voluntary military if they had that luxury. As for the whole peace corps or inner city teaching gigs, frankly those seem like jobs designed to take suburban kids and turn them into liberals via indoctrination. Didn't the Communists impose work camps on the intellectuals that opposed them?