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Props to anyone who got the reference in the subject line.

DISCUSSION QUESTION:
What do you think about the idea of a military draft, both a) in general and b) specifically now?

Random pieces of information:

1) I personally am opposed to the current war stuff going on in Iraq (Is it still a war? Did we "win"?), which prompts me to cursorily condemn the idea of a draft.

2) Someone recently told me that they believe a draft would/could be a good thing.
Their logic was as follows: if there's a draft, people from all walks of life will be fighting (including children and relatives and family friends of the warmongering politicians and businesspeople), and this will cause The People In Charge to act more moderately/responsibly and give more thought and consideration to what they're doing. The assumption was that the military currently consists largely of poor people and minorities, and that The People In Charge may (sadly) view these people as more expendable than, say, middle-class white people.

3) There are more things I could say, but instead I'll shut up and see what people say/think.

Date: 2005-01-21 01:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] archgirl06.livejournal.com
Well I am personally against the draft (not that it effects me -- neither my brother or I can be drafted due to illness). However, even the people that 'volunteer' now for the army (+ etc) sometimes don't really have a choice. They join ROTC to get money for college (actually one of my classmates is in Iraq now) or they eventually want to be aerospace engineers or do something related but not directly within the active military.

I think it's completely unfair to send people that are going to school over to Iraq. However, I think what your friend said was bs because 1. The People In Charge will create enough loopholes for their people not to get drafted and 2. A lot of people over in Iraq are national guard members (have other professions) or students (so, in fact, even if they are minorities, some of them are educated)

Not that the 'war' should be happening in the first place, but I would be the first person to complain if they reinstated the draft. I have lots of friends that I don't want to die.

Date: 2005-01-23 04:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] balmofgilead.livejournal.com
You have a point about the inevitable loopholes. I should have left out the part about "friends and family"--now that I think about it, I think the person was more intending that if the war directly affected more people, there would be more pressure on politicians to make wiser and more reasonable decisions (for lack of a better way to phrase it).

Obviously I wouldn't want to be drafted or have my friends drafted either, were they to reinstate the draft, but when I take a step back from it, I think it might be out of selfishness rather than idealism. That makes me uncomfortable; if it were a war I considered "necessary," how would I feel? If the bottom line is that people will get sent over to a dangerous place where they'd rather not be, how is it justifiable that I believe that the people I know shouldn't be sent? Why should it matter who's getting sent?

Date: 2005-01-21 02:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] notfadeaway.livejournal.com
I agree with the above post, especially considering the information we know about Bush & Cheney during Vietnam - The People In Charge are capable of bending many rules for themselves. Vietnam provides a very applicable lesson, I think, for draft conversations: it was an unpopular war, bitterly opposed, with a frightening draft. Those who could fled or got out of service. Those serving--students, professionals, etc.--were not treated particularly well, came home to a cold country, and now have incredible psychological wounds. Because of that, I couldn't personally support a draft.

Also, it seems fairly clear that current folks in the army didn't truly feel they had many choices. There is even a mainstream debate going on about the "back-door draft" that turns reservists into full-time military, complete with required tours in Iraq. I'd like to see an official answer your question: did we "win"? Maybe after the "elections" next week?

to some extent I'm playing devil's advocate, but

Date: 2005-01-21 04:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] balmofgilead.livejournal.com
Those serving--students, professionals, etc.--were not treated particularly well, came home to a cold country, and now have incredible psychological wounds.

I agree with this, but when I think about it some more, the same could be true for anyone in the army, and perhaps that's not any better (especially given that people may join the army out of desperation/lack of other options, which makes it almost like a "draft of the down-and-out.")

If a particular war were indeed necessary to protect our country, it would seem fair that everyone share the burden. It feels strange to say "Oh, I personally don't feel this is necessary, so I shouldn't be obligated to help," because it opens up an opportunity for anyone to worm their way out of true responsibility in a situation where war /is/ indeed warranted. {Maybe we should all share the burden of having shitty People In Charge as well? }

Wherein I agree with the devil...

Date: 2005-01-21 04:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] notfadeaway.livejournal.com
In retrospect, I agree that what I wrote is probably applicable to most people in the army. And you're right - if the war were to protect our country, I could see the value of a draft. In the case of Iraq, however, I do not feel we are "protecting our country." With so many people misled and believing Iraq was involved on 9/11, though, it is interesting to see how the protection argument was used to enlist soliders.

Date: 2005-01-21 07:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tobeginagain.livejournal.com
Um, I think I'm going to go out on a limb and here and be all unpopularlike. I think a draft (bear with me here) of a different sort might not be a bad idea. We've got a whole lot of people here in the US, our military sure doesn't need everyone, but we could take some ideas from other countries. (The only two I can think of right now are Israel and Germany, though I'm sure others have similar systems.) I know one of our presidents, maybe it was Bush post-9/11, suggested widespread volunteerism, and I think it's not that bad of an idea.

Most European high school graduates take a gap year/s before beginning university. In Germany nine months of those are served either in the military or in alternate civilian service - volunteering. In Israel, religious women complete their 'draft requirements' with national service - volunteering. If a similar system were in place, with widespread if not mandatory year of volunteer service I think a lot of things might be improved.

Obviously this is a vast system to be implementing in our huge nation, not that it ever would, but I think it would be really neat if all 18 year olds had a choice to either volunteer for their country at home or abroad or served in the military. Our nation, however, seems way to individualistic and self-serving to institutionalize some form of altruism. But wouldn't it be neat if it did?

(Oh, and check out wiki/conscription.)

Date: 2005-01-21 07:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tobeginagain.livejournal.com
Eewww! Gross grammar! So sorry. I seem to have made a thousand subject-verb disagreements, not to mention misspelling "too" and on and on. Next time I'll re-read before posting. Sorry!

Date: 2005-01-23 04:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] balmofgilead.livejournal.com
no worries about grammar.

I'm actually sort of with you on that (the draft idea), in some form. I mean, I can imagine getting kinda pissed if I had to do some sort of manditory service, and I understand that other people might feel the same way, but in the big picture it seems like a good idea to force people to have a stake in the country in some way and to participate in making it a better place. It might make people care more about...things.

Date: 2005-01-23 05:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tobeginagain.livejournal.com
I think I'd actually have loved to be asked to do mandatory service. [I did it in Israel for a year and paid a shitload, but that's another story.] I think I would have been more likely to take a year off between highschool and college to volunteer if it were more accepted in our society. As it is, I felt pretty off the college-gradschool-career track by going to Israel. Now I'm staying off by working and feel like all my peers keep getting ahead of me. But then I remember that I'm exactly where I want to be and it's all okay again.

(Any reason youdeleted your tsunamisongrant?)

Date: 2005-01-23 07:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] balmofgilead.livejournal.com
I think I'm ready for a volunteer sort of thing now, but I wasn't in the right mode for it after highschool (I was desparate to get the hell out of there and focus on myself for awhile, which may not have been a good thing).

I think what you're doing sounds cool. I'm taking a year off (er, well, not proceeding directly to grad school or whatever further education I'll eventually submit to) sort of by default and not having a clue what I want to do yet and needing to hone some of my other-than-academic skills. I don't care so much about doing whatever everyone else is doing, but for some reason not "getting on with my life" makes me a bit anxious--which is really ridiculous, because if whatever I'm doing is what I want to be doing then, it is life.

I changed the tsunami post to 'private'...it felt a little..silly or something to put up for people to read. That's always a conflict I have: being torn between using this as a personal journal, writing what I want and making almost everything public in case anyone ever wants to read it vs. writing to an audience of some sort. I would totally keep it as the former on principle except that I've kind of begun liking getting attention. It's ironic that I tend to write less, and less openly, as more people have added me.

Date: 2005-01-23 08:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tobeginagain.livejournal.com
It's ironic that I tend to write less, and less openly, as more people have added me.

yeah, i hear you.

it's funny to see such a long chain of comments without any user pics - i can't differentiate the conversation at first glance!

Date: 2005-01-23 06:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tobeginagain.livejournal.com
yeah, but not fun/funny anymore. boy, i'm trouble. why'd you switch back?

Date: 2005-01-23 06:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] balmofgilead.livejournal.com
to please my readership!

um, I dunno. I'm looking for ways to procrastinae.

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