Restore the draft?
Published: Monday, January 20, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 19, 2003 at 10:31 p.m.
There is a madman loose on the stage of world politics. He has weapons of mass destruction.
We know this, we don't need to wait for any reports from U.N. weapons inspectors.
His country, too, has a proven record of using such weapons - chemical, biological, and nuclear. And yes, there were elections in his country, but we know they were a sham. He is not a democratically elected leader.
And yet this man seems hell-bent on bringing mankind into the next world war. He has made absolutely no effort to work toward peace. War, indeed, is on the horizon.
I, as a single individual, am utterly powerless to do anything about this madman and his plans. Therefore, I here and now publicly declare, "Draft me please!"
Empower me to do something about this situation, give me a voice, give me standing to be heard.
Yes, let's restore the draft. Not the draft we once knew - a draft of privilege; where the elite of wealth and power were exempted (or sheltered their kids in an administrative position, at home, within the national guard). Let's make it a real draft, a tough draft, one that exempts no one.
Let's put everyone to work; let's make everyone likely to be on the front line.
The last real war (World War II) was one in which all sacrificed; normal life for everyone was put on hold. The war was real. This new war too must be made real for us all - not merely one "as seen on TV."
After all, what patriot would refuse to fight for his (or her) country - in a war that was so clearly necessary?
If my home were about to be attacked without justification, my country invaded - I certainly would be the first to stand up, resist, and fight to my dying breath - wouldn't you?
Wars are never easy (at least for the people actually fighting them). And they shouldn't appear to be so.
I am tired of the CNN and Fox poll of the weak telling us how many Americans support the war.
The only relevant poll is at the military recruitment counter. If someone supports a war, then they are willing to go to war, themselves.
It's easy to talk the talk, but let's make sure they walk the walk. If a congressman supports the war, I want to know his daughter (if not himself) will be on the front line with the rest of us.
If war is necessary, then so is real sacrifice. Saying one supports a war, without actually being willing to sacrifice oneself (or one's loved-ones), is cowardice, not patriotism.
In 1991, the elder Bush said that we had finally kicked the "Vietnam Syndrome:" it was safe, once again, to go to war as a foreign policy option.
If we have truly overcome this alleged pathology - then it is also safe to reinstate the draft.
Let's make sure that everyone is eligible for the draft, and I mean everyone. Let's extend the age, let's ignore gender, let's eliminate privilege.
If a war is truly necessary, there is no reason only the poor should sacrifice. I want the Lotts, the Daschles, the Gores and the Gingriches. I want the Kennedies, the Reagans and, yes, even the Bushes.
If war is the only option, if it is truly necessary, then we should be willing to put Jenna and Barbara and cousin Noelle on the front line with an M-16. Are they and their families not true patriots like the rest of us?
I am just the little guy, the individual citizen. I am relatively powerless when actors on the world stage, with the power to start and end wars, act irrationally, illegally or immorally.
I am tired of being the passive recipient of national policy-makers; the victim of world leaders with all the power but none of the accountability.
So I say publicly - "Draft me please!" I demand it. Give me the power to do something about this situation. Enable me to stand up to this madman, and say in a meaningful way: "Hell No, I Won't Go!"
Charles Grapski is a doctoral candidate in political science at the University of Florida.
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