Saturday, August 25, 2007

will the lack of recruits force a draft?

Waco (TX) Tribune columnist Rowland Nethaway extols the positive values of national service:
The all-volunteer military has a number of advantages, not the least of which is that everyone wants to be there. It works well as long as the demand for troops does not exceed the supply.

[Army Lt. Gen. Douglas] Lute was issuing a small wake-up call that the time may come when national security will require reinstating the draft.

Although I volunteered, I served in the military at a time when the draft was in full swing — before draft-dodging became popular.

Besides providing warm bodies trained to protect the nation, the draft provided significant benefits to both draftees and society.

Draftees learned valuable lessons in getting along with people from all walks of life irrespective of race, religion, education, wealth or poverty.

Draftees learned discipline and the need to work cooperatively with others.

They learned to how to overcome adversities unimaginable to most civilians.

Society benefited from the lessons the draftees learned when they returned home. The veterans made reliable workers and committed students.

G.I. Bill benefits awarded to veterans gave society a boost in young men who went back to school to get college degrees or attend trade schools.

Perhaps the greatest benefit the draft provided for society was the influx of veterans who had sacrificed for their country. This feeling of sacrifice and giving for their nation vested them in their nation in a way that made them proud of their country and the benefits it bestows on its citizens.

Lute invites consideration of reinstating the draft.

Better yet, a universal draft for both males and females should be enacted, not just for the military but for some form of national service.

The draftees and society would benefit.
As Mr Nethaway makes clear, national service and shared sacrifice can only strengthen the fabric that is America. Many national leaders were veterans of the armed services, including some recent Presidents (Eisenhower, JFK, Johnson,Nixon, Ford, Carter, G H W Bush)[1] as well as many other national leaders (McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Kerrey, Cleland, Daschle, Glenn, Inouye, Dole, Hagel, McCain).

National service has the power to keep America strong by reminding Americans of this country's core values. By declining the opportunity to serve, the Yellow Elephants are not taking this golden opportunity to show their leadership and willingness to take the hard way. How will this look later when they look to assume more responsibility?

As the nation concludes the 5th year of hostilities, with no end in sight, it's not too late for the leaders of tomorrow to Man Up today. Stop by your local recruiting office and volunteer.

1. I omit Reagan as his service time was spent making training films during the war while other movie stars like Brig. General Jimmy Stewart, who would have been rejected by his draft board as underweight, were actually in harm's way, and G W Bush's service record is less clear than the others cited.

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