Do You Want A Draft or A Mercenary Army?

by James Glaser
November 21, 2006

Representative Charles Rangel of New York is going to introduce a bill to bring back conscription, better known as the Draft. I believe that today our military is a lot closer to being a mercenary army than it is to being an all volunteer force as it is touted.

True, there were people who joined up because they are patriotic Americans who heard their nation's call to arms after the 9/11 attack, but when you take a close look at who signs up to fight for America, most of them are from the middle and lower class of the American society. For rich kids, four years in the service is seldom in the picture.

Recruiters are looking for the bright kid who can't afford college, and they use the education benefits they can earn as an enticement to sign them up. On top of that, a smart young man or woman with good grades and a few college credits can get an enlistment cash bonus of up to $25,000. To a young kid living in a small rural town with nothing but minimum wage jobs in his near future, 25K looks mighty tempting.

Think about the child of an upper middle class or an out and out rich kid. What is twenty five thousand to them? They already are driving around campus in a BMW, heck 25gs is only a nice Harley, and really, who is going to put their life on the line for a motorcycle? It would probably be the kid who has only had a used four wheeler or old snowmobiles his whole life. Many young Americans will kill for twenty five thousand dollars, and thousands are doing that right now in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Charles Rangel says:

    There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way.

When I look at our American military today, I always wonder what they would do if George Bush ordered them onto the streets of an American city. Would they make mass arrests of American citizens, or would they fire on what George might call an unruly crowd of citizens who disagreed with what the President was doing?

I believe if we keep going down the road of a "professional military," we will see the day that it is "us" verses "them." Having an army filled with a sprinkling of conscripts looks like a safety valve to me. Whereas "Draftees" would keep the army more civilian friendly, and if everyone's child could be in one of those hidden flag draped coffins that they fly home in the middle of the night, for sure every war would be a war of necessity, and George Bush's wars of choice would be things of the past.

If all children were fair game for the Merchants of Death in Washington, Americans would pay more attention to what is going on with our foreign policy, and it would have to be something very serious before a president could start pounding on the war drum.

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