There are advantages and disadvantages to bringing the draft back. At some level, conscription helps society by growing up those who refuse to do it on their own.
Boot Camp has a way of teaching recruits how to function under stress. (Of course, some slouch, rather than excel, their way through. And the fleet takes care of ‘em.) It also instills patriotic pride. A draft-based military helps mix society and ensures everyone has skin in the game.
The disadvantages lie in those who are unwilling. Fragging is the not the highest form of patriotism. I’ve heard and read of too many horror stories about draftees.
I don’t want to serve with someone who did not volunteer for the World’s Finest Navy. I’ve had Sailors working for me whom I’ve had to remind of the conscious nature of their situation. No one forced them into the uniform.
Thomas RIcks has an exceedingly poor argument about why we should bring the draft back:
Since the end of the military draft in 1973, every person joining the U.S. armed forces has done so because he or she asked to be there. Over the past decade, this all-volunteer force has been put to the test and has succeeded, fighting two sustained foreign wars with troops standing up to multiple combat deployments and extreme stress.
This is precisely the reason it is time to get rid of the all-volunteer force. It has been too successful. Our relatively small and highly adept military has made it all too easy for our nation to go to war — and to ignore the consequences.
Get rid of the volunteer military because we have been successful? And it is too easy to go to war, really? The military declares war on no one. We follow the civilian leadership. The problem he bemoans is Congress’ and the President’s doing, not ours.
It almost sounds as if he wants us less able. We should be punished because we have been successful.
Politicians scream for the draft, but the attempts to bring it into discussion have mostly been political. I won’t mention them by name, but whenever I hear the draft discussed by our pols, it is not to improve the military. No, it is to win cheap political points.
The bottom line: I don’t see us instilling a draft anytime soon. The public is smart on this issue and senses that our military will only diminish in capability. Truly, there is no backbone or appetite for the move. And we have plenty of smart, able-bodied men and women to fill our ranks.
A draft may be good for some of the populace, but not for our fighting force. Or am I wrong? Does not Tom Ricks’ argument linked to above sound misplaced?
Hand Salute: Bookworm (for firing me up!)