Reinstate the military Draft

Some good modern reasons why the United States should consider going back to a conscripted military

As someone who grew up during Vietnam and celebrated the end to the draft, I never thought I would be a person suggesting that we bring it back. With all of the lobbyists pushing for military contracts and hoping for new conflicts from which they can make money, I now believe that the only fair way to staff our military is through both volunteers and draftees. Here are my reasons for having this change of heart to reinstate the military draft.

5 – This week John Bolton and Sen. McCain openly suggested that Israel launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran thus drawing the United States military into the resulting conflict. If this were to happen, our already combat weary military would be back on the front lines. Perhaps reinstating the draft would cut down on the dangerous rhetoric and policy making of our hawkish neo-cons.

4 – After both World War II and the Korean War, soldiers returning received benefits for their service. They were able to go to college, buy a home, receive medical care and get jobs. These soldiers were largely draftees.

Even with the chaos of Vietnam, most who returned were able to return to fairly normal lives, but again they were draftees. There seemed to be some feeling of obligation on the part of our elected officials to help these veterans get back into normal lives. With an all volunteer military, many feel that these veterans made the choice to serve and therefore can be ignored when they return.

3 – The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced a larger than average number of cases of PTSD. The most likely reason for this is that our troops have had multiple deployments to the front lines with very little “down time” between deployments. A draft would provide a larger pool of soldiers to deploy to the front lines, eliminating multiple re-deployments. Potentially, this would reduce the number of, and intensity of cases of PTSD.

2 – Prior to the draft ending in 1973, our country sent the military overseas 27 times. Since 1974 with an all volunteer military we have deployed troops 175 times. Some may say that the world has become more dangerous since 1974, but we should consider the fact that it is easier to send into battle those who have chosen the military as their jobs.

About 1% of Americans serves in the military or has a family member in the military. Few Americans see firsthand the price that our soldiers have paid over the last 10 years. Adding draftees to the military would cause more people to have to see the ravages of war.

1 – Republicans are famous for talking about “people needing to have skin in the game” when they are being asked to fund social programs. One example of this logic is the belief that those who have health insurance should have to pay something for it whether that is a monthly payment or co-pays when they go to the doctor. This way they “have skin in the game” and will think twice about going to the doctor.

With the return of the draft, more young people and their families would “have skin in the game”. They would also be more likely to pressure politicians to think twice before sending troops to every international problem. In addition, more would be in favor of increased veterans’ benefits when soldiers return from a conflict.

In conclusion, reinstating the draft would pressure elected officials to think twice before sending troops to fight in other countries. If it did not cause elected officials to think before they deploy troops, it would certainly cause a larger pool of Americans to fight to end conflicts quickly and to take care of those who fought.

60 COMMENTS

  1. This whole article is bullshit wrapped in ignorance of who goes and who dies when there is a draft.

    5. how about instead we kick Israel to the curb, they want to start a war let them fight it with the billions we give them. Send soldiers to fight in a religious conflict? FUCK THAT. Based on our constitution the US shouldn’t be in that conflict at all.

    4. Enticements, look at all the benefits you get after the fact if you fucking survive. That’s why most join now is for the possibility of the benefits you will get IF you survive. “Returned to fairly normal lives” Did you have an uncle that was never really able to put that experience away? I did. Sure he got some schooling and was able to buy a house and such but he died at a young age, whether from possible chemicals he breathed in Vietnam or from all the alcohol he drank after the experience, I can never be sure. But one thing I am sure of sober he would not talk about it, drunk that’s all he talked about and cried about at times.

    3. We only think that there are more cases of PTSD, it didn’t exist during Vietnam those were the vets that came back and ended up killing themselves or never being able to come to grips with their experiences. They were ignored or ridiculed for being weak or inferior in some way. It doesn’t take multiple experience to have PTSD, it can only take one, I know this because I wrote several papers on PTSD in college. PTSD didn’t even become a thing until 1980 when it was added to the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)

    2. Since 1973 many or most of the conflicts have been a direct result of US intervention in foreign governments, there is a reason the Middle East turned into a powder keg. The US government through the CIA overthrew the government in Iran in the 1953. Chickens coming home to roost as was 9/11. neocolonialism, the use of economic, political, cultural, or other pressures to control or influence other countries. Trying to get interventionist policies changed starts with economic policies, using the draft to try to prevent interventionist wars is like fracking the US so we don’t go after the oil in other countries, there are far better options that the moneyed interests won’t accept because it doesn’t fatten their pockets.

    1. Skin in the Game? Politicians were the first to get their kids out of either the military or keep them out of combat situations, power to fund the military is with congress, so when a congressperson calls the pentagon and says keep my kids out of combat that kid gets reassigned to a rear area.

    • Few Americans see firsthand the price that our soldiers have paid over the last 10 years. Adding draftees to the military would cause more people to have to see the ravages of war. also, i fail to see how this is helping their point. (section 3 paragraph 2)

    • Lol true this article os cuckold bs. So the whole point of a Draft is to teach Americans to help they’re country in times of war,but nope forget war lets just draft them then give all these dumb fucking millennials tax money and free shit just because Libtards Lefty idiots wanted them to get drafted so they can “do stuff ” in life .Mean while these idiots you want drafted are dumb as fuck and don’t deserve to be in the military because allot of them are little bratty spoiled kids or worse,lazy stoner pothead mllennials who couldn’t even pass a I.Q. test and you think they can pass the ASVAB test ,huh lol you leftist who support the draft are out of you’re mind .

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    • Really? I’m pretty sure the draft is used to keep our sons and daughters in a free America. Now that’s something i would be happy to die for, i love America and would not hesitate to die for it.

  6. it wont work mr parrish. i come from a very patriotic family, but when you consider what a trgic flawed and
    unwinnable waste the vietnam war was, also considered how abused our pows were at the hands of the
    indochinese paramilitary;they were inhuman savages and our edlers from that war, including
    one my negihbors, still struggle with it . my dad was a carree marine and when he learend of the drug
    abuse, he favored ending the mission. you know what you can do with your suggestion , parrish.

  7. It would never work. Even with the massive anti-draft protests about 65% of the population supported conscription, keep in mind the WW2 generation. What about today. It is estimated that over 300,000 did show up when inducted and less than 400 ever went to jail. Even taking account the ones who fled to Canada (and were later given a full Presidential pardon) and those who eventually went into service, less than 5% of those who ducked the draft (and remained in the USA) went to prison. Keep in mind they were entitled to jury trials. Back in 1970 about 2/3 of the jury pool would have either been in the service (if male) or had a husband or brother (if female) who served, making a guilty verdict very likely. Today the likelihood is that the entire jury will never have served or had a close family member who served. Than what? Maybe the jurors will feel if I acquit him/her than their family member will be released.

  8. If there is to be a draft, it must be gender neutral. Women will be drafted. (Shopping malls might go broke.) No student deferments. People with physical limitations can be drafted for administrative non-combat assignments. Are we ready to see our 19 year old daughters and sisters drafted and sent into combat? Are we ready to face campus protests when spoiled college students resist the draft? Will we revive or increase college R.O.T.C programs? Will young veterans have G.I. benefits to attend college, without the burden of student loans, after military service? A draft just might get more Americans involved in foreign policy issues and voting, forcing members of Congress to answer tough questions.

    • so you are saying that i should be forced to fight in some war i do not agree in? There are viable reasons why a draft is useless. For one there are enough recruits enrolling voluntarily where forcing people to join is not necessary. Secondly soldiers who are forced to be in combat make poor soldiers. They are more likely to desert their post, defect to the enemy or just throw down their weapons and surrender the first chance they get. I know I would do this if the USA sent me to war against Russia or China as I am more sympathetic to these nations. Draft should only be instated if the USA is being invaded and there are not enough volunteers I do not see how being forced to fight in Viet Nam or Korea who has never been a threat to the USA makes one a patriot or any more of an American than my neighborhood banker or lawyer. I am also sick of veterans who think I owe them something because they decided to go overseas to murder in the name of the USA. Unless you were alive in 1776 you did not fight for my freedom and I owe you nothing. Seeing that I lost freedom after the Revolutionary War as my King George III is an ancestor of mine I have little reason to want to be called a patriot in the USA.

  9. “The administration asserts the right to fill the ranks of the regular army by compulsion…Is this, sir, consistent with the character of a free government? Is this civil liberty? Is this the real character of our Constitution? No, sir, indeed it is not…Where is it written in the Constitution, in what article or section is it contained, that you may take children from their parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war, in which the folly or the wickedness of government may engage it? Under what concealment has this power lain hidden, which now for the first time comes forth, with a tremendous and baleful aspect, to trample down and destroy the dearest rights of personal liberty? – Daniel Webster in his December 9, 1814 in his address to the House of Representatives

  10. Here’s another reason (associated with the “skin in the game” reason mentioned in th article): the draft during the Vietnam War was the beginning of the end for that war. Suddenly it wasn’t “someone we don’t know” fighting the war for us. Due to the draft, we all knew someone who was fighting. It was our sons and brothers and friends who were dying instead a rare personal association with the war (and we were seeing battle scenes on TV and seeing the bodies come home). And people began asking why we were in that war. And the protests gained numbers and momentum. The draft killed the Vietnam War (a war we couldn’t win and never should have been in I the first place — sound familiar? ) This is why soldiers are doing multiple tours instead of a draft being instituted to give them some relief. A draft would end these wars we are fighting. And that is precisely why there will be no draft.

    • So what you are saying is that a draft is a “theory” to end wars…possibly. Viet Nam took over 60,000 U.S. lives and destroyed soldiers and their families. Not a social experiment I want to see. The draft is not mentioned in the Constitution at all.

      “The Selective Service System describes its mission as “to serve the emergency manpower needs of the Military by conscripting untrained manpower, or personnel with professional health care skills, if directed by Congress and the President in a national crisis”.[68] Registration forms are available either online or at any U.S. Post Office. (Wikipedia)

      Note is says “emergency”.

      • I’m just here for info for a research paper, but I saw this comment and I just wanna say that even though the draft was costly to American lives, it was worth it if it ended the war.

  11. That is about the dumbest thing I have ever heard. The draft was a mind fuk from the start with those young men not having a chance to grow up and explore life without the draft taking most of them, (mostly people of color), from the school yards across America to the war zones across the world.

  12. What the hell? I have one biological son and two stepsons. Two are in college and one has graduated, entered the Cal Fire (look it up) program and he could be drafted. My stepsons are artists and in school for that along with working. In 2004, my ex had a mini-stroke afraid W would reinstate the draft and take our sons. Whoever wrote this has their head way way up their ass. I would bet money there are no sons involved. Very disappointed with QM. I thought there was more discernment with stories like this.

      • Ask my sons what it felt like to register to vote and register for a potential draft. That hit home pretty hard. Military recruiters took up class time to have low income students enlist. Mostly Latinos who were promised citizenship if they
        served. Tons enlisted. Saddest thing I have witnessed and that is without a draft. Don’t ever say Draft to me ever again. Watch Saving Private Ryan.The draft destroys not just the life of a soldier but the entire family and community.

        • Gretl Your comment about the military recruiters enlisting low income and minority students is exactly why I wrote this article. I don’t want to see anyone drafted but I also don’t want to see those who have few other choices to volunteer so the warmongers can make billions.

          • There is nothing I this article about deferments or how to prevent discrimination in the military including intelligence. In other words, if you aren’t intellectual, you are on the front line.

    • I am amazed that there are folks commenting who do not regard the draft as a progressive stance. I was in the Army for three years during the Vietnam era and can certainly speak to the moderating effect of having non-volunteers in the mix. And the argument that people would be more thoughtful when considering war if their own sons/daughters were subject to the draft seems irrefutable. Those individuals who are content with staffing the military with our less fortunate kids with few life options seem to be the anti-progressives.

  13. If congress declares war, draft everyone. No profits in industry, no capital gains, just service and production. Everyone with assigned duties. Kids and computer gamers can pilot drones. The lame could lead the blind who pushed their wheelchairs. Everyone serves where the tests assign them. No salaries, no paychecks everyone given exactly the same subsistence, and no exemptions. That would make war unpopular with old rich men and thus, very unlikely.
    And, in the absence of declared war and full mobilization, no troop deployment outside the US except for training purposes. If we must have a war, it should be total war, with no profiteering, and no exemptions.

  14. I don’t think anyone is saying there aren’t any cons to reinstating the draft. Of course there are, there is pros and cons to everything. If you want an example of how conscription can work, look at Switzerland. If you want an example of how it doesn’t work, look at Israel or past American examples. Obviously, the only way a draft can work in a progressive way is for it to be equal across the board and that is something the United States is yet to get right.

  15. the draft system still exists for 18yr old males. before we enter any discussion about actually drafting anyone for any purpose – natiional service like wpa urban peace corps or any of a multitude of beneficial services – the system has to register all 18yr olds of any and all sexes.

  16. There is actually no good reason for re-instituting a military draft. Not one. Instead of increasing the “pool” so that members of the military wouldn’t have to suffer multiple deployments, why not stop engaging in any but the most essential military activities that eventuate in those deployments?

    A program of required National Service—military, but only if one so desires, would be one option among many—that would be followed by one being a beneficiary of assistance such as that originally provided by the G.I. Bill would, I think, be more than helpful. But, a military draft? No. It simply provides warmongers fresh bodies from very specific segments of the society to fight their wars. Anybody here willing to trust Dick Cheney with his/her child(ren)?

  17. #3 Does not align with anything other than your speculation. The key causal / precipitating factor for PTSD is a “traumatizing event.” It is not a “cumulative” disorder.

    I would rather see a mandatory conscription and assignment to combat duty for every congresspersons healthy adult children, grand-children and in-laws who votes in favor of any Congressional authorization for war or war funding amendment.

    • The more times you are put into a situation where there is a traumatizing event, the more likely you are to experience one. Someone who has been deployed 4 times to Iraq or Afghanistan has 4 chances to suffer from PTSD. It is not a matter of a cumulative effect but of more chances to have one traumatizing event.

  18. The larger need is a larger program is required Community Service, of which serving in the Armed Forces would be only one of the choices. I served in the Navy for twelve years. However, civilian community service in support of schools (teachers assistants),CCC like activty, “big brother & sister” programs for inner city. Follow the example of Israel and The Mormans. It not only provides a service but matures and enhances the participant.

  19. I was subject to the draft in 1959 when I joined the Army having had a five year deferment. Having just finished college it did indeed interrupt my career but I bit the bullet and joined up to get it out of the way. For me it was a matter of honor to serve my country and I am still proud of it. As an aside, I hated mostly every minute of my confinement even though I had a good assignment in Germany.

    I think we should implement President Obama’s plan of giving people a choice of national service of some kind like the Peace Corps, the Civilian Conservation Corps or the military.

    I was just starting high school when the Korean War started. I understand that the first troops who went into Korea were, in large part, members of the California National Guard and they suffered heavy casualties. A lot of the troops who followed were left over from WWII serving in the reserve as well.

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  20. Oh yeah…because this worked so well the last time. WTF is an article like this doing on a progressive website? I’m 52 and am dumbfounded at this article.

  21. While you make decent points, overall this is a bad idea. Drafts never stopped wars in the past. The draft didn’t end the Vietnam war. Draft protests went on for years before the war ended.

    I fundamentally disagree with compulsive military service. I could say that if I were to be suddenly drafted, it would devestate my life. Some people aren’t cut out for that, and forcing them to serve anyway does not instil national loyalty. Anymore than Yossarian being drafted made him patriotic.

    This will have no effect on DCs abilities to wage war. If anything, politicians in DC will jump for joy, for now their war machine has limitless manpower to tap. It never deterred war in the past, it won’t today.

    I also would add its convenient the people discussing the reinstatement of a draft are those who would not be subject to it. Make the draft age 18-60, and let’s see how many people still favor it.

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