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Was ending the draft a mistake?

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  • Democrat
    Tulsa, OK
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    http://www.salon.com/2013/05/10/was_ending_the_draft_a_mistake/

    This article is a good read and raises an excellent question. I must admit I had not heard the phrase "era of persistent conflict" before as stated by Gen. Casey but it is certainly accurate.

    I did not enlist in the Navy until 1978 so all I ever knew was the all volunteer force. One thing I did not appreciate was how some individuals in government and some in the private sector abused the phrase "You (or your child/spouse) volunteered" when service members were sent to far away places to do things with dubious or unclear mission objectives.


    Does anyone have any thoughts?
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    Not in the least. When I was in I had a long talk with a general regarding how to recruit and retain the young intellectuals. He admitted it was one tough nut to crack. But a draft won't help retain folks but it would help Canadian immigration of those the general wanted.
  • Democrat
    Mojave Desert, NV
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    I enlisted in '66 simply because I thought it was the right thing to do, for me. I didn't support the draft. I felt that it was a personal decision for each of us to make.

    In later life I've reflected on the draft and have concluded that it served two important purposes. It got a lot of people involved in what our government was up to, verbally and at the ballot box. It also influenced the judgment of our elected representatives who had their own families in the mix when it came to putting Americans in harm's way.

    I'm of the opinion now that we should be considering some form of compulsory national service. It could be a two-year draft or a four-year stint of non-military service. And a less-than-honorable discharge from either should carry the same stigma and civil penalties.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Dragon Wrote: I enlisted in '66 simply because I thought it was the right thing to do, for me. I didn't support the draft. I felt that it was a personal decision for each of us to make.

    In later life I've reflected on the draft and have concluded that it served two important purposes. It got a lot of people involved in what our government was up to, verbally and at the ballot box. It also influenced the judgment of our elected representatives who had their own families in the mix when it came to putting Americans in harm's way.

    I'm of the opinion now that we should be considering some form of compulsory national service. It could be a two-year draft or a four-year stint of non-military service. And a less-than-honorable discharge from either should carry the same stigma and civil penalties.
    I definitely agree that we need a form of compulsory service, just like countless other nations currently have. My thinking is that we would not allow our leaders to take us in to so many unfunded conflicts in far away countries to fight for something the vast majority of citizens didn't believe in. If we had a draft in place before the lead up to the aptly titled Operation Iraqi Freedom, our leaders would have never thought of sending our men and women there. However, since we have an all "volunteer" force, our leaders do whatever they want to do now.

    Your proposal regarding the option to do either military or non-military is also important. I think many people would have no problem serving in the various non-military programs that we have, but would have major issues in the armed forces. My only hesitancy with it is the loopholes that the rich and powerful would try to insert into any bill making compulsory service. If we're all in it together, then we ALL have to be in it together.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    When I was in the service there was always a certain amount of distain for draftee's because they were made to join and did not enlist as most of us did, we felt that our patriotism was above reproach while theirs was suspect, they even had a distict service prefix before their number such as RA, stood for regular Army, NG was for national guardsman,and US meant that you were drafted, most of the enlisted personal were of my age 18 or 19, draftee's tended to be older and less able to be mallable by the DI's, thats not to say they were more afraid or braver then any of us, one thing that they had that we RA's didn't have and that was a political awareness of our government and more often than not they didn't follow blindly into unknown situations, to which I will always be thankful for.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    johnnycee Wrote: When I was in the service there was always a certain amount of distain for draftee's because they were made to join and did not enlist as most of us did, we felt that our patriotism was above reproach while theirs was suspect, they even had a distict service prefix before their number such as RA, stood for regular Army, NG was for national guardsman,and US meant that you were drafted, most of the enlisted personal were of my age 18 or 19, draftee's tended to be older and less able to be mallable by the DI's, thats not to say they were more afraid or braver then any of us, one thing that they had that we RA's didn't have and that was a political awareness of our government and more often than not they didn't follow blindly into unknown situations, to which I will always be thankful for.
    you've got that one figured out fer sure, JC ;)
  • Democrat
    Lawrence, MA
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    When a government passes a law such a the Selective Service Act and leaves me no alternative but obedience then I am a slave.
  • Democrat
    Mojave Desert, NV
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    That's the effect of obedience to any law.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Dragon Wrote: That's the effect of obedience to any law.
    Nuts; Thus if you live in NK you should be just a f.... robot? The same applies here; the military just carries out what our leaders tells you to do; you are trained to do that blindly otherwise you are court marchalled. Thus in other words you have become a plain robot who then kills innocent farmers etc. without blinking, because someone up there tells you to do that. Anyone who joins the forces should know in advance that they are no longer individuals but only "tools" for not always the right things.
  • Liberal
    Independent
    Durham, NH
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    Well put Rob!
  • Democrat
    Mojave Desert, NV
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    Dutch Wrote:
    Dragon Wrote: That's the effect of obedience to any law.
    Nuts; Thus if you live in NK you should be just a f.... robot? The same applies here; the military just carries out what our leaders tells you to do; you are trained to do that blindly otherwise you are court marchalled. Thus in other words you have become a plain robot who then kills innocent farmers etc. without blinking, because someone up there tells you to do that. Anyone who joins the forces should know in advance that they are no longer individuals but only "tools" for not always the right things.
    Nuts might be the right word here. We're discussing national service and suddenly we're the North Korean Army slaughtering innocent civilians?

    Adherence to any law, selective service or other, restricts our actions and limits our behavior to one degree or another. Leaping headlong to an extreme doesn't make a point, it makes the argument absurd.
  • Other Party
    Nebraska
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    Dutch as usual you got some things wrong. Big surprise, huh? For an old guy from the Netherlands you do pretty well but it's time for me to correct you again.

    Our military are not quite ..."trained to do that blindly"... They are trained to follow LAWFUL orders. Notice the word LAWFUL. If your CO gives you an order that you consider UNLAWFUL, then you can refuse it and it's you against him in court.

    If your CO tells you to shoot the president of the USA are you going to do it. No, you will refuse and you will ultimately win. That is an extreme example and it is tough to refuse any order but sometimes it has to be done.

    In the "fog of war" what is lawful and what is unlawful...that's a tough one.

    But, no, our soldiers do not ..."blindly"... follow any and all orders. You may think so but you would be incorrect.
  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    jamesn Wrote: Dutch as usual you got some things wrong. Big surprise, huh? For an old guy from the Netherlands you do pretty well but it's time for me to correct you again.

    Our military are not quite ..."trained to do that blindly"... They are trained to follow LAWFUL orders. Notice the word LAWFUL. If your CO gives you an order that you consider UNLAWFUL, then you can refuse it and it's you against him in court.

    If your CO tells you to shoot the president of the USA are you going to do it. No, you will refuse and you will ultimately win. That is an extreme example and it is tough to refuse any order but sometimes it has to be done.

    In the "fog of war" what is lawful and what is unlawful...that's a tough one.

    But, no, our soldiers do not ..."blindly"... follow any and all orders. You may think so but you would be incorrect.
    Sorry you got it all wrong; If a soldier is told to go to Afghanistan, does he refuse to go ? I guess also the same for Iraq etc. Ever checked with Wiki Leaks? Orders are orders. Yes General, can I polish your boots. No one in the forces refuses to follow orders. Full stop.
  • Democrat
    Philadelphia, PA
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    Even an unlawful order has consquences if not followed, you may win that particular battle but you will lose the war, by either a loss of a promotion, change of assignment, even a transfer for you and all of your baggage , they will try anything to get you to not re-enlist or or not extend your commitment. The Armed Services do not appreciate whistle blowers or those who refuse to just suck it up and get with the program.
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    When there was a draft did the services use something like the ASVAB to sort the recruits?