I believe that reinstating the draft would be neither wise nor fair. It is a cliche to say that the people who want to be involved in the war are already in the military, but I have to agree with it.
Throughout history, the United States and other countries around the world have developed a remarkably simple solution to this issue. The solution is to have an effectively managed volunteer military. It can work, but the key words are “effectively managed.”
If the draft were reinstated, many people would be embittered and would not want to serve. Many people believe that the war is only for those who choose to be there. I believe that everyone has the choice to do the things that ultimately change their lives. I believe that everyone has the choice to stand up to let someone less fortunate sit down and I believe that everyone has the choice to go to war. Isn’t that what America is all about?
The military is trained to handle harsh conditions. I know how harsh it can be because as a daughter of a father who is retired Air Force, I have grown up around war stories and I have grown up around the military lifestyle. And one thing that had always been emphasized to me was, “You have to have the heart to protect something so fragile.” My dad was of course talking about the need to have the passion and the purpose to protect our fragile freedoms. I do not think that someone who is forced to be in the military will have that passion, that purpose.
Serving our country is one of the most honorable things you can do. But if your heart is not in it, how can you truly help those who are in need?
Yes the draft would help to “equalize” the types of people who make up the military — it would equalize genders, ages, races, religions, class status, etc. But what about freedom?
If we reinstate the draft, I believe it will fail. Miserably. You can not expect positive outcome from such coercion.
One assumption behind the draft is that proponents assume that the more troops we have fighting, the more assurance we have of winning. This isn’t always the case. In fact in wars that are ineffectively managed the more people we send to war, the more bloodshed and heartache that occur. My father was involved in the Vietnam War and the stories that he revealed to me of the men and woman who lost their lives in front of him was an experience I hope the United States is willing to learn from.
Did a draft help then? Vietnam was a classic example of a war that was not effectively managed. So it didn’t really matter how many soldiers we drafted and sent. Vietnam led to a Memorial Wall for about 55,000 troops who lost their lives. Tragic. Tragic. Tragic. Do we really want to make the same mistakes today?
It was Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., who proposed to reinstate the draft. What he was really doing was creating a ploy — a ploy to scare the chicken hawks into putting their own children into the war. But in reality, the rich can always get out of the responsibilities that they do not want to be involved in. Isn’t that the lesson of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush avoiding the draft of Vietnam?
Reinstating the draft should be a last resort for the United States. I personally believe that America should reinstate the draft when we are in definite need of it and only when that situation occurs. One example of this would be Dec. 7, 1941, in Pearl Harbor, a date that will live in infamy. It is clear fighting totalitarianism in World War II was far more life threatening to our country than this current “peace-keeping” role in Iraq. Our country was attacked back then, and we needed a draft. Our country is not being attacked now, so we don’t need one. It’s as simple as that.
In conclusion, we need a more effectively managed volunteer military. Not a draft. Let’s learn from our past so we are not doomed to repeat our mistakes.
Sarah Wylie is a junior at Palo Verde High School.CONTEST WINNERSarah Wylie, a student at Palo Verde High School, is the winner of the most recent student essay contest sponsored by the Review-Journal. Her submission was selected from among about 50 essays that addressed the issue of whether the United States should revive the military draft. Wylie will receive a $200 prize. Runners-up — Alex Bair and Lauren Douglas of Basic High School — will receive $50 each.