A senior House Democrat said Sunday he will introduce legislation to reinstate the military draft, asserting that current troop levels are insufficient to sustain possible challenges against Iran, North Korea and Iraq.
"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," said Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.
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I think what he's saying is that if this country is so militaristic then let's bring back the draft so everyone can have a chance send their kids into service. And if that idea sounds sour then maybe we should sober up a little bit. I think, maybe, Rangel was being facetious like that. And if he wasn't then I just did it for him.
It's a novel idea to consider that the draft increases peace. But that's as polite as I'll be about it. Our own draft during the Cold War helped enhance a militaristic fantasy that we needed the extra security and extra suspicion. That draft only led to two unwinable wars before it was dismantled. Not a very good track record.
So, what deters baseless wars? Is it true that to have peace you must prepare for war? If the draft were in place in this country how would our society be different? If everyone had a common foundation in an organization that relies on conformity and power would we be more or less likely to rush off to a war?
One needs only to look around the world that those countries that do prepare for war often become intoxicated with that power. They often rely heavily on the military and aggressive methods. Peace is a matter of using an array of skills at your disposal, not simply creating a nation that views every problem as a nail. The military has a place in any nation that values its survival. But it should be a sober necessity, not an empowering pleasure.
In a Democratic society peace is enhanced by education and cooperation with other countries. Europe learned that lesson after continuous bloodshed. Perhaps we are learning that lesson too. If people are easily swayed they can be talked into just about any war, whether the draft exists or not. A more open and sincere dialog on war, and the need for certain wars is needed.
Rangel's goal to deter war and share the sacrifice is admirable, but we don't believe the answer lies in introducing even more people to the harsh tools of statehood. If you want to prepare for peace increase education spending.