With all this talk about a draft, I thought that,
as a professional soldier, I'd throw my two cents worth in.
Let me begin by saying that I'm against a general draft for a number of reasons.
Conscription makes free citizens into slaves and the property of the state.
A draft also gives the state a large standing army, and having such an army
creates too great a temptation for politicians to use it.
However, I find it patently un-American and unpatriotic to place the burden
of war on a small stratum of society. I'm not speaking of just the actual blood
and guts fighting, but the entire burden of war.
War is a sad event that, in a great nation like the United States, should be
First, there is the issue of whose children shall actually go and do the fighting
and dying. I notice that the children of our political elite are not here with
us in Iraq. I think we need a rather selective draft to fix this obvious oversight.
Specifically, we need to draft, right now, the children of every politician
in our federal government and every executive in our military industrial complex.
We must also draft the wife or husband of each politician and defense contractor.
They will be put into frontline combat units in the most dangerous areas. They
could, for instance, be used as shock troops in operations like Najaf and Fallujah.
After all, if it's good enough for our kids and spouses, it's got to be good
enough for theirs.
These spouses and kids need to serve on a "first in, last out" basis. They
will be required to roll up their sleeves and take the anthrax and other experimental
injections and drugs that the soldiers do. They will go to war with the same
equipment the rest of us use, and if there is a shortage of items like body
armor, boots or uniforms, they will be at the end of the receiving line.
Second, there is the issue of solidarity within the government. Take, for instance,
the status of reservists, men and women who patriotically remain in the military
on a reserve status and go to war when they are called upon.
In almost every case (except perhaps for officers, who actually get a good
paycheck), the soldiers and reservists must not only leave behind family and
friends, they must also leave behind their jobs. We usually take a massive pay
cut for the privilege of living in squalid conditions away from family and friends
in defense of our Republic.
For the record, most of us reservists didn't sign up for the money; we signed
up to defend our country. But given that the last few wars we've been sent to
fight have NOT been in defense of our Constitutional Republic, but rather of
some politician's notion of "global security" or "national interest," pardon
me if we get a little upset at the wrecking of our careers, our bank accounts
and our families.
I believe the oath of enlistment we took said something about defending the
Constitution, not about defending some despotic little regime such as Kuwait
or liberating people 10,000 miles from our home. Remember, we are a Constitutional
Republic, not an Empire.
Politicians believe that the military and reservists can be deployed frequently,
for long periods of time, without causing any problems. As a result, soldiers
are leaving the military in a steady flow, so many that the military has put
into effect a "stop loss" program, which basically means, "You ain't getting
out until we say so, contracts and regulations be damned."
Perhaps we need to level the playing field a bit. Whenever our nation goes
to war, our political leadership must be given the glorious privilege of bearing
the same burdens that we troops do. This is a basic principle called "jump first,
eat last," or leading by example. A good leader faces the same hardships as
his or her soldiers, making sure that their needs are taken care of first, even
if it means that he or she does without.
Therefore, when troops go into the field, all of our "public servants" need
to move out of their homes and into tents or barracks with conditions identical
to those of the soldiers. They will eat the same kind of food that their soldiers
do and sleep in the dirt, on cots or in bunk beds.
They will also take a 50% cut in pay, although they will get to keep their
benefits and retirement programs. We won't ask them to go so far as to shut
down their businesses and lose their clients (as some of us in the reserves
must), but they will have to get by on less just like the rest of us do. They
will, of course, be protected by the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act from
creditors seizing their homes, property and businesses while they are deployed.
They will not be allowed to see their spouses (who, you'll recall, will be
serving in the frontlines) or children, but they will be given free postage
on their mail home. We will allow AT&T to set up pay phone banks just like
the soldiers have over here (yes, we have to pay for those calls). We'll also
have "Internet cafés" set up so that they can wait in line and sit in
a hot tent to send an email to their families. Maybe we'll spring for a web
cam or two!
We won't make them face actual danger, though; that's the job of the trained
professionals. Besides, if their children and spouses are serving in combat,
they will have enough on their minds as it is.
Of course, we could just limit ourselves to only declaring wars and deploying
troops to defend our Constitutional Republic, but then what do I know? I'm only