Militarism + Manichaeanism + Conscription = Peace?

Charlie Rangel and other liberals want a return to the draft on the basis of some ahistorical notion that it will prevent future wars. (See here for some background on all the wars conscription hasn’t prevented.) For one thing, as Scott points out below, no draft would ever be imposed without all sorts of loopholes and exemptions the powerful and politically connected could exploit – and if Charlie Rangel is so convinced the conscription of “fortunate sons” would do the trick, then why not propose a targeted draft? Children of elected officials only…

Not that I would support that, either. It’s quite legitimate to ask why – if this war is so critical to America’s well-being – Jenna, Barbara, Chelsea, et al. (not to mention the children of pro-war pundits) aren’t “serving.” But there’s no justice in forcing Jenna, Barbara, Chelsea, et al. to go kill or die because their parents are a**holes.

The draft should be opposed on first principles of individual rights. Besides, the utilitarian antiwar argument for conscription avoids unpleasant fundamental truths. There’s no quick procedural fix for American militarism. Radical cultural changes are necessary to shift this country from an aggressive, imperial posture to a defensive, noninterventionist one. Switzerland is a peaceful country with no expansionist tendencies; Israel, not so much. Mandatory military service in both countries is a rights violation, of course, yet it leads to very different results because Switzerland and Israel have very different societies. Anyone want to guess which of those two societies American elites (and, it must be said, many, many regular folks) believe we should be more like?