A Superfluous Draft: The Consequences Essay
Conscription can be defined as a compulsory enrollment of people for military service. It was first established in the United States during the Civil War, and became known as the Selective Service. However, it quickly proved to be unpopular and unfair. Its lack of amiability has remained the same for generations, and shows no sure signs of changing. Since the Civil War, there have been many changes to the Selective Service.
In the early days, one could pay a flat sum of $300 to be exempt from the draft.Congress soon began to realize that this gave the wealthy an unfair advantage, so it decided to defer only those whose high-level education would come to an abrupt halt if they were to be drafted. This again provided the wealthy with an inequitable advantage because only they had the money to be continuing their education at the college level. As a result of the multifarious number of casualties during Vietnam, and because Congress was having a difficult time establishing a fair draft, the Selective Service was abandoned (Register 1).
Decades have passed since Vietnam, and the draft has grown to be a sensitive subject of discussion. Its controversy makes it one of the most intimidating issues for a politician to bring to the table. Recently, however, stout politicians such as Senator Ernest Hollings, R-S. C.
, and Representative Charles Rangel, D-N. Y, have daringly spoken out in an effort to reinstitute the military draft in the United States (Abrahamson 1). Politicians and civilians alike have been spit into two sides: those who agree to a reinstitution of the draft and those who oppose.A successful and worthwhile reinstitution of the draft is highly unlikely because of the inevitable number of draft dodgers, the skewed ratio of cost to benefits, and the overall lack of immediate need for civilian troops. If the draft were to be reintroduced, the age-old problem of draft dodging would be sure to arise. Congress would not be able to make a completely solid and fair set of regulations that would require all U.
S. citizens and residents between the ages of 18 and 26 to serve approximately two years of military or civilian service (Moskos and Glastris 4). Just as in other wars, people will find a way to get out of it.Charles Rangel says that he will attempt to make the draft fair by stating that, “Only those needing additional time to complete high school could receive a deferment…
” (qtd. in Abrahamson 1). However his attempt at equality will fail. In the past, the U. S. government has given deferments to those individuals with medical problems, educational issues, and other deceptive excuses to avoid the draft (Henderson 1).
There will also be people who now feel very content with a reinstitution of the draft, but who will drastically falter when their number is called (Conservative chicken-hawks 4).Others may even go to the extreme of fleeing to a nearby country such as Canada if they are called upon to serve. If an individual is really serious about not wanting to serve, he will do whatever possible to beat the system, and he will succeed. Our government does not have the stamina to be strict and forceful when making a controversial decision. There will never be a perfect draft in which every citizen has an equal possible obligation to serve. There will always be ways to get around the draft, no matter how stringent the regulations.
Even if the government were to find a solution to the problem of draft dodgers, other negative effects of a draft would be sure present themselves. Before making any executive decision, it is always necessary to weigh the costs and benefits of the effects of that decision. In this particular scenario, the costs greatly outweigh the benefits. Drafts have been shown to supply thousands of unqualified, unprofessional civilians who cause more harm than they are worth.
Studies done during Vietnam and other wars suggest that in general, draftees have had performed at a less professional level than those who were recruited.A majority of the soldiers killed during Vietnam were untrained, unprofessional, unmotivated draftees. For many recruited soldiers, morale can be low during times of war; for nearly all drafted soldiers, the morale is even lower because they never wanted to be there in the first place. People tend to be lazy and careless when they are unwillingly doing a job. This is how devastating military mistakes can occur, costing the lives of allies.
When people are forced to do something against their will, there is always that risk that they may not perform at their fullest potential (Nimmo 1-5).Another risk that arises when people are forced into a grind is a revolt against their leaders. This concept known as fragging occurs all too often in times of war. Kurt Nimmo, a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico reminds the public that: “Last time young people were forced into the military meat grinder, many responded by fragging officers” (1). Over time, some military draftees can develop such a rage and disgust for being forced to participate in war that they take all of their anger out on other officers or generals.
A battalion that contains irate soldiers itching to kill their own generals is completely useless in helping to win a war. The cost in dollars of a reinstitution of the draft would be in the billions. This money would be taken straight from the incomes of American families, and it would cause yet another undesired tax increase. The son of a former Vietnam vet pointed out a technical problem with the draft when he said, “The Armed Forces have become much more technical than in the days of the draft, and consequently training time is much longer” (Conservative chicken-hawks 3).It would indeed cost an arm and a leg to train average people on highly technical devices of war.
Eighteen months of required service is hardly enough time to make the money seem worthwhile. Many military positions require several months of excruciating training, and some military personnel will have completed their 18 months of service before they have even stepped foot on the battlefield (3). The most important and obvious reason for not reintroducing the draft is the simple fact that it is not needed.We have more civilians than ever who are volunteering to participate in the armed forces. Our country is stronger than ever before because of its immense military and its high technological advancements that are second to none (Register 1). Bryan Register, a columnist for the Daily Texan states the most obvious reason for not proposing a draft when he declared that, “Reinstituting a draft might make some sort of sense were the United States threatened with conquest” (1).
It is absurd to request for something when there is no need or shortage.The results of the war in Afghanistan and the recent war in Iraq prove that our military forces are not in an immediate dire need of more personnel. Our current forces have done an excellent job in freeing the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq, and they showed no signs of weakness (Diller 2). These countries are slowly beginning to operate efficiently on their own, and the US government will soon be able to use forces that are currently stationed in Iraq or Afghanistan for other missions if any should arise.
With all of the new recruiting programs that have just come into effect in the past couple of years, the U.S. military will only continue to grow larger and stronger. Today, the military is more active than ever with presenting demonstrations to schools across the United States, in hopes to recruit interested seniors. The military has picked a strategic time to increase their efforts on recruiting, as moral and patriotism have recently been fairly high (Abrahamson 3).
Draft dodgers, dangerous and expensive costs, and the lack of immediate need for more military personnel are only a few of the many problems that will inevitably be created by a reinstitution of the draft.A draft should only be used under certain extenuating circumstances when the military is in a state of emergency due to a lack of troops (Register 1). A draft should certainly not be taken lightly. It is a serious issue, and it needs to be looked at and studied very seriously before any final decision can be made. It should serve as a last resort in a time of national emergency. It is currently being wrongly used by Charles Rangel to serve as a political point.
Rangel feels that minorities make up an unfair percentage of the total number of military personnel (Abrahamson 1).Most of these minorities are actually happy to serve their country and are content with their benefits and job security. For many of them, participating in the Armed Forces is exactly what they want to be doing and they do not feel misrepresented. So far, Congress has not been impressed with the weak reasons to reinstitute the draft.
For now at least, a draft seems highly unlikely (Diller 1). As the US military continues to fight in this ongoing war on terrorism, it may sooner or later need to call upon civilians to serve. However, until then the military should not jump to conclusions or take preemptive actions.