Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Architecture

The title and picture are intended to help get your attention as I present ideas and thoughts about the draft.

There is discussion in the media and in politics about military preparedness, the accomplishment of recruiting goals, the socio-economic make-up of those actually serving in the Armed Forces, and draft reinstatement. One U. S. Congressman said that he plans to present legislation in the next Congress to reinstate the draft. I won't write his name here because I don't want my upcoming views to be considered political. My view of why I believe we need the draft has nothing to do with Democrat, Republican or current administration.

I have read a couple newspaper editorial pages and listened to a radio talk show about the reasons we don't need the draft. Specifically, I've read the Winston-Salem Journal, The Wall Street Journal, and listened to the morning commentators on 101.1 FM. Brad and Britt on WZTK in Burlington, North Carolina discussed one morning a GI Bill equivalent to the one following WWII as an incentive to recruit more volunteers. They correctly pointed out the great investment in America this entitlement produced following the Great War. They raised the question: "why shouldn't anyone who serves in the military get a full scholarship to any college of their choice if the veteran qualifies and gains acceptance to the college?"

The Winston-Salem Journal editorial wrote "No to Draft" on November 22 because "A draft would not end socio-economic disparity in the military....unless it was a universal draft with no volunteer forces." The editorial writer also reasoned that a draft "carries with it a whole new set of problems, the worst being the weakening of the American forces, ...".

The Wall Street Journal editorial on November 25 quoted statistics from a recent Heritage Foundation report that state 97% of enlistees are high school graduates, the poor are underrepresented, and Hispanic Americans are overrepresented in the military. They further quote the Heritage study author and Air Force veteran who says "the military doesn't want a draft. What the military wants is the most effective fighting force they can field."

My view is different. It is bad public policy to staff the military with all volunteers and then send these volunteers on three tours of duty in Iraq over six years, as we're doing with the Third Infantry Division. These soldiers and their families are repeatedly put in harm's way and are required to make sacrifices beyond reasonable expectations. We should not defend our country's interest with a minimum force of military volunteers and contractors. Our Armed Forces should reflect the make-up of our society so all of us have an interest in where our troops are deployed.

Return here on Friday, December 1 for continuing thoughts about the architecture of a military force.

Have a good day!

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