Thanks to recent talk about extended U.S. presence in Iraq, the media--mostly the blogosphere--is awash with talk about the possibility of America reinstituting the draft. This comes despite Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's consistent assurances that "The last thing we need is a draft." But Rumsfeld's track record with reality-based pronouncements hasn't been all that accurate, so there's good reason to be concerned.
Plenty of other high profile people have talked about the necessity for a draft over the past few years, among them Senator Charles Rangel (D, New York), Senator Charles Hagel (R, Nebraska), and most recently, celebrity sports announcer and self-confessed Vietnam-era draft dodger Jim Lampley.
The arguments for a draft look something like this:
-- A draft will make all Americans share the burden of the war.
-- A draft will spread the burden of service across all economic classes.
-- A draft will bring blue and red states together, making them both take a more critical look at Bush administration war policies and actions.
-- A draft will make the Iraq war end sooner.
These arguments are pure baloney.
American taxpayers have shared the burden of hundreds of billions of dollars to support this woebegone war. We'll be paying off the debt created by the Iraq excursion for generations.
Any new draft will be like the last draft. The underprivileged and undereducated will become rifle soldiers. The Bush twins will serve as flight attendants with the Air National Guard.
A draft will just be one more thing for the blue and red states to separate on. Blue staters will blame the need for a draft on the red staters who voted for Bush. Red staters will blame the need for the draft on the Blue staters who didn't provide enough volunteers. '
A draft won't shorten the war; it will just add fuel to the fire. We're far better off to let this conflagration burn itself out.