Debating the Draft with Myself
Resolved: that the United States should instate a military draft. This is the first debate topic of the year and I think it will be very interesting to take it on. There are good arguments for both sides and I think I will be able to do well with both. More interesting, however, is that I am not quite sure what my actual opinion on this is. When Mr. Ortiz first wrote the resolved up on the board I was entirely sure that I was completely against the draft. Now after some more research and thought about the idea I am not so sure. First of all this is an interesting topic because it is not one that falls along the "left vs. right" measuring line. It isn't a case of the "far" ends vs. the moderates either. Much more it is a case of authoritarianism vs. libertarianism, the two oft-forgotten points of the political compass. For me, it really comes down to a much harder choice: freedom vs. equality. In an economic context of course I am very intent on seeking equality as opposed to what most people see as freedom. I don't think that our current economic system has very much freedom in it anyways, so in achieving equality I think greater freedom could be found as well. In regards to the draft, an indiscriminate involvement of all citizens in war would mean that it wouldn't mainly be just the socially disadvantaged who decide to become soldiers in our volunteer military. Joining the military has many financial and educational incentives as it is, but they are only such that they would largely appeal to people poorer than myself. It is said over and over again how much of a sacrifice that soldiers make. Why is that sacrifice not shared then? Why is the pain and suffering of war distributed so unequally? Another major point for instating the draft is that Americans need to be more involved and concerned with the wars in which we are involved. Most people are entirely disconnected from the violence and tragedy resulting from our battles on the other side of the world. With a draft, the entire population would become much more concerned about the actions our nation takes. Sure most of the country may be unhappy with the war in Iraq, but if many were forced to go there they would immediately become much more intent to stop it. Despite these convincing points, I still cannot accept such a Machiavellian method of achieving equality or civic involvement. It is fundamentally wrong in my mind for the government to force such a major burden upon its people and remove some of their freedom (limited as it is) to do what they will. It is also fundamentally risky. A volunteer military system acts in its own way as a democratic meter of support for warfare. The military's failure to meet recruitment goals in the past few years has been cheering news for me, and in the end the freedom to not be in the military is one that I very much enjoy.