For the past few decades, the phrase “military draft” has been a verbal taboo in the U.S. But with the war in Iraq showing bipolar results and the possible threat of U.S. military conflict with Iran on the horizon, the phrase continues to pop up every now and then. Of course, I find the odds of reinstating the draft to be miniscule. But to some, the idea is not as farfetched. Blogger Paul Abrams of the Huffington Post wrote in a March 1 post that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., secretly plans on bringing back the draft if he wins the presidency. By way of rebuttal, McCain responded by citing his “confidence” that young Americans would be willing to volunteer in sufficient numbers without a draft. Abrams, as a way to justify his argument, used the fact that the number of said volunteers is not at a sufficient level. “He will not tell you this, but here is the answer: He will have to call for a military draft – period,” Abrams wrote. “No, McCain is not joking about his war policies. He just will not tell the truth about the implications.” The idea is scary, no doubt. Of course, I remember hearing the same threats in 2003, just after the United States invaded Iraq. It’s 2008, and I’m still waiting for a draft to happen. Fortunately, the odds of such an event occurring are very minimal, if you look at a few details. One of the greatest privileges we have as U.S. citizens is the fact that our armed forces are based solely on volunteer service. For the past few decades, American youth have enjoyed the luxury of knowing they do not need to enlist in the armed forces if they do not wish. All that’s asked in return is male registration for the Selective Service, just in case. It wasn’t always like this. I’m sure we’ve all heard of the draft controversy during the Vietnam War. Every college campus from Maine to California was nearly in flames with young men avoiding the winds of war. Jump ahead a few decades, and one will find a CNN poll from Aug. 9, 2006, showing 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the current war in Iraq. Just the idea of bringing back the draft would be risky for anyone in this government to handle. Of course, there are a few oddballs out there. In November 2006, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., announced on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that he would introduce legislation for the conscription of men and women between 18 and 42 years of age. “There’s no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq,” Rangel said, “if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm’s way.” The Universal National Service Act of 2007, or HR 393, was introduced to the House of Representatives in January of that year. The Web site GovTrack.us shows the bill gained only two co-sponsors and remains under the category “Introduced” to this day. In other words, it’s dead. So that was the end of Chuck Rangel’s draft crusade. Finally, with sugar on top, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stated the following before Congress in June 2005: “There isn’t a chance in the world that the draft will be brought back,” he said. See? Even the most conservative people in the government disagree with the idea of bringing back the draft. So, looking at these factors, there really is nothing to worry about when the draft is mentioned. It’s been on the minds of some politicians and many males throughout the United States for some time. However, talk is likely as far as the idea will get. And if any candidate for president risks the return of conscription, the fallout will more than likely hurt them worse than us. History promises us that.
Grady Bolding is a junior in theatre. Please send comments to [email protected]