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09:57 PM on 04/10/2008
Part II

The government even back then said if our military leaves Vietnam they will have infighting for decades and look, they are doing fine.

We do not need better Military men they are already the best. We need better leaders which we never seem to get because too many people in this country choose to believe th false accusations thrown at them by the other side.
Our Country is falling way behind the rest of the world in everything from the value of a dollar to sustaining and or maintaining our infrastructure which is falling apart before our eyes.

To tell you the truth I do not believe any of the current crop of Presidential Candidates is either qualified or our best choice to be President.
09:57 PM on 04/10/2008
Frank, A couple of things; First, I agree with you that their ought to be a draft. Too many in this country take their freedoms for granted and have no stake in this Country anymore. A volunteer Army is not sustainable in time of war which of course with the exception of Bush/Cheney is why all war should be avoided at all cost.
Second; Never ever ask or go by what a Marine says about military service. They are brainwashed from day one which is why they are marines for life. The Country and its leaders can do no wrong in their eyes. Ask an Army grunt about life in the Military not a lifer.

Third; I agree with those who posted earlier, I do not get why John McCain is considered a Hero. The word Hero is hioghly overused and abused in Our Country. I would be very interested in what George S Patton would have to say about POW's being Hero's. After all since he was a POW doesn't that say that he did something wrong, or screwed up?

I spent a year in combat in Vietnam and I can tell you with all certainty the only things I was fighting for was my buddy and myself.
Part II to follow
02:35 AM on 04/11/2008
You do a grave disservice to your country by insulting an entire branch. Yes, the Marines do it a little differently than the other branches, and it's true that they're often more motivated, but not by near as vast a margin as you're describing. Your experience in Vietnam is not consistent with the modern volunteer armed forces.

No, there should be no draft. The federal government has no authority to force a draft on this country's citizens; it has only the authority to summon the militia (often one in the same, but considering the neglect of the militia by Congress and the States they really aren't nowadays). The price of freedom is NOT forced service to your country, and it is NOT operating under the presumption that the government has permission to overrule your life. A draft is the robbing of one from their current daily lives, and is as deplorable as a conscript army and for the same reasons.

A volunteer army is more than capable of fighting A war. NO army is capable of fighting this current conflict the way we're fighting it.
03:32 AM on 04/11/2008
With all due respect, you, as a veteran of what most now consider one of the most unjust wars, of all people, should really consider what you are saying when you say that there should be a draft. Don't you think that would only provide more fodder for the cannon as it did for the Vietnam War? Or put more of our already well-trained, volunteer troops at a greater risk, who would be surrounded by new "soldiers," ill-prepared, both mentally and physically for the immensity of such a task as "winning" the war in Iraq (the terms of which, the administration has never really defined)? Wouldn't that just amount to more lost lives for a senseless war in a foreign land, against a foreign people, that, practically speaking, are as much a threat to our freedom now as the Vietnamese Communists were to America's liberty during the Vietnam era?
09:13 PM on 04/10/2008
Why a draft? To send more troops to Iraq? Invade Iran? Pakistan? Give me a break. The problem is that the US military is already too big and too powerful. Cut the numbers in half, keeping an all volunteer force. Stop throwing your military weight around. When, if, the country is attacked and war is formally declared, put the entire country on a war-footing: introduce the war-time draft; impose rationing; increase taxes; impose similar burdens on civilians as are required of the military. Let the people decide whether it is worth it. No draft can make an illegitimate war legitimate.
12:48 AM on 04/11/2008
"No draft can make an illegitimate war legitimate." You're right, but a draft can make an illegitimate war difficult to wage. Think if Bush announced a draft along with his decision to invade Iraq; do you think our elected officials, media, and average Americans would have so easily allowed him to lie and manipulate us? If every American was invested in our country's decision to go to war personally, they would think twice about the reasons why they are sending their sons and daughters to war. Many countries have compulsory service. I agree with this. Every eighteen year old should have to give two years to the military OR to civil service. I know this is a very unpopular decision.
08:19 AM on 04/11/2008
Military boot camp is a brainwashing regime. It has to be. The new recruit must go through a psychological breakdown induced by unrealistic physical demands. Because the new recruit is coming from a childhood of indulgence and relatively low demands upon their physical capabilities this regime creates a situation where the individual is forced to confront their own limitations. This breaks down the illusion that the person has no limitations (a common delusion of the teenage years) and leaves the individual grasping at psychological straws to maintain their sense of infallibility. The authority figure berates the recruit constantly in order to facilitate this breakdown. As the recruits muscle mass begins to build, and they become more capable of completing the regime, the authority figure begins to praise and reinforce the individuals self esteem while indoctrinating them into another set of behavioral response mechanisms and thought processes that support the new command structure. THAT is classic brainwashing.
Those who identify with 'conservative' ideological structures have dominated the military so this brainwashing regime has another goal, to indoctrinate the individual into a 'conservative' mindset and a future of supporting the 'conservative' political movement. A draft would only make this brainwashing mandatory for all citizens and we would end up, like all other police states, with a highly structured and calcified political process that would be oppressive and the very opposite of a democracy. We would be a 'republic' much like the United Soviet Socialist Republic.
09:02 PM on 04/10/2008
I really do not understand why John McCain is called a "war hero". He flew fighter aircraft and dropped bombs on civilians. He spent the war in a POW camp. He didn't volunteer for it: he was shot down. Where does the hero bit come into it? Seems to me it's a serious devaluation of the language and an insult to real heroes who actually did something extraordinarily brave and selfless to earn the accolade.
07:57 PM on 04/10/2008
Your comments are addressed to "progressives"? Exactly what is a "progressive" if not: [people who] "think they as a group have higher moral standards than [everybody else]. So if, as you say, A recent poll found that two-thirds of armed service members think they as a group have higher moral standards than the nation they serve. How is that any different? Except that in the case of the military, it might be true.
There is something "morally superior" to one's being willing to risk one's life to save others. That members of the military sometimes feel this way is merely to acknowledge that they are aware of the responsibility they've chosen as well as that the society they protect isn't the God, Mom and Apple Pie ideal of myth.
09:29 PM on 04/10/2008
Does it not occur to any of you masterminds that the financial cost of a universal draft would be absolutely prohibitive. Not to mention that in today's world you would have to scoop up the girls as well.
On another tack, I would like to thank the nitwit who was raving about his God given, pre-constitutional right(?) to possess armaments of any sort for the chuckle. I would suppose that would include ground support aircraft. I am sure there are some local folks he would enjoy gifting with a little napalm run.
05:57 PM on 04/11/2008
Repos are obviously not going to draft 'girls', just as Demos
are not going to draft *anybody*. But if they *were*, there's
no particular reason why they couldn't cut pay rates accordingly.

Draftees inevitably comprise the lowest ranks, so get the least pay.

What's the point of 'involuntary servitude' if you actually have to
pay your 'servitors' a lot of money?
04:40 PM on 04/11/2008
I'm against the draft. Had to break my comment into two parts. You only read part one. Said quite plainly in the other half of the comment that the draft is a very unmoderm and bad idea except in extremity (e.g. World War II).
07:57 PM on 04/10/2008
Have you looked around at the rest of Huff Po? Have you considered that THIS is encompassed by the free speech protections that our Constitution enshines -- all the mean-spirited name calling, the pornography, the incivility here? Would you lay down you life to protect someone else's right to these rants?
Maybe it's time we brought the rest of the country up to the high standards of the military. That said, military service needs to stay voluntary. It's not for everybody. The draft should be reserved for real desperation (as in World War II).
You don't just tote a gun and wear uniforms. Today's military is highly technical (as of course you know). For the sake of WINNING wars, we need our military force to be the best in the world. And that means volunteers.
If you want the service spread out into larger segments of our society, the way to accomplish that is to recruit -- and if you can find recruits among "progressives," hats off to you. But I wouldn't count on it.
08:05 PM on 04/10/2008
gratz on assuming that the social behavior expressed in a forum with no moderation and no reputation system is the same as the social behavior of people in the real world. Good job with that.

And I should hope that you would be willing to defend speech when you least appreciate the speech itself. That is the point of eternal vigilance. We have to guard ourselves against the temptation to restrict freedom in times of crisis because then we will yield to a perpetual crisis in order to cede those freedoms. for speech, this means defending pornography, racism, and hatred. For the 4th amendment it means accepting that there need to be limits on operations in both war and peacetime.

If you can't accept that fully then you shouldn't be in charge of sheparding our rights and liberties.
04:52 PM on 04/11/2008
The notion of our Constitutional protection of speech originated in the 17th century, and it's interesting to look at the origins. They would have had no problem with prohibiting pornography, for instance. It was political speech above all for which they claimed protection. Of course "political" is a big sphere -- one that certainly includes many things such as religious speech.
But I wasn't arguing censorship. Quite the contrary, I was only suggesting that our military follows a very nobel ideal indeed when part of the "freedom" they protect extends to a citizenry among whom many members have become selfish and corrupt.
As someone who has been censored here, at Huff Po, plenty of times -- and evidently not on account of profanity -- I would certainly champion free speech.
Regarding your intriguing remark, "If you can't accept that fully then you shouldn't be in charge of sheparding our rights and liberties," I would note that no one has put me in charge. I'm not sheparding anything. A pity, it is too. Somebody SHOULD put me in charge. With Miss Manners at my side, we could really clean this place up!
07:09 PM on 04/10/2008
People should be required to put in two years of paid public service before they are 30 without any exceptions. They should be able to choose, from available choices, what type of service that is. There would be less welfare, less crime, and a better economy. If a draft still existed, this war would be over and probably not started in the first place. People would not be so apathetic and more inclined to do something. In order to implement this, you would have to have a Constitutional Amendment.

You can't argue that something is not Constitutional as long as so many things are allowed to exist in violation of it.. You either follow the Constitution or you don't. Things like the IRS, Federal Reserve, and law enforcement seizures without due process are doing much more harm to the country than a draft would.

The good thing about not having a draft is that military pay has increased to the point where it is able to attract qualified, ambitious people. Many of the problems with the educational system would disappear if they would follow suit.
07:46 PM on 04/10/2008
Uhhh. The IRS is constitutional (amd. 16). So is the fed (commerce clause). seizures without due process are unconstitutional but what is and isn't due process is a live debate.

So please substantiate your other claims. Namely, that a draft your reduce crime, improve the economy and reduce welfare. Those are broad claims and I'm sure you have some sort of argument to support them
05:05 PM on 04/11/2008
Part 1
That sounds nice until you think of the mechanics. First is the bureaucracy that administers it. That costs a bundle. Then how are infractions enforced? And what about the inevitable exceptions? There will of course be exceptions. We already have systems in place rather like this -- consider jury duty. At least in regard to jury duty (which isn't free) it serves a very clear and significant purpose. But your two years of paid public service has no goal other than trying to make citizens be "good." It's an FDR program for digging ditches that no one needs. FDR had a depression to fight. We, however, have a very strong economy. You would take people away from the economy for two years to uphold a meaningless "moral" agenda. And what about immigrants? Especially illegal immigrants! Gracious, these questions aren't contentious and complex enough? You would ratchet them up more?
We have a volunteer military. They need a level of training of a caliber that is more strigent than ever before. We ask them to be expert at very highly technical armaments and want them to be policemen and social workers too.
05:04 PM on 04/11/2008
Part 2
If we cannot meet our country's military needs, we need to recruit. We need to ask citizens to sign up. We have to ask the "best and the brightest" to do their fair share as well. But we do not need a corps of sullen, conpulsory workers to go about a bunch of invented, busybody jobs.
Lincoln got rid of slavery a long time ago. We don't need to bring it back and make slaves of an entire generation.
Did you do your two years of conpulsory busy work yet? Why ask your kids or mine to do it?
06:25 PM on 04/10/2008
every few months this argument comes takes an idiot to proclaim that a draft will stop wars.....there is simply no historical basis for this point of take the example that always gets used (totally incorrectly) the Vietnam War didn't even begin to stop until AFTER the draft was halted....the draft made it easy to escalate the Vietnam War....a draft will make it easy to escalate the Iraq War and start new ones.....'progressives for a draft' are always talking about a fantasy draft without loopholes for the rich: talk about your fantasy scenarios!!!....lucky for us hardly anyone takes the 'progressives for a draft' seriously
06:20 PM on 04/10/2008
Our government is FOR the people, not the other way around.
I am both a member of the military and a progressive. I am quite liberal in fact. The last I checked, liberals were the proponants of The Right to Choose. I have also served 2 tours in Iraq. I do NOT feel like I am more entitled to honor, or have a particular niche in patriotism.The military is my profession of choice, nothing more, nothing less. Compulsory service sounds like a "great idea" to level the playing field in national sacrifice and service to our country. In pratice, it would be disastrous. Morale is tough enough in this idiotic war with people who actually volunteer to be here in Iraq. As an officer, the last thing I want is a man with a rifle in my ranks, who does not respect my orders while being compelled to serve in a capacity not of his choosing. We need to invest in wiser wars, not compulsary drafts.

The Consitution or Bill of Rights did not intend a draft, let alone a permanant standing army. Previous drafts evolved through circumstance and time, but precedence does not justify a breach in Constitutional principles. Our nation was born in liberty, by choice, in order to preserve domestic tranquility. Compulsive service, no matter its intentions, disrupts domestic tranquility. Tis better to lose freedom through an act ot of liberty, than to preserve freedom by giving liberty away.

. "Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death".
05:06 PM on 04/10/2008
You wont see a draft. That would put rich kids in front of bullets. That ain't gonna happen.
05:37 PM on 04/10/2008
A draft would put a lot more poor kids in front of bullets.
And where are those Iraqi Oil Revenues again?
06:12 PM on 04/10/2008
A draft would guarantee a change in American Foreign policy...I advocate an immediate 2 year mandatory armed services commitment to every able bodied American 18-24. EVERYONE excuses bottom up, no national guard, no Cheney 6 deferments, Israeli like military service commitment...1000 to 1 Americans would be far more involved in our policy making
06:15 PM on 04/10/2008
the bullets don't care either way
06:15 PM on 04/10/2008
"You wont see a draft. That would put rich kids in front of bullets."

Well, ummm, there was a draft during the Vietnam War (my draft number was 178) and those "rich kids" weren't in front of bullets then...and they wouldn't be in front of them now.

Where there's a fortune and a will, there's a way. Always will be.
05:03 PM on 04/10/2008
Whereas, I understand Frank Schaeffer's position in support of a military draft, I think it contains some logical flaws. First, if John McCain is elected president, and we institute a military draft, he will have more cannon fodder for military advertures that are not really in the national interest. Those who say that a draft will prevent wars have it back to front. It's like what Truman said about the atomic bomb, "We have it (a large army) and we have to use it." Second, a draft is necessary only in a national emergency, as was the case after Pearl Harbor. Third, a draft will get many more young men killed in useless wars, because they will go into battle not nearly so trained as they are today.

I am not against some form of National Service, but, speaking as a former Air Force officer, a draft doesn't measure up. What recruiters must be told is that enlisting into military service is dangerous. Footage of wartime casualties and damage should be required viewing for prospective recruits.
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04:54 PM on 04/10/2008
one thing the american people would definitely support is military churches in which the denominations are service branches. everybody could get dressed up in uniform every sunday and salute god before conducting manoevres. this would be very popular. this way churches could receive hundreds of billions of dollars instead of merely being tax exempt and people would be forced to acknowledge the military god they worship now anyway. this whole army deal is really churchy and god-like as it is - god being such a big fan of war and killing like it says somewhere- presumably- in whatever version of the bible these war cheerleader ministers are reading. it would end the awkward ethical complexity of worshipping jesus and bombing, torturing and shooting people overseas.
05:30 PM on 04/10/2008
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Somehow, I find it difficult to listen to someone who let's the wifey where the pants in the family.
Somehow, the thought that you would stay home tending the babies while she put her life on the line is a bit off-putting for me when you try to explain through a liberal mindset how the auther is right.
He is wrong by the way. I think a draft should be instigated, but only so more people in theis country can realise what American greatness is.
It is a common human perception: If you purchased your freedom by doing nothing it is cheap, if you sweated, bled, and strived hard for it then the freedom is priceless.
Too bad about your feet in 1976...are you absolutely sure that was the reason you never went into the military? I don't believe you myself, but I could be wrong.
Sincerely, Viet-Nam Vet
04:45 PM on 04/10/2008
Yeah, McCain has a lack of patriotism. Is it any wonder why lefties never occupy the Oval Office.
Knowledge is free
05:21 PM on 04/10/2008
McCain patriotism? Didn't McCain sign a confession of his war crimes for the North Vietnamese? Isn't that treason? He did it under duress all right, but didn't many other American POWs simply refuse to sign to the end? Imagine the cabal we would have had four years ago if John Kerry had done something similar! McCain: "Unfit for Command", for sure.
09:12 PM on 04/10/2008
After the severe torture, he taped a confession, but he purposefully spoke bad English so that it would be obvious it was coerced. He even regretted making that tape, and refused to sign any statements after that as they continued to torture him.

You should read about him and decide for yourself. The man was amazing - even refusing to be sent home until everyone caught before him was released.
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Wake up! It's 1984.
05:23 PM on 04/10/2008
That might be "any wonder" if it were true.
Artist, writer and not fond of the politically ran
04:42 PM on 04/10/2008
Thank you for this insightful article. While my own efforts to join the military failed (flat feet, Navy, 1976) I'm married to an gal who has over 25 years in as both a former enlisted Ssgt. and current officer. Because of her career I've been following her around for over 25 years as the military spouse. Nothing you've stated in this article can be denied. In my experience you've nailed it.
The military members and their families do believe they are morally superior to civilians, a maddening concept when you see how many of the same social that affect civilians affect them more or less equally.
Most of that is due to the isolationist attitudes of most service members who roll only with their own and base civilian society through the harsh glass that is our popular media.
On the other hand, to see all these civilians who think they "get" us by slapping a stupid "we support the troops" ribbon-shaped bumper sticker on their car is pretty depressing. Then there is a whole generation of kids who split between the "military can do no wrong" and "the military members are pawns of the corrupt policies of the Bush administration" and you see that there's little hope for future generations to really understand the military either. To some degree both of those mind sets have valid points.
Anyway, you have a firm grasp on our present situation in the military.
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04:37 PM on 04/10/2008
absolutely count on ANY draft scheme to have loopholes . if it's a law- it has loopholes.