THE BLOG
12/28/2011 04:07 pm ET Updated Feb 27, 2012

Lesson From Iraq: Bring Back the Draft!

If the Tea Party actually gave a damn about what the Founding Fathers said, they'd be screaming at the top of their lungs about getting rid of the most pernicious threat to our liberty and solvency that ever existed: our military. Forget about the two to six trillion dollar cost of the Iraq war (upwards of $100K per household -- how many solar panels could you buy with that?). Read the words of James Madison:

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few...No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

Debt, taxes... sounds like it's from a Tea Party manifesto, right?

And again from Madison:

"The means of defense against foreign danger have been always the instruments of tyranny at home."

It is this tyranny that we now face. Consider this piece from this week's Businessweek that Gingrich and many of the other Republican candidates have no interest in upholding Supreme Court rulings that they disagree with.

What is going on here? How are Tea Partiers and other "conservatives" able to defend rampant military spending but still decry taxes and debt -- when feckless military spending ($700 Billion annually and growing) is what brought us to this overtaxed and indebted state. Why would they rather spend money on the apparatus of killing than on health care for the uninsured or food for the hungry? How are they able to ignore the teachings of their own heroes?

I was recently illuminated in this department by reading an amazing book by Bob Altemeyer titled The Authoritarians. He explains how there is a segment of the population that is willing to believe, and more importantly act, on whatever information their authorities tell them. These proto-fascists operate in a toxic mix of fear and self-righteousness, and have highly compartmentalized brains, so they are able to spurn science (like the belief in evolution or global climate disruption) and cherry pick their beliefs based on the half-baked nonsense their leaders tell them. Circumspection is for ninnies. They are right, and they are afraid, and the solution to everything is more violence and suppression, whether it be prisons, anti-immigrant legislation, more guns, more wars, or curtailing our rights to speech, privacy, or assembly.

What might a rational response be to the horrors of the Iraq war, a war that probably gave me (and everyone else in the world) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder even though I was always at least four thousand miles away? I would like to suggest it might be the draft -- no exceptions. No standing armies -- they are the seeds of tyranny, just like our Founding Fathers said they were. And no more wars fought by the poor and the dispossessed. Every healthy adult man and woman should be required to fight in any future conflict that some megalomaniac president wants to start... and we'll see how far she (or he) gets. Unless there's a better reason than the lies behind the Iraq war (falsified WMDs and al Qaida connections), I won't be going. But I won't be quiet about it, either.