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April 23, 2004
What is there to fear about the draft?
Your money or your life
With news that Pat Tillman died in Afghansidstan today, you have to acknowledge, even before he died, that he gave up a lot.
He could have signed a $3.6 million deal, but chose, in 2002, to go active duty and become an Army Ranger.
He didn't need a draft to participate and his level of respect earned is high. He earned it going in. His whole family, unfortunately now has to pay the consewauence - though I'm sure, as I would be, that they are very proud. (kind of beats the well if you werew Alex Rodriguez wouldn't you accfept the 225 million, too BS).
But people earn respect in different ways. Whicj is why I think a draft is an extrmely bad idea. What a draft tells people is many things.
1 - Joining the military is the most important thing you can do in your life.
2- Everyone should be ready to kill.
3 - Your freedoms are protected - unless your government says they're not.
To be sure, it brignsd a country closer together in true war times. Well, at least it did before Vietnam. Now, arguably, American citizens ar emore informed and more questionign and they don't always byuy that every time American sends out soldiers it's a great idea.
Count me in that camp. I'm still young enough for the draft and if drafted I know I would serve. But I don't think I would do so to serve my country.
I think I serve it in many ways already - none that should earn the same level fo respect for someone who truly is on the front lines, with their life in danger. I love everything the country stands for - but I realize it doesn't always get there. And I would not feel comfortable fighting wars I didn't agree with.
But I would serve. A large part of that resoilve comes from the peer pressure I would feel. I would feel alientated if I refused the draft. Career-wise if I refused I'd be sunk for at least the next 25 years.
Yes, even as a journalist and perhaps especially as a journalist because I would be seen as a coward and as unpatriotic by at least some of the people I work with (and others would be easily swayed) but more importantly by readers.
I would be dismissed because anyone sane just would not refuse the draft.
Tacitus's commentators have a take here
Speaking more politically, if a draft was instituted how wrong would Dr. Defense (Donald Rumsfeld) be proved in his urgent need to scale back the army and the resources alloted to it?
Speaking more politically, the draft would cost big bucks for little gain.
Speaking more poltically, how would the country reconsile the draft and the more higly paid contract fighters (mercenaries to some).
Speaking more politically, being forced to fight is not freedom at all. Those who want to fight and become soldiers - already do (except those too old to do so).