Has the Time Come To Completely Abolish the United States Draft?
On Jeff's 18th birthday, my partner called him pretending to be from the Selective Service and grilled him on whether or not he'd signed up for the draft yet, now that he was officially 18-years-old. My brother hadn't been 18 for more than a few hours and had only just woken up so he was so confused about what was happening.
We laughed about it through the years but I'm not laughing anymore. When I lay in bed with my little boy, stroking his hair and feeling the rise and fall of his chest, I pray that God keeps him safe and that he never has to see the horror of war.
I dread the day that my son turns 18 and has to sign up for the draft. However, if and when the day comes that he makes the decision, of his own free will, to join the military, I will put on a brave and proud face for him. I just pray that he doesn't face a day when his number is called, and he is forced into a war that he doesn't want to be part of.
I am the daughter of a soldier and come from a strong military family. I am pro-military. I am pro-America. However, I am also pro-choice when it comes to making the decision to serve and believe that in most (not all) cases, those who make the selfless decision to join the military of their own free will tend to fare better than those who aren't allowed to make their own enlistment decision.
I work side by side with veterans who were drafted into the Vietnam War and have come to the conclusion that while they did what they were called to do, the requirement to serve impacted a good number of the gentlemen for the rest of their lives and not in good or desirable ways. They didn't sign up of their own desire to serve and now they are left with scars both physically and mentally.
I should note that I have several female friends who joined the military of their own free will and have served our country valiantly. I also should note that this September 11 will mark 20 years since terrorists infiltrated our country and when the call came for people to stand up and serve in the days and months following, they did. I have to believe that if we were ever faced with a situation such as 9/11 again (and I pray we don't), we would see people step up and volunteer to serve.
In 1973, the draft was abolished but the Selective Service brought it back in 1980 when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan and the threat to the United States national defense was deemed a big enough one to bring back the draft. The draft was not used after it was brought back 41 years ago.
According to an article in Time written by Elliot Ackerman, a man who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, "71 percent of Americans ages 17 to 24 do not meet the physical or mental qualifications for military service."
Although Ackerman holds a different view than I do and believes a draft might be exactly what our country needs to make people care again, I don't believe that love for our country is as dead as most believe it to be. I believe, deep in my heart, that there are more people who love this county and would jump to defend her if asked than those who wouldn't.
I hope that my small child will one day only serve if it is a decision he makes, not because he has been mandated to by the government through a draft. However, no matter what choice my son makes when he is old enough, this family of mine will continue to love our country and respect her military. We will continue to proudly fly our American flag and participate in patriotic activities. We will continue to carry pride in our hearts for our country and those who defend her.
Do you think that it's time to abolish the United States draft? Do you believe that there are enough people who would be willing to stand up and serve of their own free will if asked? Or, do you think the draft is needed, something that our country should hold in her back pocket in the event that, God forbid, defenders are needed but not enough stand up?