“Those who love this country have a patriotic obligation to defend this country.”
-Charles Rangel, New York House of Representatives
The nation had a draft in place between 1948 and 1973. It grew to become the center of controversy during the Vietnam War, 1964-1975, an undeclared war that was the most unpopular conflict America has fought. Since the Vietnam War and the mandatory conscription of so many of America’s young men, the idea of a military draft has been frowned upon by the majority of people. Opponents of the draft argue that there are enough volunteers who join the military to make the draft unnecessary and that forcing young men to participate in a war they might not otherwise do willingly negates basic personal freedoms. However as new wars are waged and the current War on Terrorism has stroked panic and dissent among many, the idea of reinstating the military draft has been contemplated more seriously than it has in previous years. Those who believe in reinstating the military draft and demanding forced service from America’s young men will create a more reflective demographic of the economic makeup of the nation and that those who make the decisions to enter wars will think twice if they believe that there is nothing their affluence and influence can do to save their loved ones from being conscripted.
Mandating the military draft would make certain that “there would be more equitable representation of people making sacrifices,” (Ron & Rangel, 2008). Many argue that the military volunteer and the current composition of the military consists of lower class and middle-lower class citizens who have lower economic opportunities for higher education, and so join the military for the benefits it offers. Indeed, “it is the lower classes of Americans who make the sacrifices for decisions make wholly by affluent, wealthy and educated politicians,”(Wagner, 2007). By reinstating the military draft, one would be able to equalize the demographic of the military to better reflect the economic makeup present in the United States.
Reinstating the military draft will also hold the decision makers in Washington D.C. more accountable, knowing that their sons and those close to them are at equal reach to being involved in the war as lower-class citizens. Knowing that their lives will be directly influenced if their loved ones are the ones conscripted into service will make them “feel more readily the pain that’s involved, the sacrifice that’s involved, if they thought that the fighting force would include the affluent and those who historically have avoided this great responsibility,”(Ron & Rangel, 2008). A draft in place would “serve to level the odds that a white middle to upper class kid will do military duty in wars,”( Smith, 2007). Indeed, the current volunteer military force “creates a military of economic conscripts that is 36% African-American while the population is only 14% Black,”(Milite, 2006). Reinstating the draft would serve to level the racial and economic demographic in the military and would make politicians in Washington more aware when passing bills to fight overseas wars and sending their own children to fight for America’s freedom.
A mandatory military draft would serve to both equalize the social demographic to reflect that of the nation’s and to make policy makers in power more accountable and aware of their actions by ensuring that their decisions do not only affect races and persons far from their social circles, but directly within them. It would make an America that is more accountable with everyone having the opportunity to protect and serve a country that many love so dearly.
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