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Bring back The Draft (Univeral Service)?

#1 User is offline   pbleighton 

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Posted 2007-January-16, 16:33

Congressman Rangel has been pushing this idea for quite a while.

It would make it harder for a President to start a major, sustained war, especially one which would involve an occupation of a decent-sized country. Perhaps you think this is good, perhaps you think this is bad.

There would very likely be a non-military form of service alonf with the draft, so it would really be a form of universal serevice for a year or two.

It would be very expensive.

It would create a commonality of experience.

It would be a form of involuntary servitude?

What do you think?

For me, I find it interesting, but at the end I come down against it, primarily because of the involuntary servitude argument.

Peter
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#2 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2007-January-16, 16:37

So much for Duty to country...just another right wing militaristic catch phrase to make fun of.
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#3 User is offline   jtfanclub 

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Posted 2007-January-16, 17:12

pbleighton, on Jan 16 2007, 05:33 PM, said:

It would make it harder for a President to start a major, sustained war, especially one which would involve an occupation of a decent-sized country. Perhaps you think this is good, perhaps you think this is bad.

That's why they changed a large number of functions (like supply) from Army to National Guard after Viet Nam. The theory was, you couldn't have an extended war that the people were against, because so many families would be affected by the war whose kids just joined the 'weekend warriors' and never expected to see combat that the populace would rise up against it.

Didn't work so well, did it?

I don't think having a draft would have stopped this war, especially if universal service is an option.

Universal service actually isn't expensive at all, in fact, it would probably save us money. Think if in the two years of service they got one year's worth of college education in (which wouldn't be tough). The cost of feeding, clothing, etc. those kids for two years would be far less than educating them for one, and that assumes that universal service wouldn't directly save us money (by having them, say, repair roads and dig ditches) or do so in the long run (by instilling discipline and thereby reducing crime and poverty).

Is it involuntary servitude? Is middle school? Are taxes? If you can leave the country and give up citizenship then it isn't really involuntary, all of those things are pretty much either-or.

It sure would increase the cost of hamburgers, though. Fast food restaurants and similar businesses rely on those 18-19 year olds to do most of the work. Taking them out of the pool would hurt them a lot. Me, I'll settle for having a national program that will give anybody who wants it food, medical, shelter, and 5 grand a year in return for work. Let's see how many people take them up on it.
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#4 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2007-January-16, 17:20

Rumsfield theory was that tech would allow for a much smaller army. A voluntary army would be much more effective than an army of disgruntled people who hate being there.

He may be correct on both points yet.
1) Tech may be able to fight insurgents or a war on radical islam as well or poorly as a 2 million man army.
2) A small highly motivated group maybe more effective.

At the very least let us not dismiss these ideas out of hand.
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#5 User is offline   DrTodd13 

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Posted 2007-January-16, 18:01

Rangel is an idiot. Walter Williams has a great economic evaluation of the draft. What gets used more? Product X with a price Y or product X with a price less than Y? The answer is simple. For the same product, if you charge less you get more demand for it and therefore more use. Look at the wages paid to people who are conscripted compared to the wages paid to those who volunteer. The wages paid to those who are conscripted is much less than those who have to be seduced with money before volunteering. Therefore, if we reinstate the draft we will only have the tendency for more war. His ridiculous assertion is that this will hit the families of the legislators and therefore they will be careful about starting wars. When we had the draft, does anyone really believe that the children of the wealthy had any problem avoiding service if they wanted to? The system is rife with corruption. Increase the minimum wage? Yes we will the Dems say. Oh..but wait...we won't increase it for tuna canneries in San Francisco. Why them? Surprise surprise, Nancy Pelosi's district.

Nevermind the fact that conscription is slavery. If the country is really being threatened then people will volunteer.
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#6 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2007-January-16, 18:15

I have mixed feelings about the renewing draft:

On the one hand, I don't think that the draft really makes sense from a military perspective. The US military is a very high tech organization. It takes a long time to train a soldier/sailor/airman. I think that it would be incredibly wadteful to draft a bunch of green young kids, spend 18 monthes whipping them intoshape, then having them all leave the military as soon as they were starting to be productive. As far as I understand matters, most of the military branches agree with this assessment and strongly prefer a volunteer system.

On the other hand, I understand the argument that we may be seeing a severe disconnect between the political class and the folks who actually serve in the military. I think that the "Chicken-Hawk" line is fairly apt. Its disgraceful to see folks like Lieberman, Cheney, and Kagan displaying their extreme blood-lust when they all had other priorities during any one of a number of conflicts.

Ultimately, I think that I'm opposed to bringing back the draft. I have to believe that there are other ways to check the government from launching idiotic wars.
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#7 User is offline   luke warm 

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Posted 2007-January-16, 18:50

i'm not sure if i posted this before, but it was heinlein (i think) in one of his books who had a voluntary military, with a twist... the twist was, only veterans could vote... the vast majority did not join, and could not vote, but were fine with that tradeoff

i'm against a draft for a lot of reasons, but would institute one in case of nat'l emergency.. i don't share todd's optimism should we be threatened
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#8 User is offline   pbleighton 

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Posted 2007-January-16, 19:05

"That's why they changed a large number of functions (like supply) from Army to National Guard after Viet Nam. The theory was, you couldn't have an extended war that the people were against, because so many families would be affected by the war whose kids just joined the 'weekend warriors' and never expected to see combat that the populace would rise up against it.

Didn't work so well, did it?"

The National Guard is voluntary, not to mention almost unheard of among children of the upper middle class. A BIG difference.

"I don't think having a draft would have stopped this war, especially if universal service is an option."

Possibly on this war.

Peter
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#9 User is offline   DrTodd13 

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Posted 2007-January-16, 19:10

If we get invaded and people don't volunteer then maybe what people are saying is that they would prefer to live under the governance of the people invading rather than their current governance. Anyway, if you don't value your freedom enough to volunteer to fight for it then you don't deserve it.
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#10 User is offline   pbleighton 

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Posted 2007-January-16, 19:30

"If we get invaded and people don't volunteer then maybe what people are saying is that they would prefer to live under the governance of the people invading rather than their current governance. Anyway, if you don't value your freedom enough to volunteer to fight for it then you don't deserve it."

This comment is totally irrelevant to the question.

Peter
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#11 User is online   Winstonm 

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Posted 2007-January-16, 21:03

I lived through a period of the draft - from a personal perspective I am very much against it. We are kidding ourselves to think that when powerful people want war there is any way to stop it.
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#12 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2007-January-16, 22:43

The only draft that I am aware of is the one that appears to be flowing through the ears of the politicians that want it. No sentient being would.
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#13 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2007-January-16, 23:02

pbleighton, on Jan 17 2007, 04:30 AM, said:

"If we get invaded and people don't volunteer then maybe what people are saying is that they would prefer to live under the governance of the people invading rather than their current governance. Anyway, if you don't value your freedom enough to volunteer to fight for it then you don't deserve it."

This comment is totally irrelevant to the question.

Peter

Come on Peter...

You have to love that DrTodd of all people posted this.

Recall all of Todd's rants about the evil oppressive United States government depriving him of his natural rights and freedoms.

Last I heard, Todd was working for Intel rather than manning the ramparts fighting for his rights...

Kinda puts things into perspective
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#14 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2007-January-17, 00:28

Al_U_Card, on Jan 16 2007, 11:43 PM, said:

The only draft that I am aware of is the one that appears to be flowing through the ears of the politicians that want it.  No sentient being would.

Really?

This seems a bit strong. Is Bin laden correct, the west is into appeasement?

"Rangel is an idiot"

The democrat from Harlem and ex GI is not an idiot.

Heck we may disagree strongly(extremely) on tax policy and other issues, but I really respect the man and would be honored to share a beer with him.
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#15 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2007-January-17, 04:55

This proposal is ridicolous. Mike777 and DrTood are right.

In Denmark, they still have the draft. It works like this: some randomly chosen young men vaste one year of their most productive age, playing cowboys and indians. Whenever Denmark has to send soldiers to peace-guarding missions abroad, they send volunteers, for two obvious reasons: first, no officer would like to babysit incompetent and unmotivated draftees. Second, it would be cruel to force someone to do such a dangerous job against his will.

I can understand that some politicians have such an obsession with being in charge of other people's destiny that they really need to introduce slavery. Please let the slaves clean streets, then. Knowing that everybody has to clean it up might motivate some people not to throw garbage on the streets.

The draft is not only slavery, it's a particularely cruel kind of slavery: forcing people to do a dangerous job, and even a job that goes against some people's conviction.
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#16 User is offline   Gerben42 

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Posted 2007-January-17, 05:27

They still have it in Germany (where I live now) but stopped having it in the Netherlands (where I'm from) after the cold war ended. As such, I never had this obligation to serve in the army.

I think a draft is a bad idea since it takes people away from their life. Male German job starters are on average 2 years older than Dutch ones (one more year in school, 1 year military or civil service) and this is a disadvantage for them through their life as these are the two most expensive years you can imagine, as any money made in those two years has the highest compound interest.

Besides being drafted is not a good motivation to defend a country, or whatever you might be defending.
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#17 User is offline   Codo 

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Posted 2007-January-17, 06:50

Quite funny, that people who had never been drafted judge about it.
Of course there are real reasons against the draft:

-It is quite senseless in the acutal political situation. YOu cannot send drafted citizens to Afghanistan or Iraque.
-It is expensive, if you try to teach them on the real modern weapons
- It is unfair if it is not done for anybody.

The upsides are:
- the army has a much better relation to the public. The possibility, that the Army becomes a state in the state is much smaller.

- If your country is attacked (and I mean a real attack, not these terrorists), then much more men are trained to military structures and some military basics.

-When you are lucky, you are drafted into an area where you never had been before with people, who you had never met. And I don´t talk about Talibans in Afghanistan. For me it was a unpayable experience to get to know people from many parts of Germany and with very different social background.

- Many peoples life a quite one-dimensional live. F.E. if you are the kid of a teacher, you go to school, study and become a teacher yourself. Nothing wrong with this, but the draft is a possibility to get to know other parts of life.

So I would love, if any male citizen would be drafted. Some for the military, most for social work. This would be fair and an eyeopener to some of these young guys.
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#18 User is offline   Al_U_Card 

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Posted 2007-January-17, 08:38

Let's not confuse public service with selective service.

Even the Israeli's, whose country is arguably in imminent danger at all times, probably have some problems with their "draftees".

The first US soldier to die in a foreign war, died in the "Middle East" in the 1790's.

Gen. G. McClelland, in the 1800's, advised his president that US foreign policy had to recognize that the Middle East was a culture distinct and totally foreign to the US and its way of thinking.

Xenophobia comes from ignorance and enlightenment comes from awareness.

How crystalline must it become before the US realizes its errors and figures out a better way? Good ole Yankee ingenuity still exists and it is never too late until it is too late.
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#19 User is offline   mike777 

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Posted 2007-January-17, 14:29

Geez reading these latest anti draft comments I can see why Bin Laden thinks the way he does. Why not fight the West, they may not fight back with anything long term.
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#20 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2007-January-17, 15:47

mike777, on Jan 17 2007, 11:29 PM, said:

Geez reading these latest anti draft comments I can see why Bin Laden thinks the way he does. Why not fight the West, they may not fight back with anything long term.

A number of the posters, myself included were quite careful to note that a military draft is an extremely inefficient way to provision the military. If you want to increase the size of the army, there are much more effective ways to do so than re-instituting the draft. Offering higher wages and recruitment bonuses is one obvious example. Offering an accelerated path to citizenship for potential immigrates has also been suggested. The top brass in the military is quite clear that they want to keep the all volunteer army.

As usual, your post amounts to little more than random whining... I'm beginning to think that more than a few of those baton strokes back in 68 may have connected with your temple.
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