Do we have the right to insist and expect that the war against terror will not require a draft? The draft was an important element in the winning of the first two World Wars. The war on terror is another global war. What gives our generation the right to expect to abstain from the same duty our grandfathers and forefathers were called to?
As a simple counter question: So what gives someone the right to serve the same duty our grandfathers and forefathers were called to?
Service in the united states military has changed from being a burden to bear to retain your freedom to a privilege of those with pride in defending those freedoms that were fought so hard for in ages gone by. A draft of those that do not want to serve or that do not meet civic standards is simply no longer needed. There are enough volunteers to go around.
There are several reasons today why we do not require military service. All of them lead to the fact that we have enough volunteers. Many people have joined out of civic responsibility. Others have found that it makes good fiscal sense to join the military. Above all, a volunteer military is far superior to one that is forced to serve.
A sense of civic pride is something that effects many Americans on all sides of the political fences. There are no politics to having pride in the military. Neither Democrats, nor Republicans, nor independents find fault with the people who serve. Very few people look down on them. Those that do are usually ostracized by those that understand and respect the sacrifice these men and women give us.
The one individual that the public media has highlighted is Pat Tillman. He is just one of the many heroes in the military that have laid down their lives in defense of democracy. Many are still confused as to why he would throw away a multi-million dollar career in the NFL to serve in the military. It all boils down to the same reasons that multitudes of others have laid down their lives. You get the chance to be a real hero. It's a chance to give something back to the great land that raised you. You get the chance to do for your country what your forefathers did for you. There is no greater honor than to risk your life for others. It's no longer a requirement of American life. It's now a privilege.
Not everyone joins the military for pride. Many join because they have a sense of fiscal responsibility. Yes, the military has become the most stable, good paying job in America. You are provided with pay commensurate with your civilian counterparts. The average service member actually makes more than people with the same experience on average. Talk of military families on food stamps is greatly exaggerated. Yes, some service members with greater than two children below E-5 are on food stamps. Many service members are also on WIC for their children. What people fail to realize is that WIC and other services actually lower their requirements or even void them for military members. With support benefits like this service is no longer a requirement. It is a privilege.
It doesn't end there. All of your medical benefits are covered, free of charge. Your dependents are covered at the same rate as well, free. Your family's dental benefits are covered at an extremely reduced rate as well. Think you lose those benefits when you retire? That depends on what you want to do. You can continue on with Tricare at a rate so ridiculously low that they may as well be paying you, or you can go to a VA hospital for care. If you were actually medically separated, they'll even pay to retrain you into the field of your choice. I would consider free or cheap medical for life at quality facilities a privilege, not a requirement.
Speaking of college, many that do not want to live their lives in squalor with no education frequently join the military for the active duty tuition assistance programs that will pay up to 100 percent of your college tuition for as many years as you serve. The fountain is limitless. Once you've milked that end of the system for all it's worth you can milk it from the other side. The Montgomery G.I. bill will provide you with tuition coverage for years into the future. If that doesn't work for you, service members residing in Texas get completely free of charge college at the state run school of their choice. Free college in America is a privilege, not a requirement.
Other benefits are being planned for enactment every day. The plan to "double pay" for members collecting both medical and regular retirement pay has made headway every year since its inception. There is now a partial split or a kicker you get if you are receiving benefits from both pools of money. Someday soon those pools will be completely split and retired and disabled service members will receive two full checks from the government. Above that, I’m sure you've heard of the current talk on Capitol Hill to jack the maximum death benefits from 250,000 to half a million dollars. I would feel privileged to retire with people fighting for your this hard.
Many people feel that a draft would instill a sense of responsibility and order to the youth of America. That may be so, but at what cost? Would you force the integration with those that have pride in what they do, with those that are only there out of requirement? It would be non-conducive to a good strong military. It would not strengthen us. It would weaken us. The work of one willing man, or woman can do the work of several that are unwilling. Would you rather use the stubborn mule or the eager work horse? I would prefer to use the work horses of America.
It is a privilege. Not a requirement.
If you still believe that a draft is inevitable I have covered the topic previously in an article here. Bush will make no draft. It will still be our privilege to serve.