Sunday, June 22, 2014

Why We Need a Draft

I remember the draft. I remember the lottery system where one's birthday determined who would stay home and who would end up in Germany, Korea or Southeast Asia (most likely). I also remember the dodges and the dodgers. The most common dodge was college enrollment. I saw guys get their "Greeting from the President of the United States" letters on Friday, enroll at the local community college on Monday and get deferred by the next Friday. I saw guys join the National Guard, Coast Guard or the Air Force so as to reduce their probability of toting an M16 in some rice paddy. However, what I never saw was some country club kid go in the military (they went off to Chapel Hill usually).

But the draft wasn't all bad even though it was entirely corrupt when it came to who was and wasn't drafted. The biggest advantage of a draft, at least in terms of a societal good is that it puts people together from different backgrounds in close quarters where they have to get to know each other. Cooperation breaks down stereotypes and America is so big and diverse (I hate that word) that without something like this we tend to factionalize. Inner city brothers thrown in with Rednecks along with Chicanos and Indians and Mini-soda white boys (the whitest of the white) and Maniacs (folks from Maine), Mass-holes, Nebraska farmer boys and California suffer dudes, Okies, Cajuns, you name it. It exposes everybody to everybody else and most come to find out that Puerto Ricans or Crackers don't have horns.

In addition it takes one from their support network and they have to create a new one. It shows them how others do it (or at least how the Army does it) and they'll be less likely to go back to 125th Street and look for the nearest heroin dealer or welfare office. The services are great teachers of discipline and duty, plus they tend (but not always) to be a meritocracy.

I admire the military. I wish I had used my military experience to greater value. The military offered so much that I failed to take advantage of to my own detriment and the military's as well. But I did my duty and everything that was asked of me, so value for value, I don't owe them anything and they don't owe me anything. But the experience was invaluable in that it showed me the world and the people in it. It stimulated my curiosity and showed me I had options. It gave me the confidence that I could go anywhere and take my best shot. THAT my friends is just one of the reasons we need a draft, otherwise we'll go the way of Rome with hundreds of different peoples and languages under the same roof. It didn't work then and it won't work now.


kurt9 said...

The military is automating (robotics, drones, atc.) along with every other industry. The era of multi-million man armies is over. Any kind of draft is becoming technologically obsolete.

kurt9 said...

Any concept of draft is rapidly becoming technologically obsolete. This is the 21st century, after all.

The Conservative Wahoo said...

I don't think we need a draft so much as we need politicians with the guts to stand up to the growing dependency class.

Ocean Oak said...

I agree again with CW that we don't need Roman Centurions or mercenaries. Not to be 'Johnny One Note' here, but a Draft for National Service (Military, Peach Corps, Whatever) is a great social equalizer with long term benefit. But the benefit inures not just to the Service itself but to the "Server" whose life is forever improved for having given something to his country.

Bill Collins said...

All that "equalizing" is done in the military today. A draft would help nothing.

What a draft might do is lower the combat effectiveness of the services. You take an unmotivated draftee and now you have to teach how to be a soldier/sailor/airmen/marine for 2 years. Permanent compartment cleaner.

"The Hammer" said...

kurt9, no matter how far technology advances you still need troops to take and occupy territory.
CW you're out to lunch, you ain't even on our frequency.
Ocean Oak, you get it.
Bill Collins, I agree we need motivated people so let them choose another kind of service. But right now this "professional" Army is stratified by class and economic status. In my view that is poison for a healthy republic.

Anonymous said...

At its very least the draft instilled the characters of discipline and responsibility and taught many skills that enabled them to succeed in the civilian world. The future military be it technologically advanced with robotics, drones, computers etc. will still require people to staff the logistics, maintenance and operations of those systems while once again teaching people skills that they would otherwise never have been exposed to,

kurt9 said...

kurt9, no matter how far technology advances you still need troops to take and occupy territory.

The best way to take territory is not with a draft, but with incentives. Allow the troops to take and keep war booty. This will provide enough incentive for enough people to sign up for the "endevour". Legions are useful for this task as well.

There are only two reasons for people to associate with each other. One is for pleasure. The other is to accomplish things. If I do not enjoy the company of a particular person or persons, and those same people cannot help me accomplish my objectives in life, of course I have no need to associate with such people. Such people are a waste of my time and attention span.

The largest or most sophisticated factories and products (450mm semiconductor fabs, jet airplanes) can be designed and built by less than 1,000 people. All of the pioneering feats being pursued today (development of reusable space rockets, fusion power, and radical life extension) can and will be developed with far less than 1,000 people. The thing about technology is that it enables small groups to do things that could formally only be done by governments and large corporations. Any kind of task accomplishment in the future can be done by small, decentralized groups of individuals. This is the reason why large-scale social organizations (and the social engineering behind them, such as a draft) are no longer necessary.

kurt9 said...

One other thing. Why do I need to join a multi-million people military force in order to help kill large numbers of people when I can do more effectively working on my own in a lab to develop the biotechnological or nanotechnological weapons to accomplish such a feat?

Set in front of me any task, any task, ranging from the development of fusion power to killing, say, a billion people. I guarantee you any such task can be accomplished for effectively by a small group of people working on their own than by the aforementioned multi-million person organizations.

The other reason why I have such a visceral reaction to anything like a draft is because, at heart, I am not and have never been a "joiner". Since childhood I have always been a loner and I prefer to keep it that way. I simply do not feel "commonality" with those who do not share my dreams and goals in life as well as my world-view, nor do I desire or see as necessary any "shared experience" with such people.

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