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A potential draft in America - CON

Staff Columnist

Published: Thursday, September 16, 2010

Updated: Friday, August 23, 2013 17:08

We must work tirelessly to permanently repeal the draft. The Military Selective Service Act requires all male U.S. citizens between the ages of 18 and 26 to register for the draft. Although the draft has not been used since the Vietnam War, it is still legal and still haunting a nation that was founded on the principle of liberty. Considering the foreign policy that the U.S. has adopted in the last decade, the prospect of the draft being implemented again while we college students are still in the 18–26 age range grows increasingly more likely everyday.

The very idea of a military draft is contrary to libertarian ideals. A nation that proclaims to be fighting for liberty and yet considers forcing its youth to serve against their will is surely making one of the greatest contradictions in all of human history.

As the legendary Senator Robert Taft declared in 1940, "A compulsory draft is far more typical of totalitarian nations than of democratic nations. The theory behind it leads directly to totalitarianism. It is absolutely opposed to the principles of individual liberty which have always been considered a part of American democracy."

In addition, the draft is flatly unconstitutional. The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution proclaims, "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States." Why should anyone be forced to fight against his will? Whenever you're forced to do something against your will, it is by definition a form of involuntary servitude; there is no sugarcoating this fact. Are slavery, sexual trafficking and rape not all forms of involuntary servitude. If they are, it logically follows that the draft is also involuntary servitude.

Proponents of the draft often defend their position by claiming that youth "owe it to their country." This is pure folly. Surely a twenty-something man does not owe as much as a fifty-something man? Yet older people, who are more likely to have made fortunes thanks to America's many opportunities, are not drafted. Why are those policymakers who advocate needless wars excluded from the draft?

Ominously, President Obama supports compulsory conscription. In 2008, candidate Obama declared, "I think it's important for the President to say, ‘This is an important obligation. If we are going into war, then all of us go. Not just some.'" Of course, this argument is rubbish because not "all of us" are drafted.

Considering Obama's support for the draft and the interventionist foreign policy Obama has continued, the government could be forced to resort to a draft. Currently, we are bogged down in undeclared wars in Afghanistan, Iraq (according to Reuters, there are still 50,000 combat troops there) and possibly Pakistan (according to The Times, candidate Obama said he would invade Pakistan if he deemed it necessary to pursue al-Qaeda members).

If our nation needs to place troops somewhere else, it would likely need a draft. In fact, as Ron Paul observed in 2008, "One thing that we have found out about the incident in Georgia: even if we had wanted to or had needed to, we didn't have the troops to do anything about it – we had weakened our national defense. You know what that means? Those who want to pursue the empire will reinstate the draft. We should not ever have a draft!"

But we will have a draft unless our government begins to follow Paul's prescription: strengthen our national defense by pulling troops from places they don't need to be, such as Germany and Portugal. This would free up military personnel for service elsewhere, thereby reducing the need for a draft. Moreover, to keep our military from being spread even thinner, we must lobby our representatives in Washington to stand up and remind the executive branch that the power to declare war belongs to Congress. If Congress asserted its power to declare war, then naturally fewer wars would be declared because of extended debate in Congress. This would make a draft even less necessary. Finally, we must urge our representatives to repeal the Military Selective Service Act. Otherwise, men our age (and possibly women as well, due to modern society's concerns about gender equality) may well find themselves enslaved.

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