By Wayne William Cipriano
Another week has gone by without a United States Military death in combat in the Middle East. It is too much to hope that this string of weeks without death of our fighting women and men will continue but aren’t we grateful for the news?
What an excellent time, when deaths are not occurring and plans, real plans, credible plans are being announced for our troops to leave these deadly environs and return home, isn’t this an excellent time to discuss a return to the military draft?
I am talking about a Universal Military Draft (UMD) that inducts everyone into the military for two years upon their 18th birthday. An UMD that has no deferments, virtually no exceptions. Everyone goes, period.
Unless there is a physical or mental handicap (or challenge or impediment to development or whatever the politically correct terms are these days) that make it impossible for an inductee to perform any useful function including answering a telephone, or pushing a button to open a door, or distributing forks onto dining trays, et.) EVERYONE GOES. And, believe me when I say I understand the problems such a draft would cause for military training, and I support UMD nevertheless.
You may think I want UMD because I desire an organization to provide the discipline current child-rearers seem unable to institute in today’s youth. And, while that deficit does concern me, it is not the reason.
You may think my support for UMD is due to a hope that some sort of useful education will take place during military training, a career, professional, vocational path suggested that might benefit them in the future and seems to be absent in so many graduating seniors today. Again, this concerns me very very deeply but neither is this the reason.
Responsibility? When our basic social institutions have failed to provide it? True again, but nope. Courage? Dependability? Loyalty? Obedience? Tenacity? Initiative? You can add to this list and probably get no argument from me as to how lacking these qualities are nowadays. They could easily be taught during UMD (and possibly even learned) as they are in present day military training.
But still, none of these are the main reason we need a Universal Military Draft.
We need UMD to protect the most precious commodity we have as human beings –– our young.
We need UMD so that every political leader has a son or a daughter or a niece or nephew or a grandchild in the military right now. Every political donor, every political strategist, every voter will have someone close to them who may die or come home in pieces when we go to war.
Can we end war with UMD? I’m sure not, because there have been wars, military actions, applications of lethal force, call them what you will, that needed to happen. But when we make that decision to offer up the lives and bodies of our children we must make it knowing it will necessarily cost some of us our children.
It seems very easy to go to war when it is someone else who fights those wars for us. Our family has had and continues to have a life-long connection to the United States military. And because of that connection we understand more than many how much we risk when our country goes to war: the lives of our best friends, brothers and sisters, children, parents. OURS not THEIRS.
When we have a Universal Military Draft, when everyone serves, when everyone is in jeopardy it won’t just be the lives of people we do not know who are dying at our command. It must not be just those who enlisted in the military for some job opportunity, or for some hope of excitement, or as an alternative to jail, or only those who feel a debt to the United States of America that they wish to repay most honorably by volunteering to serve in our military forces.
When we, the citizens of a democratic republic, allow our leaders to bring us to war all of us have to be risking our most precious commodity.
How can we tell if this is a good war, a necessary war and not a horribly foolish war? What about deciding on the basis of your daughter or your son being in the front line of battle throughout the war?
Will we choose to embark on the next proposed war if it is our closest loved ones, if it is us that will be torn apart or die fighting it? A UMD makes that question much easier to answer. And that is why we need a Universal Military Draft right now, before the next senseless war overtakes us.