Thursday, August 21, 2008

Is There a Draft in Here?

It looks like old-timer McCain wants to reinstate the draft. (If video doesn't show, click here.)

I know that's sappy "Baby Alex" ad was mocked by just about everybody. One of the biggest criticisms was that our army is voluntary, and so of course, that means baby Alex won't have to serve unless he wants to fight. Right? Our army will always be voluntary... right?

But raising the specter of a draft changes everything. Do young people even know what it involves? Heck, do I even know what it involves? I was still a child when the draft ended in 1973, so I never saw my high school or college friends conscripted. It was something that only happened in those TV shows about the 60's.

Well, Selective Services operates a little differently than it did in the 60's:

  • Before and during the Vietnam War, a young man could get a deferment by showing that he was a full-time student making satisfactory progress towards a degree; now deferment only lasts to the end of the semester. If the man is a senior he can defer until the end of the academic year.
  • The government has said that draft boards are now more representative of the local communities in areas such as race and national origin.
  • A lottery system would be used to determine the order of people being called up. Previously the oldest men who were found eligible for the draft would be taken first. In the new system, the men called first would be those who are or will turn 20 in the calendar year or those whose deferments will end in the calendar year. Each year after the man will be placed on a lower priority status until his liability ends.
Nobody can say for sure how these reforms will work because they haven't been tested yet. But should McCain reinstate the draft, I know two definite results. McCain will be the least popular President ever, and the Iraq war will end very quickly after the fact.

Don't underestimate the power of baby Alex's mom and all the other moms who won't sacrifice their child for an unnecessary war.

No comments: