The Immorality of the Draft

Louise - Redmond, Washington
Entered on April 15, 2008


I believe that a military draft institutionalizes war. Forcing young people into military service enables old people who don’t have to fight to feel potent. Men and women who have never known the horrors of war find it all too easy to dispatch other people’s children into bloody battles. People who successfully avoided military service through wealth and privilege exercise their egos by sending those less fortunate into harm’s way, and they feel entitled to do so by whatever power is invested in them. We can no longer be certain that we, the people, control what our government does. Experience teaches us the opposite, not only in the last five years, but over the course of history.

In the first World War, soldiers were called cannon fodder. During Vietnam, my friends whose fathers had no special influence lost their student deferments and were sent to the jungles to kill or be killed, all for a vague principle called the Domino Theory, which turned out to have no validity. Now, a cadre of leaders who assiduously escaped serving in the military send young people to a desert war for two and three and even four deployments. The cause for which this war began has been proved false, and so the goal is restated over and over, growing increasingly vague with each new iteration.

A military draft only enables such so-called leaders. It gives them a population to tap. It gives them tools of blood and bone and spirit to use as they wish, and it costs them nothing in real terms. The intransigence of the prosecution of the current war is evidently invulnerable to public opinion or national will. It is vulnerable only to a shortage of soldiers–a dearth of cannon fodder.

I believe that our children are not a commodity. They are not born to be part of an aresenal for old men to deploy at will. I believe a child owns its own life. If a young man or woman chooses the military, out of patriotism or idealism, it should be his or her choice. It should not be thrust upon such a person out of fear or greed. We did not give birth to our babies so that they could be schooled to become weapons. They are people. They are sacred.

I believe that abolishing the draft was one of America’s finest moments. I believe, with all my soul, that the military draft is an immoral and illegal tool which offends the very principles of freedom and choice on which our country was founded. The lack of a draft may be the only power we, the people, now have.