Thursday, April 27, 2006

Should we reinstate the Draft?

I was 'IN' during the Draft and it did not work well at all. Folks who were very bright or young and college educated were swept into service and they did everything possible to duck responsibility until their enlistment was over, for the most part. This was not 100%, but a good description of what the draft did. By the by, I enlisted and I’ve never regretted my military experience.

I had a roommate in Montana who had a Journalism degree from an East Coast college. He joined the Air Force to keep from being drafted. His IQ was so much higher than the the people he worked for, that he was perceived as a threat and was put down at the base gas station to get rid of him. He also spoke Russian. It was a classic case of a waste of resources common during that time period. If this fellow would have joined as an officer, he could have used his talents in such a manner to be a credit to our country instead of passing 4 years without a ripple.

Our country and education system is set up to give folks a boost education into higher learning, primarily college and University, however it does little to prepare people for what awaits them upon graduation if they decide against more school. This is why I am an advocate of trade/tech school re-establishment. It opens up options for young people.

The military appeals to young men/women for a number of reasons and I think this will sum up the various arguments, if taken in the right manner.

A military enlistment gives the young person who hasn’t made up their mind on college (or doesn’t want to go, or can’t afford) an immediate plan and job for the future. It supplies room, board and a promise of a trade skill, something that suddenly is needed in their life, not to mention the age-old classic reason to enlist: adventure-travel!

The standard for an all volunteer military is much higher also. During the Draft a friend of mine that was 19 and still in the 10th grade, was kicked out of school for fighting. Within a month, he was drafted. He was a trouble-maker and a tad slow in the motivation department obviously (but a hoot). Get in trouble with the law? Join the Marines or Army (during the Draft). You can’t do that now. They want motivated honest people. Our typical 19 year old G.I. possesses skills only officers have in other countries.

Conscription military historically does not work. There is no feeling of commitment and no heart. The Air Force and Navy do not use draftees, as their ranks swell during times of selective service. The folks that pass the more stringent tests go Navy or AF to avoid the danger of the ‘line troops’ and usually get better jobs and training, because they are not learning to shoot weapons. In an all volunteer military, this changed too, as the Army and Marines have excellent opportunities and job placement.

The benefits for education are a great lure for prospective enlistees also. Enlisting in Texas has further benefits. After the ten year period expires for your G.I. benefits, you can still go to school tuition free under the Hazelwood Act. Make no mistake, military service is an education that can be likened to a 4 year degree and many large companies see it that way, opting to hire honorably discharged veterans, as they know they, for the most part have experience way beyond book-learnin’. Many active military leave the service with college credits, either from night school, correspondence courses, or from direct crossover from their job duties/schools.

It is a misconception military leaders are not as educated and smart as their civilian counterparts. The opposite is true in many cases. Enlistment military takes the brightest youth from all sectors and makes them more motivated, teaches them teamwork, gives them purpose, and gives them light-years of experience in life over their contemporaries.

War necessitates we enlarge our military and I hate war, don’t think it is always the answer, but know we must have a strong military even in times of peace. Our current young people serving in the armed forces are the future bankers, lawyers, doctors, plumbers and auto mechanics. They will know how to make the hard decisions because they’ve earned that right and have more then book-smarts’ to guide them.

Re-instating the Draft? It won’t work and needs to stay on the shelf.

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