The Times’s Op Ed Page and the Draft
Karl Eikenberry and David Kennedy’s “Americans and Their Military: Drifting Apart” (May 26) called for reinstatement of a draft, a favorite stance of the Times’ Op Ed page.
Eikenberry, a retired lieutenant general, and Kennedy, a retired Stanford history professor, prefer a draft lottery which, they argue, would result in less willingness to go to war.
The truth is, we had a draft before Korea and Vietnam yet we still went to war and killed millions of people, including some 100,000 American GIs.
They also called for a draft “weighted to select the best-educated and most highly skilled.”
But no draft or draft lottery can ever be fair.
It’s good to recall that virtually no congressional son was drafted during Vietnam and in any future draft very few of the sons and possibly daughters of the very rich will ever be drafted, as I and millions of others were.
Anyone with political or money connections will always be able to avoid active military service.
The same situation would surely prevail if compulsory national service for all our kids is instituted, a system of government control found only among authoritarian nations.
Perhaps someday the Times’ Op Ed editors will instead commission a column defying our resident hawks and war profiteers and instead advocate allowing young people to live in peace in a country which avoids its endless and fruitless wars.
Murray Polner is the author of “No Victory Parades: The Return of the Vietnam Veteran”; editor of “When Can I Come Home: Amnesty, Exiles, Anti-War Prisoners and 0thers”; and co-author/editor with Thomas Woods Jr. of “We Who Dared To Say No To War.”