COLUMN: Uncle Sam wants volunteers

Leslie Arntz

A simple search of the Internet for U.S. military draft throws an average of four million hits back. About half of the first displayed hits indicate the impending 2005 draft. Someone had better inform the Selective Service that it has only 31 more days left to get the wheels in motion on its diabolical scheme.

“Hold your boys close, mommas. If Bush wins in November, they could be trading their high school diplomas in for dog tags,” concluded Jacob Wheeler in an article published in Utne Magazine, an alternative news publication.

When the time to re-elect or “re-defeat” Bush came rolling around, the rumor mill took it upon itself to alert the public of the disaster that is the impending draft.

The government remains adamant there are no plans to reinstate the draft. Believe it. The last thing the country needs right now is a draft. The war in Iraq does not call for a draft. The shortage of troops continuously mentioned pumps more oxygen onto the fires of fear burning throughout the country. It’s manipulation of parents’ love for their sons, of wives’ love for their husbands and thoughts of fatherless children. It’s a scare tactic.

The fear and paranoia seething through blogs in past years has yet to leak out into a manifested cause for dismay.

“The draft would be the Army’s worst nightmare,” said retired Lt. Col. Leonard Wong in a 2004 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We have a high quality Army because we have people who want to be in it. Our volunteer force is really a professional force. You can’t draft people into a profession.”

The United States is not looking for bodies to fill bags. It is looking for highly trained or highly trainable personnel. The days of standing in neat orderly lines and firing at one another are over. More men do not equal failure, success or anything in between. More highly trained men tip the scale. The military wants technicians, linguists and medical personnel. If the draft is going to be used in the future, it will be for those types of positions.

Bringing in an unwilling, untrained group of people and integrating them into a cohesive, trained unit would eat up time, energy and resources. The number of troops is only one factor when seeking to achieve a military objective. The U.S. military relies on quality, not quantity.

When it comes down to it, drafting young people to fight in any war at this point is outright uneconomical. Randomly selecting men for service removes them from what one would hope would be a productive position in society, using his skills and training to contribute to the health of the country in a domestic, civilian manner. These men would be placed in positions that should be filled by willing individuals who were competitively selected.

Conscripted labor is never as economical as volunteer. The military knows this.

Don’t be manipulated through sentimental means. There is no draft. There will be no draft in the projected future. But if such a time does come, responsibility should outweigh fear. Thankfully, this generation has yet to be asked to bear that burden.

Leslie Arntz is a sophomore magazine journalism major and a point/counterpoint columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].