COLUMN: The draft will end the war

Erin Roof

How can the United States build an empire without warm bodies to hold guns and kick people in the teeth?

Read the headlines. The situation in Iraq is steadily imploding. The number of coalition deaths has topped 2,100, according to Iraq Coalition Casualty Count. The war seems to get more bloody and hopeless each day.

Military recruiters are having a heck of a time conning people into joining the army because of that. But boy they sure are trying. The military has pumped up its slick marketing, adding thousands of new recruiters armed with all sorts of sleazy gimmicks to get people to sign up. They add bonuses as high as $100,000 for soldiers re-enlisting and $70,000 in college credit for new enlistees, according to Common Dreams News Center.

The military even ran a $180 million advertising campaign that included sponsoring a rodeo cowboy and advertisements on ESPN.

But people aren’t buying it. Recruiters consistently fail to meet their quotas, even after they drastically lowered their goals to make the numbers look better. The military is starting to realize it is difficult to pay people to die, no matter what the price is.

The numbers are still not looking good for war strategists. Forty percent of the soldiers serving in Iraq are short-term fighters from the Army Reserve and the National Guard, according to Common Dreams News Center. This means that as soon as their tours are over, the army will lose a good portion of its soldiers.

The military has to find a way to maintain its forces in Iraq. As recruitment is failing, reinstating the draft is the only option to build back forces. More importantly, the draft would be the quickest method to end this illegal and immoral war.

The American people are known for complacency. We tend to ignore problems until they become too huge to shrug off any longer, as illustrated with Hurricane Katrina’s exposure of racism and poverty. Legions of Americans are turning against the Iraq War every day, yet millions more won’t do anything until it personally involves them.

The draft would put everyone’s lives at risk. (Except, of course, the rich people who would find a way out of fighting, just as President Bush did.) Fraternity boys and indie geeks would be side by side pumping their fists or their rifles. They would be rebelling together or dying together. Just as in the Vietnam War, reinstating the draft would be the catalyst that ignites the anti-war movement across the United States.

Right now the only American people dying in the war are those who signed up to fight. It is easy to gloss over their deaths by saying, “They knew what was coming to them.” But when it is everyone else’s turn, people will work quickly to bring the war to an end by protesting and shining a light on all of the pre-war intelligence lies that haven’t already been exposed.

This is exactly what we need – all walks of life standing together against this war among a wild fire of burning draft cards.

Erin Roof cannot wait for her opportunity to burn her draft card. She is a senior magazine journalism major and a point/counterpoint columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].