I, at age 80, belong to a prior generation of men who accepted the concept that at some point in our youth we would be part of the American armed forces. I was in college in 1951 as war raged in Korea. I decided to waive my draft deferment and enter the US Army because the idea of having others risk their lives while I was safe in college was abhorrent to my values as a human. The Korean War was not very popular, but I regarded its goals to be consistent with my values of protecting innocent people against authoritarianism. I went through basic training under the tutelage of men who had served in World War II or in the hills of Korea. My orders were lost and it was unclear where I would go–to Korea or elsewhere? I volunteered for front line combat because it was the only way to be with my basic training friends. By a quirk, the day I volunteered all men being sent to Korea went to Europe. Thus, my life was saved.
I was a college teacher during the Vietnam War and argued with male students in class that the quickest way go end that crazy was was to end draft deferments and make EVERYONE serve because their parents would end the war if the lives of their children were at risk. I opposed the war in Iraq on grounds there was no need to use violence to remove Saddam Hussein. I initially supported action in Afghanistan due to fury at the actions of the Taliban towards women. I have the deepest admiration for those who risk life and serve their country. I believe the draft should compel all young men at age 18 to serve their nation. I will guarantee if we once again had a draft, the war in Afghanistan would conclude, in a whimper.
If we fight wars, then ALL must serve the country. If we don’t want to fight wars, then there is no need for a draft. As long as the life of a single American is at risk due to war, then all in this country are at risk and all are morally bound to risk their lives.