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5/15/2005

Some of my fellow moonbats have lost their minds

In a post titled "A Moral Argument for the Draft?", Majikthise's guest blogger 'cntodd' makes an argument that I've a few more times than I am comfortable with from fellow anti-war lefties:
Something needs to change fundamentally in the way conscription takes place. We have known for years that the Army targets some of the poorest and most disadvantaged in this country. It’s all well and good to have an all volunteer army, but it seems rather reprehensible to have the poorest dieing on the battlefield to protect the profits of the richest. Either something drastic needs to change in recruitment incentives to attract the rich and the poor, or else conscription should not be voluntary.

Let me be clear – I don’t like war and I don’t support the current occupation. Nor do I want a draft, particularly if the only reason is to make up for a recruiting shortfall. But it is immoral and unacceptable to create an army of the most underprivileged in this country. Wealth should not be a factor in deciding whether you are on the front lines or whether you get to stay at home in cushy Air Force base job. Wealth should not be a factor in whether you have to fight at all or whether during war time you get to run a company and make boon profits.

War is immoral enough without letting it divide society along lines of privilege for who gets to fight and who doesn’t. Its as simple as that.

There's so much wrong with this I don't know where to start, frankly. I realize that his heart is in the right place, but this is an atrocious suggestion.

It is indeed reprehensible that the 'little man fights all the big man's wars'. But forced military service is not the way to address this problem; it would not only be ineffective, it would constitute an even greater injustice than the one it would be used to rectify.

The only alternative, cntodd says, is "to change recruitment incentives to attract the rich and the poor". I'd be very interested to hear how exactly he proposes to do this. By increasing the amount of money paid to soldiers? By decreasing it? I fail to see how either of those would equalize things. Would less money attract more rich people? Would more money attract fewer poor people?

The post ends with this claim:
If each division was composed equally of recruits from all ranks of the economic spectrum, perhaps the President and Congress would be a bit slower to sending them to war.
Wanna bet? What, do you think the gangsters in D.C. are going to suddenly grow a conscience because some of their neighbors' kids happen to be Marines? (Trust me, no matter what, Congressmen will find a way to get their children out of any draft.) Ain't gonna happen.

But over and above all these factors is this: compulsory military service is a form of slavery. The so-called 'Manifesto against Conscription', signed by Einstein, Gandhi, and Russell, among others, states:
Conscription is a form of servitude ... Conscription involves the degradation of human personality, and the destruction of liberty ... It is debasing human dignity to force men to give up their life, or to inflict death against their will ... The State which thinks itself entitled to force its citizens to go to war will never pay proper regard to the value and happiness of their lives in peace. Moreover, by conscription the militarist spirit of aggressiveness is implanted in the whole male population at the most impressionable age. By training for war men come to consider war as unavoidable and even desirable ...
If conscription is ever justifiable, it is only in the direst of circumstances. It certainly isn't justified as an attempt (however well-intentioned) to rectify the injustice of a disproportionately poor armed forces.

Please listen to me, my fellow progressives, my comrades: we need to be fighting against a possible draft, not for it. Anything else is just madness.


UPDATE: There appears to have been some miscommunication going on. CNTodd has clarified a few things here. Apparently he meant his post to be more like a moral dilemma--i.e., a demonstration that both choices--conscription and the current system--involve a great degree of injustice. This I would absolutely agree with.

I've heard others on the left, though, who are not quite so sensible. Some have been suggesting a draft for real--most prominently, Charlie Rangel, though he's not really 'left'. These people need to think again!

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