A return to the draft might be a way of tempering America’s militarism, since a draft randomly cuts across a wide swath of the population. The present volunteer system places only clusters of social networks in harm’s way, and there’s little probability that anyone outside those clusters will see casualties among friends/family or be at risk themselves — other than by choice.

Were the draft reinstated, many more Americans would be at the mercy of political hacks in Washington. Only then might people react and vote accordingly. A draft may return sooner than later. The fact that there is congressional bipartisan support to inject 20,000 to 50,000 additional troops into Iraq should trigger deja vu alarm bells in many people of my generation, as the buzz word during the Vietnam War was “escalation.” It was, and is, a one way open end ride.

But perhaps conscription now would have a positive effect. A draft would hasten the end of the disaster in Iraq, not because of impending “victory” but because of the grassroots-inspired pullout that would result. A draft would in effect serve as a “peacekeeping operation,” placing a check on politicians by healing the disconnect between military policy and the consequences, which, at present, only the volunteer military bears while shielding apathetic Americans from the fallout.

robert lezzi

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