Apparently 60-Minute’s Andy Rooney thinks we should bring back the draft. While he certainly has a point that the military “relaxing” their standards = more young convicted criminals and high school drop-outs making up our forces, forcing people to go to war on behalf of their country is despicable. Now, I’m not going to suggest that Army personnel are stupid, ignorant, etc., but perhaps there is a strong correlation between people who receive higher education and are against war. Perhaps it’s because of a liberal college atmosphere, perhaps it’s because they’re questioning their own beliefs and country, perhaps it’s because they cannot morally justify killing someone else thousands of miles away because the president said so. Whatever the reason, imposing a draft (especially for a war on an abstraction, like “terror”) is immoral and overlooks individual human rights.
I don’t know of any studies done on this subject, but could there be a feedback cycle that continues to create high school dropouts and poorly performing students? By spending so much money on the military, public education (already badly managed through the “No Child Left Behind” idiocy) becomes more and more eroded, thus if students even stay in school they’re not receiving a good education. If you don’t graduate and you can’t get into college, what are you going to do? Many seem to choose the military over working at Wal-Mart, and thus teenagers who I wouldn’t trust unsupervised in shop class end up wielding M-16’s and representing our country. While the documentary as a whole could have been better edited, Gunner Palace provided some startling insights into who’s doing the fighting in Iraq. One young man (at least younger than myself, and I’m 24) explained how he used to pay attention to all the intelligence reports that came in, but after a while he just didn’t care and assumes he can weed out the good from the bad. He also described how funny it was when he told some grown men they were terrorists and going to prison, and I was simply disgusted.
A draft is not the answer, and I don’t think this generation will stand for it, especially if they’re going to be sent to fight a war that was supposed to be over and many people didn’t want in the first place. If we are to make better soldiers, we need to have better schools and to teach them to think, not simply to pull the trigger and end someone’s life.