he remnants of hurricane Jeanne blew through my area yesterday. At times, the rain came down heavily, and the wind almost blew the umbrella out of my hands. When I got home, I checked all our windows and found that a number of them don’t close completely. I was wondering why I had felt a draft lately. The strong winds of Jeanne allowed me to pinpoint exactly which windows need my attention. Ah, the pleasures of home ownership.
Speaking of drafts, I was reading enygma‘s site and read that he brother received a letter from Selective Service informing him that he must register. For those of you who don’t know, Selective Service is an agency of the government in charge of keeping tabs on all eligible to serve in the military so they can–as they state in their mission–“provide manpower to the armed forces in an emergency.” So if you are male, a US citizen or permanent resident, and between 18 to 26, you must register to let them know that all information about you is current. This way, if the military deems it necessary to increase their force to combat enemies in places such as, say, Iraq, they will know where you are and compel you to serve through instruments such as, say, THE DRAFT.
Back in 1973, I had to register with Selective Service as well, for the Vietnam War. Back then, draftees were selected by birthdays. Old men in business suits would choose 365 calandar dates randomly, and those born on the first days chosen wre drafted to serve in Vietnam. My birthdate was in the 200s and I was not drafted. There were other ways to get deferments back then. All those with physical or mental disabilities did not have to serve. Usually an only son didn’t have to serve. Also, college students could receive a deferment, but if you graduated at 22, you were again eligible until you turned 26. However, while disabilities should still a valid reason for not serving, the other reasons will likely no longer be applicable. The nuclear family in the US has shrunk significantly and there are many “only sons” so they will not likely receive special treatment. College is definitely no longer a reason to keep you from serving. So all you guys who are reading this right now should know that you will have to register.
Now, the administration claims that there is no plan to reinstate the draft. But registering for Selective Service stopped right after I registered. I was the last year eligible for the draft, and no one has had to register for the last thirty years. So Selective Service has again begun contacting all eligible men for… what? A “just in case” scenario? Well, the government could have used that reason during the cold war.
- Iran takes US hostages at the US embassy in Tehran. That was a direct strike on the US government. People in Iran were coming together in their defiance against the US. But the Carter administration did not reinstate Selective Service.
- The USSR invades Afghanistan. Certainly, that was scary. The Soviets invading a country right next to all the oil fields? Talk about a threat to our national interest. But again Carter did not reinstate Selective Service.
- USSR shoots down a Korean Airlines passenger jet. Man, that was like a direct attack on civilians and Korea was our ally. Tension was very high back then, but Reagan did not reinstate Selective Service.
- Muslim terrorists bring down a PanAm flight over Scottland, and US intelligence traced the plot back to Libya and Reagan decides to retaliate. Sound like a situation in which we may need extra men to go to war? But again, Selective Service was not reinstated.
So what’s going on? Why is it being reinstated now. We have an elite military that is head and shoulders above the world, but for whatever reason, it cannot take care of business in Iraq. Over 1000 Americans have been killed in Iraq. Sadly, as President Bush insists that things are going as expected, more US soldiers are dying in Iraq and more Iraqis and other Muslims are rising up. If the war was going as expected, I would have expected better: fewer soliders dying and fewer uprisings. So I’m not sure how Bush defines expectations. But if more soldiers dying is the expected course of the war, then the reinstatement of Selective Service should be a red flag for every male between 18 and 26 in the United States.
I have my own opinion about the war that I will talk about in the future. But for now, I want to make sure everyone thinks about Selective Service and its natural connection to the draft. Are you between 18 and 26? Are you willing to go to Iraq and fight? Do you want to leave your parents or wives or children to convert Iraq into a country that reflects our version of peace and freedom? Do you have a brother or son between 18 and 26? Do you want them to fight the fight in Iraq?
It is my hope that no one will have to go unwillingly, but I’m willing to bet that if Bush wins in November, he will consider it a referendum on his administration and be emboldened to take whatever steps necessary to fulfill his visions. Since part of that vision is to create a democratic and terrorist-free Iraq, it will likely take more men. Of course, if that is his position, next would be a democratic and nuclear-free North Korea and he would definitely need more troops for that.
So really, what do you think? Is it okay for our government to compel us to fight in Iraq?
MattBlue just commented that you already have to register with Selective Service. Is this true? Of course, I have no reason to doubt what he says, making my argument above pretty moot. Does that mean all of you have registered? I’d like to hear from some of you older guys, like Sammy and Vlade, as well. Are you registered? After the Vietnam war, I could have sworn that no one registered for Selective Service. But I could just be another misinformed liberal nut….