Unfortunately, this is what happens when a politician is honest ["James Baker Backs Reinstating the Draft," usnews.com]. He's not trying to reinstate the draft. He's trying to stop us from rushing into wars. He thinks reinstating a draft would make people think twice about going to war and he's probably right. Although I don't agree with reinstating the draft I definitely see his point.
Comment by Chris of FL
I was a draft counselor during the Vietnam War, helping those who wanted to avoid going to war. Without the draft, we would not have had the antiwar movement that ultimately prevailed. So I now fully support reinstatement of the draft as a way of ensuring that any war we fight has broad-based support and that the fighting does not devolve upon the segments of our society who are least able to avoid service.
Comment by Herb of MD
I don't believe the draft would serve us well. I do believe all 18- to 20-year-olds should do some sort of government service whether it's military, Peace Corps, or some other organization. But I believe it should remain voluntary. That service would of course come with benefits and that would draw enough men and women to fulfill the needs of the country without "demanding" of its citizens, which tends to create more animosity than it quells.
Comment by Joshua of MD
If national service was mandatory and unavoidable, I would probably support the idea. However, when Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, Rove, and the rest of these guys can drag us into war without serving themselves and in many cases, dodging their service obligations by seeking multiple deferments, etc., I see no reason for America's young men and women to fight and die for them. When Mr. Baker's descendents and those of every politician and rich person in this country have to go through the same basic training, eat in the same mess halls, and die on the same battlefields as poor young men and women from all over America, then I will support a draft.
Comment by Ted of HI
As a World War II veteran, I think that we should have a draft. But, I also think it is interesting that James Baker is making that suggestion. Where was he when the Republicans were in charge of both houses of Congress and the White House, and we were losing thousands of soldiers in Iraq? Should we be more than a little suspicious as to his motivation?
Comment by James R. Miller of TX
The all-volunteer military is the only way to get a highly dedicated one. Drafting the unwilling is daft. They will only cause trouble, as they have in the past, too many times. The trouble with today's military is that it has been wasted on two stupid wars that have absolutely nothing to do with America's safety. Iraq is a crime scene. Afghanistan is a waste of resources. You can watch the Military Channel and decide for yourself. When American forces have to fly three hours in a Chinook to a mountaintop 14,000 feet high to kill five or six Afghans, the American military is being wasted. Unfortunately, there isn't a commander in the entire U.S. military that will tell a superior that "the mission" can't be done, or is a total waste of time. They will always say the mission is possible, and that it is necessary for the safety of the country. Most vets will tell you "the mission" is usually a waste of time, material, and life in the long run. Look back five years from now and decide which engagements in Iraq have been necessary for the safety of your neighborhood.
Comment by Jeremy Potratz of CA
The draft did not keep us from putting a half million people in Vietnam; it made it easier. The effect of Baker's statement says that policymakers do not base decisions on becoming involved in military conflicts based on rationality, but only based on the extent to which they have also imposed involuntary servitude on their citizens. Policymakers that are so bankrupt morally do not belong in our government. The draft is the same as the press gangs of 18th-century Europe, picking up innocent people and forcing them to "serve" the government. Baker's nonsense, disguised behind his mantle as a former "leader," nauseates me, but makes me proud that he is out of government, and makes me hope he stays a long way from anyone in any place of authority.
Comment by W. Sakarias of CA