Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Draft : Defining a moral war

In case anyone didn't realize it, I'm a girl. This means that when I turned 18 I didn't have to go get a selective service form from the post office and send it in. Several years later I joined the military anyway, so my being excused from selective service is sort of moot.

As this conflict goes on I've noticed odd things about how people talk about "the draft".

There are those who promote a draft in the hopes of raising anti-war sentiment. We've seen several examples of that which include actual suggestions of putting a bill through congress to scare e-mails sent to college students before the last presidential election. I like this from Cox and Forkum.

But there have been others, people who's comments I've read, who think there should be a draft even while they support the war. (Or at least mostly support the war.) Some few of them argue that we really need more people. But others seem to be arguing for the principle of the thing. Either it offends them that people are able to avoid fighting, that it's just not fair, or that it's not a good thing to let a separate military class develop.

But for some it seems to be some sort of gestalt combo of all of the above and the only way I can think to express it is that a draft has become this sort of magical thing that, itself, defines a moral war.

I can understand not liking the fact reflected in the quote, "America is not at war, the American military is at war, America is at the mall." When a soldier is facing yet another deployment it is likely rather annoying that other people don't have to make the same sacrifices. Still, I don't know many in the military (or who has been) who thinks serving with conscripted soldiers is something they want any part of. Besides, the fact that America is at the mall is a good thing, all told.

Would we be any more noble for being miserable?

Is that what this is, at the very heart of it? Nobility through misery. Spread it around and suddenly we become more right than before?

It would be a nice thing if people could support the effort, put 300 million minds to work problem solving. Talk about distributed computing, huh? Without half of everyone trying to figure out how to lose we might have greater success sooner. But do those 300 million people need to be uncomfortable while they're at it? Does it make the cause more worthy or the people more pure of purpose?

Victory gardens, rationing, and kids with wagons collecting scrap metal, Rosie the riveter ( I *met* her at an air show once... she came to see "her" plane) are all very nice in the abstract but do we really hope for such things if we don't *need* them?

What about having a draft was *good*?



Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

Just read your comment at Althouse, and wanted you to know that there is evidence that your speculation about conspiracy-belief having a reward cycle could be so. The psychbloggers (like neo), most of whom used to be liberals, have written a bit about this. I hope to get back to you with some links, but work really isn't the place for that.

David Wyman
Assistant Village Idiot
Goffstown, NH

12:06 PM  
Blogger Synova said...

Cool :)

7:58 PM  
Blogger dadmanly said...


Glad to see you take the plunge.

Blogrolled, will visit when I can.

I like your last comment here:

"What about having a draft was *good*?


Couldn't agree more. I think I had a few go rounds with the Liberal Avenger on that issue.

Anyway, best of blogging!

2:38 PM  
Blogger Ymarsakar said...

In case anyone didn't realize it, I'm a girl.

That was really funny and ironic.

My sense of humour is of course, rather warped.

Spread it around and suddenly we become more right than before?

Does dying on the battlefield and slaughtering folks, the more the better, make a nation and people better? I don't think even for a Total War activist like me, I would go that far. Because there must be balance in all things. What is the point to fighting, if your entire nation is full of warriors and beserkers? Beserkers are scary people, you don't want too many of those in the same continent, let alone the same nation or unit.

But do those 300 million people need to be uncomfortable while they're at it? Does it make the cause more worthy or the people more pure of purpose?

It can be argued that both for Sherman, McArthur, Emperor Hirohito, Churchill, Roosevelt, Teddy, Truman, and Lee, that the war was won or lost for them not because of the men fighting or lack of it, but because of leadership. The rabble matters little. The organized unit with a great leader, matters much.

So we come into the real question of, how does a people become worthy of a great leader and how does a leader become worthy of a great people?

Some people think a draft will create more leaders. But virtue is not produced through involuntary action. You cannot make someone be virtuous, you can only give them the opportunity. Hollywood included.

7:07 AM  

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