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  1. Henry Racette Contributor

    Good letter: clear, to the point, and sensible. And congratulations for making the national press. ;)

    (By the way, your link in clickable form is here.)

    • #1
    • November 27, 2020, at 9:31 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  2. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

     

    • #2
    • November 27, 2020, at 9:33 AM PST
    • 14 likes
  3. Hoyacon Member

    Perhaps a better solution would be a strengthened system of locally based reserve components, a reconstituted structure of the militia within the several states. This would be more in keeping with the Founders’ original concept of civil-military relations and promote the positive civic virtues Mr. Sanger rightly advocates.

    Agreed.

    As a former draftee, the best argument that I can make for a draft in certain limited circumstances is that the children of those making the decision to participate in or initiate a conflict should be “eligible” to participate in that conflict. It’s not a new argument, and perhaps subject to avoidance, but it still resonates with me.

    • #3
    • November 27, 2020, at 9:39 AM PST
    • 11 likes
  4. JoelB Member

    I agree. As one with a low lottery number back in the day, the draft did not appear to me and still does not appear to be a healthy thing. In a true national emergency, I can see it, but to force men and women into the service of government to carry out a misguided foreign policy is wrong. While the military can do a lot of good for an immature young adult, that is not really its main purpose.

    • #4
    • November 27, 2020, at 9:44 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  5. Postmodern Hoplite Member
    Postmodern Hoplite

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Good letter: clear, to the point, and sensible. And congratulations for making the national press. ;)

    (By the way, your link in clickable form is here.)

    Thank you!

    • #5
    • November 27, 2020, at 9:45 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  6. Postmodern Hoplite Member
    Postmodern Hoplite

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

     

    Thank you, very much! 

    • #6
    • November 27, 2020, at 9:45 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  7. Postmodern Hoplite Member
    Postmodern Hoplite

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Perhaps a better solution would be a strengthened system of locally based reserve components, a reconstituted structure of the militia within the several states. This would be more in keeping with the Founders’ original concept of civil-military relations and promote the positive civic virtues Mr. Sanger rightly advocates.

    Agreed.

    As a former draftee, the best argument that I can make for a draft in certain limited circumstances is that the children of those making the decision to participate in or initiate a conflict should be “eligible” to participate in that conflict. It’s not a new argument, and perhaps subject to avoidance, but it still resonates with me.

    I appreciate your point, and agree. The challenge (which I admit, I don’t yet have a good answer for) is, how to insure the children of the elite are exposed to the same risks resulting from the policies implemented by their parents?

    • #7
    • November 27, 2020, at 9:50 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  8. Henry Racette Contributor

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):
    The challenge (which I admit, I don’t yet have a good answer for) is, how to insure the children of the elite are exposed to the same risks resulting from the policies implemented by their parents?

    I wonder to what extent this consideration really matters. (And I confess my near total ignorance on the subject.)

    First, I wonder what evidence there is that national leaders respond differently when their children face the prospect of a draft, versus when they don’t. It’s obviously hard to compare across years, cultures, and situations, but it wouldn’t surprise me if those at the very top of national politics always assume (probably correctly) that they and their families will be spared the consequences of whatever decisions they make on any topic.

    Secondly, I wonder if we would end up in more or fewer conflicts if national leaders did worry about their own children being drafted. Would it encourage a more accommodating attitude, more tolerance of misbehaving foreign actors, more appeasement that eventually led to larger and more serious conflict?

    No idea, but my gut suggests to me that this might not be a particularly strong reason for favoring a draft — and there are certainly good reasons to oppose one.

    • #8
    • November 27, 2020, at 10:01 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Well done, PH!! It’s nice to see the fine work of our own Ricochetti! Congratulations!

    • #9
    • November 27, 2020, at 10:27 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  10. Postmodern Hoplite Member
    Postmodern Hoplite

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    First, I wonder what evidence there is that national leaders respond differently when their children face the prospect of a draft, versus when they don’t. It’s obviously hard to compare across years, cultures, and situations, but it wouldn’t surprise me if those at the very top of national politics always assume (probably correctly) that they and their families will be spared the consequences of whatever decisions they make on any topic.

    This argument is often made with regard to perceptions of favoritism on behalf of the elite. It has shaped our cultural perceptions of the Vietnam War for decades. (Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son” is practically obligatory for every popular representation of that era.)

    I do think that expectations of shared risk on the part of the elite was once strong, such as during the Spanish-American War, and during World War II. However, once mandatory service was successfully implemented in the 1950s, the perception that the elite themselves had an obligation to share in such duties faded. The unpopular wars in Asia accelerated this. Perhaps this also goes hand-in-hand with the rising dominance of Progressive technocracy in modern bureaucracies?

    Be that as it may, the relatively small number of elites’ children represent such a small demographic slice of the military-service age population that there is no practical strategic advantage to drafting these individuals.

    • #10
    • November 27, 2020, at 11:23 AM PST
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  11. Hoyacon Member

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):
    The challenge (which I admit, I don’t yet have a good answer for) is, how to insure the children of the elite are exposed to the same risks resulting from the policies implemented by their parents?

    I wonder to what extent this consideration really matters. (And I confess my near total ignorance on the subject.)

    First, I wonder what evidence there is that national leaders respond differently when their children face the prospect of a draft, versus when they don’t. It’s obviously hard to compare across years, cultures, and situations, but it wouldn’t surprise me if those at the very top of national politics always assume (probably correctly) that they and their families will be spared the consequences of whatever decisions they make on any topic.

    Secondly, I wonder if we would end up in more or fewer conflicts if national leaders did worry about their own children being drafted. Would it encourage a more accommodating attitude, more tolerance of misbehaving foreign actors, more appeasement that eventually led to larger and more serious conflict?

    No idea, but my gut suggests to me that this might not be a particularly strong reason for favoring a draft — and there are certainly good reasons to oppose one.

    I appreciate that you acknowledging that this is a “gut” call. While either side of this point is likely be viewed as speculative, it still appears to me that, absent a draft, decision-makers–as well as the wealthy– are less likely to have some skin in the game. Even if one can sensibly argue that the children/grandchildren of elites will somehow avoid service, let’s get that on the record. I’m inalterably opposed to the pain of armed conflict, but we should at least promote the appearance of spreading that pain around.

     

    • #11
    • November 27, 2020, at 12:30 PM PST
    • 1 like
  12. Randy Webster Member

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):
    I appreciate your point, and agree. The challenge (which I admit, I don’t yet have a good answer for) is, how to insure the children of the elite are exposed to the same risks resulting from the policies implemented by their parents?

    As best I can recall, there were no exemptions from the lottery. If your number came up, you were gone. Of course, that didn’t mean some wouldn’t draw cushy duty (Algore, cough, cough).

    • #12
    • November 27, 2020, at 12:40 PM PST
    • Like
  13. Postmodern Hoplite Member
    Postmodern Hoplite

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I’m inalterably opposed to the pain of armed conflict, but we should at least promote the appearance of spreading that pain around.

    I agree 100% that the pain of armed conflict ought to be borne equally between those who lead and those who make up the rank and file.

    This is what I refer to regarding a restructured and revitalized Reserve Component (a militia in its truest meaning). Since the 1950s, the current National Guard/Reserve structure exists only as an auxiliary of the Regular Army. Is this really the model most in line with the vision of the Founders, and that which is most consistent with our American character?

    • #13
    • November 27, 2020, at 2:17 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  14. Django Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):
    I appreciate your point, and agree. The challenge (which I admit, I don’t yet have a good answer for) is, how to insure the children of the elite are exposed to the same risks resulting from the policies implemented by their parents?

    As best I can recall, there were no exemptions from the lottery. If your number came up, you were gone. Of course, that didn’t mean some wouldn’t draw cushy duty (Algore, cough, cough).

    I remember it quite well and I still have the draft registration card and my “notice of classification” card showing my classification as 1-A (ready for induction). 

    • #14
    • November 27, 2020, at 2:21 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  15. Pete EE Member

    The essence of a draft is that it is involuntary. That is, the deal the country offers to its young men not good enough to persuade enough of them to enlist. In an emergency that is an acceptable necessity. …well, that is still an abuse of the draftees (although perhaps a necessary one.)

    The solution to getting enough young men into the military is to offer them a better deal. That might be money, though I think that should be the last option. In Heinlein novels and ancient Rome, it was citizenship. only veterans had full the full status of citizen. In most of history, it was spoils. The successful officers returned as knights or nobility. The successful foot soldiers returned with status in a noble household. In the early days of post-feudal society, soldiers possessed status that was less definite, but indisputably real.

    In post-Vietnam America, soldiers are moderately paid and elite society works to demean their status. We will need to find some other compensation or we will find that we lack the soldiers we need to maintain our existing society. Then we will revisit the cost of soldiers: one way or other.

    • #15
    • November 27, 2020, at 3:40 PM PST
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  16. Django Member

    Pete EE (View Comment):

    The essence of a draft is that it is involuntary. That is, the deal the country offers to its young men not good enough to persuade enough of them to enlist. In an emergency that is an acceptable necessity…that still is an abuse of the draftees (although perhaps a necessary one.)
    The solution to getting enough young men into the military is to offer them a better deal. That might be money, though I think that should be the last option. In Heinlein novels and ancient Rome, it was citizenship. only veterans had full the full status of citizen. In most of history, it was spoils. The successful officers returned as knights or nobility. The successful foot soldiers returned with status in a noble household. In the early days of post-feudal society, soldiers possessed status that was less definite, but indisputably real.

    In post-Vietnam America, soldiers are moderately paid and elite society works to demean their status. We will need to find some other compensation or we will find that we lack the soldiers we need to maintain our existing society. Then we will revisit the cost of soldiers: one way or other.

    After a generation or so of being told that America is responsible for most of the world’s ills, do you think that young men today would choose a military career or even a short term in the military if they have other options? Unless of course, the compensation is sufficient and they choose to be mercenaries? 

    • #16
    • November 27, 2020, at 3:44 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  17. Pete EE Member

    Django (View Comment):

    Pete EE (View Comment):

    The essence of a draft is that it is involuntary. …

    In post-Vietnam America, soldiers are moderately paid and elite society works to demean their status. We will need to find some other compensation or we will find that we lack the soldiers we need to maintain our existing society. Then we will revisit the cost of soldiers: one way or other.

    After a generation or so of being told that America is responsible for most of the world’s ills, do you think that young men today would choose a military career or even a short term in the military if they have other options? Unless of course, the compensation is sufficient and they choose to be mercenaries?

    …or they are idealists who believe in the promise and goodness of America.

    …or they come home to nation that approves and supports their efforts.

    • #17
    • November 27, 2020, at 4:08 PM PST
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  18. EHerring Coolidge

    Great article. You brought up one point I haven’t used in my arguments about the draft, the rejection rate of today’s drug-using, couch potato youth [my words]. 

    People don’t realize how costly each recruit is. For every manpower slot funded, there are other appropriations that must be added: base support and housing, training, moving expenses, subsistence, health care, dependent care and support, medical costs, retiree pension and health care, and VA costs.

    There is a cap on the number needed. Every unwilling draftee takes the place of a willing enlistee. 

    re kids of the “elites,” in my opinion, that just fills the ranks with more John Kerrys.

    • #18
    • November 27, 2020, at 4:23 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  19. Django Member

    EHerring (View Comment):

    Great article. You brought up one point I haven’t used in my arguments about the draft, the rejection rate of today’s drug-using, couch potato youth [my words].

    People don’t realize how costly each recruit is. For every manpower slot funded, there are other appropriations that must be added: base support and housing, training, moving expenses, subsistence, health care, dependent care and support, medical costs, retiree pension and health care, and VA costs.

    There is a cap on the number needed. Every unwilling draftee takes the place of a willing enlistee.

    re kids of the “elites,” in my opinion, that just fills the ranks with more John Kerrys.

    The fact that John Kerry, among others, is considered a member of the elite proves that America really is a classless society. 

    • #19
    • November 27, 2020, at 4:26 PM PST
    • 7 likes
  20. Randy Webster Member

    Django (View Comment):
    The fact that John Kerry, among others, is considered a member of the elite proves that America really is a classless society. 

    Or is it full of classless people?

    • #20
    • November 27, 2020, at 4:28 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  21. Instugator Thatcher
    InstugatorJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Pete EE (View Comment):
    That is, the deal the country offers to its young men not good enough to persuade enough of them to enlist.

    We are meeting our enlistment targets. So I don’t know what you mean by this.

    In fact, the military has been undergoing a revision in the pay and benefits. The retirement system has been revamped and although the DOD claims it results in the same quantity of cash when a retiree reaches the age of 60, careful analysis shows that that statement relies on rosy assumptions and neglects the effects of how the new retirement system is implemented.

    Regardless – my belief is that draft boards are a necessary tool, not to implement a draft but to categorize and smooth the accession of volunteers in time conflict.

    I am not in favor of the draft at all.

     

    • #21
    • November 27, 2020, at 5:27 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  22. Instugator Thatcher
    InstugatorJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Or is it full of classless people?

    Clueless is more like it.

    • #22
    • November 27, 2020, at 5:28 PM PST
    • 1 like
  23. Flicker Coolidge

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Pete EE (View Comment):
    That is, the deal the country offers to its young men not good enough to persuade enough of them to enlist.

    We are meeting our enlistment targets. So I don’t know what you mean by this.

    In fact, the military has been undergoing a revision in the pay and benefits. The retirement system has been revamped and although the DOD claims it results in the same quantity of cash when a retiree reaches the age of 60, careful analysis shows that that statement relies on rosy assumptions and neglects the effects of how the new retirement system is implemented.

    Regardless – my belief is that draft boards are a necessary tool, not to implement a draft but to categorize and smooth the accession of volunteers in time conflict.

    I am not in favor of the draft at all.

    Maybe — and this is a joke — the idea of reinstituting the draft was to instill a character of service and civic responsibility in the country’s youth. Actually schools were designed to do this, in part. So why can’t we just purpose military service members to teach in our k-12 schools. Replace the AFT and NEA with the UCMJ.

    • #23
    • November 27, 2020, at 5:45 PM PST
    • 1 like
  24. EHerring Coolidge

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Pete EE (View Comment):
    That is, the deal the country offers to its young men not good enough to persuade enough of them to enlist.

    We are meeting our enlistment targets. So I don’t know what you mean by this.

    In fact, the military has been undergoing a revision in the pay and benefits. The retirement system has been revamped and although the DOD claims it results in the same quantity of cash when a retiree reaches the age of 60, careful analysis shows that that statement relies on rosy assumptions and neglects the effects of how the new retirement system is implemented.

    Regardless – my belief is that draft boards are a necessary tool, not to implement a draft but to categorize and smooth the accession of volunteers in time conflict.

    I am not in favor of the draft at all.

    Maybe — and this is a joke — the idea of reinstituting the draft was to instill a character of service and civic responsibility in the country’s youth. Actually schools were designed to do this, in part. So why can’t we just purpose military service members to teach in our k-12 schools. Replace the AFT and NEA with the UCMJ.

    In addition to ROTC, we do, or did, have Troops to Teachers.

    • #24
    • November 27, 2020, at 5:55 PM PST
    • 1 like
  25. Flicker Coolidge

    EHerring (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Pete EE (View Comment):
    That is, the deal the country offers to its young men not good enough to persuade enough of them to enlist.

    We are meeting our enlistment targets. So I don’t know what you mean by this.

    In fact, the military has been undergoing a revision in the pay and benefits. The retirement system has been revamped and although the DOD claims it results in the same quantity of cash when a retiree reaches the age of 60, careful analysis shows that that statement relies on rosy assumptions and neglects the effects of how the new retirement system is implemented.

    Regardless – my belief is that draft boards are a necessary tool, not to implement a draft but to categorize and smooth the accession of volunteers in time conflict.

    I am not in favor of the draft at all.

    Maybe — and this is a joke — the idea of reinstituting the draft was to instill a character of service and civic responsibility in the country’s youth. Actually schools were designed to do this, in part. So why can’t we just purpose military service members to teach in our k-12 schools. Replace the AFT and NEA with the UCMJ.

    In addition to ROTC, we do, or did, have Troops to Teachers.

    Wow. I didn’t know that. Maybe we need them more today than ever.

    • #25
    • November 27, 2020, at 6:00 PM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Barry Jones Thatcher

    Django (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):
    I appreciate your point, and agree. The challenge (which I admit, I don’t yet have a good answer for) is, how to insure the children of the elite are exposed to the same risks resulting from the policies implemented by their parents?

    As best I can recall, there were no exemptions from the lottery. If your number came up, you were gone. Of course, that didn’t mean some wouldn’t draw cushy duty (Algore, cough, cough).

    I remember it quite well and I still have the draft registration card and my “notice of classification” card showing my classification as 1-A (ready for induction).

    I still have mine. Haven’t looked at it in a while but it was either 1H or 1D…ready, able and willing but currently enrolled in Military College (North Georgia College, by the way). Several years later I was commissioned as a 2LT in Armor. However, the war in Southeast Asia was but a memory (so was the draft)…the only shooting in earnest I ever saw was in Grenada in 1983…and they weren’t shooting specifically at me, just in my general direction – more or less. 

    • #26
    • November 27, 2020, at 6:23 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  27. Barry Jones Thatcher

    EHerring (View Comment):

    Great article. You brought up one point I haven’t used in my arguments about the draft, the rejection rate of today’s drug-using, couch potato youth [my words].

    People don’t realize how costly each recruit is. For every manpower slot funded, there are other appropriations that must be added: base support and housing, training, moving expenses, subsistence, health care, dependent care and support, medical costs, retiree pension and health care, and VA costs.

    There is a cap on the number needed. Every unwilling draftee takes the place of a willing enlistee.

    re kids of the “elites,” in my opinion, that just fills the ranks with more John Kerrys.

    Unwilling soldiers – “meh” but good soldiers (and the US Armed Services have the best in the world!) have a value beyond gold…

    • #27
    • November 27, 2020, at 6:26 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  28. Django Member

    Barry Jones (View Comment):

    Django (View Comment):

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):
    I appreciate your point, and agree. The challenge (which I admit, I don’t yet have a good answer for) is, how to insure the children of the elite are exposed to the same risks resulting from the policies implemented by their parents?

    As best I can recall, there were no exemptions from the lottery. If your number came up, you were gone. Of course, that didn’t mean some wouldn’t draw cushy duty (Algore, cough, cough).

    I remember it quite well and I still have the draft registration card and my “notice of classification” card showing my classification as 1-A (ready for induction).

    I still have mine. Haven’t looked at it in a while but it was either 1H or 1D…ready, able and willing but currently enrolled in Military College (North Georgia College, by the way). Several years later I was commissioned as a 2LT in Armor. However, the war in Southeast Asia was but a memory (so was the draft)…the only shooting in earnest I ever saw was in Grenada in 1983…and they weren’t shooting specifically at me, just in my general direction – more or less.

    My uncle was an Army lifer who told me that if I took the commission he’d kick my a$$ and if he wasn’t up to the job anymore, he’d hire a couple guys to do it for him. I don’t think he was joking. I missed being drafted by about three numbers. An odd quirk of the Senate that summer kept the draft board from reaching the number that would have pulled me into the service. 

    • #28
    • November 27, 2020, at 6:28 PM PST
    • 1 like
  29. EHerring Coolidge

    Flicker (View Comment):

    EHerring (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Instugator (View Comment):

    Pete EE (View Comment):
    That is, the deal the country offers to its young men not good enough to persuade enough of them to enlist.

    We are meeting our enlistment targets. So I don’t know what you mean by this.

    In fact, the military has been undergoing a revision in the pay and benefits. The retirement system has been revamped and although the DOD claims it results in the same quantity of cash when a retiree reaches the age of 60, careful analysis shows that that statement relies on rosy assumptions and neglects the effects of how the new retirement system is implemented.

    Regardless – my belief is that draft boards are a necessary tool, not to implement a draft but to categorize and smooth the accession of volunteers in time conflict.

    I am not in favor of the draft at all.

    Maybe — and this is a joke — the idea of reinstituting the draft was to instill a character of service and civic responsibility in the country’s youth. Actually schools were designed to do this, in part. So why can’t we just purpose military service members to teach in our k-12 schools. Replace the AFT and NEA with the UCMJ.

    In addition to ROTC, we do, or did, have Troops to Teachers.

    Wow. I didn’t know that. Maybe we need them more today than ever.

    https://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil/Benefit-Library/Federal-Benefits/Troops-to-Teachers-(TTT)

    • #29
    • November 27, 2020, at 7:19 PM PST
    • 1 like
  30. JosePluma Thatcher

    I’ve told this story before. During the peaceful demonstrations in Albuquerque after the invasion of Afghanistan, a protester came up to me and my partner and asked “What are you going to do when they start drafting cops?” My partner, an Army reservist who later served in both Iraq and Afghanistan, replied “There’s not going to be a draft.” “Oh, how can you be so sure?” “Because the Army won’t let a POS like you serve alongside me.”

    • #30
    • November 27, 2020, at 9:54 PM PST
    • 12 likes