ultimate cost of war is almost always the loss of liberty. True defensive
wars and revolutionary wars against tyrants may preserve or establish
a free society, as did our war against the British. But these wars are
rare. Most wars are unnecessary, dangerous, and cause senseless suffering
with little being gained. The result of most conflicts throughout the
ages has been loss of liberty and life on both sides. The current war
in which we find ourselves clearly qualifies as one of those unnecessary
and dangerous wars. To get the people to support ill-conceived wars,
the nation's leaders employ grand schemes of deception.
Wilson orchestrated our entry into World War I by first promising during
the election of 1916 to keep us out of the European conflict, then a
few months later pressuring and maneuvering Congress into declaring
war against Germany. Whether it was the Spanish American War before
that or all the wars since, U.S. presidents have deceived the people
to gain popular support for ill-conceived military ventures. Wilson
wanted the war and immediately demanded conscription to fight it. He
didn't have the guts even to name the program a military draft;
instead in a speech before Congress calling for war he advised the army
should be "chosen upon the principle of universal liability to
service." Most Americans at the time of the declaration didn't
believe actual combat troops would be sent. What a dramatic change from
this early perception, when the people endorsed the war, to the carnage
that followed and the later disillusionment with Wilson and his grand
scheme for world government under the League of Nations. The American
people rejected this gross new entanglement, a reflection of a somewhat
healthier age than the one we find ourselves in today.
it comes to war, the principle of deception lives on. The plan for "universal
liability to serve" once again is raising its ugly head. The dollar
cost of the current war is already staggering, yet plans are being made
to drastically expand the human cost by forcing conscription on the
young men (and maybe women) who have no ax to grind with the Iraqi people
and want no part of this fight.
of Americans have already been killed, and thousands more wounded and
crippled, while thousands of others will experience new and deadly war
related illnesses not yet identified.
told we had to support this pre-emptive war against Iraq because Saddam
Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (and to confront al Qaeda).
It was said our national security depended on it. But all these dangers
were found not to exist in Iraq. It was implied that lack of support
for this Iraqi invasion was un-American and unpatriotic.
the original reasons for the war never existed, it is now claimed that
we're there to make Iraq a western-style democracy and to spread
western values. And besides, it's argued, it's nice that Saddam
Hussein has been removed from power. But does the mere existence of
evil somewhere in the world justify preemptive war at the expense of
the American people? Utopian dreams, fulfilled by autocratic means,
hardly qualify as being morally justifiable.
after-the-fact excuses for invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation
direct attention away from the charge that the military industrial complex
encouraged this war. It was encouraged by war profiteering, a desire
to control natural resources (oil), and a Neo-con agenda of American
hegemony with the goal of redrawing the borders of the countries of
the Middle East.
failure of such a seriously flawed foreign policy cannot be contemplated
by those who have put so much energy into this occupation. The current
quagmire prompts calls from many for escalation, with more troops being
sent to Iraq. Many of our reservists and National Guardsmen cannot wait
to get out and have no plans to re-enlist. The odds are that our policy
of foreign intervention, which has been with us for many decades, is
not likely to soon change. The dilemma of how to win an un-winnable
war is the issue begging for an answer.
more troops, the draft will likely be reinstated. The implicit prohibition
of "involuntary servitude" under the 13th Amendment to the
Constitution has already been ignored many times so few will challenge
the constitutionality of the coming draft.
wars invite conscription. Volunteers disappear, as well they should.
A truly defensive just war prompts popular support. A conscripted, unhappy
soldier is better off on the long run than the slaves of old since the
"enslavement" is only temporary. But in the short run the
draft may well turn out to be more deadly and degrading, as one is forced
to commit life and limb to a less than worthy cause like teaching
democracy to unwilling and angry Arabs. Slaves were safer in that their
owners had an economic interest in protecting their lives. Endangering
the lives of our soldiers is acceptable policy, and that's why
they are needed. Too often, though, our men and women who are exposed
to the hostilities of war and welcomed initially are easily forgotten
after the fighting ends. Soon afterward, the injured and the sick are
ignored and forgotten.
said we go about the world waging war to promote peace, and yet the
price paid is rarely weighed against the failed efforts to make the
world a better place. Justifying conscription to promote the cause of
liberty is one of the most bizarre notions ever conceived by man! Forced
servitude, with the risk of death and serious injury as a price to live
free, makes no sense. What right does anyone have to sacrifice the lives
of others for some cause of questionable value? Even if well motivated
it can't justify using force on uninterested persons.
said that the 18 year old owes it to his country. Hogwash! It just as
easily could be argued that a 50 year-old chicken-hawk, who promotes
war and places the danger on innocent young people, owes a heck of a
lot more to the country than the 18 year-old being denied his liberty
for a cause that has no justification.
are unfair. All 18 and 19 year olds are never drafted. By its very nature
a draft must be discriminatory. All drafts hit the most vulnerable young
people, as the elites learn quickly how to avoid the risks of combat.
cost of war and the economic hardship is great in all wars and cannot
be minimized. War is never economically beneficial except for those
in position to profit from war expenditures. The great tragedy of war
is the careless disregard for civil liberties of our own people. Abuses
of German and Japanese Americans in World War I and World War II are
real sacrifice comes with conscription forcing a small number of young
vulnerable citizens to fight the wars that older men and women, who
seek glory in military victory without themselves being exposed to danger,
promote. These are wars with neither purpose nor moral justification,
and too often not even declared by the Congress.
conscription, unpopular wars are much more difficult to fight. Once
the draft was undermined in the 1960s and early 1970s, the Vietnam War
came to an end. But most importantly, liberty cannot be preserved by
tyranny. A free society must always resort to volunteers. Tyrants thinks
nothing of forcing men to fight and serve in wrongheaded wars; a true
fight for survival and defense of America would elicit, I'm sure,
the assistance of every able-bodied man and woman. This is not the case
for wars of mischief far away from home in which we so often have found
ourselves in the past century.
One of the worst votes that an elected official could ever cast would
be to institute a military draft to fight an illegal war, if that individual
himself maneuvered to avoid military service. But avoiding the draft
on principle qualifies oneself to work hard to avoid all unnecessary
war and oppose the draft for all others.
that is willing to enslave a portion of its people to fight an unjust
war can never be trusted to protect the liberties of its own citizens.
The ends can never justify the means, no matter what the Neo-cons say.