Why We Don’t Need a Military Draft

2 February 2017

With long, drawn-out wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, regularly scheduled deployments to other areas of the world, and tensions between the U. S. and Iran threatening to ignite another war, our military is spread too thin. For our military to complete its mission of defending our country effectively, it is obvious that more personnel are needed. One way to ensure the military is not under-manned would be to reinstitute the draft.

Reinstituting the draft would ensure the military an unlimited supply of new recruits. However, there are other, better, and more cost-effective ways to ensure that our military is properly manned without resorting to a draft. There are plenty of logical, valid arguments to support not reinstituting a military draft. A draft would be a huge waist of tax payers’ money. Just getting draftees to recruiting stations to go through the process of physical and mental examinations is not an inexpensive process.

Why We Don’t Need a Military Draft Essay Example

There would also be an issue with draft dodgers, which there would be plenty of in this day and age. The process of finding these people, prosecuting them and eventually incarcerating them would be another unnecessary cost to society. There would also be many people who would claim conscientious objector status. Infield (2005) states that even though the draft has not been reinstituted, pacifist churches are beginning to prepare it’s male members on how to become conscientious objectors, for fear a draft is imminent.

And as if there would not be more than enough people trying to get out of military service on their own, authorities at the Selective Service System, of all places, are advising the leaders of these churches how to prepare their member’s on how to successfully apply for conscientious objector status (Peace Churches Plan Alternative to Military Draft). Another argument against the draft is that Americans simply do not want to see the draft’s return. Though it has not always been the case, a majority of Americans today are against reinstituting the draft.

According to Jones (2007), most Americans were in favor of reinstituting the draft in 1980, when President Jimmy Carter discussed the possibility of the draft’s return during the Cold War. However, the majority of Americans had become against the idea of the draft returning after Ronald Reagan took office in 1981. The below line graph illustrates the results of Gallup Polls conducted at various time beginning in 1980 and ending in 2007. “Yes” represents people who voted in favor of reinstituting a military draft and “No” for those gainst it.

The last poll taken in August 2007 show an overwhelming majority of Americans are against reinstituting the draft. Pro-draft proponents may argue the reasons the anti-draft numbers are so high is only because of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the poll shows that the current feeling toward the draft has been around since 1998, well before the events that led to the U. S. going to war (Vast Majority of Americans Opposed to Reinstituting Military Draft).

There are also arguments against the draft that are not very logical, and border on insane. The absurdity of some these arguments serve to only hurt the logical and valid arguments of the anti-draft movement. For example Gregory (2005) writes that the most important argument for not reinstituting the draft is that the draft is a form of slavery (The Most Important Argument Against the Draft). While it is true that many people would be forced to do a job that they do not wish to do, serving in the military is not slavery. It is the price of living in a free society.

If a draft were to be reinstituted, many of those called upon to serve would make more money than they ever could in the civilian sector, and they would have medical and dental benefits, for themselves and for their dependents, that no civilian employer could ever provide. The pay and benefits that today’s U. S. military personnel are so attractive that many of those drafted would probably end up making the military a career. While there are many arguments against reinstituting the draft, there are also many arguments that support the draft, though many, if not most are not practical or logical.

Noel Koch (2004), former Secretary of Defense and speech writer for President Nixon, argues that more men and women are needed on active duty in order to fight wars, which is his only logical argument for returning the draft. His other arguments however are not logical. Koch states that members of his family have served in every conflict since the Civil War because service was expected. He also points out that people who would otherwise not have an opportunity to attend college would be able to benefit from the GI Bill by serving in the military.

Finally, he argues that because of the draft during the Vietnam Era, people from different classes, races and religious backgrounds that were forced to live and work together learned to get along with one another (Why We Need the Draft Back). While these arguments by Mr. Koch may be true, they are not valid reasons for reinstituting the draft. Just because other members of one’s family served in the military, this argument sounds like he is in favor of a draft solely to ensure every male member of every family serve in the armed forces during a war.

Not everyone is cut out for military service; just because some member’s of a family have served does not mean every member should serve just to follow a “tradition”. They should “want” to serve. And while the GI Bill does help those who serve in the military pay for college, there are other and much easier ways to finance a college education, even for those that come from less privileged backgrounds. Lastly, while a draft would throw a mix of people from different backgrounds together, and the majority of them would probably get along well, this argument makes it sound like he supports the draft to conduct a social experiment.

Forcing people to serve in the military through a draft would do more harm to the military than good. Serving in the military is not like any other job. It is not easy during peacetime, much less during a war. Military service is very stressful for the military member and for his or her family members as well. To have an effective military, people serving in military have to want to serve and have to have the support of their immediate family, especially while fighting a war on many fronts.

People who are forced to serve, particularly those that do not wish to, will be a liability to any combat unit, and those units that do not see action as well. In today’s all volunteer military, minimal service obligations are in place for a reason; today’s soldiers, sailors, and airmen spend years training to become proficient in their jobs. Draftees would serve only 18-24 months of service. They would lag behind in training compared to the volunteer force. By the time they became proficient in their duties, their service obligation, in most instances, would be over.

There are standards for people to join and be accepted in the volunteer force: personnel must pass an entrance aptitude exam; personnel who have displayed certain criminal behavior in the past are not allowed to join the military; and people who have chronic injuries or illnesses are not allowed to join. By reinstituting the draft, entrance exam standards would have to be lowered or the exam done away with entirely to prevent draftees from intentionally failing to avoid service.

Additionally, anyone who truly did not wish to serve could fake injury or mental illness to get out of service. Expanding today’s volunteer military by allowing more people to join would be the smartest and most economical way to ensure enough people are on active duty. Expanding the size of the volunteer force and allowing the brightest, most patriotic and capable people who want to serve to enlist or apply for officer programs would be the best way to ensure that we have a capable military.

Today’s all volunteer military is made up of the most educated personnel, both officer and enlisted, this country, indeed the entire world, has ever seen. Reinstituting the draft would result in a “dumbing down” of today’s military (Fick, 2004). In summary, reinstituting the draft is not necessary to maintain a ready and effective military: The draft would result in lower standards for draftees. These draftees would not be as well trained as volunteers. The draft would cause greater costs than simply allowing more people who would like to volunteer to join.

The best way to ensure our military’s effectiveness and readiness would be to expand the volunteer force to ensure the brightest, most patriotic, and most capable people are recruited, trained and retained for long-term military service instead of forcing people into service that do not wish to do so. There are plenty of people who would like to serve voluntarily. However, current limits on the size of the military prevent them from doing so.

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