Tuesday, July 13, 2010
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Mark Shields, in Friday's column, makes a very strong case for reinstatement of the draft. He's right in saying there should be an "equality of sacrifice" and "that when the country goes to war, it is everybody's war." Further, it's also true that the nation's military operates "within its own isolated bubble." However, the draft is not the answer.
The draft is operated by the Selective Service System and it's just that, selective. Under its system, not everyone goes into military service. It was designed to increase the size of the armed forces without disrupting the civilian economy. What is needed is a process that would involve all our nation's youth: Universal Military Training.
UMT should be established for all youths, male and female, when they reach the age of 18. Even those with a physical disability could serve in some capacity. The term of service should be two years. Individuals could choose to serve either before or after attending college. The best reason for UMT is service to country. Teens graduating from high school today appear focused only on their personal lives, taking for granted there is a government, money system and laws. Their attention should be directed toward what makes the United States a country, how each branch of the federal government works and what it means to be an American citizen. Also, in the military, young people who are of different racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds can learn to work together as a team for the accomplishment of a mission.
If the United States is to remain a world power, then it must develop a citizenry attuned to the challenges of the world. The military is an instrument of state power. All citizens should be a part of that power.
-- Jack Francis