While We’re Talking About Patriotism…

Among Monday’s Fourth of July reliable pieties were many exhortations to “support the troops.” We heard little or nothing about what really supporting our troops would look like.

A commenter on my Fourth of July post advocated reinstitution of the military draft; the comment reminded me of a book review I read awhile back, so I dug it out. In the New York Times, Matthew Crawford reviewed Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger. Junger had previously directed two well-received documentaries about an American platoon stationed in a small village in Afghanistan. In those films, Crawford tells us, we see

…the recalcitrant realities of killing. We see the joys and depravities of a cell of men released from the neutering moral regulation of American society. That society has a mission for them to do, but it cannot avow the means by which it is to be accomplished and must avert its gaze from the appalling maleness of it all.

In Tribe, Junger asks: how do you return home from such an experience, an experience where the qualities demanded of soldiers, the qualities cultivated by war, are “fundamentally at odds with our public principles”? How do you reintegrate these young people into a society largely indifferent to and unaware of the nation’s foreign entanglements, let alone the realities of combat?

In his review of the book, Crawford points out that the problems of re-entry and reintegration into society in countries (like Israel) where the burdens of national defense are widely shared–and much less remote from the collective consciousness of the general public–are much different from the problems faced by returning American soldiers.

There are strengths and weaknesses to a volunteer army. I would suggest that the weaknesses are significant–and corrosive–and that they outweigh the strengths.

Our “volunteers” are mostly recruited from marginalized populations and those who have few other educational or employment options. To be blunt (and not “politically correct”), that reality–and America’s extensive use of “contractors” (aka mercenaries)– makes it easier for lawmakers to authorize military actions. They need not come back to their districts and face constituents whose sons and daughters have been conscripted and sent into danger.

I have previously written about the negative consequences of “outsourcing” patriotism. In the concluding paragraph of his book review, Crawford underlines several of my concerns.

The self-deceptions of contemporary society that Junger elaborates run too deep to be relieved by exhortations to “support the troops.” The conclusion one reaches upon finishing Tribe is that we should bring back the draft and have universal, obligatory military service. It is hard to think of a public policy reform that would do more to heal the growing chasm of social class, affirm our shared destiny as citizens and at the same time discipline our foreign policy. A nation of 320 million will never be a tribe, but if after such a reform we still have enthusiasm for putting “boots on the ground,” those boots will belong to “us” rather than “them.”

I couldn’t agree more.


  1. I think the idea makes sense in theory, but in practice I assume those with means would avoid the worst of it. If you’re wealthy, I suspect your time in service would be a fairly safe play-at-army experience, while the poor continued to actually experience they joys of being shot at. I’m not sure getting to play with military toys in total safety for a few years would convince the powers that be to avoid wars. They’d probably think it was all good fun.

  2. Sheila,
    I agree completely, make the Draft universal. (I was a non-cooperator)
    We have chosen to go down the road of the Roman Empire with pointers from the British Empire and we know the result, let’s make it as ethical as possible on this journey.

  3. I believe a draft is the only way for America, however 2 years is not long enough, 3 to 4 years is required. The reason 2 years does not allow for enough time to train troops to the technologies required and ending up with troops able to preform leaving just as they become honed for successful deployment. 3 or 4 years would allow better trained troops in the field and as an incentive give a year of tuition free accreted education for every year served. Also require all services to except draftees not just the Army. During Vietnam draftees were often trained for 6 weeks of basic training 10 weeks of specially training and deployed with guns and gear to Vietnam leading to massive casualties and to often under trained and poorly disciplined troops.

  4. My feelings are mixed regarding reinstatement of the draft but I do understand those who support it, just as I understand those who object. I have grandsons and granddaughters and great-grandsons and great-granddaughters who are draft age so I have a personal stake in this issue. I am also aware there are those – Donald Trump immediately comes to mind – who will wriggle their way out of serving by using family wealth and/or high-level political connections.

    During the Viet Nam war, my second husband (a commenter on this blog) and I hosted the “coming out” party for our best friend and two other Disciples of Christ, Christian Church, ministers after serving 18 months in work release for holding a brief prayer service in the downtown draft induction center. They fought all the way to the Indiana Supreme Court but lost; they simply finished their prayers after being ordered by police to leave the center and laid one yellow rose on each desk as they exited to be arrested. Word spread about the party and those who came overflowed our home, porch, yard and front sidewalk; many brought yellow roses. Where were police throughout this country when thousands of OUR returning vets were spat upon, called vile names and ducked debris thrown at them?

    I am anti-war but support our troops 100%; wars have been with us since the beginning of time, so it is and so it shall ever be. Is reinstating the draft the answer? To quote Sheila; “It is hard to think of a public policy reform that would do more to heal the growing chasm of social class, affirm our shared destiny as citizens and at the same time discipline our foreign policy.” It would/could be a great equalizer in this country but is it pro or con to our Constitutional rights and how many would suddenly become “conscientious objectors” by joining some religious organization? Loopholes and cracks permeate all our laws, rules and ordinances in this country and much of the Constitution and Amendments are open to interpretation.

    How did the draft become the law of the land in the past? There are more questions than answers regarding using the draft as a way to “heal the growing chasm of social class” for as always we must return to “follow the money” which is the basis for caste systems around the world and sadly is fast becoming the normal state of affairs in the U.S.

  5. I am anti-war and after 9/11, I asked one of my ex-military coworkers about his push to invade some place in the middle east: Will it bring back those victims of 9/11? Nope, it won’t. And yet, he was all set to serve despite being in his mid-50s at the time.

    I just don’t get war and how effective it can or can’t be (Iraq included). I remember when as a child, we learned of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima death toll. I never have been able to shake that awful feeling of asking why? Why did so many innocents have to die? Yes it ended the war, but at what cost?

    If veterans were treated well when they return, in whatever condition they may be, you might get more volunteers for service. I agree with your conclusion.

  6. Today’s blog post is profound and thoughtful and I now see how a draft could or would affect how our military actions would be carried out.

    It seems more and more that out military has become a profiteering scheme for military equipment contractors. I just read an article a couple days ago about Navy leaders demanding that we build ships that are not needed. Even though the Congressional committee was against it, based upon facts, the request was approved after millions were spent on lobbying. I will try to find the article and post it here.

  7. I agree, but only if there is absolutely no way out of serving other than significant medical disability. Otherwise, as Dirk pointed out, compulsory service would be no different than it has been in the past: something the rich and well-educated can avoid.

  8. As a (drafted) combat veteran, and now a committed Pacifist because of my experience, may I add to the chorus of “yeas” for this column, and the ideas expressed. When the general public has no skin in the game (literally), it is too easy to send troops off to what seems to those at home to be a Video Game war.

    As to the wealthy wiggling out. Yes, they will. But just the twin facts that they are subject to conscription, and their schemes may not work, leaving them to serve; and the fact that the general public can see them for the scheming cowards they are (Trump, Romney, Cheney, et. al) will just as surely change the game as if they actually have to raise their hand and pledge their life to the nation, as the rest of us do.

  9. AgingGirl. Did you have two brothers in the army who would have been sent to invade Japan if the BOMBS had not been dropped? And I would have been close behind. It is very easy for people your age to feel sorry for the innocent. Read some history of how the Japs treated prisoners of war and the innocent people of countries they invaded. Irvin

  10. I would support a universal service committment more than a military draft. I think the notion that having been in the military would make us more cautious about putting boots on the ground only has merit if everyone has to actually fight. So many of the WWII vets supported the war in Vietnam because they never saw actual combat. They got taken from home and sent to exotic locales where they performed support functions. Those who were on the beach heads seeing their friends blown up didn’t support future wars.

    Readjustment is a big problem because we don’t do it right. We take men and women from the battlefield to home overnight, from a state of constant alert and high adrenaline to lawn care and dog walking. Let’s spend some money and provide a wind down time in a nice setting. Let the vets reconnect during that time with spouses and family.

  11. Irvin, first of all, to compare WWII to Vietnam, Iraq, or Afghanistan is dumb, at best, dishonest, at worst.

    Also, YOU might want to read some history about how the U.S. treated prisoners who were turned over to the South Vietnamese military, and how the U.S. treated “enemy combatants” at Guantanamo, and in “secret renditions.” There’s plenty of evil to go around. The answer is NOT bombing to annihilation, it is in finding solutions that do not include war. (PS I’m sure you are aware of how the US embargoed steel and petroleum, trying to “starve them into line,” to Japan BEFORE they attacked Pearl Harbor.)

  12. Irvin, I have three brothers and the oldest would have been drafted to Vietnam but was in the hospital for 60 days (and last rights given at least twice) so he didn’t serve because he failed the medical exam after recovering and after turning 18. He’s going on 64 yrs old. My two other brothers were just young enough that they had to sign up but one of those Presidents ended the draft before they were 18. I was terrified that my brothers would get sent to war. I know drafted men don’t understand my pacifism but it’s all I’ve got in me. Thank you for your service.

  13. When I started college and found myself woefully immature for the experience, and I noticed that I was not at all out of step with my contemporaries, I thought that universal service would be a great growing up time. Sort of a gap year or years productively spent.

    I assumed a military or Peace Corp choice. I also assumed that both institutions could find something to do for everyone.

    I don’t think that I was realistic about that. Actually my problem solved itself and I matured in college and right after as a husband and father and professional.

    When I see on news today what we ask of soldiers it really hits home. They have no jobs for immature kids. They have no time for parenting. They need warrior/ambassadors.

    So now gap years may be appropriate but that’s limited by funding both by the inherent cost and the need to become self supporting ASAP.

    Another experience: a movie about drone warfare and the conflicts of young people sitting in an “office” in Kansas executing video death sentences for folks that they have never met, don’t hate, are from a different culture, but are clearly real live warm blooded people.

    Of course the only sane solution is to stop waring. To settle differences diplomatically. To institute effective world government. Solutions for which we are apparently ill equipped.

    It’s been noted that wealth is an illusion and the real inequality that grips the world is energy access, which has to change technically anyway and urgently, so maybe we’ll be smart enough to eliminate poverty while we’re doing it.

    In reality we’ll do nothing until the impact is undeniable in the wealthy world but that will be too late in the developing world so inequality will become even worse and that spells war.

    There is no solution. We’re just going to have to wing it and use our democracy judiciously to elect the best among us. And hope. And keep trying. And hope some more.

  14. Interesting thoughts. I think it is true about Americans not feeling like one tribe, and this is part of it. But I have no interest in being an American should this suggestion of universal service come to pass. Why? Because I have precious children, bright and beautiful and full of love and hope. I do not trust the American voter and the American political system to not throw them away or otherwise ruin their lives like they have to so many others for highly questionable reasons. Am I an American of convenience? I suppose so, but I am old and wise enough to understand the idiocy of nationalism, and I will not see my loves ones pay the price for it. If this comes to pass, my family will emigrate to a saner place.

  15. irvin BAA; what would Americans be saying, lo these many decades later, if Japan had dropped THE BOMB on Pearl Harbor, or the UK or any of our other allies? The horror of that action would have brought about a totally different outcome, a totally different world and there probably would be no United States of America. We would be under the flag with the rising sun and be speaking Japanese. But I digress; I am 79 and I remember the patriotism in this country, carried proudly by even school children who didn’t understand the draft or why some fathers went to war and others stayed home. We carried cans of fat drippings and newspapers to school to aid in the war effort, we saved our pennies to buy War Bonds. Everyone had gardens to provide food for their families, rationing was our way of life.

    I watched a two-hour documentary a few years ago on the History channel; the TRUE story of the building of the bridge on the River Kwai, beginning with the horrible march to reach that area. Inhuman treatment by the Japanese rivaled the Holocaust and those prisoners who died were left to rot along the way. If you remember the Ingrid Bergman movie, “Inn Of The Sixth Happiness”, you should read the true story of Gladys Aylward in “The Small Woman”. She was a prisoner of the Japanese while trying to save Chinese children from their atrocities. Her torture, beatings, repeated rapes, neglect and many abuses at the hands of the Japanese led to lifelong illness for her. But she and over 100 children walked through the mountains, hiding from the Japanese to reach safety.

    In the words of that 1970’s song, “War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing!” When it is all over and those remaining look back, they see it was always about money. For anyone who is going to say today it is about oil…oil IS money.

  16. For the United States, so steeped in commerce, it seems to me the best way to run a war machine is to first determine the total life cycle cost of the war in question. Life cycle costs include the recruiting, training, maintenance of the machine going to war (people, equipment, technology, physical and spiritual competence, etc…) add to that the likely post-theater costs to maintain what victory was achievable, and then, and just as important, the cost to transition our troops back into society and to replace equipment losses,etc…the full life cycle cost of the war. But most important, we must cost justify the war by increasing the tax basis on our citizens or reducing some agreed government expenses to pay for all of it.

    Congress must be involved, approving the war AND the war budget and tax increase and then make as much of this information as possible that won’t jeopardize the war’s success available to the American public.

    We must stop preparing for war like we expect a Pearl Harbor every day because we spend too much money on surveillance, espionage, and diplomacy to be caught by surprise by an armed nation.

  17. Maybe we should all stop accepting that 53% of the US budget goes to waging war, and that the atomic bomb stopped WWII, that veterans were spat on, and all the other nonsense above. Maybe then we can all stop sending our kids into situations which make any normal person warped for life. All these wars do is enrich the Cheneys and the DeVos and the Princes at the expense of our kids futures–and not just the ones that end suddenly because they are blown up–the futures that could have included college, real health care and a living wage. But we are all see, once again, if you have a war economy you can’t have any respectable stand of living for the civilian population. King was right–http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkatimetobreaksilence.htm. Instead of churches displaying flags and blessing the troops they have sold out by giving consent to violence and poverty.

  18. As an infantry combat veteran from Vietnam (draftee type) my own opinion as expressed a few days ago is a Universal Draft should be existence. I was drafted in late 1969 and sent to Vietnam in 1970, shortly after I was “boots on the ground” when we invaded Cambodia. I came back home in 1971, with an anti-war attitude. As a result of what we did to the people of S.E. Asia, I do not want to be “thanked” for my service.

    The Korean War, but certainly the Vietnam War began the era of what I call painless war. You could through various actions to avoid the draft- go to college, enlist in the National Guard or Reserves, etc. Not everyone could enlist in the Guard or Reserves there were caps. So how was it painless?? The vast majority of Americans went about their lives untouched by the Vietnam War. This was a stark contrast to WW 2. Of course it was not painless for those who lost loved ones or who saw them come home physically or mentally wounded.

    During WW 2 we had a universal draft. The home front in WW 2 had rationing, recycling, war bonds, Rosie the Riveter, etc. We were all in the war together, everyone had a part. The wealthy sons of Joe Kennedy both Joe and JFK were both in combat. Joe was killed, JFK was wounded. Now in Vietnam Era there was no sacrifice by the general population. There is still no sacrifice, the economic draft of the current volunteer military probably insures Johnny and Jane in the gated communities will never see combat. The cost of the war is “paid” for via nation’s credit card.

    Now we have another enemy – ISIS, etc. The constant political talk is more bombing, no fly zones, or even boots on the ground. Mao Zedong told us back in 1930 how this new enemy would conduct themselves. Today, we have mass killing all over the world.

    The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy camps, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue. MAO ZEDONG, letter, January 5, 1930.
    We are also shocked about how easily and regularly these attacks of terrorism take place. Mao had that answer also – The guerrilla must move amongst the people as a fish swims in the sea.
    Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/maozedong138236.html

  19. There are generally two justifications for war. Defense and the protection of national interests around the world.

    Defense is valid but I think that protection of interests is too broad a reason.

    First in today’s world we can make the largest category of interests go away. Energy sources. Our daily share of sunshine and it’s effects like wind are all we need. Let’s just get going on weaning ourselves from fuels and eliminate our interests in the dirt of other nations.

    Not only will that eliminate that cause for us to go to war but we can profit from selling the capability to others who would thereby also benefit by reducing their causes for war.

    Nobody knows a great deal about President Clinton’s propensity for peace. We know that her opposition loves war and its profits. So there’s a good start for us. Show the world that we are serious and responsibile world citizens by voting Trump out resoundingly.

    We have to prioritize and spending our collective energy on making war fairer for us as a people should be way way behind waging peace.

  20. The Draft was used mostly to round up American dissidents and send them off to die instead of letting them stay here and vote. A letter to the editor could actually end your life in those Good Old Days. Yeah, let’s go back to allowing the government to just confiscate people at will, what could go wrong?

  21. I was 18 in December of 1943, my final year in high school to end in June, 1944 with no prospects except The Draft. WW2 was raging In Europe and in the Far East.
    I received the letter ordering me to report for Induction. Thus began my adult life.
    Looking back, despite the peril of war, I can truthfully write that had I known what followed I would have enlisted earlier. I believe in military training for those young people who would otherwise be starting unproductive lives or worse.

  22. Patriotism is at its root the same as other attributes that define our differences. I am an American, white, heterosexual, male, middle class, professional engineer, New Yorker, Floridian, parent and grandparent, etc.

    Should I be proud of any and all of those attributes?

    I would say that I am, at least sort of. While most I had no choice in I accept as being a small source of pride for me.

    No harm, no foul.

    Where trouble can start is if any of those things makes me feel superior to others for what the roll of the dice brought them.

    We are diverse and equal and proud, and that’s tough to comprehend.

  23. In my opinion how soldiers are ‘created’ out of civilian populations is less important than the why and what for they are created, i.e. the REASON, for armies and its branches. The U.S. is bellicose by nature, and all that magnificent military might almost begs to be used; it has also incubated enough antagonisms around the world, it’s a given military engagements are part of its identity; but does it have to be so? Other, older and wiser cultures aren’t, and prefer peace and diplomacy over war. Switzerland drafts everyone, men and women, in readiness for defense but NEVER goes to war because it abhors it, but is pragmatic.

    Bringing back the draft is a good idea. It engages the public, the families of those who are destined to be cannon fodder, and the would-be combatants themselves. A professional soldier ordered to wipe out a village might answer ‘yes, sir!’. A drafted one might answer ‘why?’ There’s a weightier obligation on the part of the government to explain….or risk protests.

    The Vietnam War was not lost in Vietnam. It was lost on the streets of Washington, Los Angeles, New York… Once the people understood the insanity of it, any attempt on the part of the government to couch it under ‘fighting for freedom, democracy, or some other piety’ no longer resonated. And the response to 9/11 lives as the perfect example of opportunistic imperialism.

    Since WW2 there have been no noble or good reasons for young American men and women to die. Let no more die for nothing!

  24. Pat C. What are you talking about? I wasn’t comparing WWII to any other war. Did you read what A.G. had written, and if you understood it and if you understood what I wrote you wouldn’t have written your dumb comment!!!

  25. JoAnn, I was answering Aging Girl’s comments. WWiI is not a “what if”. I do not advocate war, I was expressing what it was like to be next in line.

  26. The lack of a draft HAS changed the political dynamics and made it easier for our government to send others’ young adults into conflict. In the event of a real threat to this nation, hopefully enough people would volunteer. (You can tell I have real problems with drafting young people to put down their lives for war.)

    Having said that, I would support mandatory service for all young people in some service capacity. A Peace Corps of sorts to help our many neighborhoods needing help would be a welcome way to expose all young Americans to the needs and many solutions for those in need.

    Integration of all schools and making every school successful is a broader and better way to close “the growing chasm of social class” and “affirm our shared destiny as citizens”. The charter school and school voucher movement as well as the end of school desegregation efforts have combined to re-segregate our schools by economic class and race – with taxpayer financed vouchers segregating us by religion as well. While the military does force its members into a common community of purpose, it re-integrates a very small fraction of society. Our public schools educate a much broader and more representative population of Americans about each other as well as to what’s in the textbooks.

  27. It’s natural to be appalled by war and the reality is much worse. Even among those who have experienced it only a few have seen the worst of it and arguably none of them have been Americans who experience it from the perspective of the best equipped and trained military in the world.

    Death is something that we all will experience but the pain and suffering of life which the vast majority of Americans are protected from is magnified by many times among those to whom war is local.

    I fear that we’ve been led to the place where for most Americans war is a horrific video game. We almost can’t and certainly don’t want to imagine the reality of it on people just like us so we’re ill equipped to declare it or prosecute it.

  28. irvin BAA; I was also responding to AgingLGrl’s comments (copied and pasted below) with my “what if”, in tandem to your comments regarding war. Maybe my comments didn’t come out the way I meant them.

    “I remember when as a child, we learned of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima death toll. I never have been able to shake that awful feeling of asking why? Why did so many innocents have to die? Yes it ended the war, but at what cost?”

    My father felt guilty he was not “called up”, he was married with three children and worked for General Motors at what was then called Chevrolet Commercial Body. They manufactured airplane bodies and/or parts before and during WWII. His two brothers worked at Kingen Meat Packing Plant; they provided food, animal fat for the manufacture of ammunition as well as leather goods and hides for troop’s various needs. So they were all working for the war effort. Their friends went off to war, draftees and volunteers, not all of them came home.

  29. I gotta give Bob Corker (R-TN) credit for more brains than I thought he had. He has decided that taking the risk of being on the ticket with Trump/Drumpf would not be in his best interest. Ya think?

  30. Forgive me for broadening the topic du jour but the following comes from The Guardian and laments what I fear is true of us.

    “Stories have power. And today, in the US as well as the UK, the narratives that resonate often seem to involve rebellion against the political establishment and a desire to regain independence by reaffirming national borders.”

    “Because these narratives typically involve a selective use of facts and lenient dealings with matters of truth, they have given rise to symptoms of a post-factual democracy. A democracy is in a post-factual state when truth and evidence are replaced by robust narratives, opportune political agendas, and impracticable political promises to maximize voter support.”

    “Certain stories have a tendency to catch on more than others and go viral, as professor of marketing Jonah Berger at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School has demonstrated. Stories feeding on awe, anger, or fear often enjoy more social transmission than stories with sad or depressing content. Meanwhile, stories correcting, explaining or adjusting facts, fictions and forecasts have a hard time getting traction on social media. What goes viral is not necessarily true, and whatever is true doesn’t necessarily get a viral life.”

  31. Pete,

    Thank you for saying “I fear that we’ve been led to the place where for most Americans war is a horrific video game. We almost can’t and certainly don’t want to imagine the reality of it on people just like us so we’re ill-equipped to declare it or prosecute it.”

    War on US soil is a totally different ball game than our military men/women being dispatched to intervene in others’ wars on foreign soil where I’m wagering a large number of the young military folks are clueless about the reason for their being there. In other words, I don’t have a hawkish or warlike stance in foreign policy and in simple language, prefer not to meddle in other countries’ affairs whether by sending US troops or providing weapons.

    On the other hand, I do believe it behooves our country to maintain a highly qualified military to defend the US should a foreign entity attack us. Whether a highly qualified military occurs via conscription or voluntary service matters little to me.

  32. A Marine Corps General had this to say: My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military. Smedley Butler

    He also said – The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
    Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/s/smedleybut540603.html

    The people who wrote the Constitution had the safe guard built into it, only Congress can declare War. I suppose what they wanted to prevent is what was going in Europe, i.e., Kings, Emperors and Princes could start a war without any checks by anyone else.

    Unfortunately, our Congress has been giving Presidents since LBJ a blank check to engage in wars.

    I wanted to say one more thing. Patriotism is often thought of only in relation to the Military. Decades ago I heard Ralph Nader speak, I thought he was a Patriot, I would add Erin Brockovitch in that category too. Both of these people have worked tirelessly for the American people. Neither has been rewarded financially like the folks at Halliburton.

  33. Pat C. I have not seen an answer from you regarding my question and response posted a 12:30 P.M. Irvin

  34. There are several reasons a universal draft would not create an “us” rather than a them with respect to our troops: our voters, our war machine (read propaganda) and the type of wars we are fighting now.

    Given our current voting population, I am not sure that I would trust them to vote against wars even if their nearest and dearest were to be sent off to war. We are not the same people who fought against Germany et al, or the Communists in North Vietnam. Would the population who actually votes, older and white, change if we had a draft?

    Would the voters have enough valid information about any possible war? My husband and I watched the newscasts about the first Iraq war and, though we were pacifists during Vietnam, we agreed that the US should be there, then found how we had been manipulated by the controlled reporting.

    We are also not fighting the same kind of war we fought in either of the above cases. Not as many people are needed, nor as many people are killed, yet of those many more are wounded. We seem to have settled into controlled under treatment of the returning soldiers we have now. Would this change if we had a universal draft? There are too many factors to be able to say.

    I am all for universal draft, if only because it would make a few more people think about what war really is and cause the fighting forces to be drawn from a broader population. Yes, people would pay to have others fight for them and avoid battle in the creative ways they have done since time immemorial. However, for the above reasons, I don’t think it will lessen the number of wars we engage in.

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