I have figured out how we can prevent the United States from becoming embroiled in senseless wars. It may be unpopular, but by taking one step we could ensure that this country gets out of the business of pre-emptive wars. How, you may ask, do we stop our politicians from deciding that they simply must go to war to demonstrate how big their balls are? It's simple, reinstate the draft. If every man and woman in this country was required to serve in the armed forces then we would certainly not rush headforth into a conflict based on flimsy evidence and a long held grudge.
Reinstating the draft would make every American take a closer look when a future President tries to sell them a fantasy. Do you think George Bush would have been so anxious to go to war with Iraq if his daughters were on the front line? Every member of Congress would have a child, grandchild or close relative who would be fighting. And I'm not talking about reinstating the draft as it was during the Vietnam war, where the citizens on the lower end of the economic scale were disproportionately represented. I'm talking about the Israeli method. Everyone, regardless of income, race, gender or parental influence would be required to serve. No National Guard shenanigans, no educational deferments, no influence peddling to get out of service. If you are able bodied, then you are required to join the Armed forces.
I guarantee you that if the parents of every child in this country had to worry about his or her child being killed in a pointless war, they would pay a lot more attention to what was going in Washington. Back in 2002, George Bush sent his then Secretary of State Colin Powell to the United Nations to present the "evidence" that Iraq was producing weapons of mass destruction. This speech was supposed to convince the world and create the now infamous "coalition of the willing", who would rally around the United States and force Saddam Husein from power. I don't know how many Americans were watching, but the rest of the world was unimpressed, to say the least. The American public, which was still smarting from the 9/11 attacks bought the argument hook, line and sinker. Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, he has links to the 9/11 bombers, he'll take over the world if we don't stop him now! The administration was able to whip the public into a frenzy because no one stopped to examine the evidence closely. Now imagine the same scenario if every 20 year old in this country was in the armed forces. Do you think their parents would have been a little more skeptical? I'm sure the 20 year olds would have been.
At the end of the day, that's all that really needed to happen in order to prevent this quagmire that we now find ourselves in. If someone, the press, the American people, the soldiers, Congress, anyone would have just stepped up and raised the questions that are now being voiced, none of this would have happened. All it would have taken were some simple questions like, "What's our exit strategy?", "What happens to Iraq after we get rid of Saddam?", "What exactly is my son/daughter/grandchild/niece/nephew fighting for?", "What's our ultimate goal?". Any of these questions posed by a credible source could have made the difference. However since we have an all volunteer force, most Americans just pinned their ears back and jumped on the bandwagon. The Vice President has made it clear that the volunteers were not forced to serve, they chose to serve (I think he was trying to make some point about them being partially to blame for their own fate). I am fairly sure that if we were talking about the sons and daughters of the CEO of Halliburton, he would be a little more respectful.
It's time for the politicians and the citizens of this country to put their money where their mouths are. If they are so willingly duped by smoke and mirrors and are so willing to send our all volunteer service people into harms way, let's see how they react when they have to send their own sons and daughters to be killed and maimed for a lie. Let's see how long it takes for "war fatigue" to set in among the American public when they are looking at the shattered lives of their relatives and neighbors who have lost a loved one for a President's personal vendetta. Let's see how willing the press is to go along for the ride when their kids come home less whole than they were when they left.
Bring back the draft and every American will become an expert on foreign affairs and the policies of the government overnight. And that's a good thing, a very good thing.