I appreciate very much that Daniel Houston took the time to express his views on the draft in his Feb. 29 column, “Young Americans must abolish military draft,” using his constitutional right to freedom of speech.
However, I do disagree with a number of his points.
First, under our Constitution, Congress has the right to declare war. It is our duty as citizens to elect responsible people who will not needlessly involve us in armed conflict. Remember how many who were “gung ho” to invade Iraq never served a day in the military.
Second, I think an argument can be made that, had the draft been in force in the early 2000s and fully implemented, we would not have invaded Iraq because many members of Congress would have had sons and daughters serving in the military and would have objected strongly to that move.
Third, our “voluntary military” is being bled. One only served one 13-month tour in Vietnam. Now, we have military members serving several tours in combat — and the suicide rate is very high.
Fourth, as former Secretary of Defense [Robert] Gates said in a TV interview last year, every young American should serve two years of service in some form (military, teacher’s aide, inner school tutor) because “the freedom we enjoy is not free.”
Finally, as one who served four years in the USAF as a supply officer from 1962 to 1966, the military then reflected a cross-section of the population. In supply officer’s school, I met classmates from Harvard, Yale, Brown, Texas A&M, Tuskegee and Howard. I did not feel “enslaved” because I faced the prospect of being drafted in 1962.
Lest some view me as some right-wing militarist, know that I am a Presbyterian Church (USA) elder who tutors at an inner city high school and who supports the recent change to our Book of Order allowing the ordination of gays and lesbians. I am also a past master of my Masonic Lodge.
— Allan H. Floyd
Class of 1962