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Enchantment and lack thereof

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

Sunday, July 18, 2004


On to more politically charged topics. I read in the Athens News last week an editorial, very well written and informative to me; I want to share it with you. It got me fired up a-plenty because it involves the reinstatement of the draft, something I oppose. Following the article I will further discuss my stance on this topic.

"You better believe that Bush
plans to reinstate the draft

To the Editor:
Heard about George W Bush's designs on reinstating the draft? Not many people have. Notwithstanding the occasional stammer­ing, tight-lipped denial of any such plans from Bush administration officials, the fact of the matter is, quite plainly, if George W Bush is re-elected, we are going to see another mili­tary draft.
An honest look at the state of American foreign policy, coupled with Bush's chest thumping assertions that he will not "back down" but will carry the newly ensconced norms of this policy to their logical conclu­sions' reveals that a new draft, in the event of his re-election, would be inevitable.
Think about this before you laugh it off as impossible and stumble down to Lucky's for another case of Natty Light, or dismiss me as what frequent letter-writer James Yerian would call a "radical, hate-mongering leftist fanatic:'
American forces, even after being supple­mented with record numbers of reservists, are already stretched to the absolute break­ing point, and casualties in Iraq continue to mount. American military commitments extend beyond Afghanistan and the Middle East, and Korea continues to be a threatening situation.
The president's National Security Strategy calls for an extended and permanent American military presence beyond the conventional parameters of Western Europe, reaching across mainland Asia, North-Central Africa and else­where.
The gears are already spinning. The Univer­sal Training and Service Act is now pending in both houses of Congress. This legislation would have the effect of automatically pressing all males and females between the ages of 18 and 25 into some form of government service. The Selective Service System has sent out calls for volunteers to staff the local draft boards, with the goal of having the entire system fully operational by early 2005.
College and Canada, the old Vietnam-era loopholes, died years ago. The draft laws were amended in 1971, with the goal of making the system more "equitable". Instead of a four-year deferment, students would finish the current semester and be on the way to the front lines in a matter of days.
If you think it can't happen to you, that they're not really serious, that I'm just another pissed-off lefty trying to fire up the base, well, let me know what you think after spending five years in Federal prison and paying out the $250,000 fine (the mandatory minimum sentence for draft evasion). Oh, and good luck getting any more student loans, or even getting back into a state school. And as for employ­ment, with the felony conviction on your record, you'll be able to pretty much write your own ticket. Sure.
People falling within the aforementioned age group would do well to vote for John Kerry as if their lives depended on it. Because, quite literally, they do.

Tyler DeVeny

PO Box 342

 Albany [OH]"


After doing some research into the topic, I was shocked to realize that Mr. DeVeny was correct in many of his assessments.  Indeed the Universal Training and Service Act is in both the House and Senate, and it provides for every able American between the ages of 18 and 26 to be obligated of no less than two years of military, governmental, or national service. 
The bill is noticeably vague, leaving very few details regarding special circumstances, it also provides extensive liberties to the President.  Careful inspection of the bill will unveil that every section of the article mandates that the President may change said article at his discression.  The passing of this bill in it's present form would give the President uninhibited control over who goes into battle, how long they stay there (providing they aren't killed), and where they go. 
Before you label me as a partisan, I want to assure you that I am not scared of George Bush.  I'm also scared of John Kerry, Ralph Nader, and anyone else who has the power to increase my probability of dying.  Replacing the words "the President" with "George W. Bush" scares me no less than "John Kerry" or even "Ghandi".  As long as a person I do not know has any say over whether I live or die, I'm scared. 
I am an American citizen who doesn't wish to fight, who also doesn't want to face harsh penalties for not fighting.  I will [reluctantly] serve my country [in its current condition] over myself but I don't want my life on the line for a war which I do not support.  Naturally, I looked to Section 8: Conscientious Objection for some loophole, some way out.  Sadly the only provision for conscientious objectors is for someone "who claims, because of religious training and belief, exemption from combatant training included as part of that military service".  In other words, you have to have proven religious reasons to not fight, and you still have to serve in some other capacity!  I predict that the Quaker religion is about to become very popular.   
Lets have a history lesson:  Remember the Vietnam War?  That was the last time the Government chose to enlist conscripted soldiers to fight a war overseas.  As the war progressed there were increasing accounts of soldiers disobeying orders, overruling superior officers, using drugs, and violating international law.  Most of these infractions were at the hands of American troops who rejected the war.  By the end of the war over 50% of American soldiers in Vietnam regularly smoked Marijuana (so much for the best fighting force in the world).  Fortunately this was before drug-testing was utilized by the military.  Today an American soldier who serves his country but tests positive for drugs faces serious punishment like court Marshall, imprisonment, and six-figure fines.
Of course, you would think that after the disastrous actions of conscripted troops in Vietnam, the Government would shudder at the thought of drafting American citizens to fight overseas in a marginally more popular war.  Alas, they believe that with more stringent rules and regulations along with sticter penalties for misguided objectors, they can continue to fortify our military and hopefully avoid another Vietnam. 

There may be a solution to this problem,  Mr. DeVeny suggest voting for Kerry, a good first step.  John Kerry is definitely not George Bush (so far so good).  Kerry has stated his intent on continuing the war in Iraq (that's no fun).  You can't just trust the election to solve all the problems this country has.  John Kerry can't fix half the problems that are George Bush's fault, no one person can.  Both candidates are similar in my eyes, they have corporate ties to multi-billion dollar interests who constantly buy and sell their way through the government.  Though restructuring the government would be a great way to end corporate rule over our lives, I don't think we have time for that before the draft is scheduled to happen (soon after the election). 
The true solution to this problem is communication with the people who are charged to vote for or against this resolution.  Write your legislators!  Tell them how you feel.  It may seem like small potatoes but it works.  Doing so you will not only receive very polite and informed correspondence from these influential lawmakers, but you can actually get something accomplished.  Politicians listen to the most voices not the loudest voices.  If a majority of letter writers write Congressperson XYZ against the draft, XYZ may in fact vote in against it as well. 
For those of you who brush this off, please take it seriously.  Our lives are at stake.  Write a short, polite letter (NOT EMAIL) to your representative, and use spell check for crying outloud!  They count each letter they receive and consult these tallies when its time to vote.  Save the revolution for another day, this is a serious issue that affects us all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi there! it's katie d. again :) just wanted to say thanks for raising this to our attention. i do not...i repeat DO NOT want to get drafted, or be forced to serve for the government. there's a reason i'm going to be a teacher...and it's because i am not at all into war, or government operations. i'm glad there are people like you (and broz too) out there who are willing to raise these things to your friends attention. i love having a friend like you, just wouldn't really like to fight next to you in a war that i didn't believe in! keep on bringing up great points like this!! it's people like you who change the world...:)
love ya, katie

p.s. maybe put some congressmens' addresses on this, so we know where to send our letters!! thanks babes

3:20 PM  

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