Bring Back the Draft?

Retired Col. Ralph Puckett speaking to Columbus Unitarian Universalists

Retired Colonel  Ralph Puckett, a highly decorated and honored retired U.S. Army Ranger,  told Columbus Unitarian Universalists Sunday that “our country has put unconscionable stress on the few in our society who serve in our military,” and raised the question of reinstating the draft as a way to ease that stress and resolve the unfairness of less than one percent of the population defending our country.

He said that some soldiers are on their fifth 12-month deployment.

He got an email from a brigadier general recently who is in Afghanistan  The general, referring to a photo he sent, said, “Next to me is the Brigade Command Sargeant Major. Speaking of sacrifice, this was the CSM’s fifth deployment of the war. During this tour his son fell in battle in Iraq serving as a squad leader with  the rangers. The father returned to the US with his son’s remains, attended services, and returned to duty in Afghanistan.”

Col. Puckett told of the sacrifices of the wives of soldiers, saying, “The wives of our soldiers deserve all the support and praise we can give them. They are serving, and sacrificing. They are combat multipliers!

“I know that I could not have made it without my wife, Jeannie. She is my hero, the wind beneath my wings. I would be nothing without her.”

This sacrifice is not being shared. He repeated the saying, “The Army and Marines are at war. The rest of America is in the shopping mall! Our soldiers are giving everything to include their lives while most of us give little or no thought to those who keep us free.”

As for our politicians, forty years ago there were nearly four times as many veterans in Congress as there are today.  “We expect our military to give their lives to defend America. Can we expect our politicians to put our country first before any political gain?”

He spoke of “sending volunteers on their third, fourth, and fifth deployments while the majority of our citizens exhibit little or no interest in those wars puts our country at risk.”

There would, no doubt, be one sure way to get the rest of the country interested in its wars, a military draft.  He told  of military expert Charles Moskos and Washington Post editor Paul Glastris proposing universal registration for men and women between 18 and 24. Individuals could choose service in the military, domestic security, or community organizations.

“If more of our Congress were veterans they would be less likely to support military intervention. Before the attack on Iraq, General Anthony Zinni wondered ‘why all the generals see [attacking Iraq] the same way, and those who never fired a shot in anger and are hell-bent on going to war see it a different way.”

He knows there are strong arguments against the draft. Unless there is mobilization, few serve while most don’t. Service members don’t want a return of the draft, think volunteers make much better soldiers. Then, there is the question of whether women would be drafted. “Would we evolve into an Army that is 50 percent women?  The impact of a politically correct environment could be disastrous.”

He would be for a return of the draft, but fears it would tear the country apart. Still he thinks the draft and national service “are certainly worthy of concern and an effort to resolve the unfairness of the current situation where our defense is borne by a select few.”

Col. Puckett closed with, “The changing international scene including the drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan and the growing war talk about Iran, Syria, and elsewhere will bring to the fore the question, ‘Who serves when all do not serve?’ “

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3 Responses to “Bring Back the Draft?”

  1. Julie Bouchard Says:

    I have long believed that all Americans should complete some sort of national service. There are enough tasks that need doing — child care, wildfire fighting, military service, the jobs we give to military contractors — that we could put folks to work from the time they leave high school until they are 21. No, it wouldn’t be a high paying job. But it would be something, and would give kids skills. And it would help immensely in terms of actually getting things done.
    I read about programs like the CAC and EPA, and I marvel that our country actually pulled it off. I fear that we could not do so today. Too many people do not see beyond their own front door and only care when something drastic happens in their own little world.

  2. Richard Says:

    How is the country putting “unconscionable stress on the few in our society who serve,” when the few who serve volunteered to serve in the first place?

    Don’t they have a choice of leaving the military when their tour of service expires? The current job market admittedly looks difficult in comparison with re-enlisting, but it’s a choice GI’s make.

  3. mexicomystic Says:

    Bringing back the Draft would certainly cause people to take an interest in this mid east madness alright… just like VietNam… when enough bodybags start arriving they get highly irritated at fighting a Rich Mans War.
    I recall seeing GI’s at night clubs during that “Conflict”with a spaced out look in their eyes… wondering why they were suddenly being sent to a far off land to walk through a rice paddy filled with claymore mines. If you were wealthy you could keep on going to school till you were 40 years old and keep from getting inducted or join the Sunshine soldiers and fairweather patriots of the National Guard .
    Instead of brig back the draft how about getting out of Afghanistan, Iraq and places where the people hate us but the corrupt governments love for us to fight their battles?
    Stop being the policemen of the world.

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