General Question

Dansedescygnes's avatar

What is your opinion of military conscription and the draft in the United States?

Asked by Dansedescygnes (2881points) May 21st, 2009

Personally, I believe it is wrong and ridiculous. I do not agree with the concept of military conscription. That does not mean that I disagree with the military and it doesn’t mean I don’t respect many of the things they do, but I don’t want to fight in a war or be in the military. I brought this up because many of my male friends are already 18 and they’re getting letters in the mail about registering for Selective Service.

Not to mention it’s completely sexist.

And I strongly disagree with those who think that because I hate the draft that means I hate this country. False.

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20 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

Personally, I’m all for it, well, in a way I guess. I think that if everyone had to a chance of going to war, then Americans might think long and hard before sending America’s precious sons and daughters off to die in reckless, unnecessary and illegal wars. They would think about waging wars only when there was no other option.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I don’t believe there is a need for a USA draft; if not enough people volunteer for service then that should be the voice of the people saying the United States shouldn’t go to war at that time. In my lifetime, only one draft has been enacted for a war that didn’t benefit anyone.

As far as mailers, no one has to sign on just as they don’t have to sign on when recruiters go into the high schools and college campuses.

Ooh… I’m confusing solicitous mailers with the official stuff, sorry. No, I don’t believe in that at all.

Dansedescygnes's avatar


Not registering for Selective Service is a federal offense punishable by fines and imprisonment.

lillycoyote's avatar

Yep, @Dansedescygnes is right about that one. Not registering for the draft is not an option. Those eligible are required by federal law to do so.

Dansedescygnes's avatar

And that’s why I’m so against it. It really makes me angry knowing that I’ll have to do this come August.

science_girl89's avatar

Secretly, I would be very proud and scared to support my country. I have always felt that one should join the military to support their country in a time of great need. Even if I don’t support the war. If there is a draft I would go… even though I am personally against it.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

I am opposed to conscription in all its forms. No one should ever be forced to risk their life, particularly for wars that are often disastrous and petty. Politicians start the wars, and the people bear the brunt of it. If I was conscripted for was in Iraq, I would not go even if I had to become a fugitive. By the same token, I do not oppose people going by choice. However, if anyone threatened by beloved country (Australia), I would fight till the death, even when ordered to surrender. To fight or not to fight is a personal decision that should be made by the individual, not some boffin in a suit at a desk who complains when his coffee is cold.

I would quite like to see a return to the ancient practice of the head of state leading the charge in war. Do you think there would be any war in Iraq right now?

Please note, I don’t know the first thing about the US political and military arrangements, so my answer is likely to be ignorant.

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I’m also completely against it. Not everyone believes in war and for that matter, even for those who do believe in it under certain circumstances, they may not agree with the war they’re possibly forced to join. It’s bullshit, all around.

justwannaknow's avatar

I am all for it for every able bodied person to include the politicians. Just because you sign up for selective service does not mean you will ever be drafted.

Dansedescygnes's avatar


I know, but the very chance of it I do not want.

hearkat's avatar

I am against it. My son turned 18 last week. I have cash and his Swiss passport ready (we have dual citizenship) should the need arise.

I think my son would actually be safe, as the only child/son… but I really don’t know all the laws. I am very thankful that G.W. Bush is no longer in office, because no one other than his daughters would be safe if he had wanted to enact a draft.

wundayatta's avatar

I am in favor of it. We need to ditch the all-volunteer army. We need to be very strict, so that no one can get an exemption, no matter how powerful their parents are. The people who send this country to war need to know their own children could be killed.

The people in this country who vote for the buffoons from Texas who send us to war, need to know they are voting for their children to risk their lives in support of a pecuniary venture, not an attempt to protect this nation.

Of course, if you have a conscripted armed service, you will have a much less professional and much less motivated service. But even with a draft, there will be people who volunteer. People who are serious about it. We can have the voluteers and the conscripts, maybe not side by side, or maybe side by side. Elite and peasant. I don’t know.

I want a good army. I want motivated, devoted soldiers. I also want to have politicians have to think, really think about the decision to go to war.

justwannaknow's avatar

daloon They would not be less professional but they would be less motivated.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m curious as to why you think that. I’m not arguing about this, @justwannaknow, since I don’t know much about the army, but my understanding was that unmotivated soldiers don’t behave as professionally as motivated ones. There seemed to be a lot of fragging going on in Vietnam, and much more drug abuse. This can’t have helped the professionalism of the army. Maybe the training is more powerful than I imagine it to be.

lillycoyote's avatar

@daloon, yes, absolutely.

hearkat's avatar

@daloon: When the cause for war is supported by the people, they willingly volunteer and are motivated. If it were mandatory, the majority of the soldiers would be resentful.

dalepetrie's avatar

I felt the same way when I was 18, and still feel the same way now, 20 years later. In the hypothetical situation of a war where they used the draft, I would have to agree to the need/motivation for the war. For example, I believe WWII was a justified war, I would have fought in WWII if I’d been around and of fighting age. Vietnam, no way, Iraq, no way, I think those were not justified wars. My way of thinking about war is it’s a failure of diplomacy and it should be used as a last ditch effort to protect our nation’s sovereignty.

So I went through that same thing, where I didn’t really want to register for the draft. But you know what, I did. I figured I didn’t want to lose eligibility for student financial aid, federal jobs…essentially anything the federal government can do for you, they won’t do it if you don’t register. And I decided that first off, there would have to be a war, second they would have to institute the draft, third it would have to happen within the next 8 years, fourth if all that happened my number would still have to be drawn, fifth if all THAT happened, I’d still have to pass the physical (which I personally being overweight with flat feet, never expected to be a problem), sixth, I was planning on college and there used to be a college deferment, seventh if ALL that failed I’d try to get conscientious objector status, eight if all THAT failed, they’d have to catch my ass in whatever country I fled to, and ninth, I’d do WHATEVER it took from hitting on the CO (which would have worked 20 years ago), to shooting myself in the foot, to sitting in a military prison….I refuse to die, or even risk my life for something in which I do not believe. I weighed the potential for this to be a bad decision against the potential for not registering to be a bad decision, and I arrived at the conclusion that registering was the way to go. And that was in Bush I’s America, and he DID start a war in which I didn’t believe, but conditions 2 through 9 never came into play.

And I could be wrong about this, but unless Obama screws up real bad, he’s going to be re-elected in 2012, which means he’ll be President until you’re almost 26, which is the highest age for drafts, and I seriously doubt Obama would re-institute the draft unless our Democracy depended on it, and if that were the case, you should WANT to go. So if I were you, I’d register, say it sucks that I have to, but then don’t worry about it, it’s highly unlikely to ever come up, and if it does, deal with it as you see appropriate.

justwannaknow's avatar

@daloon:If every one had to serve, your best and brightest would be among that number also. Your best surgeons, lawyers,engineers, etc. They may not be overly motivated but they would still be professionals. You do not necessarily have to be a career soldier to be a professional in the military.

reqreve's avatar

@hearkat You are heroic, to me. My mom doesn’t support the draft but she’s not nearly as prepared as you! My dad was a marine and I know he would be upset with me if I draft-dodged.

There is no way I’m risking my life for a country. Or pretty much anything, really. The draft, to me, is almost as bad as what the Soviets did to their people. Forcing someone to risk his or her life is extremely immoral to me, and if the draft ever starts up again I’ll be the first one with a lighter to my card. Same goes for any type of war, be it Vietnam, Iraq, WWII, Civil, Revolutionary, I don’t care. There is no way I will ever risk my life for a war. I happen to enjoy living.

Pandora's avatar

I’m against it but not for reasons some may think. I just feel that it is dangerous for those who do willingly join to be anywhere near someone who has reservations about fighting for their country.
I just think, if someone is against fighting for their country than they should move to somewhere where there is no military.
Lets face it. Keeping a country out of harms way can only be achieved by having a military. Countries that do not have a military are constantly being overrunned and abused from enemies on the outside of its borders and from enemies within. Not to say that it doesn’t happen here, but for now our military at least help to keep the worst at bay. Without them we would invite total chaos.
Everyone will at sometime require some sort of social assistance from their government at some time in their life and the right to vote and bitch about the government, but at the same time do nothing within to change things for the better or at least contribute time to the military in our governments defense.
I can honestly say that if I had the opportunity to join the military that I would’ve. Almost did but I was turned down because I had a health issue. I probably would’ve sucked as far as following rules, but I do not think my country selfish for asking me to help take care of it for taking care of me.
I strongly believe in tit for tat.

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