Some politicians have been suggesting recently that military conscription should be reinstated. A draft would help relieve the ever increasing demands being placed on the military to advance US interests abroad, especially in regards to our current attempt to put a friendly regime in place in Iraq, which contains one of the largest proven reserves of oil in the world, and which is also within missile range of Israel. The Bush administration insists that it is all about human rights and bringing democracy to the Iraqi people. Why the people of Iraq deserve democracy while the people of Haiti do not, and why they deserve it now and not 20 years ago when Saddam was our ally against Iran, I don’t quite understand, nor do I understand why the US only intervenes militarily to secure human rights and democracy for the peoples of governments who oppose us, while tolerating such abuses when committed by countries such as Guatemala, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, China, and Israel for example, and even Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge for goodness sake. If this were really a War on Terrorism, you wouldn’t need a draft–there aren’t nearly that many terrorists out there.
When President Carter reinstated draft registration in the early 1980s, I passed a petition opposing it. After several weeks of going door-to-door and sitting at tables, I amassed hundreds of signatures. I submitted the petition to my Congressman and got one of those polite letters, thanking me for sharing my concerns, and urging me to contact him again in the future with any other concerns I might have. We protested when the local draft board met, pointing out that only subject peoples are conscripted, that free men volunteer. I think we also pointed out the distinction between defense and imperialism. That didn’t work either. So I wasn’t terribly surprised when, leading up to the invasion of Iraq, ten of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, marched around the country to oppose the war, and we were met with police and were politically ignored.
But my fevered brain has come up with a new way to stop the slaughter of the working class of one nation by the working class of another. A Constitutional Amendment on military conscription, which would require that the children and grandchildren of federal and state politicians who vote for war, children and grandchildren of executives of companies engaged in the war industry, and of those whose adjusted gross family income for federal income tax purposes is above $80,000, be the first groups to be conscripted. Offspring of celebrities and journalists who beat the drums of war would also be included. This would limit the enthusiasm for bloodshed among these influential groups, and also reverse the injustice of having those who reap the fewest benefits from our society making the greatest sacrifices, as was mostly the case during the Vietnam War.
If the Constitution really meant anything though, Congress would have to vote to declare war instead of voting to authorize the President to declare war. And everyone charged with a crime would have the right to an attorney and to appear in court. And if you were hassled at the airport because you are on a terrorist database, you would be told why, and you could challenge it. And if the police broke into your home, they’d have to tell you and show you a search warrant. And if the police beat someone to death, they would lose their jobs. So I guess my new plan is not going to work either. Besides, the politicians are much too busy defending us from the peril of gay marriage (and are apparently unconcerned about the equally dire peril of straight marriage).
I guess we can appeal to another country to invade and “change the regime.” Foreign troops will occupy the US, and anyone who resists will be branded a terrorist and sent off indefinitely, without a trial, to a prison camp, to be drugged, disoriented and badgered until they either confess or commit suicide. Just killing them is too humane. Americans who have been living abroad will be appointed to positions of power and will write a new constitution, unhindered by messy elections. Any resistance will be ruthlessly crushed by our foreign friends, who will linger on, year after year.