A War for Us, Fought by Them
by William Broyles Jr.
New York Times, 05/04/2004
If children of the political elite were fighting in Iraq, a resolution to the current military imbroglio would soon be found. The author, a Vietnam War veteran, proposes reinstating the draft to ensure the US military gets the support it needs and to relieve pressures on an over-extended volunteer force. Most importantly, he argues, a draft would also prove the ultimate test of Americans' support for the war in Iraq.
William Broyles Jr., the founding editor of Texas Monthly, wrote the screenplay for "Cast Away."
New York Times A War for Us, Fought by Them
The problem is, I don't see the images of or read about any of the young men and women who, as Dick Cheney and I did, have "other priorities." There are no immediate family members of any of the prime civilian planners of this war serving in it — beginning with President Bush and extending deep into the Defense Department. Only one of the 535 members of Congress, Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, has a child in the war — and only half a dozen others have sons and daughters in the military.
This is less a matter of politics than privilege. The Democratic elites have not responded more nobly than have the Republican; it's just that the Democrats' hypocrisy is less acute. Our president's own family illustrates the loss of the sense of responsibility that once went with privilege. In three generations the Bushes have gone from war hero in World War II, to war evader in Vietnam, to none of the extended family showing up in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I remember when I was living in the US with a Green Card (permanent residence card) and I had to sign up for the draft in high school. I thought it was strange that I couldn't vote, drink or buy a gun, but I could be sent to fight a war for the US. It definitely did make me think a lot about war. I think that reinstating the draft in the US is an interesting idea.
Opinion Source is an interesting site run by some of my friends that summarizes op-eds and editorials from around the world. I need to tell them they need better permalinks.