The United States has had “conscription” – mandatory induction into the military for able-bodied men – during six conflicts in our nation’s history: the Revolutionary War; the Civil War; World War I; World War II; the Korean War; and the Vietnam War. Most recently, Ameria had a “draft” from 1940 to 1973. In 1965 when I turned 18, I had to register for the Draft. Since I was in college, I was rated 2-S (“S” as in “student”). Later in my college career, I was rated 1-A (“available”) and after I took a pre-induction physical I was rated 4-F (as in “unFit”). Bad knee. . . . Those who were 1-A were put into a lottery – where the low numbers went first. And were “drafted” into the Army for a 2 year term. And often sent off to Vietnam.
Those who objected to military service on the basis of religious belief might be classed as a “conscientious objector” (rated 1-A-O). That would allow conscription into the Army as a medic (so as not to carry a gun). You may have seen the story of Corporal Desmond Doss in the movie “Hacksaw Ridge.” Doss was a Seventh Day Adventist and because of religious belief he refused to bear arms. Yet as a medic – he was awarded the Medal of Honor for saving the lives of 50 to 100 soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa.
In World War II 16.1 million American men served in the armed forces. 405,000 were killed. That’s about 1,800 Americans killed – every week – in nearly 4 years of war. Consider the magnitude of that statistic. Yet our fathers and grandfathers signed up. And served.
But the “draft” is now ancient history to most folks. Sooo. . . what would happen if America reinstated the draft? I suspect that millennials would go shrieking for a “safe place.” Academics and progressives would scream to the rafters. Many would demonstrate. Riot. Burn businesses and attack police. And America would sink further into the malaise that seems to be turning our nation into a third world country. . . . .
But think if we did reinstate the draft? Instead of the military, we conscript the 18 to 26 crowd to take courses in American history, world history, economics and civil discourse. Hmmmm . . . .