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A Draft Would Drain Away Support for a War With Iraq

October 21, 2002

Re "Draft Would Cast a Chill Over the Military," by Doug Bandow, Commentary, Oct. 16: If our society was built on individual liberty, it is also built on shared responsibility and public service. The "Washington elite" that Bandow is so against allowing to tell us how to live our lives is the same group of fellows pushing for a war with Iraq. They know that if they asked more of us than displaying patriotic bumper stickers and waving the flag from our cars as we drive to the mall, the supposed support for this war would head south in a New York minute.

If we have one problem that permeates the society from top to bottom, it's selfishness. A year or two of some sort of mandatory national service, whether in the Army or fixing potholes in the streets, would be helpful to the society and to the men and women who would serve.

Marty Schoen

Pasadena

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Bandow's commentary really hit home for me. As an 18-year-old freshman in college, my peers and I would be most affected by a draft. The military wouldn't be the only place feeling a chill if a draft were imposed.

After last year's attacks on America, many of my high school friends immediately enlisted. Within weeks of our high school graduation this past June I had friends entering boot camp to begin their training. They did so voluntarily, but I think many of them would have been resentful if they had been required to join. They wanted to defend our country, but of their own free will.

I feel our military is far more effective with people who want to be there, rather than drafted soldiers who would be angry because they had been forced into service. A draft would cause a new wave of draft-dodging. People who willingly serve would resent draftees and draft dodgers, and those being drafted would feel a great resentment toward the government. When there are more than enough soldiers already enlisted on active duty and in the reserves, why implement a draft?

Jacque Forbes

Canyon Country

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If I could change one thing about how a draft was conducted, I would ensure against any deferment except for obvious physical or mental shortcomings. Then there wouldn't be a disproportionate number of blacks and Latinos in uniform, and we'd find out just what "United We Stand" really means. A war with Iraq is an American war: Either everyone of draft age goes, volunteer or draftee, or nobody goes. President Bush will understand. And body bags are gender-neutral. He'll understand that, too.

Lee Bartkowski

Long Beach

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