Archive for Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Letter: Service support

January 8, 2013


To the editor:

I read with interest and approval Mike Hoeflich’s column advocating renewal of the draft (Journal-World, Jan. 2). I also read the rebuttal from Anne Haehl (Jan 6.), in which she distorted his premise.

I have, for many years, believed that universal military training and two years of service to our country should be required of all young citizens, male and female, who are mentally and physically qualified to serve. Not only would such a program reinforce an obligation of service to country and others, rather than self indulgence and/or dependency on the government; it would, as Hoeflich suggested, provide a controlled, disciplined environment wherein anti-social and mentally ill individuals could be identified, evaluated and provided necessary care and treatment.

Moreover, service would again become an honored duty of all U.S. citizens, instead of being relegated to the poor and working classes enlisted to fight, as professionals, in any action the government deems worthy of U.S. intervention. The draft was abolished in 1973. Currently, only 20 percent of our congressional representatives and 18 percent of our senators have served in our armed forces. With no requirement to serve, the children of wealthy Americans no longer consider it an option when pursuing their education or career development.

Reinstating the draft would be a major step in healing the current “class warfare” and reuniting our fractured nation. It would do much to bring us together as a people again and elevate national pride and patriotism to its historic eminence.


Brock Masters 5 years, 5 months ago

I don't disagree with the LTE about the benefits of requiring service, but darn, one thing blocks me from fully supporting it. You know that pesky thing called the Constitution. Where does the Constitution provide the authority to the federal government to force its citizens into service?

If the federal government can do it for military service then why can't they do it for other functions? They can't because they don't have the legal authority to do it.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 5 months ago

Because you asked....the Constitution, in Article 1, Section 8 expressly states that Congress shall have the power "to raise and support provide and maintain a Navy; to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval provide for the organizing, arming and disciplining the militia..."

The Supreme Court held in Arver v. United States that this part of the Constitution could be interpreted to mean they have the power to call up citizens for military service. In the words of Chief Justice White, “As the mind cannot conceive an army without the men to compose it, on the face of the Constitution the objection that it does not give power to provide for such men would seem to be too frivolous for further notice”. That every member of society hath a right to be protected in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and therefore is bound to contribute his proportion toward the expense of that protection, and yield his personal service when necessary, or an equivalent thereto -Chief Justice White, January 7, 1918

Larry Sturm 5 years, 5 months ago

Having to serve their country would give them a new sense of patriotism.

JayCat_67 5 years, 5 months ago

But, is it truly patriotism if it is forced?

Or, put another way... Does one join because they are a patriot? Or, does joining make one a patriot? Is there even a right answer to this?

Ken Lassman 5 years, 5 months ago

Good questions, and no, there is no right answer to this. I think by serving your country in some form, and that service being obligatory, a certain participatory example is created that by and large would be good for society as a whole, though. My sense is that this obligatory service should include options like Americorps and Peace Corps as well as the armed services.

rtwngr 5 years, 5 months ago

Because the educational system creates them.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 5 months ago

"Reinstating the draft would be a major step in healing the current “class warfare” and reuniting our fractured nation."

The draft as it was implemented during the Vietnam war was very much part of a class war-- if your parents were rich enough, you didn't have to worry about getting drafted. George W. Bush is poster child number one of that reality.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 5 months ago

Close those loopholes and give them Peace Corps and Americorps as alternatives if they sign off as being pacifists--otherwise no exceptions.

jhawkinsf 5 years, 5 months ago

If you really want to eliminate wars of choice, support universal compulsory military service. When Bush's daughters come home in body bags, when Obama's daughters come home in body bags, when senator's children come home in body bags, wars of choice will end. And with that will come a sharp reduction in the need for how we currently spend for defense.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 5 months ago

I am An Army Vet. I believe wholeheartedly in an All Volunteer Military. Involuntary Service Breeds Dissent that can spread to other soldiers. We had soldiers in my unit that were there because The Judge said Jail Or the Military. They chose the military. They were not good soldiers. Tremendous Disciplinary problems even with the Strict Code The Military goes By.Would you want to go to Battle with someone who never wanted to be there in the first place?Your life is in their hands just as their life is in your hands. I will take a Volunteer any Day.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 5 months ago

Sir, So what you're saying is that the current all volunteer military isn't really all voluntary, and so hasn't removed the discipline issue incumbent in a conscription military. Do you think that the military could fill its ranks without court ordered "volunteers?"

JayCat_67 5 years, 5 months ago

Even in an all volunteer military with standards for enlistment or commissioning, there are discipline issues. Personally, I have never served with anyone who was told to "join or go to jail", but with the two wars over the past eleven years, the enlistment standards had been lowered to get numbers, and the discipline problems increased.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 5 months ago

I would hope the standards for enlistment had gone up since I served 30+ years ago. If you were of age and could sign your name you were in. They had tests(ASVAB) that helped place you. Military has changed a lot in that time.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 5 years, 5 months ago

Yes I do. Times are different from when I served(Post Vietnam, Pre Desert Storm). I am sure the enlistment process is a lot more thorough than it was in my day. I am proud of our all volunteer status. That still makes us the Best military in the world. Just pointing out my experience at Benning with troops who did not want to be there. It was not uncommon for a Judge to give a young man a choice. Most times there is no record for the recruiter to find because the Judge dropped the charge in exchange for military service. Not sure if it still happens.

Ken Lassman 5 years, 5 months ago

Looks like things are tightening up with downsizing looming in the military. Probably won't be much serious talk about forced conscription in this climate.

Peacemaker452 5 years, 5 months ago

“ being 100% dependent on government in the military will teach people not to be dependent on the government when they get out?” You are so obviously clueless on what military service entails that I won’t even bother refuting this brain fart.

“Anyone who can only make it to Lt. Col. and not retire as a full bird Colonel is obviously an incompetent fool.” Do you have any clue what you are talking about? Try these scenarios: Normal promotion paths make an officer in zone for promotion to O-6 right about the time they first become retirement eligible, give or take 1-2 years depending on their specialty and the needs of the service. Early retirement due to reduction in force. Medical retirement before the completion of 20 years of service. Prior enlisted service that makes the officer retirement eligible before they are in zone for O-6.

I retired after 26 years of service as a LCDR (O-4). This was after 16 years of enlisted service (E-1 to E-8) and 10 years of commissioned service. I believe that to be a pretty successful military career and I never even made O-5.

JayCat_67 5 years, 5 months ago

With all due respect, ma'am, I am going to have to disagree with you on this one. There is a saying that "10% of your Soldiers will take up 90% of your time." Basically, it means that if you have one problem Soldier in a squad, you will spend a disproportionate amount of time dealing with that Soldier's issues, time that could be spent conducting training with the rest of your squad. Yes, even in an all volunteer force, those Soldiers do exist and eat up a lot of a leader's resources. Don't get me wrong, it is our duty as leaders to make sure all of our Soldiers have the best chance to succeed, not only in the military, but in life. There is no greater reward than to help someone overcome obstacles in their life and find their full potential. A good leader's first priority is to make sure that his/her Soldiers are properly equipped and trained to be effective in battle and return home safely. Anything that distracts from that, such spending training time to identify and treat all of society's "anti social and mentally ill individuals" will ultimately cost Soldier's lives. Thank you for your service.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 5 months ago

Thank you for your letter Lt. Col. Overstreet. Your service to the country is appreciated. As I recall, and please correct me if I'm mistaken, but at the time of the Iraq invasion (2002 era, not 1990's era) only 6 members of congress had a child in the armed services. (Amongst the Democratic Party, only one member of Congress had a child in the armed services)Congress has 535 members - Add that all up and you get 1.1% of our Congress running the risk of having to bury a child based upon their vote. That fact alone warrants real talk about bringing back a draft.

KansasVet 5 years, 5 months ago

An all volunteer service is the only way to go, in my opinion. A draft isn't needed and hasn't been since Viet Nam. Our leadership in Washington just needs to learn to appreciate what those of us who have worn the uniform have done for them. I realize this past election we had four individuals running for our highest offices and none with Military service.

We have too many folks who have or currently serve in the Military that don't belong. Hence those who decided to not honor their Military enlistment and instead of serving in Iraq/Afghanistan ran to Canada. There are other examples as well, those granted are extreme.

Requring all citizens to serve would water down what makes our Military so great/unique. Those who want to have the honor of serving do, those who don't, aren't required to. Today, a large majority of our citizens don't pay any attention to what our Military does for them, and what they have done. Military history I think is lost in our education system.

It is sad that we have less than one percent of our society have served in the current War in the middle east. I don't think however requiring a 2 year commitment will honestly improve anything in Government or otherwise.

oldbaldguy 5 years, 5 months ago

Kansas Liberal just because you don't make Bird Colonel means you are a fool. Did you serve? Have any idea what you are talking about? I served in both the draftee and all volunteer Army. The draftees I knew were good soldiers. The all volunteer force was initially crap. Now it's superb. I suspect if we had a draftee Army we would not now be in an open ended war, the American people would have stopped it becaused their sons were dying.

Lawrence Morgan 5 years, 5 months ago

I served for four years in the Army, and the majority of people I served with were great, much more interesting and alive than my 5 years at KU.

I am in agreement with you completely. Everyone should serve at least two years, including, and especially including, the rich.

And I'd be curious how many of KU's faculty served, for example, in one of the services. Who can find that out?

It can make a lot of difference in what you teach, and the directions your life takes as time passes.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

None of us shall be saved, every man will be a slave.

From a source.

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