The Tahoma Activist

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Democratize the draft!

There's only one way you will ever sell the American people on a military draft, particularly in the middle of an EXTREMELY unpopular and utterly immoral war and occupation. And that is to make that service attractive, lucrative, and full of choices. Americans love choices, so a plan like this might go over very well.

Here's the idea: Upon reaching 18 (after graduation), students will be immediately drafted into NATIONAL SERVICE.

This service will not necessarily be in the military or even in the National Guard. Creating this National Service System will require a new bureaucracy with a cabinet-level agency to oversee the individuals involved. Recruits will be given several choices of how to serve, whether local, statewide, or national service. They can clean hospitals, work in VA clinics, clean up trash on the side of the road, what have you.

Here's the catch: if you want to get big fat dividends, you will go into the type of service that is prioritized most highly by the current administration. In Bush's case, that would probably be WAR WITH IRAN. In someone else's capable hands, it might be Americorps or the Peace Corps or the Civilian Conservation Corps.

With this system in place, recruits could choose what they want to do. Every six months, recruits would be allowed to change their service. For example, say I'm a young kid from Kansas, I join the National Guard, get sick of dealing with flooding and urban riots and now I want to switch to something in my hometown. I go to the computer database, find something local, and *presto!* I'm driving a bus on the local military base, taking classes on the weekends.

This will totally change the way wars are fought in the future. Imagine if every single month more kids are choosing to go home or to some other branch of service because the war is getting totally out of control. This will put the power to wage war into the hands of the people directly, and take it out of the hands of the corrupt criminals that now wield it. Oh sure, they can still commit the "all-volunteer army" to unnecessary, unpopular wars, but at least non-military kids can avoid it if they feel like it's not worth it.

The beauty of this plan is that it would require the warhawks to convince grunts that their service in wartime is a) important, b) truly necessary, and c) not totally based on lies. This might have the added benefit of encouraging Congress to only wage wars that are grounded in some kind of legal principle.

The other great thing about it is that you could make it so if over 50 percent of a military unit's members choose to switch services, that whole unit would be required to leave the field. This would encourage communities to agitate against warfare, because if they can get enough troops to abandon the mission, the entire unit will be sent home.

Of course, if you're going to convince parents to support a bill like this, you're going to have to make it worth their while, and that means benefits.

Here are some I came up with:

First year in National Service: 4 years of secondary education, including tuition, books, lab fees, and housing allowance, as well as fully paid healthcare the entire time they're in school

Second year in National Service: 2 more years of education, up to Masters level, as well as healthcare for 5 more years, plus unlimited mass transit and a free bike (with helmet!)

Third year in National Service: 2-4 more years of education, through PHD level or other advanced degree, plus fully-paid healthcare for ten years

Any amount of military service: fully paid VA healthcare for life

Any amount of combat service: extra pay, job training, mortgage assistance

Oh yeah, and here's one idea the gun nuts will love: all Corps members will receive weapons training and will receive a rifle, a shotgun and a sidearm as well as a gunsafe, to be kept in their homes or at a local armory. Anytime there is a disaster of any sort, these folks will be mobilized to act locally in support of civilization, freeing up the National Guard to deal with more serious threats.

If anyone other than me thinks this is a good idea, then tell me about it! And pass it around!

War & Peace

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