If I voluntarily put my name to a document obligating me to a fixed term of military or naval service, that is one thing. If a government agent comes to my house with drawn gun and takes me to the draft office and forces me to put my name to a document obligating me to a fixed term of armed forces service, that is another thing. And these two things require no discussion. The reader can readily discern the difference. (If a person is asked to serve, during time of declared war, and refuses, that person should thereafter be denied the benefits of government, but to force anyone to serve is greatly immoral.)
Under our constitution of government, the states retain the right each to raise and train a militia. They cannot do this if the central government is able to draft away all of the available, eligible manpower. On one case, the Supreme Court ruled that the central government had the right to form a bank and that the state governments had no right to tax that bank since the right to do so would be the right to tax it out of existence which they had no right to do given that the central government had the right to form the bank in the first place. The same principle holds, RE the armed forces draft and the state militias. (Those militias should be active right now and always, so that we have a militarily trained manpower pool.)
If conscious objectors were exempted from the draft, but required to do an equal term of service in a non-military role, think what a disruptive effect that would have upon our economy. And anyway, I believe the 13th Amendment to the Constitution outlawed that sort of servitude.
Iraq War II was totally wrong from the start. The current war in Afghanistan has become unnecessary. Lives are being needlessly wasted on both sides. We do not need to support our government’s fiasco by giving it an unlimited source of manpower with which to pursue that war.
If the government is given the right to draft whatever manpower it desires for its armed, imperialist interventions, it will enter into more of them. As for the contention of another of your correspondents that the draft would discourage armed imperialist conquest because the nation’s leaders would not want to send their own children into harm’s way ("It [the draft] would send the sons and daughters of our country’s leadership into battle."), that would never happen; never has, never will. The leadership passes the laws with whatever loopholes they want (however disguised they may have to be to get passed).
George Crockett — Franklin, NC