Friday, September 7, 2007

Time for a Draft?

Newsweek recently ran a piece by Mark Finelli, a veteran of both the Twin Towers attacks and the Iraq war, who asks a once-crazy question that increasingly seems sane. In a time of war, why have we not initiated a draft?
The real failure of this war, the mistake that has led to all the malaise of Operation Iraqi Freedom, was the failure to not reinstitute the draft on Sept. 12, 2001—something I certainly believed would happen after running down 61 flights of the South Tower, dodging the carnage as I made my way to the Hudson River [I worked at the World Trade Center as an investment adviser for Morgan Stanley at the time]. But President Bush was determined to keep the lives of nonuniformed America—the wealthiest Americans, like himself -- uninterrupted by the war.
Finelli raises a troubling issue, one that we must no longer ignore. Americans don't believe in vast standing armies; we prefer well trained volunteers in time of peace. But if we're in a war, we should mobilize all the nation, poor and wealthy, to this effort. That's how democracy works.

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