Marine corporal in favor of the Draft

Why We Need a Draft: A Marine’s Lament
He was in the firefights of Fallujah. He saw gaps in America’s arsenal that he believes can only be filled when America’s elite puts its sons on the battlefield. A plea for selective service.

Like every other pro-draft opinion out there, this one is based on the hoped-for side effects of a military draft, not on direct impact such a thing would have.

America isn’t practicing the basic tenet of capitalism on the battlefield with an all-volunteer military, and won’t be until the reinstitution of the draft.

The argument is that if everyones sons and daughters were in the military, all the money for all the MRAPs and body armor and other cool stuff would flow into the armed forces. And how about this:

We have a severe talent deficiency in the military, which the draft would remedy immediately. While America’s bravest are in the military, America’s brightest are not. Allow me to build a squad of the five brightest students from MIT and Caltech and promise them patrols on the highways connecting Baghdad and Fallujah, and I’ll bet that in six months they could render IED’s about as effective as a –Just Say No” campaign at a Grateful Dead show.

The mine has been a dangerous weapon for the entire history of human warfare, virtually all of it built on conscript armies. But five engineering students would suddenly solve it? Come on.

I can’t question the guy’s experiences. He survived 9/11, enlisted in the Marines, and fought in Iraq. But if the investment banker-turned-Marine corporal is right, why is virtually all of the rest of the military opposed to the draft.

I’ll give him credit, though, because he seems to honestly believe a draft would help win the war. Most folks who want a draft so bad want it so that the anti-draft antiwar protests will finally get in gear like the good old days of Vietnam.


  1. I think we should have a draft. We are forcing these guys with special skills to do 18-24 month tours. That’s wrong. If we would have fought this war like we should have from the beginning we wouldn’t need a draft, but given that we’re planning on dragging it out for the next 20 years (like everything else) I don’t see where we have a choice. Of course, this draft will be just like the last one, full of deferment and special treatment for the privileged, because we never learn lessons from history anymore, we prefer to repeat it over and over, each time wondering why we don’t get a better result.

  2. The Marine Corps has _always_ had inferior equipment and training compared to everyone else. They make up for it with attitude. The draft wouldn’t change this or at least I don’t see how. Dfens – there are two kinds of armies. There are armies of liberation. You can send them on a glorious crusade to liberate or demolish. We’re talking World War II kind of stuff, with rationing and Rosie the Riveter and all that jazz. You can draft people for that kind of thing. They’ll tear apart the enemy and come home. Korea, Vietnam and now Iraq .. we need Legions. Legions don’t need a crusade to get motivated; the Regiment is their home and merely doing a solid professional job is why they are there. Legions will go out the ends of the earth, do clean up where State screws the pooch. The don’t need draftees because draftees don’t give a damn for the Regiment or discipline. They don’t like sergeants and they don’t care much for the Army. Introduce draftees into the Legion and .. you’ll get a half-assed unit that is neither fish nor fowl and isn’t very effective.

  3. We have a weekend warrior Army and Air Force that fits neither of your descriptions. Almost everyone I know who’s been over there has been in either the Guard or Reserves.

  4. The Guard members I’ve talked to seem to fit the definition of ‘part time’ Legionaire more than anything. Crusader vs Legion is meant to more illustrative than definitive. It’s a metaphor. But don’t blame me – I cribbed that from T.R. Fehrenbach’s essay ‘Proud Legions’.

  5. The Guard and Reserve guys certainly seem to have their own way of doing things, which drives the regular guys nuts most of the time. For the most part, though, they’re not full time fighters and seem more like semi-civilians than steely eyed professionals. The number of ‘contractors’ continues to grow, not just overseas but also in the ranks of our CIA and DIA intelligence agencies. NASA and the DoD is over run with them too. They have split allegiance (at best) between the company and the country that hires them and as often as not they are non-US citizens when it comes to those we have hired in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s not even to mention the problem of accountability, which this explosion in the use of contractors has come without any rules or systematic plan regarding how they should be used. And that is true of both those hired in foreign lands as well as those hired domestically. Do you honestly believe that a major defense contractor here would never use any adverse information gathered on a government official by one of their employees working for the CIA or DIA to get a foreign or domestic weapons contract?

  6. It is too bad we don’t have a culture in this country like Israel where the best and brightest want to serve in the military. I agree with the Marine’s description that the bravest are in the military but not necessarily the brightest. There are exceptions of course, but it is disappointing to see so many kids who won’t even consider joining regardless of whether we are at peace or war. I remember a kid in college who chided me on joining the Army. He told me his parents would never allow him to join the US Army because it was for ‘losers’. Ironically, his parents would have supported him joining the Israeli IDF which I found rather odd. I hate to dismiss a draft out of hand by saying that it would hurt the force given the great results we received from from it in WW2. But in this day and age where drill sergeants can’t even curse at recruits, how can you draft unwilling recruits and expect the drill sergeants to train them. All recruits know drill sergeants can’t physically, mentally or emotionally haze them. So if a guy is not motivated there is only so much that can be done. What happens when you dump a boatload of recruits who don’t want to be there into that environment? At least in Vietnam and prior an unruly recruit could get the ‘full metal jacket’ treatment. The poster’s metaphor of crusader versus legion was pretty good. Maybe that is one reason why we need to fight only wars that are clearly in our national interest and, once engaged, do it decisively. At least we would be able to garner that crusdader mentality.

  7. We’ve fought wars with legions. The army that cleared the Plains of the Indians after 1865 had that mentality. The army that fought in Korea did – but they didn’t start the war that way. The Marines have always been like that.

  8. In a way it would help the war effort (the draft), but also all of the Vietnam Veterans will most likely not be too considerate about the whole situation… And if the draft starts, there is probably a good chance of the Republicans losing more seats in congress. Also, if I had to go, I would (I am a patriot); but you do also have to think along with the mentality of an 18 year old (I am almost 18). It kind of sucks to think of some of the thoughts going through our minds.

  9. Well, Gene, if those thoughts are about the pointlessness of going to a war that the leadership of this country will not allow you to win, believe me there’s a whole generation of people who know exactly what you’re thinking. Welcome to Vietnam 2, the war we said we’d never fight again.

  10. A couple things about this article irk the hell out of me. Like: ‘According to the Pentagon, no service personnel have died in an MRAP.’ Well, duh! The Pentagon would no doubt confirm that no service personnel have died in a Tesla electric roadster. If the vehicle is not in service, then of course no one is going to die in it. I’m starting to smell bullshit. And then there’s this: ‘America isn’t practicing the basic tenet of capitalism on the battlefield with an all-volunteer military, and won’t be until the reinstitution of the draft.’ What is the ‘basic tenet of capitalism’? According to Wikipedia: Capitalism generally refers to an economic system in which the means of production are all or mostly privately owned and operated for profit, and in which investments, distribution, income, production and pricing of goods and services are determined through the operation of a market economy. It is usually considered to involve the right of individuals and groups of individuals acting as ‘legal persons’ or corporations to trade capital goods, labor, land and money (see finance and credit). OK, the ‘means of production’ in this case aren’t privately owned. But I don’t think he is calling for that….. But it seems to me that the since the ‘labor’ in this case is a completely volunteer military, where the volunteers earn a paycheck for their service, we actually have something near the perfect definition of a capitalistic military. But forcing folks to serve takes the right of the individual completely out of the equation. You’d think an investment advisor at Morgan Stanley would understand such a principle.

  11. What do you do when you draft people who refuse to train? Just like in public schools where unruly kids are no longer afraid of teachers, who is going to be afraid of the drill sergeants? A draft is no good if you have unwilling people being conscripted to fight an unpopular war, especially given the constraints put upon the drill sergeants. All it takes is a couple of bad apples per cycle to ruin the bunch. There were a couple of movies that dealt with this issue as it applied to the Vietnam war, Tribes and Tigerland. The draft would probably only apply to the Army anyway. The marines have less than 200,000 guys and don’t have trouble filling their slots. Not to demean the above poster’s comment about the marines, but it is easy to have the legion mentality when you are a small force. Even in WW2, the marines were only about the size of the current US Army which itself is only about 10% of its WW2 glory days.

  12. Sorry, corporal! No can do! Would you be willing to spread the word about It’s a site dedicated to shattering the myths surrounding the selective slavery system and building mass civil disobedience to stop the draft before it starts! Our banner on a website, printing and posting the anti-draft flyer or just telling friends would help. Thanks! Scott Kohlhaas PS. When it comes to conscription, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

  13. why don’t you grow a pair you damn pussy! I don’t like the idea of a draft and I’d happily do what I could to keep it from happening. Am I a pussy as well, Dfens?

  14. Yes! You don’t mind the freedoms those who were drafted in every major war we’ve had through history have given you. What makes you so damn special that you should not be conscripted?

  15. What makes you so damn special that you should not be conscripted? Fat, forty and served eight years in the Marines is why. I’m against the draft for a number of reasons. I’ll fight against the legislation if it’s proposed. I will obey the law if it’s implemented. This isn’t World War II, it’s not 1938 and there ain’t no Hitler.