"A compulsory draft is . . . far more typical of a totalitarian nation than of a democratic one. The theory behind it leads directly to totalitarianism. It is absolutely opposed to the principle of individual liberty which has always been considered a part of American democracy." - Robert Taft
The vast majority of people will agree that slavery/involuntary servitude is a bad thing. Why, then, do those who support the reintroduction of the draft (Rep. Charlie Rangel) make an exception for able-bodied 18-35 year-olds? Forcing someone to serve in the military is slavery, period. As Ron Paul says in his book Liberty Defined:
"Just as an income tax sends the message about who owns us and the fruits of our labor . . . the draft and the registration for it remind every eighteen-year-old that ultimately the government controls his fate. The state can kidnap you at any time."
Nowhere in the Constitution is the Federal Government given the authority to "take children from their parents, and parents from their children, and compel them to fight the battles of any war, in which the folly or wickedness of government may engage it," as Senator Daniel Webster stated during the War of 1812. The country never had a draft until Abraham the Tyrant instituted the first, forcing 160,000 men (including conscripts and "substitutes," who were paid by the rich to fight in their stead) to fight and die.
In WWI, 3,000,000 men were drafted and about 2,000 conscientious objectors were jailed for refusing to submit (two died as a result of the conditions they were kept in). People such as Charles Schenck and Eugene Debs were imprisoned for speaking out against the draft. Schenck spent 6 months in jail for distributing anti-draft leaflets and Debs received 10 years in prison for delivering one anti-war speech.
In WWII, 10,000,000 men were drafted and 6,000 conscientious objectors jailed. Starting in the Vietnam and Korean Wars, those who volunteered were given what were considered "safer" postings than those who were drafted.
Now, although we no longer have a draft (males still have to sign up for Selective Service once they turn 18 in case D.C. decides to reintroduce it), our government is guilty of what is called "stop-loss." Stop loss is the means by which the military can keep servicemen and women past their terms of service.
One veteran, David W. Qualls, enlisted in the Army National Guard in 2003, after serving in the Army from '86 to '94. He signed a contract for one year. After being quickly called to active duty, the government extended his contract to twenty-nine years. Yes. 29. This "stop loss" program is simply indentured servitude for people that have already volunteered to fight for our safety and freedom.
Charlie Rangel and other proponents of the draft argue that since so many Americans are disconnected from the military, we should institute a draft so the rest of the population knows what they go through. This logic is dishearteningly stupid and/or tyrannical. The government has abused and destroyed military families by sending soldiers to fight undeclared and unwinnable wars without any tangible objectives and then kept them there long after it was evident they had no reason to do so. Therefore, everyone should have to share in that same abuse from their government?
It's especially ironic to hear this from Charlie Rangel, who experienced firsthand the inequality of the draft. According to Ron Paul:
"The strongest current support for the draft comes from the Congressional Black Caucus, which is a bit ironic since . . . minorities served in greater numbers during the Vietnam and the Korean wars and suffered a greater percentage of fatalities and casualties than whites."
If a war is just and has national support, there would never be a need for the draft because people would volunteer. The only time a government needs a draft is for giant, unpopular wars that it probably shouldn't be fighting anyway.
A draft doesn't make us stronger, either. What would you rather have protecting you: soldiers who are rushed through training after choosing between fighting or jail/death, or a smaller group of well-trained soldiers who believe so much in protecting their country that they willingly signed up to fight and die if necessary? Quite frankly, to say that we do need a draft is an insult to the courage and ability of our volunteer force.
We don't need a draft, we need a non-interventionist foreign policy that will keep us out of wars that don't actually have anything to do with our security.