Friday, February 22, 2013

Volunteer vs Conscript Commitment Key to Draft Debate

Mel Laird, Defense Secretary under President Nixon who helped develop today's all-volunteer force forty years ago, weighed in on the renewed debate involving re-instituting the military draft and he wasn't kind to supporters of bringing back the draft.

Detailing our military successes in Afghanistan and Iraq at maintaining all-volunteer forces that are trained, intelligent and effective, not to mention driven to re-enlist in the military after their first term of service, and advance up the ranks to officer - almost twenty-five thousand per year - Laird argues the method we got right now works and on that basis alone would be a mistake to alter it

Another point is the greater commitment to the military volunteers have over conscripts, who feel rightly forced into service and usually are discharged after their initial term for lack of willingness to continue in something they voluntarily did not choose to do in the first place.

And as someone who spent a long week and a half at reception in Fort Benning, I can tell you even young men who have made the decision to give their all and serve in the military (and I was in an all 11-b infantry reception company) still emotionally break just waiting for training... And they wanted to do this. I cannot even begin to imagine the mental mindset of someone forced to serve.

Mr. Laird's case involves other points as well, but just the commitment of volunteers versus conscripts and how that will effect our military's effectiveness should be enough to close the debate on bringing back the draft, once and for all. After all... Mr. Laird was one of the men who ended it in the first place four decades go, he would know a little bit about this subject.

What say you?

Read Mr. Laird's entire Op-Ed at the Washington Post

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