We could be losing the lottery

by Jack Sawyer

By now, with the elections over and the airwaves once again freeof political advertisements, you’ve probably paid a little lessattention to the fate of our nation than before. Your mind is atease and we have a new President-elect.

Heck, it won’t be long before the only flip-flopping youencounter is the slapping sound of sandals in the dormbathrooms.

You’ve probably even forgotten about Medicare and SocialSecurity.

But let me tell you, there’s one thing that you, I, and everyoneelse can’t afford to let fall by the wayside – the talk of amilitary draft.

As young Americans, we have always been somewhat familiar withthe concept of the draft, and if you happen to be male, as I do,familiar with the registration for Selective Service that isrequired by age 18. For most of us, the idea of a draft isfrightening.

During the recent Presidential race, both candidates usedpeople’s worries about the draft to their advantage by repeatedlydenying that they will ever allow one to occur on their watch. BothKerry and Bush also insinuated that the other would be the man tousher in a new age of mandatory military service. It was like thewordiest ping-pong match ever, watching those two throw volleys ateach other.

And as of yet, the draft has not been reinstated. But don’t letthat allay all of your fears. As long as we are in conflict withother nations, the possibility of a draft is at least that – apossibility. Truly, any unforeseen event, such as a terroristattack in America, action in Korea, or civil war in Iraq, couldspark the sort of national panic and present troop requirementsthat would lead to a draft.

We’ve already heard about the shortages of enlisted servicemenand women, and about the strain being put on National Guard andReserve units. How much longer will this be tolerated by ourmilitary’s leaders? As it is, a policy called, “Stop Loss,” is ineffect that prohibits soldiers from retiring or leaving their unitupon completion of their service. How long will these back-doordraftees have to continue serving before someone else must taketheir place? No one, it seems, has an answer.

What makes the entire situation so frustratingly vague is theway that the information that we are privy to is clipped, edited,and smoothed-out for our consumption. No political leader seems towant to come clean about the real possibility of at least some sortof draft. No one will level with us.

For instance, did you know that, since the beginning of theyear, the Selective Service has been drawing up guidelines for adraft of only computer specialists and linguists? Kind of makesyour minor in Russian seem less alluring, eh?

Or that, in fact, a bill was defeated 402-2 by the House ofRepresentatives on October 4 that would have required two years ofmandatory service from every American ages 18 to 25? The way thatthis bill was steam-rolled does not, as many might say, show thatthere is a strong opposition to the draft in Congress. It does showthat there has been talk of instating some sort of draft, but thatno one wanted to stick their neck out in an election year by votingfor it.

The simple truth of the matter is that our military is undertremendous pressure, both in skills and numbers, and is stretchedtoo thin; our politicians are actually talking about how to broachthe likelihood of a draft to the disapproving public that electedthem; and not a one of us knows the whole story. We’re allowingourselves to be lead blindly.

So get active, get educated and get with the program. Look intowhat’s really happening in Washington, and use your voice tocontrol your destiny.