The Left periodically floats the idea of reinstating the draft. They dress it up in an “everyone should share the burden” argument, but it’s pretty clear that the goal is to create a Vietnam War dynamic, in which young people take to the streets to protest a war, not because they know anything about the war, but because they don’t want to be drafted to fight the war.
I have thought that the draft would be a good idea for one reason and one reason only: I would love to see the Paris Hiltons and Kim Kardashians of this world going through boot camp. More seriously, I have said that, in an increasingly divided country, mandatory military service has the advantage of turning the liberal “salad bowl,” with disparate parts of American culture uneasily coexisting, into the famed American melting pot.
It’s a nice dream, but I wouldn’t do it. Our American military is one of the great American success stories. Consisting of professionals and volunteers, it’s a surprisingly tightly run organization, given its size and bureaucracy, and it does precisely what it’s supposed to do, which is to protect Americans from foreign enemies. Messing with it, especially for the purpose of some pie-in-the-sky social experiment, would be an insane act. I like to doodle around mental with interesting ideas, but I’m not insane.
Recently, a liberal came out with an entirely new idea for reinstating the draft, and it has the dubious charm of acknowledging my point, which is that the military is one of the best functioning parts of our government. Thomas Ricks insists that we need a draft because our military is so darn good, it’s an irresistible incentive to get involved in unnecessary wars. As I understand Hicks, he’s analogizing our military to the high performance sports car some middle-aged guy who lives in a crowded city bought on impulse. It was a stupid idea, because it’s not much use in the City, so our middle-aged race car driver constantly finds reasons to get that car out on the freeway, where he runs it at high speeds, unnecessarily putting at risk the lives of innocents traveling down those same roads in their sedate family vans.