Graham believes strongly that the United States military needs can be met through volunteer efforts (Heilprin, 2006).
I think we can do this with an all-voluntary service, all-voluntary Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy. And if we can't, then we'll look for some other option," said Graham, who is assigned as a reserve judge to the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (Heilprin, 2006).
Rangel counters that argument with his belief the nation is stretched to thin with its current overseas military obligations. His bill does not require everyone to serve in the war, but asks that every young person commit two years of his or her life to service in the military whether that service was in the trenches, hospitals or schools.
Graham said he believes the all-voluntary military "represents the country pretty well in terms of ethnic makeup, economic background (Heilprin, 2006)."
Why it is a Bad Idea
While the idea of a mandatory military program may sound good on the surface there are several reasons that it would not be beneficial to the people of America.
The first reason it would be a bad idea has to do with the very foundation that this country was built on.
Freedom to choose.
Americans have always had the freedom to choose how they live their lives and what they do with those lives. The United States Constitution provides personal liberties and that should include the ability not to serve in the military if one does not want to do so.
Research has shown that the majority of Americans do not want to move to a mandatory military service program.
Repeated polls have shown that about seven in 10 Americans oppose reinstatement of the draft and officials say they do not expect to restart conscription. Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told Congress in June 2005 that "there isn't a chance in the world that the draft will be brought back (Heilprin, 2006)."
While there are currently an estimated 16 million men between the ages of 18-25 registered with the Selective Service program the general belief by Americans is that the draft which would force men and women into service would never be brought back (Heilprin, 2006). The Selective Serve Program provides the government with information about who is available and also provides information for military recruiting efforts to be made, however, the majority of the American population is against having it done by force.
One of the reasons the United States has one of the most organized and successful military programs on earth is because it is a volunteer program. Everyone who is in the military today is there because he or she wants to be there (Hessel, Mial, 2002).
If a mandatory military program is adopted and people are forced to join who don't want to be there it will dilute and weaken the strength of the American military which could in turn put the nation at risk.
The bills being introduced to Congress provide many exemptions for those who meet the age requirement but have extenuating circumstances that could prevent them from being drafted. This leaves only the population that is also extremely valuable to other areas of America life.
The bills propose that men and women be removed from their college classes, their young families and their start in life to serve a military duty that they may or may not believe in (Yoo, 2002).
One bill that was introduced, the H.R. 3598 would have required drafting of young men who are register in the Selective Service program and allowed women to volunteer for one year.
The bill wanted to contain the draft to men between the ages of 18 and 22.
It called for every single male in that age range in America to receive basic military training and education for the purpose of service to the country if called upon at a later date (Universal Military Training and Service Act of 2001 (Introduced in House) (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z-c107:H.R.3598:).
When the draft was in place in years gone by it had a large impact on the lower socioeconomic group in America. Those who came from wealthy families generally had enough funds to find a way out of sending their son to war if he didn't want to go. Reinstating a mandatory military program will again pull from the poverty areas and force a disproportionate number of poor and minority citizens to interrupt their lives to do their service (Rumors of a Draft in 2005? http://www.objector.org/draftrumor.html
By Kevin Ramirez, CCCO Staff).
These are people who are already at a disadvantage due to life circumstances, and forcing them to interrupt school or job training to go to basi training will put them that much further behind.
Conclusion mandatory military program in America is something that should be voted on by the public. The majority of Americans have already spoken through research surveys and said they do not want to go back to mandatory military options. America is known for being the land of the free. How can America proudly stand behind that reputation if it begins to force young men and women into military programs against their will? It is a question that must be asked any time a politician tries to introduce a new bill for a draft.
Dunbar, Liz (2002) International students reflect on mandatory military service
____(2001)France ends mandatory military service.
United Press International
Conscription in the United States (Accessed 4-20-07)