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Matt Keefer
Dr. Gevoryan
COMM 206-01
November 25, 2014
All For One or One For All?
Most Americans can identify Nixon and Watergate. Every American recognizes Nixon
and Vietnam. Yet, many young Americans overlook Nixon and drafting. While war in the Middle
East rages on, politicians at home deliberate instituting a universal military draft. Its a system
that took the lives of 17,000 American citizens in the Vietnam War alone and has the potential to
take even more if its reinstatement goes unopposed. Military drafting cannot be allowed back in
the U.S. due to the physical risk it presents and the irreversible effects it would have on the
education of American young adults.
Military drafting requires citizens, typically men in their early 20s, to serve in the
national military for around two years. Also referred to as conscription, the policy has been
employed 12 times in the U.S. since we first appeared on the map during the Revolutionary War.
June 30th marked the 41st anniversary of a conscription-free America and for good reasons.
Since it targets males in their early 20s, military drafting plucks citizens out of the peak
of their education. With employers increasingly requiring that their employees have a Bachelors
degree or higher, the reinstatement of conscription in the U.S. would drastically hinder the rate at
which students could begin pursuing their careers. Thats assuming theyd be given the chance to
do so, with 30% of draftees killed the last time the policy was in place.
If recruits did return home, many would still be faced with picking up previous masters
or doctorate programs. A report in 2009 from the University of Iowa found that the graduation

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rate of their student-veterans was 15 percent lower than that of civilian students. If voluntary
military personnel who were prepared to enlist already have a lower rate of graduation, it seems
likely that returning involuntary draftees would struggle even more. The average two year term
of a military draft would not only deprive these students of two years of study, but could
potentially force them to restart their programs altogether.
Those in favor of U.S. conscription state that a nationwide personal investment in war is
necessary to bring people together. With only a volunteer-based military, supporters of drafting
believe that citizens outside the system simply dont care enough about national wars to react to
them.
David Sirota, a writer for Salon.com, cites a lack of protests during the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan as evidence of this phenomenon:
Though polls showed that many Americans opposed the Iraq War, that invasion
and occupation was historically unprecedented in length and yet never generated the kind
of mass protest that earlier, shorter wars evoked. Same thing for the Afghanistan War.
The lack of widespread outcry against these wars seems to support the view that Americans in a
draft free society are not bothered by national conflict, but this is likely an illusion caused by the
historical climate of the time. The terrorist strikes on the World Trade Center and other military
facilities in 2001 were still fresh in American minds during the invasion of Iraq and the uniting
effect of its devastation was kept alive through an annual day of remembrance. These attacks
brought the war in the Middle East close to home and its unlikely that many citizens truly
opposed the war. The long silence during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was not evidence of
apathetic citizens, but of a tense historical climate.
The growing number of protests against the stationing of U.S. troops in the Middle East

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and the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran in Gaza shows that Americans are still
concerned about military efforts. This past August, the Free Palestine protest in Washington
D.C. brought thousands of Americans together to speak out in a singular voice against the Israeli
attacks in Gaza. These recent events have demonstrated that U.S. citizens still have strong
feelings towards both national and international conflicts and will come together to declare their
objections to unjust military actions, with or without conscription.
Do we truly want war to define what holds our country together? With approximately
1,430,000 active military personnel, we have the power to protect our nation, without forcibly
removing citizens from the workforce. With U.S. soldiers voluntarily serving overseas,
Americans at home can continue to enter the workforce unrestricted and ensure that its military
has equipment that matches the quality of its members.