By Joseph Kunkle
By Joseph Kunkle
With wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the possibility of war in North Korea and Iran, there is a good chance that American men could eventually be drafted to serve America on the battlefield, despite Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s reassurance to the contrary.According to the selective services
Web site, Rumsfeld has indicated that there was “not a chance” of reviving the draft, but his reassurance sounds a bit hollow with the weapons of mass destruction lie still on his lips.Despite Secretary Rumsfeld’s dubious reassurances, the demand for soldiers to fight in American wars is increasing. Modern killing technology like Boeing cruise missiles and robot planes notwithstanding, fighting a war still takes people on the ground, people like the guy sitting next to you in biology or walking in the A.G. Paul Quadrangle — people like you.In times of war, those in the lower and middle classes of society are usually the ones called up to fight, and with the increasing costs associated with college, many students have joined the military based on recruiter promises of a free ride through college. Those on college plans who were yanked from their classrooms to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq know now that this option for a college education has a substantial price and some have paid with their lives. Not to imply that there have been excessive injuries, fatalities, lost limbs and permanent disabilities for soldiers who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq; after all, excessive is a relative term. In the current world political climate, however, American citizens, especially the young male ones, must start to look seriously at the prospect of fighting for America and what it truly means to do so.Any young man who has processed a FAFSA must be enrolled in the selective service system to qualify for financial aid and guaranteed student loans. Once he has done this, he also qualifies for conscription. There is the possibility of women eventually facing this requirement as well.Under current draft law, a conscripted male college student trying to get a degree can only have his induction postponed until the end of the current semester. A senior can defer until the end of the academic year. Due to heavy casualties in the Vietnam War, the United States selective service revived the draft, using a lottery to determine eligibility based on birthdays. This was a change from the former practice of choosing oldest to youngest. Back then, a full-time student was allowed to be exempted from conscription, the option that current Vice President Dick Cheney used to avoid having to fight. This was also the option that most poor people could not afford to take. The last conscription in America was ended by President Nixon in Jan. 1973 and the military has been all-volunteer ever since. These days, recruiters are hard pressed to keep up with the demand for men and women volunteers, and many reserve and active-duty units are facing third and forth extensions of service in Iraq. Despite this shortage, there is still the real possibility that President Bush will enlarge his strategy to include invasions of Syria, Iran and increased military presence in North Korea. There is also a substantial attrition rate of casualties from the ongoing “insurgency” in Iraq. In a terrorist conflict, those with the advanced skills to design, operate or repair modern weapons like robot planes and cruise missiles will be just as subject to injury or death in combat as the thousands of people who are not. No one is out of harm’s way, and there is no effective response to acts of terrorism that does not require ground troops.These troops, these soldiers, are the ones that you can see daily on the news in the scorching desert heat, searching house-to-house in Baghdad and manning checkpoints in Fallujah. One of them could be that guy who sat next to you in biology or the one you saw walking in the Quad. One of them could be you. These soldiers are the American people behind these daily body counts. When they are gone, guess who’s next?