Wednesday, September 15, 2004


News Analysis, by Ann Bassette,

I can’t really imagine myself holding onto some fat gun, ready and waiting to shoot and kill for a war that I know barely anything about. I sit in class and try to picture the type of scenarios I could be in if I were ever to be drafted – huddled in a tent wearing desert camouflage, hearing mortar blasts outside. I try to see my friends in the same situations and can’t help but freak out. Lately, with all the talk of the draft these unbelievable scenarios seem a lot closer to reality.

Let me tell you what’s going on right now. There are two bills, HR.163 and S.89, that are trying make joining the military a requirement. This is what it says on about these bills: ‘[These bills] provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.’
I would have thought that the draft might be a partisan issue, with the Republicans behind the whole thing, but that’s not true. The bills are supported by Democrats too, who are pushing for equality in the draft – saying they want to make sure it would include anyone between the ages 18-26, regardless of race or class. Somehow, I doubt that it would ever work out to be an equal lottery. Including women is a new exception this time around. I can’t really see the Olsen twins or Jessica Simpson being drafted, there has to be some way to avoid it—most likely hella money.

It’s not like the draft hasn’t happened before, which makes me think that it could happen again. In 1917, the “Selective Service Act” was enacted to get men for WW I, then it was used for WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam. Before the war in Iraq, all I knew about war was what I’d seen in movies like Jacob’s Ladder, this trippy-ass movie where this Vietnam vet has all these flashbacks of the gory battles he was in. I really don’t want to be forced to be a part of a war that I am morally against.

When I talk to other young people about the draft being reinstated, I get mixed reactions. Either people aren’t aware of the two bills that are trying to be passed right now to bring the draft back, they believe that the draft will never happen, or they think it is inevitable with the way our America works, therefore I should probably get my passport ASAP.

Tim Benton, 22, believes that the draft won’t be necessary. “There are too many troops that are still at home, so the draft won’t be reinstated.”

Jenny Maka, 23, says “It should be obvious that not many people believe in the war because nobody is signing up to fight for it even though they’re providing lip service that supports it. If it meant so much to Congress, the president and the whole bunch, they should send their own kids instead of other peoples’.”

People won’t be able to escape to Canada or Mexico because they already signed treaties with the U.S. to close down the boarders if the draft is reinstated, which may happen in Spring 2005. I feel like I’m being plotted against, and the only real way out of it for me would be pregnancy and that may not even save me. The draft age doesn’t end until age 26, so they have a lot of years that they can try to ship me out. People want to say that women won’t be put on the frontlines, but women used to not be included in the draft either.

The whole thing seems to be a big secret that involves my body, but not my vote. I heard that Bush supports it. Kerry has to come up with 40,000 new troops in order to prevent it. Nader is the only presidential candidate that openly opposes the cause, yet I don’t know if anyone is listening anymore.

Does it mean it will really happen? I’m not sure, but I know that I don’t want my 21-year-old butt taken out of school and shipped off to some country that I can barely pronounce, much less spell. Really, who is to say that the draft CAN’T happen? I suppose it pays to be aware of what bills are being discussed right now, even though it does sound hella boring to research, it could be your own life on the line.
Ann, 21, is a Senior Content Producer for YO!


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