A Military Draft Would be Good for Us

From Johann Christoph Arnold, a “provoca­tive argu­ment that a mil­i­tary draft might not be a bad idea”:www.nonviolence.org/articles/1003-arnold.php. “Decid­ing which side to stand on is one of life’s most vital skills. It forces you to test your own con­vic­tions, to assess your per­son­al integri­ty and your char­ac­ter as an individual.”
It’s a pret­ty dras­tic wish. I don’t real­ly wish it on today’s youn­gins’ (I’m not sure Arnold is quite con­vinced either). But I will give a snip­pet of my own per­son­al sto­ry, since it’s kind of appro­pri­ate to the issue: when I was a senior in high school my father des­per­ate­ly want­ed me to attend the U.S. Naval Acad­e­my. I went on inter­views and even took the first phys­i­cal. The pres­sure to join was sort of akin to the pres­sure young peo­ple of ear­li­er gen­er­a­tions have faced with a mil­i­tary draft (except more per­son­al, as I was essen­tial­ly liv­ing with the chair of the draft Mar­tin Kel­ley board). I was forced to real­ly think hard about what I believed. I had to rec­on­cile my romati­cism about the navy with my gut instincts that fight­ing was nev­er a real solu­tion. My father’s pres­sure made me real­ize I was a paci­fist. With my deci­sion to forego the Naval Acad­e­my made, I start­ed ask­ing myself what oth­er ram­i­fi­ca­tions fol­lowed from my peace stance. Almost twen­ty years, here’s Non​vi​o​lence​.org.
Arnold’s argu­ment, right or wrong, does reflect my story:
bq. A draft would present every young per­son with a choice between two paths, both of which require courage: either to heed the call of mil­i­tary duty and be rushed off to war, or to say, “No, I will give my life in the ser­vice of peace.”

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