Before you start jumping down my throat, hear me out. And I write this knowing full well that if the draft were, in fact, to come back, I myself as still of drafting age. And yes, I am operating under the assumption that women would be included. I have difficulty seeing a draft without women, but that is not the focus of this post.
I only ask that you keep an open mind, and hear me out.
The jobs report came out this past Friday, showing unemployment has risen to 10.2% and that the “broader measure” stands at 17.5%. That is an astounding number. That is an awful lot of idle talent, talent that may be put to effective and productive use if the draft is brought back. And here is why I think that:
- Drafting Americans will increase troops which eliminates the issue of having more troops to send aboard.
- Drafting Americans increases the size of the armed forces, which means that more weapons, vehicles, armor and other products are necessary.
- Making more military products requires transform factories.
- Transforming factories puts them back on line.
- Putting factories back on line puts people back to work.
- Putting people back to work makes more effective and productive use of idle talent.
Innovation is a topic that comes up time and again in this country. Innovation leads to job creation. Innovation leads to technological advancement. Innovation leads to continuous prosperity. Well, how can people be expected to innovate while unemployed? The question is tricky. Having been there, it is not easy to answer. Bring back the draft, and subsequently turning idle, abandoned factories into productive ones, who knows what innovation may occur?
Taking people off the streets and putting them into the armed forces will do the obvious: dramatically increase troop levels. But it has the potential to do more than that. Who knows what bright, idle minds can accomplish when given a set of tasks to complete? Tasks that aren’t sitting in front of a computer screen mindlessly looking for jobs, or standing in line at a career fair or the unemployment line that produces nothing. I can tell you from experience it is quite demoralizing. Endlessly applying for jobs, getting one or two interviews only to be turned down takes an incredible toll on the pysche. It makes it that much harder to repeat the process knowing that it has a high probability of being in vain.
Being put to work, though, whether as a member of the armed forces or as part of a factory team, creates purpose. It creates a goal, something that can and will be achieved. Be it meeting a quota of automatic rifle parts or coordinating the logistics of a raid, the result is tangible.
I know it may be a temporary, and highly unpopular, solution. But given the state of the economy, given the general depressed mood of the country, there are good gains to be made by bringing back the draft. And there is nothing that says if drafted you are automatically put on the front lines. The Washington brain trust wants to get the best out of its bright minds, and putting everyone on the front lines will not accomplish that goal. Strategists are needed. Translators. Support staff. You get the idea.
Mandatory service helped us out of one Depression. It is possible it can help us out of this Recession. And who knows, we may end up creating a wealth of innovation that will last for the next generation. There was great prosperity after World War II. And this time, we’re already in a war so there isn’t question of involvement. It’s a question of resolution, which now can include innovation and growth.
All options must be put on the table. Like the reset, there are good reasons to bring back the draft, and there are bad reasons too. All I ask is that you think about it in a big picture context.
After Thought: Bringing back the draft will also relieve the many service members who have served more than one deployment and, as the shooting at Fort Hood, numerous counts of suicide and homicide committed by veterans demonstrate, need a long break. And that break can be given without detracting from the goals that have been set out in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.