military draft

I was reading about the legislation proposing re-instating the draft that was announced back in January. As a 24-year-old very draftable male, this is of particular interest to me. (Okay, maybe the urticaria would exempt me)

Today, Hollings and Rangel distributed a “Dear Colleague” letter to their counterparts in the Senate and House, respectively, seeking their co-sponsorship.

“Both of us believe that, as Americans, we all share the many benefits of living in this country. But if we are preparing for war against an enemy who wishes to ‘threaten our society,’ as the President says, then it makes sense that all who benefit from our society must share in the burden of defending it,” they stated in the joint letter.

The message that this proposal is meant to send is pretty clear: if you want an American empire, your daughters and sons are going to have to fight and die for it. As our military finds itself stretched increasingly thin, this is particularly relevant today.

If it were up to me, I’d propose legislation with a message that’s even more to the point: Let’s make our draft means-tested. There was a time, during the expansion of the Roman empire, that the military was conscripted from the capite censi – those with enough property holdings to be considered for service in the Roman Legion. Our military is also voluntary, but it’s hardly the owners of our wealth that volunteer to defend it. The wealthiest 1% of our nation holds 40% of the assets. Let’s create a lottery in which a weight is applied based on your family’s percentage take on the assets of the nation. This weight will influence your chance of selection and your average tour of duty. How many chickenhawks would we have calling for war when their sons and daughters are first in line for the infantry? That’s what I thought.