Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Making It Personal

Plenty of people have been saying that if we still had a draft, we wouldn't be so quick to start wars. I have argued against a draft, for a lot of reasons. I figured that even without a draft, people would be able to look at the problems our wars have caused and conclude that we should stop making wars. Gradually, that seems to be happening. Most Americans were glad when they were told that the war in Iraq was ending, they are ready to be done with the war in Afghanistan, and they aren't enthusiastic about starting a new war in Iran, no matter how much pro-war propaganda is thrown at them. But on the other hand, the country still goes along with all the war making, so I guess people really don't care that much.

A draft would probably change the public's attitudes about our wars. People would feel the effects of war more if their own loved ones were sent to experience the psychological and spiritual horror of war, and maybe be injured or killed.

Recently, someone who is very dear to me learned that she may soon be deployed to Afghanistan. She didn't think she'd ever have to go. She doesn't want to go. She only joined the military to get her college paid for. She was told she would be assigned to work in a research lab stateside, which she was. But now they have decided they need her in Afghanistan.

It is hard enough to see hundreds of thousands of strangers sent off to war. It is all so senseless and inhuman. But to see someone I know being forced into participating in the effort has left me angry and hurting. I know that she signed the contract, but I do not feel that she or anyone else should have been put in the position of having to enlist in order to get an education. And since I don't feel that our country should be fighting in Afghanistan, I don't feel that it is a contract that any court should enforce. Would any court say that a person is obligated to fulfill a bargain with the devil?

Maybe I have too much faith in people's sense of compassion and empathy. Maybe the only way to get people to speak out against wars that are fought on foreign soil is to bring the war home to them by drafting their loved ones. Maybe if more people felt the pain I am feeling, more of them would be on the protest lines and in the voting booths trying to put an end to the wars.

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