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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Let's Say "NO" to Forced Military Conscription by Cindy Sheehan (FROM NL 109)

--Originally Published in ROL, USA Newsletter #109

Let’s Say “NO” to Forced Military Conscription

by CINDY SHEEHAN

Cindy Sheehan
The U.S. Congress has commissioned a “bi-partisan” panel of 11 people to study the future of a forced military draft in the United States.

Since the beginning of forced conscription in the U.S. (Civil War), a military draft for that war and subsequent wars has been highly unfair and class biased. For example, in the Civil War, a wealthy conscript could purchase someone  to take his place. Such “bonuses” were often taken by agents and rarely got to the conscriptee. Kind of like today, where those who enlist are promised high bonuses from the government but rarely fully materialize.

For every war during the 20th century, draft avoidance, resistance, or “dodging” has been practiced. During the U.S. war crime in Vietnam, 2.15 million U.S. troops were deployed there and at least three-quarters of them were from working-class or poor families. However, we all know the stories of “deferred” war hawks like Dick (Five-Deferment) Cheney, Bill Clinton, Ted Nugent, Rush Limbaugh, Trump, and Mitt Romney while other subpar humans like George W. Bush were allowed to join elite (safe) units to avoid the carnage. Every time an elitist avoided the military draft, a poor child took his place.

For over a century and a half, while the children of the wealthy and powerful ultimately reap the benefits of war profiteering, it’s been the working poor  and oppressed of the USA and the world who pay the ultimate price .

Since forced conscription is inherently unfair and pits workers of one country against another, it should be opposed as a tool used to lead our children to slaughter, and/or to become murderers of others. Additionally, the idea that a draft will radicalize people to oppose the U.S. Empire is of limited use: Although it can be understood, such opposition is shallow and temporary and based on self-interest, rather than international solidarity. Such radicalization during the Vietnam war was definitely short-lived and not very successful as we find ourselves buried even more deeply under the iron heel of the Military Industrial Complex.

IN MY OPINION, forced registration for the draft by men as well as women and gays and transsexuals must all be opposed. True equality is complete freedom from war and other oppression, not the right to die for profit, or be sexually abused by your fellow troops, or superiors.

Registering for the draft is also an attack on the working-class and poor as registration is required to apply for federal student loans or grants and in some cases required to receive a driver’s license or state i.d.

Furthermore, as long as there is a so-called “volunteer” army, we need to organize to keep our young people as far away from military recruiter predators as possible!

As previously stated, working poor young people and/or people of color are the ones that are specifically targeted by the predatory war machine, so we as workers need to struggle together for the reforms of higher wage (dare we say, even meaningful) jobs and low/no tuition university educations while recognizing the need to also work for a collapse of imperialism and capitalism.

Our young people need to become determined to fight for  a future free from war and the hopelessness of an uncaring society. With an infusion of optimistic new young leadership, we workers should oppose all politicians and institutions that promote this culture of endless war. Imperialist war is the highest expression of toxic capitalism.  

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