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Drafty Logic and Drafty History

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

A meme is spreading that an effective way to pressure Uncle Sam to avoid becoming involved in unjustified wars is to reinstate the military draft.  Brian Norris’s letter (May 4) – insisting that the draft will give young people and their “influential parents” more of a “stake” in war (and, hence, make war less likely) – is only the most recent evidence of the grip of this dubious notion.

What a peculiar premise it is that elected officials who irresponsibly risk treasure and blood on pointless wars will somehow be cured of their irresponsibility by being given the additional, terrifying power to conscript soldiers to fight in these officials’ wars.  Do Mr. Norris and others who trumpet the pacific consequences of conscription not recall that it was used, for example, during the Vietnam war – one of the longest and most tragic and absurd military misadventures in U.S. history?

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030