As the Bush administration edges the nation ever closer to war with Iraq, students and parents alike are beginning to worry how military action might affect them and their children, namely by way of a draft.
The Selective Service System, or the draft, hasn’t been used since the Vietnam War. However, as more military plans are being made and more areas need to be monitored by peace-keeping soldiers, more people are needed to serve.
Under the system, all male citizens have to register for the draft within 30 days after they turn 18 and remain registered until they are 25.
This age range means many UM students would likely be required to serve if a draft were enacted.
Captain Jack Miller of UM’s ROTC office is not too worried about a draft.
“At this point it’s unrealistic to say there’ll be a draft,” Miller said.
“But if there is a war, the ROTC is the best way to serve. We train the future military leaders who are least likely to be sent overseas as foot soldiers.”
The ROTC is a cadet training program that offers a free college education and other benefits for a minimum service period to the military.
Also worthy to note is the fact that students who are far into their academic studies are less likely to be drafted than members of the work force, vocational students and people just out of high school, especially if they can show that their studies could someday help the United States (i.e., pharmaceutical research, engineering, etc).
If extensive military action were to be taken on Iraq, the U.S. would first send its Active Army, the people enlisted full-time.
Then it would send the Reserves, a group specially trained for emergency situations. Lastly, the U.S. would send the National Guard, a group that primarily serves on a state level.
If the U.S. still needed people to serve, a draft would be then be considered.
According to the National Guard, a draft is costly and inefficient because it involves training civilians with no experience.
Most UM students seem to be against going to war in general, and are therefore opposed to a draft.
“I’m a pacifist,” said senior Laura Voglesong. “Politicians should work these problems out themselves.”
“If there was a draft, I’d be the first one running to Canada. Well, maybe I’d be in the military band. But I don’t think Iraq is a cause worth fighting for,” graduate student Timothy Brent said.
Member of the Reserve and UM student Lloyd Reshard said, “If there were a draft, I’d already be over there. But going to Iraq is not worth it.
“The U.S. should never start a war, but because of my commitment to my country, if I have to go, I’ll go.”
Although women cannot be drafted as soldiers, they can be asked to serve in other ways and may still be needed overseas.
A female member of the National Guard and UM student said, “I won’t be asked to fight in combat because I’m a woman. I’d probably be sent as a nurse or some kind of riot control.”
Concerning a draft, she said, “If we need people, a draft is the only choice. However, the likeliness of a draft is small. It’d have to be World War 3.”
So UM students can rest easy about a draft for a while. However, those who would like to serve their country by joining the ROTC may contact them at 305-284-2870.
Jaclyn Lisenby can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.