Letters

Should America's youth be compelled to serve the country?

Regarding Edward Bernard Glick's Sept. 5 Opinion piece, "America's youth must serve their country, one way or another": Reinstitution of the draft in the United States is a horrific idea. Forced service is the antithesis of a free nation. If we want a large military, then we must pay for it. Pay our volunteers well and they will come. No one's life should be subject to a lottery unless he or she freely chooses to buy a ticket. We should steer our lives in the direction of our choosing, not in a direction dictated by politicians.

For good or ill, we sacrifice every day for our nation through paying taxes; that is how I best serve my country. Since no nation spends more on military expenditures and war, no nation coerces its citizens to work harder to support the military than citizens of the United States. I have children coming of age who will choose how best to live their lives – not the government.
Michael R. Benning
Wayne, Pa.

Regarding Edward Bernard Glick's Sept. 5 Opinion piece: As a senior military officer, I agree with Mr. Glick's premise of wanting our country's young adults to contribute to and serve America. However, I vehemently disagree with reinstating the draft. The military is a tool used by politicians to achieve their political objectives. We currently have a wide chasm between 51 percent of our population and the other 49 percent on what our politicians should be doing in the US and around the world.

If we draft our young citizens to fight a war in Iraq and Afghanistan that almost half of them don't agree with, our military will pay the price and fail miserably. I do believe that there's a lot our younger population can do and are willing to do to help others and our country as a whole. Being involuntarily drafted to serve in the military is not a viable option.
Dennis Lovejoy
Fairborn, Ohio

Three cheers for Edward Bernard Glick's Sept. 5 Opinion piece about America's youth and their obligation to serve their country. I served in the student affairs department of a large state university during the '60s and observed that those students who had served in a military branch, or any other group where they had given of themselves, were far and wide better students than those who bounced directly from high school to college.

Upon graduation from high school, or upon reaching the age of 19, every person who is physically and mentally fit should be required to spend a minimum of two years in a branch of the military services, the Peace Corps, Job Corps, or other qualified organization. It would give youth time to pause, look at the world and themselves, and make decisions about their lives. We would have a better educated citizenry with a greater respect for themselves, and hence, for all mankind.
Archie C. Kramer
Houston

I must respectfully disagree with part of Edward Bernard Glick's Sept. 5 Opinion piece about the draft. It is not the idea that everyone should serve their country which bothers me; in fact, the idea of a "community service draft" doesn't sound too bad, especially if it could be set up so that families and friends could sign up to do their work together.

A military draft is quite a different thing, though. It is not right to ask 18-year-olds to die for their country, but even more, it is not right to ship them off to foreign lands and tell them that they must now kill for their country. The "idealism of the nation's youth" – as Mr. Glick calls it – should not be used to take the lives of the youth of other nations.
Kyla McDonald
Trumansburg, N.Y.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or e-mail to Letters.

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