Reinstating the draft

In response to Godfrey Sperling's opinion column "Why the draft would help the US" (Dec. 11), which advocates reinstating a military draft: Aside from two brief paragraphs justifying the need for additional personnel, Mr. Sperling gives a nostalgic recollection of his own time in the military during WWII.

His experiencing of a wider socio-economic range than in law school surely helped expand his own world view. I'd be interested to know how many of those poor steel workers survived the events that were awaiting them.

Matt Jacobson Boulder Creek, Calif.

Godfrey Sperling fails to describe the costs of teaching humans to kill, the propagation of official hatreds, the gradual abandonment of national conscience and restraint, the manufacture of roboticized citizens, and the creation of a more militarized future. The naive spirit of our citizen soldiers and a century of American wars have yet to produce national security or international peace. I wish proponents of old-fashioned national security would attend to that future rather than recycle sanitized versions of our violent past.

Mike Murray Ashland, Mo.

I enlisted for three years in 1955, serving in an infantry regiment in the Panama Canal. Although never drafted, I mourned the death of the draft. Godfrey Sperling neglected two important reasons to reinstate the draft. It's unfair to depend on the poor or unemployed to be our mercenaries, as is inevitable in a volunteer army. Second, without a draft we will not educate ourselves concerning atrocities done in our name. A reinstitution of the draft should include the Red Cross, Peace Corps, and other nonviolent forms of national service.

John A. Betterly Albuquerque, N.M.

I agree with Godfrey Sperling. This last spring I retired from the Selective Service System after 20 years as a volunteer on the local draft board. While we were never activated, we trained and prepared for that eventuality. I prayed I would never have to make the decision as to whether or not an individual would be granted a deferment. But had we gone to war during the time I served, I'd have done what I had to. I gained a great deal from being even that close to the draft

Nance Shanor Angora, Minn.

NATO redefined to include Russia

Regarding your editorial "A bear's nose in NATO's tent" (Dec. 10): With the ending of the cold-war era, NATO has lost its charter as a purely defensive alliance designed to offset the military threat presented by the Warsaw Pact. In its search for a new "raison d'etre," the civil war within Kosovo presented an opportunity for NATO to find a new mission: supra-national policing, providing humanitarian and peacekeeping services. Intervention in disturbances that threaten regional stability within the European community now seems to be NATO's new calling. Russia's participation in NATO's reorganization should be judged in light of its new mission, not the outdated cold-war mission.

Jerome J. Brick Beaver Dam, Ariz.

Immigration policy not strict enough

In "Worlds better" (Dec. 11, Learning): You cite a number of reasons why immigration should be lowered. You never mention that in the face of such growing problems the US shouldn't maintain an immigration policy allowing in so many people with no cultural or historical ties to the US. The problems schools face in assimilating the entire world are harbingers of the social problems we will face in the future. A common-sense policy on immigration would alleviate many of the problems schools face.

David Gonsoroski Bloomington, Ind.

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