Noel Koch, a former speechwriter for President Richard Nixon, argues for a return of the draft to furnish the armed services with the people it needs and to create one nation.

I agree.

The draft furthered the work begun during the Civil War. It advanced the business of making us one people. The draftees may not have liked being pulled away from the careers that awaited them and being thrown in with people they probably wouldn't have associated with otherwise. But over the two-year span of their service, there were sea changes. The disaffected became the committed, became leaders who demanded the best of others and especially of themselves. They saluted with a snap indistinguishable from any other.

When they took their discharges and went home, they had an investment in America not shared by those who did not serve. Try to find a draftee who regrets his service to America. After a time they were not "draftees" at all; they were American soldiers -- part of the fabric of the nation, committed to its values and their preservation.

But there's another good reason. Namely, if Americans were faced with the distinct likelihood of being sent to a foreign land -- not to defend our freedom, but to fight an elective war -- it's a good bet that we would take very seriously and examine the reasons for which we'd be asked to fight and perhaps die.


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