Letter to the Editor

In favor of universal service

Thursday, September 9, 2004

To the editor:

Recently I have read two letters concerning manpower, one equating the draft with involuntary servitude. The second, wondering whether we should establish a foreign legion, concluded that it would be unwise to move in this direction.

Concerning the draft: This first became necessary when there were not sufficient volunteers and mercenaries to serve in the Union Army. This practice continued through the Vietnam War. Without a draft, we would not have had sufficient troops to fight any of these wars.

During World War II, there was a name given to those who tried to evade their military responsibilities. These people were called "slackers" and often became outcasts in their communities.

The current administration tells us that the war on terrorism will be long. Without the draft, we will not have sufficient personnel to fight such a war.

I am a proud liberal who enlisted immediately after graduation. I have two sons who also enlisted in military service. I view service to my country as a citizen responsibility. I have long supported universal military or community service when a student completes high school. This would provide us with the personnel we need to fight a long war and, at the same time, bring some discipline to our youths.

Perhaps letter writer James Nall is more concerned by "economic implications" than he is about the defense of our nation. This seems to be the case of many of our super-patriotic conservatives.

DEAN ALLISON, Cape Girardeau