Oliver North hates the Greatest Generation
In nine trips to cover our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq for FOX News, I've never heard a single officer or non-commissioned officer in any branch of our armed forces advocate returning to the draft. That's because they know that today's all-volunteer force is smarter, better educated, trained, equipped and more combat-experienced than any military in history.Yes, our soldiers are smarter and better educated than they have been, but that's due, in part to that fact that all American youngsters are better educated today. A draft which drew from our current population would not have to lower standards. What has made the military lower standards is the unwillingness to make all Americans responsible for the protection of their country. Thousands of currently serving troops have been enlisted under lowered aptitude standards because the military doesn't have the opportunity to take the best qualified.
Our troops are so good because the standards for admission are so high -- standards, history has shown, that it would be impossible to keep with conscription. According to the GAO, "at least half of today's youth between the ages of 16 and 21 are not qualified to serve in the military because they fail to meet the military's entry standards for education, aptitude, health, moral character or other requirements."
Reinstituting the draft would inevitably require that these standards be lowered. We've made that mistake before. In the late 1960s President Lyndon Johnson implemented what he called "Project One Hundred Thousand" -- a program that forced the military to accept draftees who would otherwise have been rejected.
Also, I find North's implication that draftees are inherently worse than enlistees repugnant. As Duncan Bronson--the nephew of a WWI Medal of Honor Winner and former Marine--said at a ceremony earlier this year, "People volunteer or they're drafted, but they serve, and 99.9 percent of them serve without reservation..." I would argue the standards for draftees were lowered during Vietnam because there were so many types of deferments, leaving many of our best and brightest. We shouldn't make that mistake again. The truth is, more than 60 percent of all World War II veterans were draftees. Only about a third of Vietnam Veterans were draftees. So, as far as victory's concerned, the types of troops you bring to the war seems to matter much less than the strategy and goals of the war.
There should be a draft. It creates a situation in which every American has skin in the game. Whether that makes war more or less likely I don't know, but it certainly makes the truth impossible to ignore and the pornographic nature of the cheerleading coming from North and all of his Fox News friends more and more obvious.