The Draft and National Service
Aaron Blake at WP:
After a week in which President Trump endured not-so-veiled criticisms from his two predecessors as president and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), McCain delivered another broadside that seems clearly aimed at Trump — in the most personal terms yet.
McCain, whose status as a war hero Trump publicly and controversially doubted as a 2016 presidential candidate, appeared to retaliate in kind against the president in a C-SPAN interview about the Vietnam War airing Sunday night. In the interview, McCain pointed to wealthy Americans who were able to get out of being drafted into service in the conflict in which he spent years as a prisoner of war. And he pointed to a very specific type of deferment which Trump just happened to use.
“One aspect of the conflict, by the way, that I will never ever countenance is that we drafted the lowest-income level of America, and the highest-income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur,” McCain said. “That is wrong. That is wrong. If we are going to ask every American to serve, every American should serve.”
Lloyd Green at Fox:
Sadly, with the exceptions of Vermont and Maine, military service has morphed into the province of Red State America, while the chasm in the ethos and demographics of our nation’s service academies on the one hand, and our elite universities on the other, grows ever larger. As retired General Dennis Laich and Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson recently observed, military “deployment burden” crystalizes the “urban/suburban vs. rural divide.”
Let’s be real. Scarsdale isn’t sending their best and brightest to West Point, while there aren’t too many kids from Havre, Montana, roaming the Ivy League. To quote Abraham Lincoln and Jesus, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”
Practically speaking, national service would mean that once again Americans from all walks of life would get to know each other, North, South, the Coasts, the Great Plains, and the Mississippi Delta. As the tectonic shifts of diversity bring their own political challenges, national service could yield a badly needed common experience. It would also remind us that we all are part of America at a time when political rancor is the rule, and the word “secession” gets bandied about as a threat or an applause line.