‘Reviving the draft, abandoned in 1973, would mean that most American families have skin in the game when their political leaders embroil the country in a war of choice. It doesn’t take much of an intuitive leap to guess that the last 16 years of war would have unfolded differently if more than a tiny cadre of America’s sons and daughters had to fight
Requiring everyone to serve in some fashion, other than those too physically or psychically impaired, would be a profoundly democratizing action. In time, it might even encourage more civilized political discourse in this atomized land, by putting young people in proximity to those with roots in different ways of life and thinking. It’s harder to sneer at the “other” after you’ve both shared a life-transforming experience.
Bringing back the draft could restore a healthier sense of the military’s proper place in our national life. It deserves Americans’ full support but not quite the saintlike status that Mr. Kelly assigned it and that the absence of compulsory national service encourages.’
[Op-Ed NYT 25th October]
As Dr Johnson said about hanging, the prospect of being shot concentrates the mind wonderfully. I’m sure there was a lot of joyous camaraderie, fellow-feeling and mutual love on the gallows at Tyburn on hanging day.