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The Daily Tar Heel

Conscription: Another Name For Stupidity

And what a great game it was. I remember one time, while feeding my Civ addiction, I glanced at the clock, realized that about 20 hours had passed since I had started, and thought, "cool." Not "cool!" or "cool ..." -- just the kind of nod-your-head, smile-on-the-inside "cool" that you say when you wake up in the morning on the beach with little recollection as to how you got there.

With all that time spent playing the game, you'd think I was some kind of genius by now. And you'd be almost right, provided you defined "genius" as "a socially maladjusted individual that spent too much time playing video games as a child." In spite of that, I did learn a lot -- for example if you're going to conquer the world, you're going to need Riflemen. And if you want Riflemen, you're going to have to institute Conscription (Americans know this better as "the draft").

And who's to say that the draft is a bad idea? Not the makers of "Civilization." And, frighteningly enough, not Capitol Hill.

You see, there are certain representatives -- trusted elected officials, mind you -- who are either avid proponents of the notion that good "Civilization" policy makes for good "real world" policy or ignorant simpletons who have forgotten that, for the most part, people don't like being drafted. With the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 2001 (H.R. 3598) rapidly approaching the House floor, the nearly 30-year-old policy of filling the ranks of the military with volunteers is in danger of becoming the next entry on the another-good-thing-screwed-royally-by-the-Right list. Not bloody "cool" at all.

On top of needlessly costing the American taxpayer billions of dollars (This I declare with renewed fervor after sending off my check to the IRS yesterday), the thought of having each and every able American male aged 18 to 22 pressed into military service is downright disturbing. Throw in the added proposal of authorizing young women to volunteer for service through the draft (a first) and a dash of mandatory military training for conscientious objectors (another first), and the door will be flung wide open for a nationwide call to arms of magnitude yet unseen.

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., is one of the co-sponsors of the bill. Rep. Weldon is also a fine American who to my knowledge has never served a day in the military and yet has chaired the Military Readiness Subcommittee. He is currently serving on the House Armed Services Committee and has suggested the need for conscription due to a decline in recruitment rates and an increase in American military commitments abroad.

Never mind that the military itself thinks that the draft is a bad idea. Never mind that according to the Pentagon's own analysis, the draft is unnecessary. The reality is that the last time the draft was the status quo in America, Canadians didn't like it either. Why?

Because last time, while thousands protested against the draft and were willing to go to jail, there were thousands of others who hopped the 49th parallel and settled in the nation that is widely considered as the world's best country in which to live. And enough is enough! There has been enough of an influx of Americans over the 135 years of Canada's existence that we don't need another round of conscription that's going to spur on yet another wave of job-stealing American immigrants.

So, Rep. Weldon, I beg you to stop this folly. People want the draft like they want to eat a poo sandwich -- and Canadians want the draft like they want more Americans who are only going to be a drain on the economy and the health care system. Canada is not some nanny-socialist-welfare state that is going to make a comfortable home for lazy Americans who refuse to assimilate or pay taxes. Canada doesn't want any more American immigrants.

It all sounds pretty silly, eh? Well, so does H.R. 3598. You owe it to yourself to do something about it.

Performed a random act of kindness lately? Better do it soon before you get drafted. E-mail Eugene at chinook@email.unc.edu.

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