The recent brouhaha over requiring women to register with the Selective Service System reminds me that this government agency’s reason for existence disappeared in early 1973 when Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird said that no further draft orders would be issued. As you can see by my draft card, I was happy with his decision. Over the next couple of years I was even happier that the all-volunteer military concept seemed to be working and America was steering clear of stupid wars. Then President Carter issued Presidential Proclamation 4771 and re-instated the requirement that young men register with the Selective Service System. This was scary and confusing. I was probably too old to draft but I had to wonder what were they thinking? For some time the military had been replacing support positions with civilian contractors so where does a group of inexperienced, unskilled, unmotivated draftees fit in? It looked like a recipe for disaster but for 36 years it has been just another annoying anachronism. When I look back at the draft it makes even less sense today than it did in 1980. So why are we keeping up the ruse that we need to register men or women for a draft we never plan to use? Wouldn’t this be a good time to issue a Presidential Proclamation to end the Selective Service System once and for all?
My son received a nomination to West Point from our Congress woman, Jean Schmidt, this month. She was gracious and had a little party to celebrate all of the nominations. After she handed out the certificates she was peppered with questions about the recent bailouts. The questions were friendly but pointed. It has been a tough year to serve in Congress. Now that’s a group of people in need of prayer for wisdom!
My son enjoys what he thinks is military life so he applied to Purdue, West Point, Virginia Tech, and Cincinnati based in part on their military programs. If military life does not work out for him I think the five year exit option will leave him with a great resume. It is probably easier for him to consider military life since we have several military connections. His grandfather graduated from West Point and served for twenty years. Several of our relatives served in the military. I lived at West Point for three years when I was very young. In an amazing coincidence both my godfather and his godfather achieved the rank of general. He still is very nervous about going to West Point since a ROTC recruiter called it a prison. Based on the recruiter’s remarks ROTC recruiting looks like a contact sport. I think we need to make a campus visit to West Point. It will definitely be weird for me to return to West Point after all of these years but it will probably help my son figure out if West Point is right place to go to college.