Sample Research Paper
Fight for Your Right to Be Free
My husband Sean McKenzie, a former Sergeant in the United States Army, is nervous that after being separated for the military for over a year, he will be called back to fight a third tour of duty in a war zone. “I ran into many men over in Iraq who had been discharged from the Army after serving multiple deployments in a combat zone. A year or two after returning to civilian life, they were called back into service because they were again needed to fight overseas. I knew one guy who didn’t just miss the birth of his first child, but two deployments later, he missed the birth of his second child. I don’t want that to happen to me” (Winter).
With wars raging in Afghanistan and Iraq, our soldiers are growing weary and frustrated. They are serving two and three tours in war zones, fighting for freedoms that all American citizens enjoy. Many times, after being discharged after their enlistments are over, they come home to civilian life to buy homes, get civilian jobs and begin raising families, only to be called back to the military to serve once again. It is time that we give these honorable men and women a hand. I believe it would benefit the United States and our military to reinstitute the draft. Either our freedom is worth every citizen’s effort, or it is not worth any soldier’s life. Let’s start with some background on the draft.
For fifty years, Selective Service and the registration requirement for America’s young men have served as a backup system to provide manpower to the United States Armed Forces. From 1948 until 1973, during periods of conflict and periods of peace, vacancies in the military were filled by the draft. The draft was accomplished by lottery drawings: 366 blue plastic capsules containing birth dates were drawn from a large glass jar. When a capsule was drawn, all men born on that date were assigned the same order-of-call numbers. The drawing continued until all the days of the year had been matched to a lottery number. The draft has been used to increase troop numbers in the following 20th century conflicts: World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The draft ended in 1973 and the country transformed to an all-volunteer military (www.sss.gov/backgr.htm).
Today, all male U.S. citizens and male aliens in the United States, ages 18 through 25, are required by law to register with the Selective Service. A man will not automatically be inducted into the military because he is registered. If there is a crisis that requires a draft, a sequence of random lottery numbers and years of birth will determine who will be called to serve. In 1971, Congress revised the draft law, allowing a college student postponement of induction only until the end of the current semester. Prior to the change, a man could receive a student deferment for as long as necessary, providing he was a full-time student working towards a degree and receiving satisfactory grades (www.sss.gov/backgr.htm).
Many people oppose the draft. They argue that the voluntary military has been working well science the drafted ended in 1973, and that reinstituting the draft will only diminish the effectiveness of the military. Pulitzer Prize-winner Mark Thompson, who has covered national security in Washington since 1979, and for Time since 1994, says that a military created through a draft would “be a less effective fighting force, thanks to a sudden influx of draftees who would remain in uniform for much shorter spells than today’s all-volunteer soldiers.” Thompson states that a recent report, requested by Rep. John Murtha, chair of the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, asserts, “Usually greater accumulated knowledge and skills come with greater experience. Because most draftees leave after completing a two-year obligation, a draft might affect the services’ ability to perform those functions efficiently” (Thompson).
Disagreements about the draft also exist because many people recall problems with military morale during the Vietnam War. Colonel P.J. Crawley, the Director of National Defense at the Center for American Progress, recalls, “That was a force that had a terrible morale. They [the drafted soldiers] didn’t want to be in uniform; they didn’t believe in the Vietnam conflict” (Maher). With our society so split on the Iraq war, and whether or not we should have gotten involved in the first place, he also argues, “We had a genuine coalition in the aftermath of 9/11 with respect to Afghanistan. And we blew that international consensus when we rushed into Iraq” (Maher).
Currently, with wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq, thousands of soldiers are away from their homes and families, fighting for our country’s freedom. As of December 2006, “More than 650,000 soldiers have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001—including more than 170,000 now in the Army who have served multiple tours” (Tyson). These soldiers, many of whom originally signed up for between two and six years of active military service, are being stop-lossed, a program the military created, “forcing some members of the country’s volunteer armed forces to remain in service beyond their contractually agreed-upon term” (military.com). Usually, when soldiers get stopped-lossed it is because they are needed for yet another deployment. Although our military contains some career soldiers, the majority of our soldiers sign up for two-to-four year enlistments with the intent to do their service to their country and then return to their civilian lives. With these soldiers doing two and sometimes three 12-15 month deployments in a combat zone and having the duration of their enlistments extended, we can assume that their morale and wiliness to fight will decrease.
Writing in the National Review, the respected American historian, biographer, and professor Stephen Ambrose said, “The U.S. armed services are falling short of their recruiting goals, despite the highest pay scales ever, plus the most generous post-service benefits ever” (Ambrose). This is largely due to our flourishing economy. A teenager or young adult can find jobs in the civilian sector that pay more, provide stable working hours, and give them an opportunity to work wherever they choose. “As a result, many of today’s recruits come from the poorer end of our society. They may stay in the service longer. This tends toward a situation that Americans have long feared: a standing army that consists of enlisted men and women who have little stake in the society” (Ambrose). It doesn’t seem fair that the majority of our armed forces consists of lower-privileged citizens, while the higher class takes a back seat and lets others do the dangerous work.
Ambrose continues, “Today, Cajuns from the Gulf Coast have never met a black person from Chicago. Kids from the ghetto don’t know a middle-class white. Mexican-Americans have no contact with Jews. Muslim Americans have few Christian acquaintances” (Ambrose). Although Ambrose’s assertion is exaggerated, it is undeniably true that many young people from isolated areas do not often meet people from different backgrounds. The military provides the opportunity for people from every nationality, every religious background, and from every socio-economic class to live together and work together. We live with others in this country who are different from us and we share our freedoms, but rarely do we come together for a common goal. Serving in the military would enable us to have a common goal—to defend our country—and, of course, enable us to share common experience (Ambrose).
Furthermore, it appears that America’s youth have a more difficult time growing up today. They take the scenic route to a college education, sometimes taking years longer than necessary to earn their degree. After college, they return to their parents’ homes, where they may remain well into their thirties. These “boomerang” kids expect that things should be given them—that they are entitled to things—rather than work their way to their goals. The military would be a good way to force young adults to grow up by teaching them discipline and replacing their sense of entitlement with a work ethic. As a result of his five years in the military, my husband Sean realizes that he matured far faster than his peers back home in civilian life. His military experience required him to “become a man” and deal with the realities of life. It made him independent, taught him to respect authority, and trained him to rely on himself as well as help others (Winter).
“To force someone to fight for a cause they don’t believe in is a difficult thing to do. Everyone in this great nation has the freedom to believe in whatever they choose. As an individual, you put a certain amount of trust and faith in your government. After all, your government provides you the opportunities to choose how you live your life as an individual. Whether or not you believe in a particular cause, when your country needs you to defend its people; borders interest, or even the lives of those in less privileged countries, your personal opinions should be cast aside and you should answer that call” (Winter). With our military force spread so thin, I believe that reinstituting the draft will help the United States reach our goals in war without draining the active duty soldiers who are working so hard to defend our country. The draft will bring America together, once again, despite our political views and personal agendas, to reach a common goal.
Ambrose, Stephen E. “The End of the Draft, and More—Military Service Abating.” National Review. 9 August 1999. http://old.nationalreview.com/convention/nr_archives/nr_archives080100b.shtml
History and Records. 30 April 2002. Selective Service System. 31 July 2007. http://www.sss.gov/backgr.html
Maher, Jared Jacang. “Feeling a Draft?” 2 Aug. 2004. WireTap Magazine. 31 July 2007. Link no longer available (site taken down).
“Stop Loss Continues.” Chicago Tribune. 27 Sept. 2004. Military.com. 31 July 2007. http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,FL_loss_092704,00.html
Thompson, Mark. “Restoring the Draft: No Panacea.” Time Magazine. 21 July 2007. 31 July 2007. http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1645734,00.html
Tyson, Ann Scott. “Stop Loss Continues.” Washington Post. 20 Dec. 2006. 31 July 2007. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/18/AR2009031802504.html
Winter, Daniel. Personal Interview. 6 Aug. 2007.