Ruh-roh, Raggy - it's getting *drafty* out there. I hadn't seen this before, but the "Universal National Service Act of 2003" (currently in the House and Senate) would require "that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service..." to provide for the common defense of Dubya's megalomaniacal mission, of course. [via rense][blackholebrain]
I thought this might be a sick joke but the link goes to "thomas.loc.gov", no crazy IE bug either, it's the real deal.
Think of this as a tax; two years of income that the person won't generate, plus the income lost in the last two years that they would have been working but couldn't because they couldn't start working until their service was discharged, often the two most lucrative years in high-skill disciplines. A $50,000+ tax on everybody from 18 to 26, plus two years of their life.
I do not understand the rational motivation for this. The volunteer army has been critical to our nation's functioning because you can not, no matter how hard you whip them, force people to do what our army does, nor can you force them to be competent. I can't think of a faster way to destroy our armed forces then re-instating the draft.
While this is worth worrying about, I still have a hard time seeing this happen, though; 18-24 year-olds can vote, and if anything would shake their apathy, this would do it. I see recall campaigns being orchestrated over this issue, and even as a (current) Bush supporter (more or less, at least on war issues) and someone who won't be affected personally (well, probably not...), I'd help such campaigns anywhere I can. Reinstating the draft right now is a sick joke, a bad idea, and a recipe for disaster all rolled into one. It would be political suicide for anybody voting for it, and I don't see that changing, unless somebody actually occupies us; no amount of 9-11 events will make this acceptable, esp. as such events will make people join the army of their own free will.
I don't know how much stock to put in this, but it's been submitted to Congress, so eternal vigilence and all that requires taking this seriously.
Addendum: As a resident of the richest nation in the world, the taxes I pay this year will exceed the average yearly income of many countries of the world. How much more does my nation need from me? I'll vote against anybody who supports this, and bear in mind that despite dedicating years of my weblog writing to Internet rights I don't even use that as a one-issue touchstone.