Reviving the military draft [additional comments]

Hunter Gray hunterbadbear at
Sun Jan 5 10:11:04 MST 2003

Note by Hunterbear:

The renewed efforts to reinstate the military draft  in the ' States are
extremely disturbing to any thoughtful, realistic person.  These are
follow-up comments that I made on another list.


We can discuss back and forth what kind of military -- if any -- we should
want and have but the cold fact at this extraordinarily mercurial and
volatile moment in history is that to hand Bush et al. a military draft
would be pure all-around sanguinary disaster.  Even to propose it for
pragmatic reasons strikes me as just plain dangerous.  [I'm quite willing to
give Rangel and Conyers credit for being altruistic -- and I doubt that they
actually see a draft as possible at this point -- but I see them as
essentially unrealistic on all of this.  After the last 15 months -- to say
nothing of the last century and more -- anything can happen, especially if
it's negative.]

The "Viet Nam era" followed and was to some extent enveloped in its earlier
stages by the Civil Rights Movement and collateral spin-offs and the high
idealism, radical vision, and social justice momentum triggered by all of
that -- a  period  of  great affirmative reform comparable to the 1910s and
1930s.  In that context, draft protests occurred for sure,   And there was
some radicalization of GIs -- but I doubt that was, even with the Movement
glow, anything except a very small number of troopers compared to the vast
number who conformed even in that turbulent era to military folkways and

This current period certainly has its  great fight-back dimensions -- but
it's still a reactive kind of Movement, and often sparsely so.  It's
certainly a far cry from the 1960s. [That may be coming but the ethos I
presently sense is close kin to the '50s.]  If a military draft were to be
initiated, there would be protests on campuses -- but I doubt many draftees
at all, once in military society/culture, would dissent publicly these days.

My basic objection to the military draft, or any forced government service
of any kind, stems from my strong commitment to a full measure of liberty as
well as a full measure of material well-being. Although my mother was
mostly Scottish, she had a Swiss grandfather who left that country because
of his
opposition to universal military training. He came to the United States,
became an abolitionist, volunteered for the Union Army and was
wounded at Gettysburg [and later became a Populist and then a socialist.]
[I've always regretted that I did not know that great grandfather -- a
spirit indeed -- who died many years before I was born.]

Many members of our family on all sides -- Native and Anglo -- have
traditionally volunteered for military service [including my father and
myself] but far fewer from mid-century onward and none of my
children or grandchildren.

I do maintain my membership in AMVETS and certain other veteran's

Hunter Gray  [Hunterbear]
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunterbear]

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