My friend is a veteran of the US Military, who was honorably discharged after her service. With her first-hand knowledge of the military, she has the following points she would like me to share for those who may be swayed by efforts to reinstate a military draft.
"--Yes, inequality exists in the military, by virtue of its autocratic hierarchical structure.
--Mandatory military service is slavery. Slavery that can not only enslave you, but kill you.
--Voluntary military service implies free choice. However, it's clear that this choice is often made because of a recruit's economic circumstances and opportunities.
--The way to address that is not to draft everyone, but to attack inequality in our society, via strict progressive taxation, implementation and enforcement of regulations to prevent Wall Street pillaging and corporate welfare and tax evasion, and transparency in military funding and services, including the budgets of the Pentagon and its contractors. Redistributing dollars to housing, infrastructure, education, and domestic jobs, would reduce the economic coercion felt by many that leads them to "sign up".
--But what about the duties of citizenship? Well, there are many things we can do to help our communities and states. Locally. In the US. And throughout our lives. Without burdening our youth. For example, if everyone ages 22-65 donated a week of their time every five years to provide "free" services in their areas of education and training, those contributions would improve the quality of life in our country. One week every five years. CEOs and politicians included.
--Won't a general draft invite populist sentiment against war, on our borders and overseas? Non-veterans may not realize that the military is not "service hours" at a nursing home, where you give and then go back to your life. You have no life, no rights. You are not free. The Uniform Code of Military Justice denies you your rights, rights "protected" under the constitution such as free speech. Can a draftee or conscript protest the draft or a war? Not on your life. Such protests would lead to charges before a military tribunal and could land conscripts in the authoritarian environment into military prisons, possibly for life.
--And, wouldn't a draft get parents invested in our country's military "activities" and out protesting against war? Sure, she said sarcastically. 75% of our country currently opposes our wars and actively votes against candidates that propose imperial ventures overseas. But, the wars continue. Thousands upon thousands protest our illegal wars month after month, to no avail. All the protests get protesters are beatings, arrests, and convictions. Protests do not change the policies of our corporate oligarchic empire whose concern for its "citizens" is a big fat zero.
--Wouldn't a draft get Congress to be more active in preventing illegal or unjust wars? Sure. Sarcasm again. A congress sweetened by the millions of dollars provided by the oligarchs to sway votes is unlikely to respond to common voices and risk losing the flow of military/security industrial barons' dollars. Neither the oligarchs or the politicians want to rock that lucrative boat.
--We, the people, are manipulated and powerless, and a draft will not change the fact that we cannot change the direction in which our country is barreling over the past decades. The best we can hope for is to live to the highest values possible and to work for change on a local community level. I will take my children those in need nearby and give there. I will not give my children as cannon fodder to further enrich psychopathic oligarchs in the name of public service."
I have nothing to add to her comments, except to remember them if new arguments for conscription are made.