Vietnam was a defining moment---the draft wasn't positive; but the response it provoked was: vulnerability to the draft was a major catalyst for activism and change. That activism ended the war, and ultimately it ended the draft.
Many of us tried to make a difference, and hoped that the future would be brighter than the present. Forty years later one is still hoping.
I didn't like the draft then; I don't like to think of it now. But it was a bracing slap of reality. Today, ignorance and escape are---or seem---possible. And that's much more dangerous.
While they presently may not have to serve in Iraq, they nevertheless will be left with the mess: the skewed priorities, the flimsy values, the ill will, and the debt.
Activism---that concerted effort and struggle to mend what is wrong---has to begin anew, each generation. Older generations---the comfortable, the secure, and the established---have too much to lose, and so dismiss it.
We may find Osama bin Laden, we may bring Saddam Hussein to justice, but we will not be a kinder, safer, better nation for it. Not until we overcome our own demons. And these are much harder to root out and subdue.
Consumerism, injustice, hypocrisy, materialism, the 'establishment,' the 'military-energy-national security-industrial-congressional' complex, and complacency---the very things that spawned the sixties 'revolution'---again have brought us to the brink.
In fact, we currently do have a draft; it happens to be hidden and unspoken.
Since Vietnam, we have relied on what has been called an 'all-volunteer' military. Many young servicemen and women---with little education, few resources, and no hope of opportunity at home---have virtually no choice. It is conscription for the underprivileged.
Not calling for a national draft, however cynical and irresponsible that inaction may be, is perfect political strategy: sacrifice and death are not popular. Having a quiet minority shoulder the burden makes a militaristic and imperialistic agenda less controversial, therefore more tenable.
Our current policy is neither just, nor democratic. In truth, it is un-American.
To curb expansionist policies, it should be mandated that the sons and daughters of those who promote military force and 'pre-emptive war' be the first to serve. If the children resist, the battle will be filial, not national or international.
Short of that, a universal draft---men and women, civilian and military---would bring reality, responsibility, and sacrifice to everyone's doorstep: except, of course, to that of the privileged and the rich.