By David Swanson, World BEYOND War
Shutdown or no shutdown, not a single war, base-construction project, or war ship has been halted in its course, and the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service released its "interim report" on Wednesday.
The report comes after a lengthy period of collecting public comments and holding public hearings. At World BEYOND War we encouraged people to submit comments on the following themes, and we know that a great many people did so:
- End required selective service (draft) registration for men.
- Do not begin requiring that women register.
- If not ended, allow the choice of registering as a conscientious objector.
- If there must be non-military service, make sure that its pay and benefits are at least equal to those of military "service."
The interim report is completely silent on points 1, 3, and 4. On point 2, it says that the commission heard from both sides, and it quotes people from both sides. By both sides, I mean those who do not want women forced against their will to kill and die for the profits of Lockheed Martin and those who believe that women should be so forced as a matter of equal rights. The former group includes those who oppose the barbarism of compulsory participation in mass murder, those who believe that women should stay in the kitchen because the Bible said so, and anyone else opposed to expanding draft registration to women. In Washington power terms, therefore, it includes basically Republicans.
On the question of non-military service, the interim report suggests that the commission is likely not going to propose making it mandatory, but has not completely abandoned that idea:
"We are also considering how service could be integrated into high school. For example, should high schools transform the final semester of senior year into a hands-on service learning experience? Should schools offer service-oriented summer projects or a year of service learning? What benefits could such programs bring to the participants, our communities, and our nation? How would such programs be structured to ensure they are inclusive and available to all?"
The report lists other ideas:
" Formally ask all young Americans to consider national service
Create a national marketing campaign to advertise opportunities about national service
Promote service learning to tie kindergarten through higher education curricula to community service
Encourage or incentivize colleges and employers to recruit individuals who have completed a service year and to award college credit for national service experience
Offer a fellowship to 18-year-olds who want to serve, covering their living stipend and post-service award for a year of national service at any approved not-for-profit organization
Integrate a semester of service into the high school curriculum
Fund additional national service opportunities
Increase the living stipend for those who participate in national service programs