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Was Ending the Draft a Grave Mistake?


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Switching from all-volunteer to mandatory military service could force Americans to reconsider their ever-expanding empire.

Danny Sjursen, Truthdig

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Apr 03, 2019 | I spent last week at Angelo State University in remote central Texas as a panelist for the annual All-Volunteer Force (AVF) Forum. It was a strange forum in many ways, but nonetheless instructive. I was the youngest (and most progressive) member, as well as the lowest-ranking veteran among a group of leaders and speakers that included two retired generals, the chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a few former colonels and several academics.



The AVF is ultimately an unfair, ineffective and unsustainable organization charged with impossible, ill-advised missions by policymakers and a populace that actually care rather little for the nation’s soldiers. As the AVF nears its 50th anniversary, there’s no better time than now to assess the model’s flaws and its effect on American democracy.



Despite having remarkably diverse life experiences and political opinions, all concluded that America’s all-volunteer military is not equitable, efficient or sustainable. The inconvenient truth each of the panel participants had the courage to identify is that the end of the draft in the U.S. had many unintended—and ultimately tragic—consequences for the republic.

Danny Sjursen is a U.S. Army officer and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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