From the Foxhole
Uncle Sam Doesn’t Need You
Don’t worry, Middle America. In the effort to thwart the threat to national security posed by Islamic extremism (the greatest threat to our way of life since communism swept like a hot summer breeze into Indochina), no draft will be forthcoming. All fighting will be conducted by the indentured underclass that has nothing better to do than grind out multiple tours in the warm, inviting climes of Iraq and Afghanistan for the sake of indifferent countrymen.
On this, the seven-year anniversary of the Iraq War, you can rest assured that your lifestyle of consumption and complacency will proceed without being disturbed—just like that of the upper classes. What a treat! You may have to replace batteries in the TV remote every few years, and the sink disposal may go on the fritz without warning, but there will be no national campaigns calling for your sacrifice in any way. No need for you to recycle your aluminum or steel. No need for you to conserve fuel or other natural resources. No need to surrender that stockpile of ammo you’ve been ... stockpiling.
What kind of felony was it? Did you do any prison time? Just probation? Great. The Army can offer you $83,000 for college. Put your scrawl here. On behalf of a grateful nation, we salute you.
You won’t be pestered by images of war, either—certainly not of the dead or maimed. Most importantly, since there will be no draft, you can continue to envision a bright future for your offspring, whose lives will remain insulated from the prospect of combat duty in some faraway, dusty hellhole.
Even our own president luxuriates in this knowledge. He knows there will be no draft, for he has looked into the matter and decided against it. Despite the titanic threat to national security that plagues us daily, his children will not be called upon to confront it. Not now, and not ever. The children of CEOs and congresspeople will not have to cancel their Outward Bound trips to ship out to war. Not even the spawn of accountants and high school teachers. No, the whole country can luxuriate in the satisfaction that only a miserable few—those that comprise our “proud volunteer forces”—will be called upon to bear the emotional and physical wounds of this fight.
“We think not. Take the kid whose parents drive a Hummer; we drive a Prius!”
Our simple-minded patriots, lured by the prospect of $83,000 for college (which the vast majority never use), will toe the line for us. They will serve as ambassadors in the War on Terror—engendering goodwill among the sullen, robed natives—with their intelligence, compassion and professionalism, just like the CIA.
However, in the face of recruiting shortages, the military has relaxed its standards considerably, so this group of unfortunates is not what it used to be. Now, a felony conviction bears further examination: What kind of felony was it? Did you do any prison time? Just probation? Great. The Army can offer you $83,000 for college. Put your scrawl here. On behalf of a grateful nation, we salute you.
In truth, this use of our underclass is nothing if not judicious. They are, after all, expendable. The immense fortunes of people that matter hang in the balance. A draft, even in the name of national security, would be disastrous—for defense fortunes. Because a draft would end the war.
Were there to be a draft, young Americans would set their video games down long enough to tell the country to “eat it.” Their parents would tell the president, “We think not. Take the kid whose parents drive a Hummer; we drive a Prius!” And that would be the end of that.
So, sleep well, America. No one you know will be jeopardized in the ongoing effort to protect our people from obliteration at the hands of the jihadists. There will be no need to reduce the nation’s dependence on oil or our irritating presence in the Middle East. In the name of freedom, in the name of all those fighting terror in the nooks and crannies of Mordor, gird yourself, take a deep breath—and continue shopping.
Alex Escué Limkin served in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.