To The Daily Sun,
Many people have written The Sun regarding the best way to deal with ISIS/ISIL. I have to admit I am unsure. Of course, any decision has to be made rationally, without the usual vitriol against Middle Easterners such as we often find in the pages of The Sun.
Of course, if Donald Trump gets the presidency, the chances of us going to war again in the Middle East are quite high. But, the chances of going to war are not much less if Hillary is elected. In order to win popular appeal, Hillary is now being "tough" and acting like a "hawk" regarding radical Islam.
Although generally anti-militarist, I am not a pacifist. I subscribe to the ancient doctrine of "just war." For a war to be "just," however, there are certain requirements. For one, it can only be done in true self-defense without the desire to gain territory. In addition, all other options have to be carefully considered and used before war can be used. Also, a "just war" should involve a minimum of civilian casualties. Some theologians and ethicists have pointed out that perhaps, in the Nuclear Age, "just war" is a moot point.
For this writer, another definition of "just war" also means that if a country has to go to war, everyone makes sacrifices. This includes all of us, not just the soldiers in the field.
This is true of everyone but especially of what President Eisenhower called the "Military-Industrial Complex." One recent writer said, without the usual bitterness and hysteria in most of the letters regarding Islam, that regrettably this may be a case where we have to send ground troops to war. If he is right, that is unfortunate. But if we do, every American as well as the corporations who make obscene profits from war should "take a hit." After all, the Supreme Court ruled recently that "corporations are people too!" There should be a "war profits" tax and it should be steep. After all, civilian contractors have historically always charged the military for their services and products much above the market price. So, they still will make a profit. Nor should energy companies and retailers should not feel free to raise gas prices at the very "rumor of war."
If we go to war, every corporate CEO and Congress member's son or daughter should share the burden. That may mean conscription. If we did bring back the draft or a kind of universal national service, it would have to be fair. The last draft, which lasted from 1940 until the end of the Vietnam War, was far from fair. Those that served in the enlisted ranks were largely minorities and working-class whites.
The popular image those who avoided the Vietnam-era draft is of those who burned their draft cards and fled to Canada. Actually, that was a very small minority. Most people who avoided service in Vietnam did so legally and often those loopholes were most available to those with money and political connections. Bill Clinton, for example, avoided l service by enrolling in R.O.T.C. Former Vice President Dick Cheney was able to avoid service as a divinity student. Actually, if you could stay in college for four years and maintain a C- average, you could be "deferred." Or, if you did not rely on the medical personnel at the induction center, you could get a private doctor or psychiatrist to write a letter.
Another way "out" of Vietnam was to serve in the National Guard. Unlike today, then, very few Guard units were deployed and everyone knew that. Thus, there were long waiting lists to get in. But, if you had political pull like George W. Bush and former Vice President Dan Quayle, you could "jump the line," get into the guard, and later, during a political career, say you had "served."
Perhaps if every American were to bear at least some risk of sacrifice for the wars we get into, perhaps we would have fewer of them.
E. Scott Cracraft
- Category: Letters
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