End the draft

Dear Editor,
As a veteran drafted to serve in Vietnam (Air Force, 1964-68), I agree that women and men should not have to register with Selective Service for a possible wartime draft.
But men are now required to so, even though no American has been drafted for nearly 50 years. After U.S. troops withdrew from Vietnam in 1973, President Richard Nixon converted our military to an all-volunteer force, ending the draft.
President Jimmy Carter restored Selective Service registration in 1980 for all U.S. male citizens between the ages of 18 and 26 after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan.
Proponents of registration say it may be necessary if war breaks out, but we’ve fought several wars over the past four decades, including a 20-year conflict in Afghanistan.
Implementing a draft would force the military to drastically lower physical and mental standards in order to fill its enlarged ranks.
The Selective Service system also costs taxpayers $24.4 million a year to run. Ending it will not only save money, but also eliminate an unfair and unequal burden on our nation’s young people.
The draft was unfair because because of two conflicting elements in its structure. It was created by the Universal Military Training Act, but administered by the Selective Service system.
It was universal during World War II when 10 million Americans were inducted. But the draft became more selective during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Many college students were granted deferments for as long as they could stay in school, while men in key professions got occupational exemptions.
This placed the burden of military service on poor and disadvantaged people, while those of wealth and privilege largely avoided conscription.
Selective Service is a relic of that painful past. Let’s end it completely for everyone.
Richard Reif
Kew Gardens Hills

Don’t Expand Draft Registration, End It

In a rare moment of moral clarity, Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) points out that “America’s daughters shouldn’t be drafted against their will.”
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the usually bellicose Cotton voted against advancing the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act after committee chair Jack Reed (D-RI) added an amendment requiring women between the ages of 18 and 25 to register with the Selective Service System.
It’s good to see Cotton on the right side of an issue, as happens occasionally (very occasionally). And the NDAA, being mostly unrelated to anything resembling actual “national defense,” deserves to go down hard for many, many reasons.
But where’s Cotton’s opposition to requiring men to register for the draft?
In the early 1970s, the U.S. armed forces transitioned to an “all-volunteer force” after drafting 2.2 million men into its Vietnam war machine between 1964 and 1973.
About 1.5 million Americans were drafted for the Korean War, 10 million for World War II, and 2.8 million for World War I. Draft registration ended in 1975, but resumed in 1980.
Fortunately, even during the darkest days of the “nation-building” fiasco in Afghanistan and the naked aggression of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, Congress quailed from reinstating the draft and allowed the military to lower recruitment standards instead (perhaps explaining how a sociopath like Tom Cotton became an infantry officer).
But nearly a half-century after the last involuntary induction, the shadow of potential conscription still looms over young Americans.
In fact, many states have moved against the ability to resist draft registration as a form of civil disobedience (as a brave handful of Americans, including prominent libertarian commentator and personal mentor Paul Jacob, went to prison for doing in the early 1980s) by automatically registering males who apply for driver’s licenses or state ID cards.
Both of my kids received postcards from Selective Service “thanking” them for registering, even though they never did so (the state of Florida did so “for” them).
Supreme Court rulings to the contrary notwithstanding, conscription is clearly unconstitutional under the 13th Amendment: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
And even if it wasn’t unconstitutional, it would still be slavery and slavery would still be wrong.
Instead of registering women for potential slavery, draft registration should be ended, entirely and permanently.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism.

A Different Draft

For one of the football teams in town, the draft provided little-to-no drama, playing out the way you thought it would a week ago.
It was the worst-kept secret for the last two months that the Jets were selecting Zach Wilson out of BYU as their next quarterback.
Wilson’s baby face and outward charisma will be touted in commercials and on billboards across the Big Apple in the months ahead.
Media attention for a rookie quarterback in New York City is par for the course, however the plan of attack for the Jets in building around this particular rookie quarterback is drastically different than the way they built around their prior rookie quarterback in Sam Darnold.
The Jets did a terrible job of surrounding their last quarterback with offensive talent.
Clearly, Jets general manager Joe Douglas wanted to avoid the mistakes of the past. The Jets traded up for an offensive tackle in the middle portion of the first round.
They drafted a wide receiver in the second round, and they added a running back in the later rounds.
The message from top to bottom was simple: we are going to do our best to set up a rookie quarterback in the best position imaginable.
Can I tell you for sure that in five years the Jets will be a competent, well-run organization? Of course not, but the plan in place is certainly set up for success.
For the other football team in town, the drama was all about a draft-day narrative that was squashed for good after Friday night.
In the days leading up to the NFL Draft, Giants general manager Dave Gettelman heard a pretty basic critique of his draft day strategy: “when will Dave Gettelman trade down in a draft?”
It was a fair question considering that Gettleman in his years running both the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants has never traded out of a draft pick to accumulate more assets.
In 2021, it seems like hell may be freezing over. Dave Gettelman not once, but twice traded down.
When the Giants missed out on the chance to land Alabama standout wide receiver Devonta Smith, the team made a practical move.
The Giants identified the Chicago Bears as a quarterback needy team and worked out a deal to acquire the Bears first-round pick next year plus additional assets.
In addition, the Giants found themselves in a similar position in the second round of the draft. They traded back with the Miami Dolphins and picked up their third round pick next year.
The Giants landed Florida Wide Receiver Kadarius Toney and Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojulari, who should both fill obvious needs for the team.
It’s a win-win for the Giants, because they are also set up next year with a bundle of draft picks, a bundle of draft picks that could be used to build around Daniel Jones or to land the franchise’s next quarterback.
I look forward to grading these draft results in the years to come, but I know this, draft day was certainly done differently in New York this time around.

You can listen to me on my new podcast “New York, New York” on the Ringer Podcast Network which can be found on both Spotify & Apple Podcasts.

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