The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Let's Find OUt If Steve's Right!

I was accused of living in a fantasy world about the way societies work.  Fair enough--everyone's entitled to their opinion.  But a little straw poll will determine if I'm right or wrong on this one, I think.  My position is that fewer people would have supported the Iraq war if their own children and husbands had been at risk--if there had been a draft.  (Note: I'm not asking anyone to agree that there should be a draft, or agree that the Iraq war is a mistake.  My only real point was that fewer would have agreed.  My PERSONAL POSITION is that we shouldn't fight a war we wouldn't be willing to have a draft to fight. There's a difference, o.k?) I right or wrong?  Why not ask five of your friends who have children.  Ask them if they would be more or less likely to support the war if there had been a draft, and their chidlren might have gone.  I've done this (informally) over the last months, and the strong answer is "less likely."

Try it yourselves.  Now, frankly, I think you already know the answer, and it's one that supporters of the Iraq war are afraid of. They believe that, even if the mass of Americans DON'T want the war, they are simply wrong, too stupid to know what is good for them.   I believe that they, in general, are capable of making such decisions--if they understand the cost-benifit ratio.

But because taxes weren't raised, goods weren't rationed, and few people (comparative to WW2 or Vietnam) know anyone actually involved in the fighting, we sort of went to sleep on this one, and are very slowly waking up.  These measures would have made (in my estimation) people much more mindful.  Come voting time, they would let Washington know in no uncertain terms what they want.
If you conduct the proposed experiment (asking five people whether they would be as likely to suppor the Iraq war if a draft provision had been in place) I'd love to hear what your experience is.  Honor system applies--I'll believe whatever you say.  But actually try it--don't just jump in with opinions.

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