Get Rid of Selective Service

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryTwo House representatives believe that it is time to get rid of the Selective Service System. U.S. House Representative Peter DeFazio (Democrat-Oregon) and Mike Coffman (Republican-Colorado) have drafted legislation that will cut all funding from the Selective Service System—effectively eliminating forever a system that could be used to draft men against their will into the U.S. armed forces. With the U.S. involvement in the Afghanistan War winding down, and the U.S. government drowning in massive debt, the Selective Service System is a thorough waste of money and resources. Started by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter in 1979 in an effort to appease conservatives, the Selective Service System requires all men between the ages of 18 and 25 to register for selective service.

Although the active draft that took in all men against their will into the U.S. armed forces ended in 1973 when the U.S. ended its active involvement in the Vietnam War (1964-1973), the selective system was retained. Those men failing to register for selective service can be charged with a felony, lose financial aid, be denied government employment, and lose their immigration status. Women are not required to sign up for selective service. The Selective Service System has a staff of 130 full-time officials and a budget of $134 million. The only fortunate thing is that no one has been prosecuted for the past 25 years for failing to register for selective service. Still, one has to ask the question why selective service is still around? It is not only a horrible waste of money, but the all-volunteer U.S. armed forces have proven to be a far, far better model for this country.

Prosecuting anyone under this law is not only a waste of money and time, but shows how out-of-touch any part of this government has to be with a system that serves no purpose. It makes no sense in retaining something from the Cold War era, and dragging in men kicking and screaming into fighting for wars that they may not agree with. In a time of tight budget crunches, getting rid of selective service makes perfect sense. The problem is that there may be too many politicians who still feel that this out-of-date system should be retained for a possible future war. These politicians will not send their own children to war but they will have no problem drafting men against their will into a war that may not be necessary. At least these two House representatives have the right idea of getting rid of something that serves no realistic purpose. I hope they succeed in getting rid of selective service.

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