Saturday, 2 February 2019

"A modern-day draft, if marketed carefully and cleverly,..."

“A modern-day draft, if marketed carefully and cleverly, could foster patriotism via the investment of every family in the nation. A greater involvement of the population to include National (nonmilitary) Service could reach every social demographic within the U.S.”

The comments above were included in the recommendations from the Selective Service System made to the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. This report was sent to the NCMNPS in December 2017, but wasn’t made public until this week, in response to my FOIA requests and after the conclusion of the first year of nationwide public events and collection of written public comments by the NCMNPS and the issuance of an Interim Report by the NCMNPS last week.

There’s some, but only minimal, acknowledgement in the Selective Service System report of opposition to conscription. But dissent is conceptualized as “protest” (complaint) rather than as resistance (direct action) — a political, religious, or moral, rather than a practical, impediment to the draft:

Historically, involuntary induction into the Armed Forces has been controversial, has initiated public dissent and protest…. Although many factors can influence fluctuation of registration rates, low registration compliance rates may reflect elements of society that do not have a incentive to serve, or exposure to the value of National or public service. Although many young men fail to register because they are unaware of the requirement (high school dropouts, immigrants, isolated communities), some populations and communities may be averse to service by religious conviction, moral perspective, or social pressures.

There’s no mention at all in the Selective Service System report of the current decades-old Department of Justice policy of nonenforcement of the criminal penalties for wilful refusal to register for the draft. But there is an implicit admission that the low level of compliance, coupled with the lack of effective (or feasible) criminal penalties, would create the basis for challenges to the fairness of any draft based on the current incomplete and inaccurate registration database. In an exercise in wishful thinking, however, the Selective Service System fantasizes that this could be addressed by “careful and clever” marketing — as though the reluctance of young men to kill and die on the government’s command could be turned around by better targeted advertising (“outreach”):

In order to ensure a fair and equitable draft in a national emergency, it is imperative that as close to 100% of eligible men are in fact registered for Selective Service. One change that would be productive could be a widely expanded, interagency-driven national outreach that addresses all of society (registrants and influencers) with particular attention on a broad array of ‘At risk’ youth, undocumented persons, and elements of society that are not impacted or influenced by automatic registration processes (Drivers License Legislation, Alaska Permanent fund, federal employment etc.) A fair and equitable induction process through a lottery system requires full participation by the nation’s eligible citizens…. Registration is the law; the nation should back this up by investing in citizenship activities, to include registration for Selective Service. There should be a consequence, other than loss of some federal benefits, for failure to register. That requires an investment in outreach.

The report and recommendations from the Selective Service System were submitted to the NCMNPS in December 2017, as part of a package of reports from Cabinet departments and independent agencies required by the law that established the NCMNPS during the lame-duck Congressional session after the 2016 elections. The section from the Selective Service System was inexplicably missing from the version of the PDF file containing all the other agencies’ reports initially released by the NCMNPS in response to my FOIA requests, although it was listed in the table of contents.

After I pointed out the unexplained omission, and requested that the NCMNPS conduct an additional search specifically for the Selective Service System report, a replacement version of the compilation of reports created on 31 January 2019 and including the previously missing pages from the Selective Service System was quietly posted this week.

I’m continuing to pursue the other records still not disclosed in response to my FOIA requests to the NCMNPS. [Update: On 6 February 2019 the NCMNPS released a PowerPoint presentation (PDF version) given to the members of the NCMNPS during their visit to the Selective Service System data center at Naval Station Great Lakes, North Chicago, IL, on 29 June 2018. It gives more detail than has been available previously concerning the sources of the current Selective Service System database of registrants for the draft.]

The NCMNPS will hold two days of public hearings on the future of the Selective Service System, military conscription, and compulsory national “service”, including whether draft registration should be ended, extended to women, or modified in other ways, at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC, on Wednesday and Thursday, April 24th and 25th, 2019. (Gallaudet University focuses on deaf and hard of hearing students, who would be deemed medically unfit for military service under the criteria in current Selective Service regulations and contingency plans. A far smaller percentage of students at Gallaudet than at most colleges or universities are at risk of being drafted.) I’ll be there and I hope to see some of you there. The Commission needs to hear from those who will resist and those who will defend and support resisters in court, in the court of public opinion, and in and out of prison. If you are planning to attend, please get in touch.

Link | Posted by Edward on Saturday, 2 February 2019, 10:11 (10:11 AM)


More info about the hearing 21 February 2019 on "Should Service Be Mandatory?":

NCMNPS staff memo on mandatory "service":

"Universal obligation: Requiring all Americans to serve, possibly with a choice in how to satisfy the requirement. This approach—which is sometimes termed “mandatory service” or a “service requirement”—will be explored during the February 21, 2019, public hearings....

"Punishments or sanctions for failing to meet a service requirement could range from ineligibility for government benefits or employment to fines or imprisonment.... Whatever means are in place to encourage compliance, a well-structured mandatory service program would require a system to monitor participation."

Posted by: Edward Hasbrouck, 7 February 2019, 16:19 ( 4:19 PM)

Mandatory military service is WORSE than involuntary servitude (slavery) because it involves life-threatening missions by definition.It is a death sentence,for which,if lucky, one may get a reprieve. It is human sacrifice on a mass scale. Absolutely not!

Posted by: Jon Olsen, 11 February 2019, 19:12 ( 7:12 PM)

I think my view has always been that if the draft is going to exist it should include women. If we're going to demand equal rights and equal pay, we should be prepared to accept equality in other, less desirable areas.

Not being subject to the draft makes it harder to be effective draft resisters. But this isn't an argument I feel comfortable making now that I'm far out of the age bracket that would be affected.


Posted by: Wendy M. Grossman, 14 February 2019, 07:44 ( 7:44 AM)

I've accepted an invitation to be part of a panel of expert witnesses from 9 a.m.-noon on Thursday, 25 April 2019, on "Expanding Selective Service registration to all Americans", i.e. whether draft registration should be ended entirely or extended to young women as well as young men.

Posted by: Edward Hasbrouck, 15 February 2019, 15:45 ( 3:45 PM)

Reprinted by Courage to Resist:

Posted by: Edward Hasbrouck, 23 February 2019, 01:19 ( 1:19 AM)
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