U.S. needs draft to keep peace on world stage

May 26, 2010

In reference to "Reconsider compulsory military service" by Paul Marx (May 25), I salute Mr. Marx for his most thoughtful stance, but I would like to recommend a much broader position.

I am an 89 year old retired Navy veteran with eight years of active duty, five in World War II and three more during the Korean Conflict. Upon graduation from college, I enlisted in the Navy, which was my choice of service instead of the Army draft, and I for many years have spoken out for the reinstitution of the draft as it has been quite evident that our global war against terrorism is going to be a very long, drawn out conflict. This will require thousands upon thousands of troops to fulfill our demands, namely: the continuing unstable conditions in Iraq, the battle in Afghanistan, standing armies in Germany, Japan and South Korea, and probably the most important one is the support and care of our fighting troops with a rotation plan of rest and rehabilitation for our tired and weary fighting personnel.

There is no doubt that the unstable conditions in the Middle East will continue for many years, and I believe one of the greatest mistakes our government can make is to keep announcing withdrawal dates of our troops from these countries which are struggling with developing and maintaining a democracy as it will take generations to resolve the civil unrest and differences among their people, and they will therefore need the continuing element of U.S. support.

To fully appreciate these problems, compare them with the obstacles and challenges, including a Civil War, experienced in the establishment of a democratic form of government in our United States.

In addition to the above mentioned, it is evident that our country is facing threats from North Korea and particularly Iran, which through its underground system is providing strong support to al Qaeda and other elements, especially in Iraq.

The U.S. must be fully prepared. This will require a tremendous increase in our military personnel along with a more supportive attitude among our citizens, instead of trying to continue with a life as usual. It is of the upmost importance that we feel the pinch of need and react with an active, positive attitude.

Therefore, in my opinion, the draft should again be activated immediately in order to fulfill our needs and maintain our readiness. We are in a fight for our survival, and the president and the members of Congress must quickly address the issue instead of being fearful that such action would curtail their political careers.

I ask, which is more important, selfish politics or the safety and welfare of our United States of America?

Quinton D. Thompson, Towson

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