Draft older men for America's next war [Letter]

January 21, 2014

There's been a fair amount of correspondence from letter writers and right-wing pundits savaging President Obama's foreign policy ("Syria and Iran are U.S. foreign policy disasters," Jan. 4).

They all have in common one thing, namely being keen on saber-rattling and committing U.S. troops to trouble spots around the world, particularly in the Middle East.

It is tempting to be dismissive of these Monday morning quarterbacks and armchair warriors while the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to fester. But if these bloodthirsty pundits are serious beyond the usual partisan bickering that passes for political discourse these days, I have a proposal they can't refuse.

The Selective Service Act should be amended to draft exclusively older men for these ventures. Modern warfare does not require the physical stamina required at, say, the battle at Thermopylae or even the trench warfare of World War I. Any idiot can fire an assault rifle, and there is a long line of frightened Marylanders who are particularly ready to commit mass mayhem.

This is basic fairness because starting wars has historically been accomplished by older men. Younger men have their whole lives to live, families to start, jobs to do. It would make more sense to draft older men zealous for their Second Amendment rights who have done what they wanted to in life.

Who knows, they might even be more circumspect if they were the ones headed to Iran, Libya, Egypt, Syria or Iraq.

Paul R. Schlitz Jr., Baltimore

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