Instead of actually reading and responding to this Washington Monthly article on "The Case for the Draft," I present to you this anecdote:
Yesterday I attended a press junket to interview Jonathan Nossiter, director of the interesting, globalization-bashing winemaker documentary Mondovino, coming soon to an art-house near you. As the Q&A wound down the discussion turned, as it does, to the rise of "corporate fascism," the evil effects of media deregulation, how "the resistance" is now so sadly muted, and so forth. One of the aggressively nodding journalists piped up: "Well, that's why we need to reinstate the draft!"
Which is a familiar enough sentiment on the left. My two cents—short of an army of Martians sieging our shores with 37th century weaponry, I see no problem urgent enough that it requires a mass government robbery of our liberty (and life) to fix. Sure, the U.S. armed forces are terribly over-extended right now, but that's a consequence of policy and diplomatic choices (and one of several sober morning-after effects still worth pondering in this marvelously encouraging early stage of Middle East liberalization). I'm all for confronting the manpower shortage, but history has shown that there are better solutions to a supply-demand dilemma than having the State seize the raw materials for production. Especially when they're human lives.