Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Not Too Modest Proposal

Five years of war and occupation in Iraq with no real end in sight has convinced most Americans of its futility. (I told them that back in 2003 but they would not listen.) Iraqis have much the same opinion. If either nation were a real democracy, American troops would be long gone from Iraq. But they are still there and will be for at least another few years or 100 years, if John McCain thinks it necessary.

Congress is spineless or complicit in this waste of American life and treasure. After 60 years of continuously handing power and authority to the Executive in the name of national security, Congress only response to the call of most Americans to end the occupation is to continue funding whatever the president demands and wringing its hands over its institutional flaccidity.

Since America’s representatives will not act on behalf of the people’s will, the people themselves must act. We have but one effective tool left to stop this insane waste and destruction: do not send the military any more recruits. No draft is in effect. You break no law by refusing your service. You commit an act of patriotism on behalf of your nation. More than counter-recruiting, which is also essential, refusing service is everyone’s effort. All Americans should tell young Americans that joining America’s military at this time in our history only enables a rogue executive to continue misusing a national institution on behalf of corporate imperialism. A national boycott of military recruiting will deny CheneyBush the fodder for their private wars disguised as national interests.

I do not make this call with any hostility or animosity to America’s armed forces. I do so because I no longer see any other way to stop our government from wasting your talent and dedication, from destroying what are supposed to be a national resource. Many of you have little choice but to follow orders unless you are willing to challenge their legality, a difficult and daunting hurdle. Those among you who choose to not to serve in a war you consider illegal orders are indeed true heroes. Your resistance is an act of conscience.

But no civilian is required to serve and can legally decline to enlist. Either the government will be forced to initiate a draft (fat chance!) which would ignite widespread debate about the value of our military actions or the government will have to scale back operations; an Army in the meat grinder of combat operations always needs new recruits. If the people cannot stop paying for a war they consider of little worth, then we should tell all citizens, especially those of military age, to reject military service as a career option. The machinery of death will slowly grind to a halt.

In this time of war and occupation, I will honor, as a patriotic American, anyone who declines military service. I will honor all who support young Americans’ refusal to answer a call to serve in an illegal, unnecessary and counterproductive war. Ii will especially honor those who offer opportunity to young Americans that gives them a choice away from military service. It’s really the only action that patriotic Americans have left to salvage our nation’s soul. Our so-called leaders or wanna-be leaders are unlikely to act on our behalf. It’s really up to us.