The Draft and Its Opposition

The Draft? A Report Prepared for the Peace Education Division of the American Friends Service Committee

Hill and Wang, 112 pp., $1.25

How to End the Draft: The Case for an All-Volunteer Army

Congressmen Horton, Schweiker, Shriver, Stafford and Whalen, edited by Douglas Bailey, edited by Steve Herbits
National Press, 145 pp., $2.95

Bitter Greetings

by Jean Carper
Grossman, 205 pp., $5.00

The New Draft Law: A Manual for Lawyers and Counsellors

edited by Ann Fagan Ginger
National Lawyers Guild, 140 pp., $10.00

1001 Ways to Beat the Draft

by Tuli Kupferberg, by Robert Bashlow
Grove, n.p., $0.75

How to Stay Out of the Army: A Guide to Your Rights Under the Draft Law

by Conrad J. Lynn
Monthly Review and Grove Press, 130 pp., $1.25

Why the Draft: The Case for a Volunteer Army

by James C. Miller III, et al.
Penguin, 197 pp., $1.25

National Lawyers Guild Practitioner, Vol. 26, No. 3 (Summer, 1967): Special issue on Selective Service

National Lawyers Guild, 53 pp., $1.00

Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada

edited by Mark Satin
House of Anansi (Toronto), 128 pp., $1.00

The Draft: A Handbook of Facts and Alternatives

edited by Sol Tax
University of Chicago, 497 pp., $12.95

During the last few years critics have been calling for reforms of the draft or for its end, some suggesting in its place either a volunteer army or a system of national service. The Marshall Commission Report, for example, proposed ending college deferments and calling men by lottery, rather than through the idiosyncratic decisions of some 4,000 local draft boards. In the current political campaign, each candidate has had at least to acknowledge the widespread hostility to the draft by proposing major revisions (as Rockefeller did when he called for a lottery) or its eventual elimination (as Nixon and Kennedy have done—to begin after the war, to be sure). But the draft has continued, substantially unaltered, largely because it permits the President to wage war by administrative decree.

The recent debate in the Foreign Relations Committee about manpower needs in Vietnam illustrates how the draft works to bypass Congressional restraints. Congressmen talked not of the draft’s imperfections, nor of the draft at all, but demanded that they be “consulted” this time before more men were sent to Vietnam. President Johnson’s “task force” study of the Selective Service System was completed last December but is still unpublished. It is no secret, however, that it emphasizes the Administration’s unwillingness to reform the System. When asked to “review and compare with the present structure” the report of the Marshall Commission, former Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara, former Budget Director Charles Schultze, and the present sss head Lewis B. Hershey all voted their confidence in the present system.

For several years, small but vocal numbers of college students opposed to the war have debated their privileged position within the inequitous system. Theirs was, to begin with, a moral dilemma: how could they allow others—especially the “underprivileged”—to bear the cost of the war? Should they retain their student deferments or declare their opposition to the war by renouncing them? Not surprisingly, most students avoided that dilemma; for them it meant only feelings of guilt, on the one hand, and the possibility of prison on the other. Although 158 members of “We Won’t Go” groups burned their draft cards in Central Park’s Sheep Meadow a year ago, most college students, if they were concerned about the draft at all, were agitated over the problem of “ranking.” For most students—and for many administrators—the question was one of “privacy” and “domain”: could or should college administrations advise draft boards on which men might, without loss to the “national interest,” be shifted from classroom to battlefield?

A YEAR has washed away these academic dilemmas. Congress declared in the 1967 draft law that if a man could stay in college, he could stay out of the army for four years. But it also opened the way for the National Security Council to end graduate school deferments, a step announced on February 16. And as the war has expanded and no reprieve has come—not even the President …

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Letters

Available August 1, 1968