The proposition that reinstating a military draft could help save American democracy, at least in terms related to national decisions on military adventures, is one of the provocative concepts brought to mind by the new book: One Nation Under Contract, by Allison Stanger, Yale University Press.

With the number of private civilian contractors working for the military in Iraq and now Afghanistan equaling the number of deployed service members, at perhaps triple the cost of soldiers doing the same jobs, it’s pretty clear that the economic impact of these wars on the American taxpayers — including teachers, policemen and fire fighters — could be drastically reduced by reinstating a draft to fill most of these roles.

But, why isn’t a draft even on the table for discussion? Because the White House, Congress and the military-industrial complex knows full well that the American populace would be much less motivated to support or remain silent on the continuation of these foreign conflicts if a draft was imposed on a broader portion of youth and families across the land.

So, we pay and pay, and now are at a point where the U.S. can’t sustain pensions, Social Security, health care, and union benefits in Wisconsin and throughout the country for teachers, policemen and firefighters — among many others. The power elite are deciding when, where and how long to go to war, without allowing democracy to be fully engaged in such life and death decisions.

If government doesn’t trust the people, it won’t be long before the people don’t trust their government. Those times are already upon us. So, if government won’t be responsible to the people — democracy cannot survive. So, give us a draft that engages the people in military decision-making, or live with the destabilizing consequences of a government that doesn’t know or trust the wisdom of its people.

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