Fantasy: Let's do away with the Volunteer Army and draft rich kids

My subject line was a ruse. It is not by any means original with me although I had thought about it before hearing the broadcast outlined below.

I heard this on NPR’s “Morning Edition” radio show. It was a sort of tongue in cheek commentary by John Ridley on how to stop the frenzied, “patriotic”, headlong rush to war with Iraq.

Since our army that’s going to do the fighting and dying is composed of a disproportionate number of minorities and poor whites,and if you want the power brokers in America to think twice before sending young men into battle than you have to get radical with the draft.

He proposes that we do away with the volunteer army and draft only the children of people making over $150,000 a year.

This would be the end of military gambits as we know it; as well as an end to the War Hawks’ penchant for labeling Doves as unpatriotic.

Now the Rich would have a chance to prove that they really are’nt different and how patriotic they really are by putting their money where their mouth is or to really mix metaphors putting “their children on the frontline”.

Of course we’re kidding ourselves if we think this has a chance in Hades of happening. The millionaires in the Senate would shoot it down faster than an Iraqi plane crossing into the no-fly zone.
The fact that not a single member of the House of Representatives and only one Senator has a child who enlisted and is serving on active duty in the military is also telling.

I know this is all fantasy, but what the hell, let’s play “what if”. What if all this would come to pass. Would our foreign policy be any different? Would we be so gung ho and cavalier in our rush to War? I think not. Your thoughts?


I came in here ready to rant, but, Avid Reader, you knocked my socks off. Nice OP. Totally impossible to implement, but one of those thought experiments that really deserves to be done.

Got another one for you, and this one’s even practical, if it starts as a grassroots campaign:

Pass a law that says that, if American troops are sent into combat, every Congressman and Senator who is a reservist will immediately be called to active duty and sent to the combat zone. “They’d never pass it”? They would if enough people, Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative, agree that if they’re going to talk jingoism, they need to be men (and women) and put their own asses on the line alongside the boys and girls they’re sending into the jaws of death.

And what about the rich who were already opposed to the war? (And, by implication, the poor who were in favor of it?)

Please give a cite, because I’ve always heard that the combat arms MOS’ in the Army are disproportionatly White.

I third that (as opposed to second that), and would be very amused but unsurprised at how many wars we do NOT start because of it. :wink:

Cite given here:
It is interesting how the rich diverted a draft. This doesn’t necessarily show that there are more volunteer minorities/poor whites than rich whites, but it certainly does show the imbalance in our system according to the failing concept of capitalism.

Poly…your proposal is more of a fantasy than mine :slight_smile:

If you want to hear Ridley’s piece go to

Thanks for informing me of how poor and underprivileged I am. Until now I wasn’t sure. I thought everyone was supporting three people on $25,000 a year.

Too bad I can’t get out of it by joining the National Guard…oh, wait, I AM in the National Guard. Too bad my rich parents can’t get me out of it…oh, wait, I volunteered. Silly me.

When the service is all volunteer like it is now, it’s absurd to say that there’s a disproportionate level of minorities and poor folks. They’re all there because they went through the process, raised their hands and went off to be soldiers. If they didn’t know what they were doing, then they sure did when they got to Basic.

Maybe this “theory” was applicable when we had the draft, but it doesn’t hold water now.

Please disregard my above rant. I just noticed you said about reinstituting the draft. Silly me. :slight_smile:

BTW, IMHO, that will never happen unless things are dire, and I don’t think that’ll ever happen so long as people are still alive that remember Vietnam.

Won’t be happening any time soon… At least not with this president. It would be nice, though…

/me drifts off into fantasy land of rich kids up on the lines with everyone else.



Black - 26.4%
Hispanic - 7.9%
Unknown - 6.5%
Total - 40.8%


Black - 18.3%
Hispanic - 8.9%
Unknown - 8.3%
Total - 35.6%

Marine Corps

Black - 15.5%
Hispanic - 12.4%
Unknown - 4.6%
Total - 32.4%

Air Force

Black - 15.9%
Hispanic - 4.8%
Unknown - 4.7%
Total - 25.4%

DoD Totals

Black - 20.1%
Hispanic - 7.9%
Unknown - 6.3%
Total - 34.4%




BACCALAUREATE DEGREE - 109,148 / 49.57%
ADVANCED DEGREE - 87,706 / 39.83%
UNKNOWN - 10,478 / 4.76%
TOTAL - 220,209


HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE OR GED - 783,686 / 67.94%
1-4 YEARS COLLEGE (NO DEGREE) - 284,906 / 24.70%
ADVANCED DEGREE - 3,752 / 0.33%
UNKNOWN - 10,028 / 0.87%
TOTAL - 1,153,442


Duckster, Avid, , has it ever crossed your mind that there is a very real possibility that the people whose overrepresentation in the army you criticize, are smart enough to make their own decisions regarding military service?

I know you’d love to make this into some sort of race-class war, but maybe you should talk to the individuals going off to serve their country first before criticizing the system that got them into the Armed Forces. The only member of the Armed Forces to respond to this thread was oppossed to your plan to bring “equality” to the military.

As an enlisted soldier, I think that the military provides a relatively high standard of living compared to other jobs that you could get with only a high school diploma or GED. And after your leave the military, your service will greatly increase your attractiveness to future employers. Could it be that the decision to join the military was a rational one, one for which we should show thanks for their willingness to put themselves into danger in service of their country, rathe than pittying the “poor schmucks who fell prey to the military?”

Where is there a criticism in my post?

All presented were facts, with no personal opinion attached. How you choose to interpret the facts is up to you.

—BTW, IMHO, that will never happen unless things are dire, and I don’t think that’ll ever happen so long as people are still alive that remember Vietnam.—

Hopefully, it wont ever happen as long as people get it through their heads that a draft is no cheaper on society’s resources than a vollunteer army. If something is too expensive for the government to compensate for, it’s too expensive period.

A study came out very recently that most combat arms positions in the military (those who would actually be in harm’s way) are filled by white people. Minorities tended to lean towards support jobs where they could learn a skill (other than kicking down doors and blowing up stuff).

The best cite I could come up with at the moment is here. Maybe someone else knows where to find the actual study.

You seem to have missed the point. It has nothing to do with “equality” in the military. It is a philosophical question, to wit: If the military was made up only of children of people who earned over $150,000 a year would their still be the same attitude on the part of our leaders to rush into wars arbitrarily, such as the impending war with Iraq.

That depends, theoretically. Is there any study or information about the war leanings of those who are in the military or the family of those serving?

Seems to me that the rich people are disinclined to want their children in the military period (assuming this is a valid assertion that has been made several times here). To force their children into service to prove a point only makes the outcome disengenuous and obvious when you compare it to a nonforced circumstance that we have today.

That is kinda like saying that you should never order an extravagant meal at a resteraunt unless you are willing to cook it yourself or force you children to. I am in no way comparing war to cooking, just comparing the cooks to the soldiers in the sense that it is ther job and what they chose to do.

If rich kids populated the armed forces:

The uniforms would be designed by Donna Karan.

The MREs would contain caviar.

Battles would have to be rescheduled around the ski season in Vail.

Bases would have to provide a manicurist, massuese, Olympic-sized swimming pool, and a concierge for each barracks (which would need to be at least four stars to be habitable).

Special barracks would need to be constructed for attornies, maids, and chauffers.

This has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve heard in a long time. Or is it that only rich folks vote for representation in Congress and for President?

Now really. You don’t think that anyone is seriously considering this do you?

You seem to have missed the point. It is a philosophical question, to wit: If the military was made up only of children of people who earned over $150,000 a year would their still be the same attitude on the part of our leaders to rush into wars arbitrarily, such as the impending war with Iraq.