We need to raise the draft age

Views 21 | Time to read: 3 minutes | Uploaded: 4 - 3 - 2019 | By: Carly Matthews


Carly Matthews
Staff Writer

In this time of relative peace, it is necessary to rethink why the age for being drafted into the military is so low, and how to change it. If we wait until war can be seen on the horizon, we are more likely to make irrational decisions for the sake of our country.

Originally 21, the draft age was lowered to 18 when the US joined World War II and needed more men to fight the Axis powers. In addition to lowering the age, it also raised the maximum age to drafted by one year, and had men up to 65 continue to register for the draft. The need for more men was seen again in the drafting of black men who were originally viewed as unable to fight. This shows that the draft age was only lowered because the government needed more people to fight.

These changes were made to an existing law, the Selective Service Act (SSA) originally signed in 1917, and are still in effect today. This means that every man over the age of 18 is required to register for the draft, in case there is a war and the government needs people to fight.

The problem is that warfare has changed since the original signing of the SSA and WWII when changes were made to it. Countries don’t use trench warfare anymore, nor do we partake in hand-to-hand combat regularly. The advantages of younger, more agile bodies are lost in modern warfare. We have more powerful machines to do the fighting for us, and while war is still deadly and terrible, it is less fatal than it has been in recent history. For example, 416,800 American soldiers died in World War II in a span of three years. The war in Afghanistan, which has technically ended after 13 years, has claimed the lives of 2,372 soldiers.

There is no reason for the draft age to be so low. While there hasn’t been a draft since the Vietnam War, it is necessary to think about these things in a time of peace, so that if and when war breaks out we are not making rash decisions about the lives of young men.

Changing the draft age is a pressing matter. People who are still teenagers, who still live with their parents, who are virtually still children are expected to go and die because as a country and a government we haven’t thought about changing the law.

As a country, we must take advantage of this time of relative peace to change laws regarding war, because in war people are less likely to make rational changes. We cannot allow boys who are still in high school be sent off to wars they don’t have to be in.


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