Boy, I hate to admit it, but Dan Rather sort of has a point. Or at least he brings up something that deserves greater discussion:
“All of these people on television, some of whom I have enormous respect for, it unsettles me to hear them say, listen, we the United States have to ‘do something’ in Ukraine, we have to ‘do something’ in Syria, we have to ‘do something’ in the waters around China, we have to ‘do something’ in Iraq, we have to ‘do something’ about ISIS. What they’re talking about are combat operations.
“My first question to anyone who’s on television saying ‘We have to get tough, we have to put boots on the ground, we have to go to war in one of these places’ is: I will hear you out if you tell me you are prepared to send your son, your daughter, your grandson, your granddaughter to that war for which you are beating the drums. If you aren’t I have no patience with you, and don’t even talk to me.”
There are lots of reasons not to have the draft when the country isn't in imminent danger, so many that I'm persuaded to leave it off the table. But one reason to have it is that it would make us a little more reluctant to engage in hard-to-justify elective wars. It is very easy to be a hawk when it would only affect a minority of volunteers, none of whom the pundits probably know.
There's a greater disconnect between the military and the civilian population than at any point in my lifetime. That's dangerous, I think.