What if I got Drafted: an American Nightmare

I have a reoccurring dream from time to time that I’m sitting at home, and I get a phone call from someone with the Armed Forces saying that I’ve been drafted to go to war, and that I need to report for boot camp in a week. Although this is only a dream, and has never been anything more than that, I realize that if things keep going the way they've been going in Iraq, and a draft is reinstated, young people like me will have to go and fight in this war. This makes me think, what would I do if I was drafted?

Just recently this year, I had one of my closest and oldest friends in San Francisco sign up for army training and ship out for boot camp across the country. He had never been successful in the classroom and hadn’t found a job that would keep him, so when he passed his GED test, he went and signed up for the army, seeing it as the only way out. My first reaction to this was to look at him like: “You stupid ass f—k!” But then I looked at it like: “Damn, he could get sent to Iraq.” I’ve lost a lot of friends along the way who died before their times but never anyone who died fighting in a war outside of the country. My second reaction however, was "That's not going to be me.”

The movie Dead Presidents has a section based on the Vietnam War. In this portion, they capture the emotions and attitudes of soldiers in the battlefield. Larenz Tate, who plays the main character Anthony Curtis, displays the attitude of a true soldier who really wanted to fight in the war. Chris Tucker, on the other hand, who plays Skip – Curtis' best friend – displays the attitude of someone who doesn’t want to be there, and states, “Them Vietcongs ain't done nothin to me.” This is how I feel about the war in Iraq. The Iraqi people haven't done anything to me, and I wouldn't want to go over there and shoot at them just because some drill sergeant tells me to. Despite all the 9/11 propaganda, I don't have any personal issues with any Iraqis, and I'm not going to develop any just because they live there. But with a draft, people are called to go to war against their will, and a lot of times don't have a choice in the matter, which brings me back to my original question, “What would I do if I was drafted?”

I think the first thing I would do if I got drafted would be to find the easiest way to avoid going to war. Considering my current situation, I would have to follow in the footsteps of Vice President Dick Cheney and attempt to get a deferment, so I could keep going to school. Going to school is way more important than fighting in a war that has nothing to do with me. Although I’m not as well-off financially as Cheney probably was when he was going to college, I figure it’s better to give it a shot than to just hand over my freedom and go to boot camp.

I heard back when the Vietnam War was happening, young men who got drafted fled the country to Canada and Mexico to avoid going to war. To me, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea as opposed to going to war. I would have to adjust to living in another country for a while, but it’s a small price to pay for one’s freedom.

If neither of those plans worked, I guess I'd try to lay low for as long as possible, before the law came looking for me. If I got caught, I would probably rather go to jail than to fight in a war and be forced to kill people for the fact that they live in a particular country. I'd rather kill someone in jail for looking at me the wrong way in the showers.

I think I speak for most people in my same position, when I say that wars should be fought by experienced professionals and people who generally want to be involved with the Armed Forces. Wars shouldn't be fought by people who don't want to be there, which is what a draft would essentially cause. In the Vietnam War, people were drafted and sent to war against their will, often at young ages, and as a result, the United States lost the war. This clearly proves that instating a draft has negative results, and only leads to more soldiers coming home in body bags. That's not going to be me, by any means.


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