Pacifism, Not Draft, is the Answer


To the Editors of the Crimson:

In his November 19 opinion piece ["Bring Back the Draft,"] John L. Larew proposes the draft as the best solution to an effective discrimination against the "poor and ignorant" who volunteer for the army and die while Harvard men think of clever ways to evade it.

However, he never makes clear why educated, middle-class people have this advantage. Most do not have much more political pull, at least not enough to exempt them from service on a mass basis. And I doubt that Larew would suggest that the poor are not intelligent enough to save their own lives.

The reason that poor and uneducated people might not avoid military service is that they may not have the educational background that would allow them to criticize and reject the government's policies. Another, more important motivation for military service among the poor is that it seems to provide a means of advancement in a career and provides desperately needed financial assistance.

The answer to this problem would naturally be to make every effort to educate and aid these people to prevent their deaths in senseless conflicts. The ivory tower guilt complex is most productively alleviated by doing something positive and pacifistic, not by dying sacrificially in a war one thinks is wrong.

Furthermore, the draft is not a solution because the principle behind it is that the state has a right to send people to die for a cause in which they may or may not believe. The main moral evil of war is that human beings are used as ciphers in an account between political entities (nations or, more frequently, governments). Calling for the draft in the name of a class struggle only inflicts this evil on more people more quickly. Jendi Reiter '93