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Registration's Consequences


THE HOUSE could act as early as today to approve draft registration, Senate action is expected quickly, and President Carter seems ready to sign the legislation as soon as it crosses his desk.

All the arguments against registration were clear when Carter proposed the plan three months ago--it is militarily unnecessary and politically unproductive, perhaps even provocative. The motives behind it are political; and, in time of peace, it is needlessly coercive. But a new element has been added to the equation in the last few months--young people, high school and college students and others who will be affected by the plan, have rallied large-scale opposition to the registration.

If Carter and Congress are not swayed by arguments of policy and reason, it seems unlikely that the prospect of widespread unwillingness to cooperate with registration will affect their decision. But before they force the country into another era of division and confrontation like the opposition to the Vietnam War. Congress and the president should at least consider that consequence.

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