Monday, December 28, 2009

The Quaker Draft

I am the only Quaker I know who talks about a return of the military draft in a positive way. In the same way that I am considered a heretical Christian for not accepting (or necessarily rejecting) the idea that Jesus was "born God," I am a heretical Quaker because I don't think the volunteer army was a victory that improved the condition of us or our country. I think it was, rather, a diabolical victory that serves the powers, not the kingdom.

The draft once provided an impetus for resistance to war. Facing the draft once developed the peace testimony among Friends as individuals and as a religious society--and showed that testimony to the world as an alternative response to a call for war. I don't often talk about this among Friends but when I do, by this point, I usually have to ask to be heard out.

Please, hear me out.

The all-voluntary military was not the product of enlightenment or the movement of Christ, it was not in any way "spiritual progress" for national policy. When the all-volunteer army was created the military was in disarray because of the unpopular war in Vietnam. Richard Nixon, as president, was brought to understand that the mutinies, the killing of officers by the troops in the field ("fragging"), desertions and even the peace movement within the military itself were a threat to the "reliability" of the armed forces, an especially ominous development in light of the political rebellion at home against the American policy in South East Asia.

After the spectacle of the National Guard shooting down students at Kent State University many wondered, right or wrong, whether, called upon to put down a rebellion at home driven by opposition to that war, the "real" military, with a core of draftees at its heart, would uphold "law and order" if it was called upon to do so.

This military, with a core of draftees at its heart, was certainly not "optimally" reliable in Southeast Asia.

Faced with being forced into harm's way in a war they didn't support, and watching flag draped coffins on television, a generation (or maybe even two) of young men, along with their parents, their wives and their girl friends became a formidable opposition to that war--an opposition that went into the streets and, increasingly, into the voting booth. Over time a consciousness began to develop among those involved in and sympathetic to the anti-war movement about the infrastructure of US policy, in general, and the interests that it served. Not just Vietnam, the whole political/economic system was under attack.

If you weren't there you might underestimate the flash point potential that was rolling around the campus and the ghetto between 1967 and 1972. If you were there you might over estimate it, too. But, as I say, people were afraid, regardless of how real the danger was of everything coming apart.

This opposition was effectively co-opted, and America made safe for "the party" in the midst of which we still live, by two measures. The first was the 18 year old vote, that laid to rest the "old enough to die but not old enough to vote" slogan that had great traction, at the time. ("you're old enough to kill, but not for votin'..." in the words of a prophet of the day).

The second was the all-volunteer army (which sapped the strength of another line, from the same song cited above, " don't believe in war, but what's that gun you're totin'?").

These two, but especially the latter, put an end to the anti-war movement, at least as a mass movement, almost overnight. Safe from the possibility of going to war, most young men, their parents, wives and girl friends were no longer interested in marching, protesting or voting for people who ran on anti-war platforms.

No longer able to visualize themselves, or someone they loved, in one of those flag draped coffins the war in Vietnam just didn't seem to pressing an issue, anymore.

The now defunct "citizen army," was designed by the founders of this country as a check on the ability of the government to fight wars and to oppress its own citizens with military force. Their scruple against standing armies was based on experience and they held to the idea that a country could not engage in wars that the citizenry did not support--at least grudgingly--if the ranks were filled (as volunteers or conscripts) with people who had to lay down their lives, in both senses of that phrase, to fight them.

This was not entirely effective, but the difficulty of raising an army was a restraint on imperial ambitions. No, the draft did not prevent the Vietnam War, but it sure was without doubt, on its way to putting an end to it--until those who wanted to prolong that war (and the American imperialist party to which we are all invited, at birth) put an end to the draft.

You can look all this up, by the way. The Vietnam revisionists have been at work but mainstream history still tells the tale accurately enough.

Would we have gone to war in Iraq (either time) if, when Congress pondered the question, Senators and House Members knew they would have to go home and tell their constituents that they (or their children) had to suit up and go kill and be killed?

Would we still be at war in Iraq if, over the past eight years, high school class after high school class graduated substantial numbers of its members into camo--while parents of younger children saw their growing up as creeping ever closer to the age of conscription?

(Did you graduate from high school between 1964 and 1973 or so? Been a class reunion? That table off to the side that has pictures of classmates who have died...examine it carefully, next time.)

I wonder how many bright young conservative men who support(ed) war in the Middle East would do so if there was a chance they would have to go fight it? Would that at least slow down their enthusiasm, cause them the kind of soul searching it did in young men prior to the all volunteer army?

I wonder.

This is at bottom a question of integrity. Joe Biden and Sarah Palin have children who have gone to war. But how many people who support (even passively) the war(s) would do so if their children were part of the pool? And if they would--then fine. They would be living their faith--instead of letting others live it for them, without paying the price of that faith, themselves.

Yes, the draft was corrupt in those days--the poor and people of color were drafted more often than the white and the affluent--and women never were. One thinks of George Bush and Dick Cheney who found comfortable, legal evasions that one cannot help but think were set up to benefit people of their race and class. But enough white, middle class kids found themselves unwillingly in uniform (and their friends and parents could find their names, later, inscribed on a wall with many friends of mine in Washington DC) to cause substantial opposition--opposition that (it seems hard to imagine this today) had the stability of this country teetering on a precipice.

What about Quakers and Mennonites and others who have a scruple against war?

How did we fare under the draft, and how have we fared since?

Sometimes when I talk to younger Friends about it there seems to be a superficiality to what they say, and I have seen some "cracks in the wall" in regard to the Middle Eastern wars among them, too. Not outright support but an uncertainty, an inability to articulate the basis of their faith in the face of pro-war ideology. It is not the durable conviction that is heard in Friends (and others) who spent World War II in the work camps, who had to do some thinking and soul searching to receive their CO status in the Sixties and the Seventies.

This is not their fault. They grew up in a situation in which they have not been required to contend seriously with this, in which their faith has not been tested (or even explored) by swimming against the cultural tide. They have not grown up required to prove/test themselves.

And such proving/testing was not only edifying to them.

Other young people looking at military service today are deprived of the example and the model of young Friends (and others) testifying to their faith through conscientious objection. Who is actively, seriously, obviously presenting the alternative of peace to main stream young people these days in the same graphic way that Friends, Mennonites and others did in the past?

Yes, we do work with our young people, and we do reach out to young people beyond our hedges whose conditioning has gone unchallenged all their lives, but not with the energy or the organization that we used to. And our young people are not as engaged or focused--they don't have to be--on their spiritual development around war (and how the tendrils of war branch out into our every day lives and all of our relationships).

Who can doubt that we have an out-of-control military, today, that is dictating policy to the President in a way that, in the days of McArthur, got Generals cashiered?

Who can doubt that it's easier to prolong wars when the people who make the decisions (even passively) do not have any chips of their own on the table?

Who can doubt that it's easier for us to all settle back into our own daily lives if the cost of the wars that keep our own personal consumption oriented oil guzzling party going don't touch us in obvious and direct ways?

Have we been "bought off," here? Can we--safe with our children from the storm--just "sit it out" and "mail it in" in regard to opposing the wars fought in our name (fought with our money? By the way, where is the Hyde Amendment for spending money on war against the moral conviction of ... I digress)?

Do we look to Friends like Chuck Fager and the others who work with young people caught up in the military to do that for us, instead of taking our turn to do it when it is our turn, or the turns of our children to face the possibility of fighting? Have we forgotten that when we did that kind of standing up for ourselves and our children we were also standing up for others who are not heard as clearly as we might be?

Because there was a time we were heard clearly on this. CO status was a hard-won recognition by the world that a scruple against war was legitimate and respectable and that recognition made it powerful in the eyes of people who, before, completely discounted pacifism as a means of engaging evil.

Do we think that it's no longer necessary to "hard win" that status is some kind of benchmark or the improved spiritual condition of us, our children or the world? Or do we face the truth that no longer needing to go through that just means we have bought off the system, accepting our own safety in return for letting the evil or war go on without much resistance from us?

Now a significant portion of Americans can outsource paying the price for the "American Way of Life" and no longer need to contend within their own heart about whether it's worth our own lives and the lives of our own children.

Have we outsourced our calling to testify and witness against war, deprived of the most urgent goading we could have to do so? Has our peculiarity (our fitness for a particular purpose) as a voice against war been neutralized?

If so, has this edified us or has it caused our condition to deteriorate when the world needs us (and others like us) as much as it ever has?

If someone thinks war is worth whatever "it" is (this time)? Then they should go fight it or send their children or their grandchildren.

Don't want to fight for it but think it the "purpose' of the war should be accomplished? Then they need to find and pursue a different way to accomplish it.

Don't want to fight for it and don't want to do anything else for it--then they should shut up. They don't have enough integrity to cover their nakedness. they are hypocrites. They should live with that or change it. Just have some integrity.

Nobody should die for what I enjoy (whether I say I want it or not) but that I won't die or sacrifice for.

Thank you, Friends, for hearing me out, on this.


Jim714 said...

Tim, this is a very thoughtful post. I was an anti-Viet Nam war activist; it informed the entirety of my young years from High School through College. I got married as a Freshman in College and I can attest that the draft was always on our minds and kept a fire under our commitments to oppose the war. I was an atheist during those years, so the option of Conscientious Objection was not available, making the commitment to oppose the war more sharp.

I too have sensed a lack of commitment to the Peace Testimony among younger Friends; but also among Friends in general. There are exception; the New York Yearly Meeting released a testimony against the use of torture which is beautiful and stirring; you can find it on Youtube.

Still, the enormity of what the U.S. has done in Iraq seems to elude many Friends. To deliberately lie an entire nation into war against a country that was no threat is a great crime. The U.S. attack on Iraq under Bush II is a great brutality and places the U.S. in the ranks of the barbarians.

I would add to your general observations about the volunteer military the ongoing privatization of warfare; the most famous example of which is Blackwell. They are unaccountable for their behavior and their behavior is often highly questionable. They are unanswerable to the normal electoral process. And they are better paid than the regular military grunts. I think that this privatization is a logical extension of removing the military and the consequences of military action from the populace at large.

Thanks again for your thoughtful words.

In the light,

Jim Wilson

Marshall Massey (Iowa YM [C]) said...

I too appreciate the impassioned sincerity of this essay, Tim.

I am not so sure as you, however, that the end of the draft, and the rise of the professional army, are the cause of a decline in young Friends’ interest in the peace testimony.

I am mindful that even in the French and Indian War there was a strong minority of Friends in colonial Pennsylvania that supported the war and, in many cases, voluntarily took up arms. There was a fraction of Friends who split off from the main body because they supported the Revolutionary War. There was a fraction who left our Society because they supported the Northern war effort in the War Between the States.

A study has shown that in World War I, two-thirds of eligible young Quaker males enlisted, or let themselves be drafted, into the armed forces. And my elderly Iowa Quaker friends tell me that in World War II, only a minority of their generation became COs.

So the existence of a significant number of young Friends who are unconvinced of the peace testimony is not a new development; it is a return to the norm.

Apparently Viet Nam galvanized our religious Society to embrace the peace testimony as no generation had done in a very long time. But that was not a phenomenon limited to our Society alone. I’ve read that at in the last years of the Viet Nam war, far more than half the young men registering for the draft were filing for CO status, an absolutely unprecedented fraction. I’ve also read that this was a major factor driving the Nixon administration to end U.S. involvement in that war.

I would guess that the Viet Nam war was unprecedented in U.S. history in terms of popular opposition to the war, and especially in terms of young people’s opposition, for reasons other than it involved a draft and that kids under 21 could not vote. After all, in the War Between the States, World Wars I and II, and the Korean War, there was also a draft, and kids under 21 could not vote; and although there was strong popular opposition to the War Between the States, the CO position was never anywhere near so popular.

Tmothy Travis said...

Can't disagree with much you wrote, Marshall, and I appreciate your taking the time to comment. The "other" wars of America had their detractors but they were never as unpopular (and for so long) as the Vietnam War became and so, by my thinking, these wars passed the test I think that the draft imposed on them in a democracy.

I wonder why the Vietnam war was so unpopular as to put so many people in the street--largely people who were subject to the draft. Of course, I was there, in the middle of some of the largest demonstrations and "actions" and I clearly remember the the anti-draft sentiment. I also counseled young men facing the draft and, in the absence of independent evidence that corroborates such and admission, I can say I helped one or two along that "underground railroad" to Canada.

I'd like to follow up, though, on the one point, in your last paragraph, about the young people's opposition to the war in Vietnam being perhaps traceable to factors other than the draft.

What do you think those factors were and where did those factors go such that, after all this time in Iraq, there is no popular movement against it?

I do think that contrast between the popularity of the CO position during the Vietnam War and during the Civil War could be explained in that during the latter there was no official recognition of a CO and being one no bearing on whether one would be drafted or not (although I have also read that they could "buy their way out" by paying a "tax" to buy munitions and if they could not pay were not often accommodated).

Do you know anything more about the CO option during the American Civil War?

I have read accounts of Quakers being placed between Union and Confederate troops just prior to battles beginning (especially by Confederate troops), but I cannot verify that. I guess that was an alternative provided to CO's, if it actually happened.

Thanks, again, for the comment.

Marshall Massey said...

Hi, Timothy!

Yes, there was no legal recognition of C.O.s in the draft law during the War Between the States. That did not begin until World War I.

C.O.s in the War Between the States suffered terribly. And this may have been part of the reason for the New York draft riots of July 13-16, 1863, which were the largest civil insurrection in U.S. history. People are most likely to fight when they are cornered, and a law (like the draft law of that time) that leaves people with no choice except to fight, kill and die in a war they do not believe in, or be imprisoned, be starved and beaten, and very possibly die, for refusing to fight, is going to make them feel very cornered indeed. In the end, it took several regiments to subdue the city of New York.

You ask about factors other than the draft that contributed to young people’s opposition to the Viet Nam war. Since you were there at the time, I am sure you can think of them yourself, as well as I, but I will list them for discussion all the same:

1) The Viet Nam war was the product of a mythology, originally developed for the war against Hitler, that painted the opposition between the “Free World” and the “Communist Bloc” in terms that ought to have been reserved for fantasies like The Lord of the Rings. Most U.S. residents bought into this mythology, but kids being asked to fight and die had a natural motive to question it, and as it happened, there were a lot of facts emerging from Viet Nam that controverted it. The argument that the U.S. activity in Viet Nam was a “just war” became less and less convincing as time went on.

2) Moreover, there was a vital counter-mythology in the U.S., inherited from the days when Communism and Socialism had been real popular movements in this country. The counter-mythology portrayed the U.S. ruling class as the real source of world oppression.

3) Feeding into the counter-mythology was the U.S. civil rights movement, which passed its peak after 1965, but had already won the hearts of idealists young and old in the U.S. It was possible, indeed credible, to argue that the ruling class oppression of workers throughout the world, the white oppression of blacks in the U.S., and the U.S. effort to subdue Viet Nam, were three faces of the same evil.

4) Would-be social reformers moved back-and-forth between civil rights and the anti-nuclear-weapons movement all through the 1950s and 1960s, and the anti-nuclear-weapons movement provided an additional ideology, based on fear of nuclear armageddon, to support the anti-Viet-Nam-war movement.

So what happened to these four factors? One thing is that the anti-Viet-Nam-war movement’s underlying ideologies lost a lot of credibility through entanglement with gratuitous street violence, armed insurrections, drugs, free sex and marital infidelity, and general drop-out irresponsibility. The younger brothers and sisters of the Viet Nam protesters looked at that entanglement and said, uh-uh, not for me.

Another thing was that the right wing of American culture used propaganda with increasing effectiveness to discredit the anti-Viet-Nam-war ideology. Socialism, it argued, was provably unworkable; communism was demonstrably tyrannical; protesters were observably not too bright, etc.

Some illogical things fed in there too. Reagan’s “Morning in America” theme was more emotionally attractive to most people than left-wing alienation. A philosophy of succeeding in business held more popular appeal than defeatism.

By the time George W rose to power, there was nothing like the surviving Socialism of the Fifties, and the civil rights movement of the Fifties and Sixties, to build on.

Chuck Fager said...

Hey, Tim, sorry to come to this so late.

I can relate to your concern. Awhile back I found in an archive file a brochure from an anti-draft lobby group from about 1970. It argued that ending conscription would make it harder to fight illegal imperial wars, a prediction that has been utterly refuted by the experience since.

I'm still uneasy about a return to conscription, but it's an uneasiness about conscription as the proper remedy for a very serious civic disease the diagnosis of which we agree on.

I've struggled with these issues twice in the Quaker House Newsletter; you can find the relevant pieces online at:

click on the issues of Autumn 2006 & May 2007.

And count me as caught right on the horns of this dilemma.

Tmothy Travis said...

Thanks for the comment, Chuck, and I will look forward to looking at the newsletters to which you refer me.

You are right that re-instating conscription (even if it were for more inclusive re gender and class than ever before) would not end war and would not put us a step closer to the Kingdom.

I do think, though, that it would require almost everyone in the country to pay attention and be engaged when the war talk starts instead of just turning up the music and going on with the party.

We are all enmeshed in these wars. It just doesn't seem that way because those who see themselves (mistakenly) as benefitting from these wars have arranged things so that almost all of us are insulated from the truth about what is going on and how our hands are in it clear up past the wrists.

Thanks, again, Chuck, for both the comment and for your good work.

Bill Samuel said...

"Apparently Viet Nam galvanized our religious Society to embrace the peace testimony as no generation had done in a very long time."-Marshall Massey

I'm not sure about that. In the first place, being anti-war is not the same as embracing the peace testimony. I think many who came to Quakers were doing so because Quakers were anti-war but did not embrace the peace testimony.

I think of a "nonviolent" action program run by AFSC. The staff running it did not embrace the peace testimony or nonviolence more than as a tactic for the moment. They were openly for military victory for the other side. They were not even anti-war; they were just on the other side of it.

Secondly, in fact there were a lot of Quakers who did not oppose the Vietnam War.

Tmothy Travis said...

Good points and true--all.

The "peace" testimony (in regard to war) meant staying out of wars as testimony to the change brought about in Friends by the removal of the sinful state of mind ("lust") which is at the root of war. Actually, war--internationally and in hour homes--grows from several sinful states of mind--pride, anger and so on.

The fact that there were a lot of Quakers who did not oppose the war in Vietnam (and that there have been a substantial number of Friends who have fought in every war since the movement began) does not diminish the reality of the testimony or the witness of those who are not swept up in the martial spirit/power--it only points to the fact that the transformation by Christ is not immediate or permanent. The sinful states of mind can still overcome the leadings of Christ in those not perfected/mature and can even, if they are not wary, cause those who are to regress.

You are correct that the peace testimony does not relate simply to "war" and that it is not manifest in those who, for tactical reasons, do not fight or who support the weaker side.

Thanks for the comment.

Jeremy said...

Jeremy Mott remarks:
In the Vietnam war I first did alternative service, then was was
a draft resister in prison, then
spent almost four years in draft
counseling and publishing a draft counselor's newsletter. I'll say several things. First of all, one must not do evil so good may come of it. That is the basic "restore-the-draft" argument. It is false, as wars for a good cause repeatedly
show. Second, a fair draft is an utter chimera; it has never happened and will never happen.
Even in World War II, many men were able to get occupational deferments just by working in war
industries. Fathers of three or
more children were placed far down
in the order of call until 1944;
many many children were born so that their fathers would escape
being drafted. And just as in
Vietnam, those who wished to game the system could get a doctor's
letter. Third, it's true that
there was no federal CO status
until the Civil War, only because there was no federal draft. Until
late in that War and in all earlier wars, a state=by=state
militia system was used; and
every state with a Quaker population had s CO provision.
Read Peter Brock's classic books
on Quaker and Mennonite and Brethren pacifism. I'll continue.

Jeremy Mott said...

Jeremy Mott remarks: During the
Vietnam war I did alternative service, then was imprisoned for
draft refusal, and finally spent
almost four years in draft counseling and publishing a newsletter for counselors. I will say several things:
First, the idea that the draft is a good way to spur opposition to war is a good example of doing evil so that good may come. It
doesn't work well at all.
Additional evil comes. Second,
the idea of a fair draft is a
chimera; it is impossible. Even
in World War II, any man who wished---at least any white man---
could get a job in a war industry and get an occupational deferment,
Fathers of 3 children were not
drafted until 1944; so several
million extra children were born
during the first part of the war.
And just as in Vietnam, one could
get a doctor's letter and game the
system. Third, it's meaningless
that there was no federal CO provision until late in the Civil
War---because there was never a federal draft before then. Until late in the Civil War, and in all earlier wars, there was a state-by-state militia draft. Every state which had a Quaker population had a CO provision, often enshrined in
the state constitution. You can read about this in any of Peter
Brock's classic histories of U.S.
pacifism. I'll have more later.
Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Jeremy Mott remarks again:
Fourth, I think it's obvious that in AFSC there were many, mostly not Friends, who sided with the
Communists in Vietnam, even with
the Cambodian Communist in some
cases. Yet this wasn't true else-
where in the Quaker world, or even
throughout AFSC by any means. At
CCCO, where I worked, practically all were pacifists, objecting to
all war on principle. And I do
believe that AFSC, in the last 15
or 20 years, has become a truly
pacifist organization again. It
has regained its birthright.
Fifth, it's easy to be holier-than-thou about those who conscientiously oppose only some
wars, or no war that their government engages in. After all,
Friends were not pacifists, as a
group, until 1660, when we were
about 12 years old. (We supported the Commonwealth men, the revolutionaries, in England; and many Friends fought for them.)
The words of our Peace Testimony
are not quite true, to be blunt
about it. Almost all Friends, in
both North and South, supported the North in the Civil War; so it's easy to see why many younger Friends---maybe half---in the
North fought for the Union. In both World Wars, CO's were in the
minority---though a substantial
one---among American Friends; CO's were much more numerous among Con-servative and Gurneyite Friends than among Hicksites, by the way.
Right now, conscientious objection
flourishes among the evangelical
(and similarly-minded) Friends of
Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya, Congo, El
Salvador, and Guatemala. It's not hard to see why.
This year is the 350th anniversary of the Quaker Peace
Testimony. On the 300th, in 1960,
I was one of about 2000 Friends,
from virtually every yearly meeting in North America, who surrounded the Pentagon in a silent vigil. I can only find
one Quaker group---North Carolina
(FUM)---on the web that is observing the 350th. Yet Friends
are doing more peacework and service work worldwide than ever.
Just take a look beyond the borders
of the United States.
Peace, Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Jeremy makes still more remarks:
(1) Recognition of conscientious objectors is as old as U.S. history. In every British colony in America, Quakers (and members of the other peace churches where there were any) were recognized.
Often Friends weren't satisfied;
often CO's had to pay a fee and
many refused. Only in World War
II were all religious objectors
recognized; but that was not always strictly interpreted. My
father, then non-religious, was
recognized as a CO during WW2.
In fact, pacifist conscientious objection is an unwritten part of the U.S,Constitution. Madison tried to put it in the Second Amendment; he might have succeeded
except that the states had their
own CO provisions.
(2) J.E.McNeil, a Quaker lawyer,
is execuive director of the Center on Conscience and War. See their
website. She argues passionately that we should work to get selective conscientious objecotors recognized. I agree with her.
From Constatine's day until now,
the great majority of Christians
have been selective conscienious
objectors (or at least claimed to
be), not pacifists.
(3) Travis,and Chuck, stop and
think. To the military, the draft
is simply a tool. They do not have
to use it. They use it only when
they think it will be advantageous to themselves. In 1971. use of the draft almost ceased in the United States; a handful were drafted until early 1972; then
inductions practically ceased until1973 when they did cease. It's true that the draft had aroused
great resistance. Yet it's also
true that the Army had an enormous
surplus supply of manpower by this time. The draft was not needed and probably wouldn't have been
used, no matter what.
(4) The Vietnamese Communists, North and South, never stopped fighting until they won the war.
And that's why they won, not any-
thing that the U.S. peace movement
did or didn't do. Sometimes we're
too big for our breeches.
Peace, Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Chuck and Tim Travis:
Let's try to think carefully, without holding on to the illusions that we may have held
during the Vietnam war.
First, practically any draft system has deferments and exemptions, whether for students, for certain occupations such as war industry, for divinity students and priests, and for fathers. During the Vietnam war,
as usual, many took advantage
of these things. The government often wanted this; Selective Service called it "channeling."
Second, plenty of men were dis-
qualified, as usual. Sometimes
more, sometimes less, as the military wished and men responded
with medical and "moral" evidence (i.e. criminal record), etc.
Third, when there still was surplus manpower, as was true by
Nixon's day in 1969, the government
institued a lottery system. Only
those with low lottery numbers were going to be called; the pressure was removed from most
other men. I can remember the
almost audible gigantic collective
sigh of relief that went up after
the first lottery (and later ones too). The lottery system was a
partial death for the draft; it was the beginning of the end; in
the draft counseling world we knew
this, partly because Selective Service told us so. Fourth, men
were allowed to enlist throughout
the war, and millions did this
for many reasons, including patriotism. The Navy and the Air
Force were entirely volunteers, and
the Marines almost entirely. Even
the Army was probably more enlistees than draftees; I don't know. By 1971 or 1972, we did
as much or more military
counseling as draft counseling;
we changed our name from MCDC to
Midwest Ctte. for Military Counseling. Sound familiar?
The truth is that from 1971 on
the situation was almost the same
as now: almost no draft, and
no draft after mid-1972 except for
ending posponed inductions, and
no draft whatever after January
1973. Yet the terrible war ground
on and on relentessly, even after
the "peace" of early 1973.
The anti-draft movement did
a good thing, I believe; for all
practical purposes, we ended the
draft. Yet for all our sound and
fury, for all our effort and heart-
ache, the anti-war movement had
almost no effcct on the war.
Peace, Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Jeremy leaves another comment:
It's just not true that the sons of Congressmen were threated or actually drafted or served during the Vietnam war. From one end of
that war to the other, 1965 to 1975, let's say, only a tiny handful
ever was in the milirary. I'm sure far more are serving now, without a draft. This is mainly because the war on terror is much more popular than the Vietnam war
was. It's also because the Natl.Guard is no longer a good way to avoid service overseas. Now
the Guard is called up and serves.
Maybe the war on terror will be
less popular soon; the Vietnam war
became unpopular in the summer of 1965; one could almost feel it.
Yet even an unpopular war is a
a wickedly difficult thing to fight. During the Vietnam war, the anti-war movement, mainly pacifists in this case, managed fairly easily to destroy the draft; but we never could end the war.
Do we really want to seem to stand in the way of a popular war? A war that most Americans seem to
think is justified? Or do we want to try to change people's minds
first, and meanwhile to help the
numerous people in the military
who are in great difficulty?
Remember that war is popular mainly
because it is part of the popular
religion of nationalism? That
is something that is almost beyond challenge. Peace, Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Another comment from Jeremy Mott,
The truth is that far more sons of members of Congress are serving now, voluntarily, than were serving in the Vietnam war, when
the draft was in effect. This is mainly because the war on terror is popular now. It's also because those in the National Guard---like both Palin's and Biden's sons---are actually called up and sent overseas.
Perhaps the war on terror will become unpopular soon, as the Vietnam war did in summer 1965 (one
could almost feel the change). We
mustn't count on it, with or without a draft. And we mustn't
think we can easily end such a big
war, whether or not it's popular.
The fact os that a big war is a wickedly difficult thing to fight against. Especially if it's popular, probably one best first
convince people that it's wrong,
rather than seem to stand in the
way of the war, and help those
in the military in difficulty.
I hope that Friends will come up
with leaders who can help show
our nation the way.
Peace, Jeremy Mott

Jeremy Mott said...

Tim, and Marshall, The Civil War
should be so-called, because it was
a war between two federal regimes.
War between the States is a Southern euphemism.
Conscientious objectors were indeed treated terribly in the
South during that war. Some North
Carolina Quakers who didn't pay
their commutation fees were taken
into military service, and when
they refused to serve, were tortured and died. After this,
most who could not or would not
pay the fees either tried to escape
to the North, or "bushwhacked" in
their own areas. Also, many
were improperly denied recognition,
and Friends in Richmond had to try
get them out of the military (usually successfully). A member of the Church of the Brethren
was assassinated when returning
to his home after a lobbying trip.

The situation in the North was very
different. Secy. of War Stanton
grew up in a Quaker home. President Lincoln had Quaker ances-
tors, and knew it. When either of
these men got word (from Friends)
that Quaker conscientious objectors were in military service, whether because they had refused to pay the fees or in error had not been recognized as
CO's, they ordered these men dis-
charged. There are no known ex-
ceptions to this.
Now the draft riots in New York
City are another matter entirely.
N.Y.C. had a "copperhead" (i.e.,
pro-Sourthern) mayor, and a large
Irish Catholic population, which
certainly did not wish to be drafted or to fight in a war. They
were so angry that they rioted;
they destroyed draft offices and
the Quaker-run Colored Orphan
Asylum. Many people died in these
riots. Several people--mostly also Irish, we read---took their lives in their hands to rescue the
orphans in the asylum. Eventually, if I remember right---I don't have my books now---federal troops were called out to quell the rioting, arson, and destruction. The Quaker
orphan asylum had to be rebuilt
far from the middle of the city.
All this had nothing to do with
conscientious objection, as it is
generally understood. Jeremy