Pushing for the draft
The Kathe Kollwitz thread seems to have engendered a heated discussion, sparked by another "anonymous," once again (or perhaps the same "anonymous" once again), who said that those who are for the Iraq war and consider it so "noble" would feel quite differently if a draft were instituted, and their own children or relatives were forced to serve.
I've stayed out of the discussion so far because so many commenters have been so eloquent and logical in their arguments that there really seemed no need for me to jump in.
But I do have an observation or two (just can't shut up, I guess). The first is that it's interesting that "anonymous" somehow found it necessary to post this challenge (or, rather, "simple question" /sarcasm off) on a post that was devoted to honoring the grief of parents who lose children in war. My post contained no discussion of the "nobility" of this, or any other war. It was really an exploration of what war poet Wilfred Owen called, "the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity." My take on the Cindy Sheehan aspect of it was going to be saved for Part II.
So one thing the ensuing commentary illustrates is the deep and pressing need for the "anonymii" of the world to make such statements of challenge whenever possible, whether relevant to the discussion or not, and no matter how many times such questions have been asked and answered before. It is a repetitive exercise on their part, and lets me know they must think this particular argument is a ripping good one. The answers given--which were many, varied, and excellent--don't really seem to matter to "anonymous." It's the question that counts. I don't know the political slant of this particular "anonymous," but most of those mounting such arguments tend to be on the liberal/left side of things.
I have noticed for quite some time now how intent many on the left/liberal seem to be on instituting a draft (or at least on pretending to, for argument's sake). Such a draft, if instituted, appears to be a "backdoor" way of getting what they want, which is to amplify antiwar sentiment to a fever pitch and have us pull out of Iraq--in other words, to recreate Vietnam and the scene of the left's greatest triumph, the fall of Saigon and the Communist takeover of South Vietnam (I have explored the origins of such sentiments at great length, and why the left clings to them so tenaciously, in this post in my "A mind is a difficult thing to change" series).
There is no doubt whatsoever that part of the impetus for the antiwar protests during Vietnam was the existence of the draft. In fact, when the draft was ended, the protests virtually ended, and yet the war dragged on. So, "anonymous" is referring, I think, to a historical truth, at least as far as Vietnam goes: the draft and antiwar sentiment were linked.
I believe that fact is a major motivation underlying the left's insistence on ending the volunteer military and reinstituting the draft. As long as the military is volunteer, it's much harder to mobilize the type of demonstrations of their old glory days of the 60s.
We can debate (and have, on many of the Vietnam-related threads here) how necessary the Vietnam War was, both morally, and strategically in terms of the Cold War. We can debate the same for the Iraq War; I happen to think that it was morally justified and that strategically it was the best choice at the time among crazinesses (see this post for what I mean by "choice among crazinesses.") How it will turn out is still unknown, but if the left has its way and we pull out, I have little doubt that the consequences will be far worse than the already very sad consequences of the fall of South Vietnam.
As for "anonymous's" actual arguments themselves, I think the best answer is that most people are reluctant to have their children put themselves in harm's way. Any type of harm's way. It's just the nature of the parenthood beast.
Parents are usually proud when their children sign up for dangerous service--whether it be military or police or firefighter or rescue squad--and parents usually support the choice. But it's not necessarily one the parent would choose. At any rate, it is the grown child's choice, not the parents', and all the parent actually can do is support or not support, and fervently hope that the child survives intact.
"Anonymous" would seem to want us all to be like those Spartan mothers who required their sons to "come back with your shield or on it" (if you click on the previous link, you'll find a host of other interesting Spartan tales, such as the following, "Another Spartan woman killed her son, who had deserted his post because he was unworthy of Sparta. She declared: 'He was not my offspring for I did not bear one unworthy of Sparta.'") Well, most of us are not Spartan mothers, which is probably a fortunate thing.
But because parents would not necessarily choose that a child be a firefighter or police officer (or join the military) does not preclude them from honoring those who do choose to put themselves in harm's way for the sake of us all, or from wanting the benefit of the protection they offer and supporting the establishment of both a fire and a police department and a military. Nor does it stop them from honoring and supporting a child who does make such choices.