In his article, “Why the Draft is a Forlorn Hope,” Second Lieutenant T.S. Allen uses my recent op-ed in The Los Angeles Times to attack those who seem to be calling for a military draft as a means to set right a number of wrongs. I cannot speak for the other authors Lt. Allen criticizes, but it is clear that he fundamentally misunderstood what I wrote. I do not and never said I support a draft. I wrote that the United States should “foster and incentivize” increased military service. I am not sure where Lt. Allen saw in my words support for a draft. Neither “foster” nor “incentivize” suggests conscription or mandating anyone to do anything. They suggest increasing the attractiveness of certain options – in this case, military service. In the final paragraph of my op-ed, I even wrote that the all-volunteer force is “here to stay”, a phrase that Lt. Allen quoted. It seems the lieutenant and I both agree that a professional military is the best option for our country.
Rather than jumping to the conclusion that everyone who calls for increased military service is advocating conscription, he may want to consider what else they could possibly mean. Perhaps it is simply for more people to seriously consider serving and for them to be encouraged to do so through a mixture of incentives. Others may think a draft is the answer, but I am not one of them.
Benjamin Luxenberg, who served in the Marines from 2009 to 2013, is pursuing an MBA and a masters in public policy at Harvard University.
Image: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Josh Huebner