I'm starting to think we should bring back the military draft. As someone who has draft-age children, I realize this may seem insane, but I've come to think it's the only way to stop the larger insanity that infects us. With a draft, all of us -- parents and children, rich or poor -- would have to confront the reality of military service and decide whether it was the right thing to do.
When I was 18, the draft lottery was in effect. By fortunate accident, my birthday gave me the 223rd spot in the draft order, which meant I could keep slacking my way through college. My roommate, whose mother had the poor judgment to give birth to him on March 14th, got number four. He was off to Vietnam within six months.
Fair? Hell, no. But neither is what we're doing now. Minorities comprise 35 percent of our military, well above their proportion of the general population. They, along with poor and rural whites, are fighting this war. The rest of us are free to continue life uninterrupted.
Here are some numbers: 44, 63, 96. They represent American military deaths in Iraq for the past three Octobers -- in chronological order. This is progress? Our soldiers are being killed by suicide bombers and IEDs. They're driving around, patrolling like hell's policemen, playing roulette with their lives. It's not combat, it's madness. And the volunteer Army has helped free our current leaders from accountability.
As the curtain slowly rises, revealing the "wizards" behind the cynical PR campaign to manipulate us into this war, the carnage continues. It's November 8th as I write this. Already, 28 Americans have been killed this month. I don't know any of them. Neither do you. But we owe them something. The truth would be a start.
Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor
I moved to Memphis 20 years ago this spring. It was a new city to me, and I liked to wander around downtown on my lunch hour. One day, I walked into Rod & Hank's Vintage Guitars, a magical shop then located just across from the Peabody hotel on Second Street. I loved the smell and the feel of the place, and I loved all the classic old guitars hanging on the walls ...