By being a soldier a person is making a choice to go kill people. Even if he's drafted, a soldier is choosing to kill people rather than go to prison himself. Whether that's an appropriate way to defend freedom and democracy is up to the individual to decide. But it's the basic nature of a soldier, and it must be kept in mind.
But is killing people a way to defend freedom and democracy? Regardless of whether it's the only way or the best way, is it an acceptable way?
Maybe it's justifiable. I hesitate to say acceptable. If someone kills your brother and you hunt them down, I would call that justified. But in a civilized society I would not call it acceptable.
But the international arena is not particularly civilized. In the absence of legitimate world law, nations do whatever it takes to defend their interests. I won't participate in any military action, but I also won't judge someone who chooses to pursue a justified military action—that is, one that is in response to unjustified military action.
I will not comply with any draft. No person has the right to tell me when it is or is not appropriate to kill. Whether I will violently defend myself, my family, and my home is an entirely personal issue. I oppose all involuntary servitude, and the military draft is the most repugnant kind.
At the same time, I will not identify myself as a conscientious objector. I have a medical condition that would likely get me a medical deferment but I would not be comfortable taking it. If I were still in school I would not accept an educational deferment. Those are all ways to weasel out of the real issue. The educational deferment in particular, until it was discontinued, was effectively a way for relatively well-off young men to get out of servitude in a way that less advantaged men could not—piling injustice on injustice.
The military draft has been repeatedly upheld by the courts as consistent with the Constitution. I find this utterly deplorable and if I am drafted I feel the only rational option open to me will be to fight it once again myself, regardless of legal opinion to the contrary. §
Copyright 2003 by Justin T. Sampson