Will there be a draft? Young people worry after military strike | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

For decades, American over the of 18 have gone through the ritual of registering with the in case of a draft. In recent years, this action has felt more like going through the motions, simply checking a box.

But today, after a . strike in killed ’s top and , prompting concerns about the possibility of a in the , that oft-forgotten paperwork became a for spiking among many Americans.

War ” started on . Young men suddenly recalled registering after their 18th birthdays, many having done so while applying for . One user posted that he had blocked the account of the U.S. , with the () reasoning that: “They can’t draft if they can’t see .”

Interest was so high that it apparently crashed the website for the Selective Service System, government agency that maintains a of Americans eligible for a potential draft. “Due to the spread of , our website is experiencing high traffic volumes at this ,” the agency said on Twitter, adding, “We appreciate your patience.”

is an explanation of the current military system and what it would take to enact a draft in times.

Is going to be a military draft?

The conscripted soldiers during the Civil War and continued to use the draft in some form on and off through the War, said Mittelstadt, a of at Rutgers University who has studied the military.

But there has been no conscription since 1973, when the draft was abolished after opposition to fighting in Vietnam. “There was for ending the draft across the political spectrum,” Mittelstadt said.

The modern-day military is an - force, with about 1.2 million active-duty troops.

To change that, would have to pass a reinstating the draft, and the would have to sign it, actions that would likely require broad political support.

What is the draft age?

All men from 18 to 25 years are required to register with the Selective Service System. Many young men check a box to register when getting a ’s license. Others sign up when applying for federal student aid to attend college.

But just because you have registered does not mean you be drafted. “Right now, registering for selective service really means nothing about the likelihood of you serving in the current military,” Mittelstadt said.

Heck, of the National Commission on Military, National and Service, a committee created by Congress to evaluate the Selective Service System, put it this way: “Registration is ongoing. A draft would require an of Congress.”

What are the consequences if you don’t register?

If you do not register for Selective Service as a young man, you can be to penalties. For example, men who did not register cannot receive federal financial aid, and they cannot for the , Heck said.

To check if you have registered, visit the Selective Service System’s website (once it is up and again).

Can be drafted?


Historically, only men have been eligible for the draft. But the question of whether to register women has gained traction in recent years, as women have taken on broader within the military.

In 2015, opened up all combat to women. Last year, a in ruled that excluding women from the draft was unconstitutional.

As part of its work, the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service is considering whether to expand the registration requirement to women. The group’s final report, on that and issues, is expected to be released in March.

Are there arguments for reinstating the draft?

In the 1860s, mobs of mostly foreign-born white took to the streets in to conscription during the Civil War, burning down buildings and inciting violent attacks against residents.

A century later, burning draft became a symbol of protest against the war in Vietnam.

“I think it’s fair to say that the draft has never been wildly ,” Mittelstadt said.

But she said there were arguments in of a modern-day draft, including the potential to make the military more of . The current all-volunteer force is more likely to from the working class, she said, with higher percentages of nonwhite Americans serving in .

“I don’t know what it means in a that you some people fight your wars and everybody is not responsible,” she said. “American citizens are not implicated in the consequences — bodily , economically — of war, and they should be.”

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