You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

letters

Require military service for all, but steer clear of misadventures

Andrew Bacevich misses a significant point in his Feb. 2 op-ed “Once a duty, military service recast as a right,” which decries the demise of duty in military service “whether pursuant to defending the homeland, advancing the cause of freedom abroad, or expanding the American imperium.” That most of our country’s military engagements since World War II have fallen into the second or third of those categories explains much of the change from obligation to right. Sending people off to die, whether in Vietnam or Iraq, for a cause that makes our country no safer is a poor way to inspire people to serve.

However, I do lament that, going forward, most Americans, including those in government who’ll make the deadly decisions to put their countrymen in harm’s way, will not have served in the military. Serving provides a perspective on the capabilities and limits our military. It certainly did for me.

Continue reading below

A better alternative to either the current system or a reinstated draft would be to take Thomas Jefferson’s suggestion and require military service of all young Americans. In addition to serving, they’d benefit from exposure to Americans they would not encounter otherwise. I’d also suggest that only those who volunteered to do so be required to participate in overseas adventures.

Steve MacQuarrie

Wellesley

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

We hope you've enjoyed your 5 free articles'

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.