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Military draft ison the minds some isle students
The topic has taken on a more serious tone now that the conflict has begun
By Treena Shapiro email@example.com
Although a military draft is not yet on the horizon, many young men are beginning to think about what they would do if called to serve their country.
Many University of Hawaii students said last week that the topic has come up in conversation since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but they are not worried about a draft anytime soon.
Genji Moriyama, 22, said he and his roommate had discussed the possibility of the draft and whether only sons were eligible. (They are.)
"We kind of talked about it, but we're not superworried," he said. "I think (the chances of a draft) are still pretty low ... hopefully."
In a statement on its Web site, the Selective Service System said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld both have indicated they do not anticipate a reinstatement of the draft.
No heightened action has been taken to bring the country closer to conscription, which would require legislative action by Congress and implementation by the president, the statement said.
The statement was posted before the military campaign against terrorist targets in Afghanistan and remained on the Selective Service Web site yesterday.
Jeffrey Synn, 19, said he had not spent much time thinking about a draft, but if it is reinstated, he might do what his father did during the Vietnam War: enlist in the Army.
"He figured he might as well have some extra freedom" in choosing which branch of the military to join, Synn said.
"My only concern is that I won't be going in as an officer," he said. "I'd be a grunt."
Sean McKee's father also served in Vietnam and hoped his son would never have to go to war, the 24-year-old said.
But after watching the terrorist attacks, McKee said he would consider enlisting before he was drafted, if he supported what was going on.
"(My father) always told me that he didn't want to go to war, but I think he would support me now," McKee said.
Roy Murakami, 22, said that a draft is not a concern right now, but "if our president is talking about somewhat of a lengthy military campaign, it would be a concern for me toward the end of it."
He said he would support a war only if it was justified.
"If it's a well-thought out, well-reasoned strike, I'd definitely support it," he said. If not, he said he would have to consider other options.
Kyle Kajihiro, program director of the American Friends Service Committee Hawaii Area Program, said that he has received a few calls from men and parents wondering what they could do if a war starts and they have a moral objection to it.
It is the first time since the Persian Gulf War that there has been much interest in military counseling issues, he said. "With the Sept. 11 attacks, the interest has definitely spiked."
The organization does outreach for young people about their choices regarding the military, Kajihiro said.
"We would consider doing workshops if there was enough interest," he said.
"Times like this is when people do a lot of soul searching and a lot of reflection," making it a good time for them to determine where they stand in regard to war and killing, he said.
If they have a moral or religious stand against war, "we have some resources for them," he said.
Uilisone Tua, 18, who enlisted in the Army Reserves last year, said that he is ready to be called to action.
"We have the best armed forces in the world," he said. "We have nothing to be scared of. I don't know about other men, but I'm ready for war."
How the draft could be reinstated In the event a crisis occurs that requires more troops than the voluntary military can supply, the following sequence of events could take place: >> Congress passes and the president signs legislation that starts a draft.
>> A lottery based on birthdays determines the order in which the Selective Service System calls up registered men. The first to be called will be men whose 20th birthdays fall in that year, followed by those aged 21, 22, 23, 24, and 25. Eighteen-year-olds and those turning 19 are not likely to be drafted.
>> All parts of the Selective Service are activated, and state directors and Reserve Forces officers report to duty.
>> Registrants with low lottery numbers are ordered to report for a physical, mental and moral evaluation at a Military Entrance Processing station to determine whether they are fit for military service. Once he learns the results, the registrant has 10 days to file for exemption, postponement or deferment.
>> Locally, an Appeal Board will process registrants' claims, and those who pass the military evaluation will receive induction orders, giving them 10 days to report to a Military Entrance Processing Station.
>> Selective Service delivers the first inductees to the military within 193 days from the onset of a crisis.
For more information, visit these Web sites:
>> The American Friends Service Committee at www.afsc.org.
>> The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors at www.objector.org.
Source: The Selective Service System Web site, www.sss.gov
-- Martin Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 10, 2001