THIS NATION'S refusal to reinstitute the draft portends dire consequences for black people. The military services are becoming a de facto mercenary army, with black soldiers and poor whites assuming a disproportionate share of the burden of defending the country.
I am against any black dying in a war for America while we do not enjoy the benefits of full citizenship. Blacks should not be misled, as we have for so long, by the notion that our sacrifices in war will win us the full equality we have so desperately sought. After many of our wars, black soldiers were met with guns instead of open arms and parades. Should we be fooled again?
The nation cannot find jobs for our youth except in the military, and many of our young people cannot be educated except in the military. We've got the highest unemployment and the lowest per capita income of any group in America. An America that cannot educate or employ our young will send them off to fight and die.
Mandatory service for all young men, with black participation in the combat arms limited to our proportion of the total population, would be a step in the right direction. Aside from requiring all to share in the defense of the country, mandatory service would give everyone an equal starting position in the run for civilian jobs and college educations. aWhile some would have a leg up in the race because of their backgrounds, at least the poor and the black wouldn't be further handicapped by losing precious time in the military and gaining worthless experience. As it is now, those who obtain the most from the country give the least.
The present preponderance of blacks in the combat arms does three things: It mistrains our young people; it provides a safety valve for our frustrated, legitimate goals and it misdirects our aspirations and aims into pursuits which, in the long run, are not beneficial.
Unless compulsory service for all young men is introduced, blacks should support a provision to limit our participation in the military to our percentage of the population. Participation in the combat arms should be further restricted to 10 or 15 percent of the total number of blacks in the military. Only in this way would white America be forced to make the hard choices necessary to effect equitable social change and institute the kind of equal service that will help keep this nation free.