The death of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani has ignited arguments about the president’s authority to take action to protect the country. Amid that international controversy the phrase World War III has been introduced in digital memes and even political rhetoric, a term that is both incendiary and totally inappropriate but also telling when it comes to supporting this country and its principles.
Following the death of Gen. Soleimani, whose leadership in Iran’s Quds military has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of US military personnel and countless other non-combatants, the Twitter and digital media erupted among college students (#NoWarinIran) (#WorldWarIII) worrying about the possible initiation of a military draft. Of particular concern is a requirement for college students receiving federal financial assistance through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to register with the Selective Service System, or as many “boomers” recall - the draft board.
The ensuing panic among America’s future leaders is both unnecessary and unnerving.
Unnecessary because as we should all know it is a federal law that all 18-year-old males are to register with the Selective Service so that should a draft be needed, as was the case in World War II, then it can be done quickly. The FSFA requirement is only assuring that the applicants are following the law before they benefit from the country’s largesse in providing financial aid. Further, there is currently no active draft and should there be a need to initiate the draft Congress would first have to pass legislation to authorize it.
The reaction is also unnerving because it shows a hesitancy, at best, and an unwillingness at the worst, for our future leaders to step up when called upon to protect this country, its citizens and above all its principles.
We can go into a litany of successes this country, its founders and citizens have enjoyed and bequeathed to mankind. But the negative recent reaction of college students to the possibility of sacrifice and commitment to this cause, no matter how remote, begs the question - why?
We’re focusing on individuals who are obviously motivated to push forward in their education, ostensibly to become leaders. These are excellent attributes which bode well for our country and arguably for the world. But why the fear or hesitancy to be willing to step up to defend the very country that is so supportive of students and their goals?
The answer may lie within the very educational institutions that these students attend and a growing perception that this country and political system is too flawed to defend.
College students and now even high school students are being presented with “new” facts about the founders which question their sincerity and principles. There is a constant drumbeat of all the errors in our country’s past that overwhelms any of our successes and yes, missed goals.
Sadly this continuing narrative has made its way into our entertainment and political venues as well. The political diatribes as seen and heard at the Oscars, Golden Globe awards or in concerts have inculcated our youth about all that is bad with America. Unfortunately this message of “America is bad” hit a low point when newly inaugurated President Barack Obama questioned the concept of “American Exceptionalism.”
With that as a backdrop it is no wonder that college students are questioning the value or need for a draft and more importantly the value and responsibility to step up when called to defend this nation and its principles. Why support such a flawed country? They question, based on the continued flow of negative views about their country, if it is worth defending.
Needless to say, the alternatives that we are seeing in other regimes have little or no benefit for their citizens but those are inconvenient facts that get in the way of the narrative that we, the United States, are bad. That narrative is beginning to take root, which is another “inconvenient fact” that becomes clear as we see college students fearing they may be asked to defend the very nation that has provided them, their families and the world so much.
This reaction is concerning- very concerning.