If you grew up in the 70s you probably watched Walter Cronkite, John Chancellor or maybe the trifecta of Harry Reasoner, Howard K. Smith or Barbara Walters was who you got the news of the day from. It seemed like Vietnam, the Gas Crisis or was it Watergate consuming most of the time in a typical broadcast? Is today an odd day, who are H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrichman
and 5,575 Californias killed in the line of duty couldn't be correct. In 1973, Stanford University conferred 1712 degrees.
We didn’t know much about Vietnam before the conflict, we didn't know too much about Cambodia or Laos either. We didn't know about jungle warfare, we didn't understand how to fight this war. We knew it was going to be formidable, though we didn't know why. During the Second Indochina War, which began in 1955 and ended in 1975 the total killed is close to 1,300,000 and about 40% of those were civilians. Those civilians were mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. Almost 60,000 of those dead were Americans.
During the conflict, the Selective Service to draft young men into armed service. Though the United States at present has no draft, young men are required by law to register with the Selective Service when they reach the age of eighteen.
The selective service mission statement;
“…To furnish manpower to the Defense Department during a national emergency, to manage alternative service for men classified as conscientious objectors, and to register, with only a few exceptions, all male U.S. citizens and male immigrants residing in the United States who are ages 18 through 25...”
So, why register, well, it’s the law. Virtually all male U.S. citizens, regardless of where they live, and male immigrants, whether documented or undocumented, residing in the United States, who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service.
The law says men must register with Selective Service within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Registering with Selective Service does not mean you are joining the military. I still have a letter from the selective service which firmly reminds me to register. I was one of about a dozen people who didn’t register when I needed to, another letter I received gave me little choice about registering……register or go to jail. One of the 12 didn’t choose to register, he ended up in jail for a few months.
I have a draft eligible son, I wonder often what would it take to resurrect the draft. It appears to be much easier than first imagined. Here are the sequence of events that would need to occur if the United States returned to a draft:
Congress and the President Authorize a Draft.
A crisis occurs which requires more troops than the volunteer military can supply. Congress passes and the President signs legislation which starts a draft. (Republican-held Congress and Senate, and President could be aligned if needed)
A lottery based on birthdays determines the order in which registered men are called up by Selective Service. The first to be called, in a sequence determined by the lottery, will be men whose 20th birthday falls during that year, followed, if needed, by those aged 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25.
All Parts of Selective Service are activated.
Selective Service activates and orders its state directors and Reserve Forces Officers to report for duty.
Physical, Mental, and Moral Evaluation of Registrants.
Registrants with low lottery numbers are ordered to report for a physical, mental, and moral evaluation to determine whether they are fit for military service. Once he is notified of the results of the evaluation, a registrant will be given 10 days to file a claim for exemption, postponement, or deferment.
Local and Appeal Boards Activated and Induction Notices Sent.
Local and Appeal Boards will process registrant claims. Those who pass the military evaluation will receive induction orders. An inductee will have 10 days to report to a local Military Entrance Processing Station for induction.
First Draftees are inducted.
According to current plans, Selective Service must deliver the first inductees to the military within 193 days from the onset of a crisis.
For all parents of draft-aged children, do you know who our enemy is? On March 8th, 1965, the first American combat troops, the 9th Marine Expeditionary Brigade came ashore at China Beach north of Da Nang. And, like the Tet Offensive of 1968, do we really know anything about Raqqa, Ramadi, Fallujah or Mosul? Is this a version of jungle warfare?
President Trump negotiated a 110 billion dollar arms deal with the Saudi government, the largest in United States history. Upon his return, both Democrats and Republicans are looking to revise, eliminate or even completely restructure the agreement met Trump.
Freedom House, the U.S.-based non-governmental organization produces a yearly survey and report that measures the degree of civil liberties and political rights in every nation and significant related and disputed territories around the world.
Here are a few details from the 2017 Freedom in the World report.
Saudi Arabia restricts almost all political rights and civil liberties through a combination of oppressive laws and the use of force. No officials at the national level are elected. The regime extends some authority to clerics who follow the austere Wahhabi interpretation of Sunni Islam in exchange for affirmation of the monarchy’s religious legitimacy.
Ruling elites rely on extensive surveillance, the criminalization of dissent, appeals to sectarianism, and public spending supported by oil revenues to maintain power.
In January, the regime executed one of the kingdom’s most prominent Shiite Muslim clerics as part of its ongoing crackdown against the religious minority.
More than 150 people were executed during 2016, defendants are generally denied due process, and many are executed for crimes other than murder.
As the Saudi military continued its controversial bombing campaign against rebel forces in neighboring Yemen, cross-border attacks by the rebels occasionally caused deaths and injuries in the kingdom.
With significant logistical and political support from the United States and Britain, Saudi Arabia continued its destructive military campaign in neighboring Yemen, where groups loyal to Saudi-backed president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi were locked in a civil war against Houthi rebels and allied forces linked to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saudi leaders maintained that the Houthis, who sometimes launched raids or missile attacks across Saudi Arabia’s southern border, were proxies for Shiite-ruled Iran, the kingdom’s regional rival.
Saudi internal security forces continued their oppression of the Shiite religious minority. In January, the authorities executed a prominent Shiite cleric and outspoken critic of the regime, Nimr al-Nimr. Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, the cleric’s nephew, remained on death row for his participation as a teenager in 2011 protests that led to clashes with security forces. In June, a Saudi court sentenced 14 Shiites to death for alleged attacks on security personnel during the same wave of protests, which the regime characterized as terrorism.
Political Rights-Electoral Process 0/12
Is the head of government or other chief national authority elected through free and fair elections? Are the national legislative representatives elected through free and fair elections? Are the electoral laws and framework fair?
Political Pluralism and Participation 0/16
Do the people have the right to organize in different political parties or other competitive political groupings of their choice and is the system open to the rise and fall of these competing parties or groupings?
Is there a significant opposition vote and a realistic opportunity for the opposition to increase its support or gain power through elections?
Are the people’s political choices free from domination by the military, foreign powers, totalitarian parties, religious hierarchies, economic oligarchies, or any other powerful group? Do cultural, ethnic, religious, or other minority groups have full political rights and electoral opportunities?
Political parties are forbidden, and organized political opposition exists only outside the country. Political dissent is criminalized. Activists who challenge the kingdom’s record on political inclusion or call for constitutional changes are treated harshly. Raef Badawi, a human rights activist and founder of the website Liberal Saudi Network, remained behind bars in 2016 after being sentenced in 2014 to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam.”
Functioning of Government 1/12
Do the freely elected head of government and national legislative representatives determine the policies of the government? Is the government free from pervasive corruption? Is the government accountable to the electorate between elections, and does it operate with openness and transparency?
Corruption remains a significant problem, despite some earlier moves to hold certain officials accountable, and the functioning of government is largely opaque. Following a deadly stampede during the Hajj in 2015, which drew international criticism of the infrastructure and safety measures provided by Saudi authorities, the government refused to amend its official death toll of 769, despite estimates by international news organizations that exceeded 2,400.
Freedom of Expression and Belief 3/16
Are there free and independent media and other forms of cultural expression? Are religious institutions and communities free to practice their faith and express themselves in public and private?
Is there academic freedom, and is the educational system free of extensive political indoctrination? Is there open and free private discussion?
The government tightly controls domestic media content and dominates regional print and satellite-television coverage, with members of the royal family owning major stakes in news outlets in multiple countries. Government officials have banned journalists and editors who publish articles deemed offensive to the religious establishment or the ruling authorities. A 2011 royal decree amended the press law to criminalize, among other things, any criticism of the country’s grand mufti, the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, or government officials; violations can result in fines and forced closure of media outlets.
The regime has taken steps to limit the influence of online media, blocking access to large numbers of websites that are considered immoral or politically sensitive. A 2011 law requires all blogs and websites, or anyone posting news or commentary online, to have a license from the Ministry of Information or face fines and possible closure of the website. In December 2016, Issa al-Nukhaifi, an activist critical of corruption and the government’s conduct of the war in Yemen, was arrested for his posts on Twitter.
Islam is the official religion, and all Saudis are required by law to be Muslims. A 2014 royal decree punishes atheism with up to 20 years in prison. The government prohibits the public practice of any religion other than Islam and restricts the religious practices of the Shiite and Sufi Muslim minority sects.
Associational and Organizational Rights 0/12
Is there freedom of assembly, demonstration, and open public discussion? Is there freedom for nongovernmental organizations? Are there free trade unions and peasant organizations or equivalents, and is there effective collective bargaining? Are there free professional and other private organizations?
Rule of Law 2/16
Is there an independent judiciary? Does the rule of law prevail in civil and criminal matters? Are police under direct civilian control? Is there protection from political terror, unjustified imprisonment, exile, or torture, whether by groups that support or oppose the system? Is there freedom from war and insurgencies? Do laws, policies, and practices guarantee equal treatment of various segments of the population?
Defendants’ rights are poorly protected by law and not respected in practice. Detainees are often denied access to legal counsel during interrogation, and lengthy pretrial detention and detention without charge are common. Capital punishment, usually carried out by beheading, is applied to a wide range of crimes; juvenile offenders are not exempt from the penalty. According to international media reports, Saudi authorities carried out more than 150 executions in 2016.
The penal code bans torture, but allegations of torture by police and prison officials are common, and access to prisoners by independent human rights and legal organizations is strictly limited. A sweeping new antiterrorism law, which includes lengthy prison sentences for criticizing the monarchy or the government, went into effect in 2014. Among other provisions, it expanded the power of police to conduct raids against suspected antigovernment activity without judicial approval.
Local affiliates of the Islamic State (IS) militant group carried out several terrorist bombings and bombing attempts in 2016. Attacks on a Shiite mosque in Al-Ahsa in the Eastern Province that killed four people in January were attributed to IS. In July, a suicide bombing in Medina also killed four people. Two other attacks were attempted the same day in the Shiite community of Qatif and near the U.S. consulate in Jeddah. In May, security forces reportedly broke up an IS cell in a suburb of Mecca. Separately, Yemeni rebel forces continued to fire missiles and other ordnance into Saudi territory in 2016, killing small numbers of Saudi civilians.
Substantial prejudice against ethnic, religious, and national minorities prevails. Shiites, who make up 10 to 15 percent of the population, are underrepresented in senior government positions, and Shiite activism has faced repression by security forces. Shiites have also been subject to physical assaults by both state and non-state actors.
Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights 2/16
Do individuals enjoy the freedom of travel or choice of residence, employment, or institution of higher education? Do individuals have the right to own property and establish private businesses? Does government officials, the security forces, political parties/organizations, or organized crime unduly influence private business activities? Are there personal social freedoms, including gender equality, choice of marriage partners, and size of family? Are there equality of opportunity and the absence of economic exploitation?
Women are not treated as equal members of society, and many laws discriminate against them. They are not permitted to drive cars, despite the advocacy efforts of a civic movement aimed at lifting the ban, and must obtain permission from a male guardian in order to travel within or outside of the country. According to prevailing interpretations of Sharia in Saudi Arabia, daughters generally receive half the inheritance awarded to their brothers, and the testimony of one man is equal to that of two women. Moreover, Saudi women seeking access to the courts must be represented by a male.
The religious police enforce a strict policy of gender segregation and often harass women, using physical punishment to ensure compliance with conservative standards of dress in public. In December, a Twitter user in Riyadh, Malak al-Shehri, posted a photo of herself on the street without the obligatory hijab or abaya. She was subsequently arrested for “violations of general morals.”
Same-sex marriage is not legal. All sexual activity outside of marriage, including same-sex activity, is criminalized, and the death penalty can be applied in certain circumstances.
Foreign workers—of whom there are more than seven million in the country, making up more than half of the active labor force—have historically enjoyed virtually no legal protections and remain vulnerable to trafficking and forced labor, primarily through the exploitation of the visa-sponsorship system.
Are you willing to put your child I harm’s way for a country that believes in these atrocities? Are you willing to have your child killed defending and protecting governments that have few or limited human rights?
Here are a few notable countries and their views on human rights.
Venezuelan human rights:
Widespread arbitrary detention, imprisonment of opposition leaders, intimidation of journalists, torture, policies causing mass hunger and health catastrophe.
Chinese human rights:
Denial of freedom of speech, religion, and association, extrajudicial killings, repression of civil society, discrimination against Tibetans and other minorities.
Iraqi human rights:
Pro-government militias commit widespread human rights abuses, including assassinations, enforced disappearances, property destruction.
Qatari human rights:
Inhuman conditions for 1.4 million migrant workers, women denied basic rights to equality, denied the rights to be elected to legislative council; finances ISIS and Hamas.
Burundi human rights:
Police killings of peaceful protesters; government forces commit summary executions, targeted assassinations, enforced disappearances; arbitrary detention, torture, sexual violence; genocide warning.
Bangladeshi human rights:
Extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, killing of secular bloggers by Islamist groups, restrictions on online speech and the press, early and forced marriage, gender-based violence, abysmal working conditions, and labor rights.
United Arab Emirates human rights:
No political parties, no option to change government; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, arrests without charge, incommunicado detentions, lengthy pretrial detentions, police and prison guard brutality, violence against women, anti-gay discrimination, mistreatment and sexual abuse of foreign domestic servants and other migrant workers.