Senator Mark O. Hatfield


Domestic Policy

Foreign Policy


Bosnia Herzegovina  | Middle East | Vietnam


Foreign Policy:

October 9, 1969
Congressional Record – Senate:  Pages 34832 - 34833

Concurrent Resolution 39
Relating to Withdrawal of US Forces from Vietnam
Mr. HATFIELD. Mr. President, since the end of World War II our country has been faced with the inequity of a peacetime military draft. It has been my firm conviction, and still is, that peacetime conscription is contrary to the ideals on which our democracy was founded, ideals which we must maintain if our country is to flourish. There has been a proposal to establish a lottery, and I find it just as, if not more, inimical to our youth, our Nation, and our future than the present Selective Service System.
There are three criteria by which to judge the adequacy of a military manpower procurement system: First, the degree to which it would preserve the maximum amount of individual liberty and freedom from unjustified intrusion by the Government; second, the fairness in its application so that every young man receives equal treatment and no young man is required to make sacrifices that are not demanded of his peers; and third, the system's provision for maximum national security with the greatest efficiency and economy.
The present draft system meets none of these standards adequately-nor does the proposed lottery. We are still faced with the injustice, inequity, and inefficiency with the lottery that we face with the draft. There are some differences, however, which would further frustrate a persisting, intolerable situation. Under the lottery we substitute Lady Luck for conscious choice. This will not alter the fact that some young men are forced into service and denied their individual liberty while others escape any military duty. Furthermore, we would discriminate against the 18-and 19-year-olds more than under the present selection methods.
Patching up the draft will not necessarily move us toward an all-voluntary Army. The continuation of a peacetime conscription serves as a case in point. Similarly, a stopgap lottery system will only postpone the necessary transition to an all-volunteer military. As long as the incentives for voluntary enlistment are not improved, the undemocratic principle of the military draft is further -entrenched in our society.
On September 10, 1969, I wrote to the President expressing this opinion, proposing that he set January 1, 1971, as a target date for establishing an all-volunteer Army, having a lottery as an interim measure. To my knowledge no target date has been set. And, consequently, we are faced with the possibility of prolonging and heightening the alienation and polarization that conscription has brought in its 25-year wake.
President Nixon has vehemently supported the concept of an all-volunteer armed force.  He has stated that “as soon as aour reduced manpower reqjuirents in Vienam weill permit us to do so, we should stop the draft.”  Secretary of Defense Laird has asserted, furthermore, that the question of instituting a volunteer Army is essentially one of monetary cost. We have the manpower necessary to meet our military needs, and we can afford the budgetary cost—a cost, I might add, which is minimal when compared to the social Losses incurred by conscription.
If we are to move toward constructive change, a unified citizenry and a more just nation, we must set our goal at instituting a volunteer military and the total abolition of the draft. Involuntary servitude in any form will only perpetuate the dysfunctional effects of inefficiency, inequity, and injustice. One does not reform inequity, one abolishes it.
Therefore, I would like to register my protest vote.

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