Yes, it should. Dedication to a lifetime of service to the nation, in one capacity or another, should be something instilled in the hearts of all citizens. Unfortunately, it isn't. (Shame on the parents.)
Would a draft solve things? I think it really would, but you have to know how to set it up. Obviously, you don't add conscripts to the current all-volunteer force, and not everyone is physically (Teddy Kennedy), mentlly (Nancy Pelosi), or emotionally (Howard Dean) capable of military service . That doesn't mean they can't serve their nation. A National Service Corps, based loosely on the TVA and Peace Corps, would be ideal for those unfit or unwilling to join the military conscript corps. There'd be a butttload of manpower there, and they could be put to work immediately rebuilding New Orleans; even better, New-New Orleans, moving the old city uphill and upriver, stone by stone; and removing wreckage and rebuilding the lost homes.
1. Conscripts to military service are "kept" in draftee-only units until they re-up or get out. No point in lowering the quality of the total military by diluting it with folks who don't want to be there.
2. Conscript units get the dregs--the left over, picked over equipment, weapons, unifoms. They also have to wear insignia designating them as conscripts.
3. Refusal to service through conscription is a summary offense, incurring no jail time or other penalty, however those opting for this course of action are placed in a 50% tax bracket for life, are never allowed to own a firearm or nor can they vote, and cannot receive public assistance or other tax-funded services, ever.
4. A service corps is a great idea--but you volunteer for it, you can't be drafted into it, and people judged unfit for military service are immediately placed in it. Service Corps tours of duty are twice as long, and include at least year of homeland service and 18 months (at least) of foreign service.
5. Foreign service is what the peace-corps should have been-type stuff: education, training, construction and public works projects. Homeland service is TVA-type jobs: clearing brush and deadfall from forests --no more uncontrolled forest fires!-- the brush could provide winter fuel for the poor, fixing roads and building new ones, repairing infrastructure, picking up trash along highways and in cities, stripping graffiti, clearing lots, general national police-call type stuff. They would also be disaster-relief and prevention manpower. Abroad, they could feed the children, improve infrastructure, dig wells, build homes and schools, teach sex ed, sell tupperware, and generally provide the manpower and knowledge base so many nations need to pull themselves up economically.
6. In orderto keep the current services pure, a military conscript corps should be established; those people who have to be pressed into service of their nation don't necessarily get the same bennies as those who go willingly. (No GI Bill, SGLI, ed bennies, different pay scale.) However, a completed tour would count toward active federal service if they continued beyond their initial term in the service corps or joined a military branch.
7. Military Conscript Corps units would be the fodder, they would go find mines and IEDs, occupy checkpoints, and guard basecamps. They would be the labor force so desparately needed so the real warriors could go do the tough jobs. Conscripts could volunteer to enlist in the regular active-duty military, but could not receive commissions or warrants.
8. The first conscript units would be comprised of the sons, daughters, nieces and nephews, and grandchildren of all currently serving politicians. No exceptions, and service in the military or service corps would become a constitutional requirement for any political office from President to dog catcher, including appointees and especially supreme court justices. Conscription is mandatory upon the 18th birthday (or high school graduation, whichever is later), for males and females. No exceptions for queers, pregnant girls can get a deferrment, but will fall under the 50% tax/no vote until they finish their period of service. The father of the child (whether married or not) is responsibble for the care of the child when mom has to do her foreign service conscription duty. The Amish are also called to serve, as are the Quakers, the buddhists, and the Scientologists.
9. Conscription service begins the day a person becomes a naturalized citizen, for all members of the household over 18.
10. Conscription into a foreign service corps a la the french foreign legion is also compulsory for any illegal immigrants caught inside our borders. They would receive their pay in the currency of their country, or in rubles. After completing the tour of duty on the FSC, they are returned to their country of origin.
11. Discipline in the conscript corps MUST be exponentially more severe than in the current military. Flogging, branding and generally Captain Blye-type punishment should be enforced for the smallest infractions.
12. Service conscription also should'nt just start with our 18-year olds, but with all eligible people up to the current enlistment age for the military (which I think is 40-42). And of course, every politician who votes for, or is in office when this is passed into law, must also serve when they are voted out of their office, regardless of age. If they've already completed military service--unless they are retired from said service, they will serve again. (After 20 years, paid in full should be stamped on their social security card).
13. Finally, with regard to item 12, Political positions, appointments, and offices are NOT considered public service as it applies to conscription or the service corps. They can make the country better with the strength in their backs and by the sweat of their brow.
So there you have it. A workable draft, and good use of our nation's greatest resource, without weakening the military one bit. Are you sure you don't want me for SECDEF?