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Close your eyes and imagine a young American.

Got a picture in your mind? Does the youngster have his or her hands cuffed behind his or her back?


Well, clearly, you’re not the Selective Service System (SSS). 

“When the threat of force is your first argument that somebody should do something,” James Leroy Wilson wrote at, “you have no other.”

Wilson added, “And there is no reason for Selective Service to exist, as exemplified by” the agency’s “threatening, bullying” (and since deleted) tweet:

Some people don’t want to register because they think ‘laws and government suck.’ But truth be told, failure to register is punishable by a fine up to $250,000 and imprisonment up to 5 years. Also, failure to register results in a lifetime of denied benefits. #MythBusters

And what a compelling picture of coercion! 

Is that supposed to be your kid?

Let’s start with some myth-busting of Selective Service’s so-called #MythBusting. For all their threats of imprisoning young men who don’t register, no one has been prosecuted in over 30 years. 

I know because I remember those handcuffs quite well. Exactly 35 years ago today, three FBI agents arrested me at my home in North Little Rock, Arkansas, for my unwillingness to present myself and submit to signing a draft registration card. 

My reasons — like those of only 13 others convicted of disobeying this unconstitutional demand — were more clearly articulated than the SSS tweet suggests: namely, a respect for the higher law of the Thirteenth Amendment and basic human rights, a desire to inform my government that I wouldn’t fight an unjust war, and an understanding that conscription was the way unfree countries fill their armies — anathema to the values that make America worth defending. 

Today, non-registration continues to be massive. Admittedly, only half of young men in urban Washington, DC, and barely 60 percent in more rural North Dakota have complied with draft registration. 

Moreover, most registrations are now passive, meaning men are registered while getting a driver’s license or applying for student aid — often without their knowledge. 

Not exactly oozing with patriotism. 

Last year, the agency did send over 110,000 names to the Justice Department for prosecution, but there were no prosecutions . . . which would spark public opposition to the program.

For now, draft registration continues even though former Selective Service Director Bernard Rostker contends, “My bottom line is there is no need to continue to register people for a draft that will not come; no need to fight the battle over registering women, and no military need to retain the [Military Selective Service Act].”

But Congress has empaneled the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service to investigate and provide a report: (1) whether to extend draft registration to women, in keeping with a federal court ruling, or to end the registration program altogether, as it should; and (2) whether there should be a compulsory military draft or civilian national service program.

I believe the draft violates individual freedom and makes our country less safe. We shouldn’t force young women to register or be drafted into combat along with men; we should end this conscription program for everyone. 

I fought the draft 35 years ago when it was about me. I plan to double-down now that it is about my kids. And grandkids. And yours.

What say you? Please go tell the National Commission on Military, National and Public Service — HERE — to listen to your Common Sense today. 

Thank you. I’m Paul Jacob.

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