Sunday, November 15, 2015

For Second Draft, Rules Are Simplified, 1917

“The Second Draft,” from the Watauga Democrat, November 22, 1917

The Statesville Sentinel has the following editorial, supplemented by one from the New York World on the second draft that will be read with interest:

It is a known fact that the first draft machinery was far too complicated and those who were called upon to execute the rulings were, as a rule, ignorant of the work allotted to them. The exemption boards did their work in a conscientious manner, and to the best of their ability, but their knowledge of that which was expected of them was limited and the many blanks and details served to hamper rather than help them. We feel that the most serious mistake made was the manner in which the men were taken from the farms. In our own county the greater part off the farm. When these men left a certain percentage of the count’s production is bound to have been left off.

With two months to study the new draft machinery and with the experience gained from their first work and the improved, revised and limited number of blanks to be handled, the work will be handled more expeditious and in a better manner. Every man’s occupation and his real worth to the nation will be set before the board.

The New York World in speaking of the second draft says:

With proper foresight the second draft begins, long before the actual calling of the men, with an appeal for professional aid in classifying them. Two months remain for this work, in which experience already gained should be invaluable.

What is proposed by President Wilson is “a complete inventory of the qualifications of each registrant.” We are told, for instance, that hereafter ship-building trades will be exempt. Possibly farmers were not sufficiently considered in the first draft; the President wishes to determine “the place in the military, industrial, or agricultural ranks” where each can “best be made to serve the common good.” The selective process is to become more selective.

This increases the labor of selection. The President pays a high tribute to members of the local board who have toiled so faithfully, and safety assumes that other men of technical knowledge, such as doctors and lawyers, will welcome the chance to serve the country by expert assistance to boards now at work or to be established.

To organize the Nation for war is a task for the Nation; no less. Go or stay; fight, manufacture or grow food; pay or advise, help in the draft; knit, sew, nurse or cook—more and more there will be opportunity, as we sweep into the midcurrent of conflict, for all to help. The President may indeed “call upon all citizens to assist.”

To Germany these early arrangements for the second draft give notice. We are but beginning to prepare to fight as we can fight!”

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