Enlisting With Uncle Sam

Is America ready for a national-service program?

Some see it as a way of filling the ranks of the military at a time when the pool of new 18-year-olds is shrinking. Others regard it primarily as a way to foster a work ethic while meeting the nation's domestic needs: restoring parks, cleaning up inner cities, repairing roads, caring for the elderly, tutoring children. Proponents of the idea still disagree as to what extent the program should be mandatory or voluntary. Yet there is growing talk these days among politicians of various stripes about instituting in the U.S. some form of national service, a program that would recruit or...

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