Nobel Prize winner speaks, predicts draft’s reinstatement

Friday, September 17, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 12:35 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

Bobby Muller co-founded several internationally prominent organizations, included the Vietnam Veterans of America and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. The latter won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. Thursday night he spoke to an audience of 19 at Waters Auditorium at MU under the banner of his most recent creation, the Alliance for Security.

Muller’s speech, the first in his “Tour of Duty” lecture tour of college campuses, predicted the return of the military draft to America.

“I think it will happen next year,” Muller said in an interview preceding the lecture.

“Nobody wants a draft,” he said. “The question is whether we will need a draft. The world is inflamed in war right now, and every indication says it won’t end any time soon. It’s going to get bigger.”

Muller framed his prediction by drawing on the lessons of Vietnam, where he suffered a gunshot wound that left him paralyzed from the chest down. He listed what he saw as America’s mistakes in Vietnam for the first half of his speech and drew parallels between the Vietnam War and America’s current war in Iraq.

“We didn’t understand who we were going up against,” said Muller, adding that a lack of clear battle lines, a lack of an identifiable enemy and an indiscriminate use of firepower in response to attack also contributed to America’s losses in Vietnam.

“If you don’t understand Vietnam, it will take you too long to understand Iraq,” he said.

Muller predicted that America will repeat its past in the Middle East in the next few years.

“It is inevitable that this will take years and disastrous events,” Muller said.

He closed by discussing the instability of other nations such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and saying that America would have to enact a draft in order to meet the requirements that any of these new conflicts would create.

After Muller concluded his remarks, Sarah Warren of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation spoke about the political steps necessary to begin the draft, saying induction notices would be sent out three days after Congress and the president approved it.

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