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SELECTIVE SERVICE DESERVES AX

Nostalgia is no excuse for keeping selective service, that relic of the Cold War, still alive. There's simply no point in retaining the agency that once operated the military draft.

In recent years, however, attempts to do away with selective service have run afoul of the argument that the nation needs at least a nominal draft structure just in case war should break out.That view is out of touch with modern-day military realities. First, an all-volunteer army is already in place to do the job - and, if need be, as was the case during the gulf war, men and women in the reserves and the National Guard can be called up.

Spending $20 million or so to keep it in business doesn't make sense; the money could be used for far more useful purposes.

If Mr. Clinton is playing up to the veterans who want to keep the draft available for future use, he isn't serving the nation's best interests. Selective service is a relic and a waste of money. Congress should get rid of it.