Thursday, July 15, 2004

Draft Watch: Hell No We Won't Go!

Even as the official denials - are we all adult enough here to call them by their true name rather than euphemisms: lies - go on about the ressurection of the draft it's the talk of the town around summer dining tables and backyard barbeques. (LAT)

July 14, 2004

Prospect of a New Military Draft Drawing More Attention, Concern

By Elizabeth Mehren, Times Staff Writer

BOSTON — No law has been signed to revive the draft, and the president, the Pentagon and the presumed Democratic presidential nominee all oppose forced military service. Yet as fatalities in Iraq increase and as troops see their tours extended, there is a growing concern across the country that a draft may be in the offing.

At summer barbecues, kids' baseball tournaments and worksites, conversations focus on whether a new generation will be called to mandatory military duty. Parents, grandparents and others are wondering how long America can rely on volunteers and reservists to supply a strong defense...

The measures have little support on Capitol Hill. In an interview, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) — a former Navy fighter pilot and Vietnam prisoner of war — said unequivocally: "I don't think the country is ready for a return to the draft."

But University of Maine law school professor Don Zillman, an expert on conscription, said the buzz about the draft may be well-founded.

"I think we are stretched about as far as we can go," he said. "You are overextending the people who are in the military, and new ones are not flocking. What are you going to do?"

Congress may not rush to endorse a resumption of the draft in an election year, Zillman said. "But if you have one or two major terrorist attacks or some major military action overseas, Congress can change very quickly," he said. "It's easy to dismiss talk about the draft as paranoid fantasy, but I don't think so."

Speculation about a return to the draft rose recently when the Selective Service Agency began seeking volunteers to serve on 1,980 draft boards throughout the country. The agency with which males legally must register when they turn 18 — although most do not — said it simply was getting ready "to manage a draft if and when the president and Congress so direct."

This is why moral authority is so important, and what the self-serving ass-covering claims of Bush and Blair miss as the important point of failing to find WMD so shamefully. Clearly I would support the draft to counter a clear and present danger to the United States of America. However these fools have squandered such moral authority by crying "wolf!" or at least "WMD!". In the near future could any reasonable person view any call to arms with anything less than strong skepticism? Bringing back a draft to fight Hitler or repel an armed attack is one thing. Bringing it back so that young kids can die so that Haliburton can have juicy contracts in the Middle-east is not quite so ringing a cause. This isn't just the oldman's opinion, certainly even some GOP lawmakers are getting queasy about all the lying.
WASHINGTON — Revelations that prewar intelligence on Iraq was deeply flawed have triggered soul-searching on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers asking whether a more accurate assessment would have changed their vote for war and casting doubt on whether preemptive military action could ever again win approval.

The debate is about more than history, and is more than partisan posturing in a presidential election year. Any future debate on the use of military power "will have that overlay" of the intelligence failure on Iraq, said Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), who voted in October 2002 to authorize President Bush to use force.

"There's a greater burden of proof now when someone comes up here suggesting preemptive action," Smith said, adding that Congress will insist "that we have more concrete facts."

The vote that gave Bush broad leeway to use force against Iraq was seen by many as a revolution in American foreign policy. Breaking with decades of precedent, lawmakers accepted Bush's post-Sept. 11 doctrine of preemption and gave the White House more flexibility to make war — even when there was no imminent threat to U.S. security.

Now some senators are saying that documentation of the intelligence failure dealt a serious blow to that doctrine, and others are left rethinking their vote for war.

Furthermore the thinking of some draft proponents is worse than ridiculous. First they propose that they would make it near universal service without exemption for all young persons from the age of 18-26. That is supposedly to make it more fair. Then they try to sweeten the pill by saying that well if you're against serving in the military you can opt to do civil service work instead. Well instead that the bloody loophole right there in the open!

Everyone who wants to get out of dying for their country is going to try to become one of those given civil service duty. Serving in a civil service job for two years is not the equivalent of risking your neck in the military! That is the draft dodging deferrment right there!
"We don't want it," she said flatly. "Even if they say they will make it a universal draft, when was 'universal' ever universal? So do we have any faith that it would be this time? No. Shouldn't we be talking about military downsizing — or having one area of conflict at a time?"...

Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) maintains that an all-volunteer military is just as unfair. The Korean War veteran has introduced legislation to mandate two years of military or civilian service for all young Americans. Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.), a World War II veteran, is sponsoring a similar bill.

"A military draft has already been taking place, a draft of those in disadvantaged areas who — for economic reasons — must join the service," Rangel said. A shortage of jobs and the prospect of post-military educational benefits lure poor young men and women into enlisting, he said.

The Rangel and Hollings bills would make 18- to 26-year-olds eligible for the draft, with almost no exemptions. Those unfit for military service because to health or other impairments would perform community service.

Don't these people bother to think? Aren't we going to get doctors bribed or moved by conscience to testify that youths are unfit for duty this time around like last time? And the whole point of a draft is to provide military manpower. Given that a lot of people are going to want to do the "safe" civilian service jobs instead, who decides who is going to get the modern equivalent of Texas Air National Guard spots that are going to be highly sought after? Even if we state that it would be selected by lottery, loterry personnel can be bribed. If we state it is by merit, then well-off and middle-class families can afford to endow their children with skill-sets far more likely to fit the skills within civilian service postings.

Now of course all of this doesn't mean that we can't run a "fair" draft but one cobbled together without much thought and containing inherent logical flaws is doomed to be botched from the beginning. The simple fact is that while our military needs are currently bigger than the current volunteer force structure can manage, the other side of the coin is that the need is smaller than what would be efficient to use a draft to address.

The real solution is to restructure the force and fix the volunteer incentives. But adding more voluntary soldiers and fixing the incentive and retention structure would cost a lot of money. Which would force politicians to make hard choices about fiscal discipline. So it's easier just to bring back the draft.

Now I don't know about you, but I don't particularly favor bringing back the draft so as to make the political job of elected officials easier when it comes time to get re-elected. I'm sorry but that's just not a compelling reason to favor the draft.


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