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    As to your finding Moore's action "laughable," it was intended to point out that the Congresscritters who thoughtlessly condemn other people's children to fight a needless war aren't even willing to consider suggesting their own own kids make that extraordinary sacrifice.  The idea that they can force their kids to do it is yours, not Michael Moore's, and what he did was not a publicity stunt.

    The question Moore posed to said congresscritters was, "would you enlist your children in the Army?"  

    It was not "could you envision your children serving in the Army?"

    The former is a meaningless question (what lawyer types would call an "illusory promise"), because one person doesn't the right to enlist another in anything.  It's a commitment between the military and the enlistee.

    So it was a publicity stunt, one designed, like the rest of his films, to catch policymakers in a "candid camera" moment.

    Of course parents will have informal influence over a decision to enlist.  No one is disputing that.

    Since I'm the resident contrarian around here, I'll take this opportunity to be, well, contrary.  

    An earlier poster queried whether this "draft" issue had much appeal among moderates, and I think the answer is "no."  The main reason is that we risk being seen as Chicken Littles, as we do on too many other issues.  

    There were arguments during the 2004 campaign that a draft was imminent (John Edwards stupidly jumped on this bandwagon, although I doubt it had any effect on the results), indeed that it would be announced shortly after a Bush victory.  Hasn't happened.  Campus antiwar activists made this argument throughout every conflict in the 1990s (Gulf War I, Bosnia, Kosovo).  It didn't happen then, and notwithstanding genuine manpower storages, it won't happen now.

    Rangel's bills to reintroduce a draft don't help our credibility, either.  And John Kerry himself called for adding another two divisions to the Army.  If he could do that without drafting anyone, so could Bush.

    Since I've expounded for this long, I'll add my broader reactions to Kos' "chickenhawks who don't want to serve" argument, which he apparently thinks is a zinger.

    My reaction is that this is simutaneously the strongest and weakest argument one can make.  It's the strongest because it is a genuine moral conundrum -- and one that applies not only to Iraq, but to pretty much every war we've ever fought.  (Does anyone seriously think there were no social divisions in the military in World War II?  Or that Kerry would have been an officer, rather than an enlistee, absent his social standing?  

    That's why it's also the weakest argument one can make, because ultimately, government leaders can't be Kantians -- they have to take decisions and get things done, even if doing so exposes some philosophical contradictions.  The only rational response to the "war is bad because the process of finding people to fight it is inequitable" argument is pacifism.  Indeed, it may be one of the stronger arguments in favor of pacifism.  But pacifism itself opens up another whole can of worms --  letting the strong lord over the weak -- that is even more problematic.

    Put differently, do you really think that every infantryman on the Normandy beaches at D-Day was absolutely delighted to be there?  Was there absolute social equality within that group of infantrymen?  If not, does that mean that the conflict was unjustified?

    The current all-volunteer system we have in place now may not be morally perfect, but it is probably the best system we can come up with.  Enlistees still are disproportionately from backgrounds of lower socio-economic status.  They nonetheless have made a choice that it's in their best interests to enlist.

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