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This issue is probably best handled by markos here, but Bob Herbert's column attacks the issue headon:

The all-volunteer Army is not working. The problem with such an Army is that there are limited numbers of people who will freely choose to participate in an enterprise in which they may well be shot, blown up, burned to death or suffer some other excruciating fate.

The all-volunteer Army is fine in peacetime, and in military routs like the first gulf war. But when the troops are locked in a prolonged war that yields high casualties, and they look over their shoulders to see if reinforcements are coming from the general population, they find -as they're finding now - that no one is there.

. . . Now, with the war going badly and the Army chasing potential recruits with a ferocity that is alarming, a backlash is developing that could cripple the nation's ability to wage war without a draft. Even as the ranks of new recruits are dwindling, many parents and public school officials are battling the increasingly heavy-handed tactics being used by military recruiters who are desperately trying to sign up high school kids.

. . . What's not so wonderful is that this war with no end in sight is becoming an ever more divisive issue for Americans. A clear divide is developing between those who want to continue the present course and those who feel it's time to craft an exit strategy.

But with volunteers in extremely short supply, an even more emotional divide is occurring over the ways in which soldiers for this war are selected. Increasing numbers of Americans are recognizing the inherent unfairness of the all-volunteer force in a time of war. That emotional issue will become more heated as the war continues. And it is sure to resonate in the wars to come.

While Bushco's monumental mendacious blunder into the Iraq Debacle is the immediate cause of this crisis, the issue seems to extend beyond this. We must consider the real possibility that our nation will need to fight a war which will result in significant casualties. War is always always always a last resort, but it still is a resort.

Have we been kidding ourselves on believing an all volunteer force is adequate for our national security needs? And if it isn't, do we want a draft? And if not a draft then what?

Update [2005-6-27 1:9:51 by Armando]: Trevino of Red State argues for a draft.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:35 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Leave Iraq (4.00)
    Dump the lying repuglican criminals.
    Then Americans will rejoin the army.

    Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party - DNC Chair Howard Dean

    by easong on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:37:50 PM PDT

    •  Draft and Empire (3.91)
      There is a popular notion that Herbert is riffing on that the draft will democratize American foreign policy by forcing a slumbering population to wake up to the real costs of foreign policy decisions.

      There are a couple problems with this line of reasoning. First it disregards the many other mechanisms used by our rrulers to keep us passive and uninvolved. It assumes that we live in a genuinely democratic society that has just gotten a bit of track as a result of apathy.

      I would submit that we live in an empire, that we have lived in one for a long time, and that the primary effect of an actual draft would be to give our imperial overlords more of our childrens bodies to use in their wars.

      Of course it is quite likely right now that if an attempt were made to reinstate the draft that it would spark a generalized revolt, but thats not really a good reason for progressives to advocate it.

      The professionalism of the All Volunterr Force is much lauded. But the truth is that that the all volunteer character of the military is a constraint imposed by the political realities of the U.S. defeat in Viet Nam. It can fight certain kinds of short small wars, but it requires enormous investment in minimizing casualties that hampers its real ability to use all its toys to maximum effect and it falls apart when asked to engage in larger sustained wars like in Iraq.

      "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories." -- Amilcar Cabral

      by Christopher Day on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:23:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's absolutely right (4.00)
        You say:

        the primary effect of an actual draft would be to give our imperial overlords more of our childrens bodies to use in their wars.

        God, I hope people listen to you instead of getting carried off to do a damn fool thing like support another draft. You're absolutely right - a draft will not do a goddamned thing to democratize foreign policy or prevent us from embarking on foolish wars.

        People who are advocating a draft are the equivalent of those who supported the Iraq War without joining up themselves - they are willing to use other people's lives to support their own political position.

        A draft is a VERY BAD IDEA. Let's all pledge to vehemently oppose one if it's proposed.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

        by eugene on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:40:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are still plenty of ex-draftees (none)
          in this country. Maybe they don't see why they had to have their asses involuntarily put in the military and in a war while today's kids don't face that situation.

          "The lunatics have overtaken the asylum." And the asylum is burning.

          by Skylor on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:00:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So what you're saying is: (none)
            Continue the cycle of drafting for an unjust war forever, because not throwing us in a war involuntarily isn't fair?
            •  What I'm saying is (none)
              that if you have something at risk, you might get up off your ass and do something about it.

              "The lunatics have overtaken the asylum." And the asylum is burning.

              by Skylor on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:06:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Didn't sound like it. (none)
                Sounded more like "ex-draftees are awful bitter that they had to go and fight and die and these kids don't." But anyway, isn't that what dailykos is for?
              •  The Oprative Word is "Might" (4.00)
                While conscription sometimes produces those results, far more often it just produces big armies that can be used for terrible purposes. It is true that conscription did much to fuel anti-war sentiment during Viet Nam, but consider the cost: the ability of the war machine to kill 4.5 million Indochinese and send 59,000 American soldiers to their death before the thing was over.

                When liberals/progressives speak supportively of the draft or sending "more troops" they sow confusion and make it easier for the right-wingers to claim that its bi-partisan thing when they finally feel compelled to implement a draft in order to keep this awful war going.

                We can stop this war. We are at a point where opinion polls show opposition to the war at levels that only occurred during Viet Nam in 1968, and this in spite of the virtual evaporation of the organized anti-war movement in support of Kerry's presidential  bid.

                If you want a draft in order to wake people up to stop the war, why not put your energies into organizing a loud enough anti-war movement? The fact of the matter is that the problem isn't that people don't oppose the war in sufficient numbers yet, its that they aren't ORGANIZED.

                "Tell no lies. Claim no easy victories." -- Amilcar Cabral

                by Christopher Day on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:39:05 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  former draftees (none)
            I've also heard from plenty of former draftees who post on my local dem boards, who do not want to see what happened to them, happen to the nation's young people today.
        •  what about the concept that a draft (none)
          means a revolution of sorts?  That the very massiveness of the protest would end our involvment in the war before the draft itself ever made it off the ground?  What if it not only never got off the ground (I mean, how long does it take to mobilize a draft; how long before the first draftees made it to war?), but it lead to the actual impeachment of George Bush?  What if the institution of a draft almost immediately meant the end of this war?

          There are reasons they haven't reinstated the draft and I have to wonder if the factors I mentioned above aren't what's stopping them at this point.  

          •  There are other, better ways. (none)
            We can accomplish the ousting of Bush and the defeat of the wingnut agenda without a draft. In fact, if we can't do it without resorting to a draft, then we've already lost.

            Besides, even with a draft, we'd still need to be able to mobilize politically to prevent a drafted army from being used in a war. If we can't mobilize to stop such wars now, especially ones based on such patently bullshit rationales, I have little reason to expect a draft would provide a different outcome.

            I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

            by eugene on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:08:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm torn on this subject (none)
              but looking at it from "the draft would cause riots which in turn would end Bush's presidency and the war" viewpoint, there would be a lot more people participating than there were in 2002 and early 2003 namely, parents and grandparents of potential draftees, draft age people themselves, in addition to the rest of us.  The point is, more people, more outrage, ungovernable and angry.

              The reason I'm torn is the chance that the American people would sit on their asses and do nothing while more kids are made cannon fodder...

          •  Time lag from draft to combat (none)
            is conservatively estimated at two years!  That is if you want trained competent soldiers and not useless bodies in battle.  So while the draft would be useful to swelling the army's ranks, it is by no means a quick fix nor is it a long run solution.

            Tyranny goes with poverty;it's cheaper than democracy. (Larry Niven)

            by Fabian on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:09:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  <p>We can't have it both ways</p> (none)

            Sure. If W proposes a draft, then fighting the draft is one way to organize opposition to him.

            But don't support a draft because that would somehow eneergise and opposition to W.

        •  If the Repugs want a draft... (none)
          They'll get one whether we want it or not or to put it into Bushian terms... what the good of having a majority if you can't abuse it.

          They've avoided a draft so far because they know that a lot of their supporters are "supporters of convenience" and a draft get down right inconvenient real fast.

          Certainly the "yon teen repuglicans" will be trading in their searsucker suits at a good clip if it comes to a draft.

          Bush is pushing the "generational war" crap and he needs bodies, so if he does a draft it won't be until after the midterm elections. It does seem unavoidable looking at it from his perspective.

          •  So far it's only been Charlie Rangel (none)
            pushing for a draft, with the rethugs trying to avoid it at all costs.  They seem to think it would be political suicide for them to support a draft, but Shrubya might push for it after the mid-term election.  I don't know if Rangel pushed for it simply to force the issue or if he really wants a draft, but it might have the effect of showing rethugs flip-flopping on the issue down the road...

            I used to be in favor of compulsory service for everyone at age 19, for either two years of military service or four years of non-military service (community service) - with no exceptions.  I am so glad that never came to pass given the current state of affairs.

            I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.' --Goldwater, 1981

            by John H on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:04:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Howard Dean disagrees (none)
          I recall Dean arguing at a meeting here in Dartmouth College about a year ago that the draft was a good idea. He was being somewhat provocative, but I think his point was that 'people like us' (not me, I'm British) should enlist. The army needs intelligent, liberal people to provide balance and improve America's reputation overseas, and, according to Dean, service is a valuable experience for a young person. I have never served (nor will I), for which reason I dare not disagree. Howard Dean rocks.
        •  I'm prime draft age (none)
          and I would whole heartedly support a draft before I'd support fleeing from Iraq tomorrow-- even if it was a mistake to invade in the first place.

          The draft I'd like to see though would carry no easy out loophole deferrments-- gays, students, etc.  It would be everyone's duty.

          "If immortality is found in the absence of time rather than infinite stretches of time, then those who live in the present live forever."

          by WAmod on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:49:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If you're so concerned about the war (none)
            why not enlist now? why wait for the draft?

            "The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement..."

            by ProgressivePrinciple on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:40:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Read my post again n/t (none)

              "If immortality is found in the absence of time rather than infinite stretches of time, then those who live in the present live forever."

              by WAmod on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:44:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If it is everyone's duty (none)
                then what are you waiting for? Or is only the draft a duty, but not the war? I just don't understand how you can say that although the war was a mistake in the first place, you nevertheless are willing to fight, just so long as it is forced upon you.  

                "The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement..."

                by ProgressivePrinciple on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:08:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You didn't re-read it (none)
                  What I said was that if it was a choice between abandoning Iraq today, leaving it a chaotic terrorist state (ala Lebanon in the 80s) or needing a draft to make Iraq a stable state-- then I would rather see the draft.  And I would go.

                  I wouldn't like it, it would probably be the toughest choice of my life.  Which is why I guess it would be easier if it were compelled.  But right now what we have is a bunch of kids standing around a mess arguing about who's responsible-- some say it's those who knocked it over should be cleaning it up, but it's clear that isn't goign to happen.  Others say we should just run away from it and leave the mess sitting there.  Still others say that although they didn't make the mess in the first place, it was still important to clean it up.

                  If you've spent any time around kids, you know that this kind of thing can go on forever.  Until someone acts like an adult and takes responsibility for the mess-- regardless of whether they made it in the first place-- nothing will get done.  Whether or not I can make that choice-- I don't know, I hope I can.  Like I said, I've got a new wife, new mortage, not alot of job security-- it would be alot easier if it were compelled.  But you can't seriously think that wanting to run away from the mess puts you on any higher moral ground.

                  "If immortality is found in the absence of time rather than infinite stretches of time, then those who live in the present live forever."

                  by WAmod on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:13:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeeeesh! (none)
                    Like the previous poster said, what are you waiting for?  Here you are lecturing people about taking responsibility, and you're not willing to do so yourself.

                    And don't tell me to re-read your post, all that's there is apparent at a first reading.  

                    BTW, in case you haven't noticed, Iraq currently is a "a chaotic terrorist state (ala Lebanon in the 80s)."  Just give a call to the nearest recruiting office, they'll doubtless send someone around to pick you up.


                    "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

                    by JJB on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:42:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Forget my post, re-read a history book (none)
                      Iraq is nothing as bad as Lebanon was.  The reason?  The US troops that everyone here seems to want to pull out.

                      "If immortality is found in the absence of time rather than infinite stretches of time, then those who live in the present live forever."

                      by WAmod on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:57:11 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I've Read Plenty Of History Books (none)
                        And if you think Lebanon in the 1980s was worse than Iraq today, you're the one in desperate need of remedial tutoring.  It was actually possible to live something like a normal life in parts of the country.  Lebanon is a tiny country of fewer than 4 million people.  Iraq, in case you haven't noticed, is a bit larger and considerably more populous - Baghdad alone has more residents than Lebanon.  Is anything resembling normal life to be found there, or in Basra, Ramadi, or Fallujah?  Additionally, US troops may well have been responsible for killing over 100,000 Iraqis.  If that's had any pacifying effect, it's of the "make a desert and call it peace" variety, not the sort of thing civilized nations should be in the business of doing.

                        As to forgetting your post, obviously you would like to.  You could always ask people to troll rate it into Hidden Comments so it won't be there to embarrass you any longer.  :-)

                        "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

                        by JJB on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:25:16 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I'm embarrassed for you (none)
                          I really can't help you if you think a US occupation is worse than a total anarchy during a 15 year civil war.

                          And while the civilian casualty list is staggering (if true) almost all of that was during the initial invasion.  It's dishonest to portray it as a result of the occupation.

                          If you can't see how Iraq would be worse off right now without US troops, then I might as well pick the rest of this conversation up with my living room wall.

                          "If immortality is found in the absence of time rather than infinite stretches of time, then those who live in the present live forever."

                          by WAmod on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 08:57:29 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Go Right Ahead (none)
                            "If you can't see how Iraq would be worse off right now without US troops, then I might as well pick the rest of this conversation up with my living room wall."

                            That's an argument you actually stand a chance of winning, though frankly my money's on the wall.  And I'll bet it's covered in rubber.

                            BTW, I'm very familiar with the tactic of posting a response in a dead comment thread when you figure the other person won't notice it, sort of like shouting into an empty lecture hall after the debate's over and glorying in the bogus notion that you got the last word in.  Your last name isn't Costanza by chance, is it?

                            Anyway, thanks for providing the cheap laughs at your expense.  :-)


                            "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

                            by JJB on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 01:01:30 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ignore the argument, commence ad hominem (none)
                            Ignoring facts and reason in favor of personal attacks does not reflect well on your argument.  I'll take it that you cannot think of a real reason that Iraq and the US would be more secure if we pulled out tomorrow.

                            And if this response is a little belated, it's because my schedule demands that I do other things during the day besides waste time replying to people who ignore whatever I say.  Although as far as your theory about my "tactics", I will say that conversating with you is very similar to shouting into an empty lecture hall.  Sometimes I think I can actually hear the echo.

                            "If immortality is found in the absence of time rather than infinite stretches of time, then those who live in the present live forever."

                            by WAmod on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 10:09:58 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Now It's 3 Days! (none)
                            I knew you'd come back to respond, like a pooch lapping up its vomit.


                            I've also got a lot more important things to do than waste time talking to people who lack the ability to make cogent arguments, but simply repeat over and over again that their opinion is correct, attempt to insult the other poster, then claim that said other poster started the name calling.

                            Still, I retain hope that even as thick a skull as yours can be penetrated by common sense, and with that in mind, offer you this link to the editorial calling for the removal of US troops from Iraq by USA Today's founder Al Neuharth, published yesterday.

                            BTW, this doesn't really work:

                            "I will say that conversating with you is very similar to shouting into an empty lecture hall.  Sometimes I think I can actually hear the echo."

                            You can only hear it sometimes?  Time for a hearing exam, unless the meds aren't working.  In that case, you need a doctor of another sort.  Answer yourself this question:  is what you (occasionally) hear what you said, or is the echo of your voice saying something else?  If the latter, you're in real trouble.

                            And "conversating"?  What the hell is that?  Most of us English speakers say "conversing," perhaps you speak a dialect unknown to me.  

                            Anyway, there's a lot of interesting conversation going on today, none of it coming from you.  So go on screaming into the empty lecture hall to your heart's content, only occasionally hearing your voice echoing off the walls.  You will respond to this of course - you can't resist.  Sad.

                            "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

                            by JJB on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 10:40:27 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm not saying my moral ground is higher... (none)
                    You are attempting to draw a moral distinction between fighting in the Iraq war voluntarily and fighting under compulsion. But it shouldn't make any difference: if you disagree with the war, you would refuse to fight even if you were drafted. Conversely, if you believe in the war, you would fight now (like the young repugs should be doing). This is a question of principle: if you believe in something, you should stand up for it. So my morality isn't better, it is simply different from yours. I'm anti-war and I won't fight voluntarily or under compulsion. My point is that you can't have it both ways -- you can't be against the war but willing to fight if and only if you are forced.  

                    "The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement..."

                    by ProgressivePrinciple on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:35:44 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Truth complicated? (none)
                      _ you can't be against the war but willing to fight if and only if you are forced._

                      You can!-- and maybe he is.  Certainly, this isn't a clear moral position, but I kind of have to respect someone who tells the truth even if it isn't particularly flattering to himself.  As the poster said, it would be easier to serve if he were compelled, because, well, he doesn't really want to.  I think, fair enough.  I'm sure there are other people here who feel the same way, but wouldn't maybe say it quite like that in public.

                      I'm opposed to the war, and all war, and I wouldn't serve, not that they want 33-year-old women... yet.  But there are certainly many worthwhile things, in accordance with my principles, that I am currently too lazy or busy or otherwise distracted to do, just like this poster.

                      •  It doesn't (none)
                        change the fact that the poster would be willing to fight for something that he believes is wrong. I don't know about you, but I have great respect for the draftees would refused to fight in Vietnam and stayed home to protest. I'm not saying that the vets were bad people to agree to be drafted, I'm just saying that the draftees who exercised their civil disobedience were in the right. Of course, this is all hypothetical: who is to say what a person would do in a given situation. However, I think we need to look at the current status of the war in conjunction with the potential for a draft, and in doing so determine where we stand individually from a moral perspective. While the poster, and you as well, may have been expressing human uncertainty, the reasoning of your argument remains nevertheless illogical: an individual's moral stance toward a situation doesn't change, or isn't compromised, simply because of outside pressure to conform.  

                        "The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement..."

                        by ProgressivePrinciple on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 09:24:27 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  And one more thing (none)
                        "you can't be against the war but willing to fight if and only if you are forced"

                        "You can!-- and maybe he is"

                        You're right: you can be for and against something at the same time, but you shouldn't be. You shouldn't be against the war but willing to fight, no more than you should be for the war but unwilling enlist, as is the Young Republicans' stance. If you continue with your position on this issue, you cannot fairly criticize chicken hawks; the same reasoning applies to their stance as to yours.  

                        "The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement..."

                        by ProgressivePrinciple on Tue Jun 28, 2005 at 09:36:12 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I said I wouldn't serve, (none)
                          so it's not "my position" that's in question, unless you want to argue whether or not respecting honesty is a valid position.  If chickenhawks were honest about their position, I'd respect that too.  I mean, respect the honesty, not the position.  Can't we make that distinction, or is it all principle, all the time?
                    •  The equation changes with a draft (none)
                      You people are being obtuse, and I can only assume purposefully.

                      Situation 1:  Fighting a losing war.  You and 100,000 of your closest friends saunter on across the ocean to repair the damage done by a few politicians, get decimated without making a damned bit of positive impact, and aren't around to tell the folks you were trying to help that you really were trying to help.  If you are among the thousands lost, your kids get a measly stipend and grow up without a father, at a severe disadvantage to all their peers.

                      Situation 2:  Fighting a winning war.  You and 100,000,000 of your closest friends are compelled to go across the ocean to repair the damage done by a few politicians, lose a few thousand of your closest friends, grieve, but live to fight another day.  The objective is achieved, or at least close enough that the folks you were trying to help plainly see that you were on their side, not trying to make them your personal bitches.  If you are among the unlucky few lost, your kids are likely to get a fairly good stipend, but still grow up without a father, although since your peers all know it could just as well have been them, your kids are greeted with significantly more compassion and help.

                      There's a lot more to be said for Situation 2 than for Situation 1.  The draft would get you closer to #2.  It's like trying to water a lawn with a hose versus with a medicine dropper; by the time you get halfway there with the medicine dropper it's time to start all over again.

                      Compulsion is not always a bad thing.  This is the nasty little secret of all those folks who worship market forces above all else:  companies won't clean up their waste all by themselves, and consumers can't boycott them into doing it either unless they're willing to never again buy anything from any company.  Sometimes compulsion is necessary to level the playing field and make everyone do what they know they should be doing anyways.

                      Now, as to this particular war, I agree with the grandparent regarding what would happen in an immediate pull-out scenario.  The situation in Iraq isn't good now.  Yes, we've done messed it up good.  But it is foolish to believe that just pulling all our troops out of there tomorrow would fix that.  Frankly, there is no obvious exit strategy there, and our choices are to make it a whole lot worse in a real big hurry, or re-commit ourselves to keeping it at or maybe slightly above its current sorry state indefinitely.  A third choice is definitely to impose a strict martial law situation (which, to be completely honest, I don't think we could do with a draft in place either, but that aside), get the frameworks established, the water running, the electricity running, then relatively quickly hand a working infrastructure over to the locals and try not to let the door hit us in the ass as we leave.

                      Now, personally, I don't think a draft will give us the troop numbers necessary for that third option.  In fact, I think it would pretty much do just what we've done so far, and backfire on us pretty darned well.  Maybe if we had true international assistance, or maybe if we hadn't already turned the local populace so hard against us, and almost certainly if we'd gone in en masse from day one and done exactly that ...  but all those possibilities are either in the past or in your dreams.  They aren't now.

                      But that still doesn't leave an obvious choice, and I guess that's why I'm writing this.  You make it sound like it's brain-dead obvious that we should pull out tomorrow, leave the Iraqis to figure it out themselves, and deal with the failed-state aftermath for the next fifty or one hundred years.  I don't think that that's obviously the right choice here.

                      In any case, there is certainly a difference between what someone would willingly do when there is compulsion applied evenly to all his peers and what that same person would willingly do with nothing but a "please volunteer to be blown up in a Humvee".  I would think that that would be obvious, no matter where one's personal politics lay.

      •  That's exactly right. (none)
        I keep saying it, but seldom so well.
      •  If it were really democratic... (4.00)
        ... Dubya would have served in Vietnam.  

        I agree with the basic sentiment, but I also think that a draft is little more than a form of slavery.  If a war is so unappealing to the public that you cannot find people willing to make the sacrifice it's either a statement about the war, or the public.  

        In the end, if there is a Draft, the people of priveledge will still not serve, you'll just have a larger portion of the tax paying middle class doing the work.  You know, the same people who are going to have to pay for this war in a few years when all those bonds come due.  Though I suppose nothing would end this war effort more quickly than telling those people their children are going to be forced to go fight it.  

        •  Umm, exactly ... (none)

          That's why any Draft Statute has to be exception-free.  No exceptions.  Period.  No college exemptions, no National Guard cushiness.

          Personally, and I'm sure I'm alone in this, and as a general policy not at all tied to the mess in Iraq, I think that we as a country should have a mandatory service system.  Not a draft that happens only in times of war, but a mandatory service.  Every person should give some portion of their life to defending the country's interests.  Short, say two years.  Hardly more than enough to just train you, let you sit in some cess pool around the world for a year, then release you back to carry on with your life.  No exceptions.  No exemptions.  Immigrants would be required to serve within five years of citizenship unless they come into the country after a certain age (at which time maybe there are other forms of service to be had).

          Nobody likes being told what to do.  But you know what?  In this world that we live in, you're always being "told what to do".  What relly sucks is when you are being told to do something and someone else is given the free pass out.  Which is exactly what was wrong with the 1960-70's draft policy:  it was indemically unfair.

          There is a hell of a lot to be said for military service, or, really, for any type of service, as required for entry into society as a fully-priviledged adult.  Throw Peace Corps type assignments in there too, as there's a lot more good a standing army can do in that type of work than in sitting around aiming guns at old ladies and children.  But, when war inevitably breaks out, the Peace Corps folks get sent to the front lines right along with the rest of them (again, to be as fair as possible).

          With a standing army will folks in charge be more likely to use it?  I think if the American people are stupid enough to elect war-mongering morons then said war-mongering morons will do what they naturally tend to do, no matter how large the immediately-available army is.  These folks don't look at force size, they look at population size and figure that, eventually, they can get a certain percentage of said population outfitted and screaming across their battlefield of choice.  What it all boils down to is simple:  we as Americans have to stop electing the war-mongering morons!  But, I'm preaching to the choir here.

      •  You have a point but... (none)
        What if the draft was such that families of the federal executive and legislative branches were required to be drafted first?

        Of course issues like equal protection and the like would probably invalidate it, but the court battle would at least expose the rank hypocracy of our "leaders".

        I'd like to see a Dem house member introduce just such a bill.

      •  I read the trevino post on redstate... (none)
        My lord.  I can't believe that there are people out there in the wild that actually feel this way.  I thought I had fallen down the rabbit hole and the world was not the same as when I fell asleep last night.  Thank you for confirming that there are still people with some semblance of reason left in this world.

        A draft is nothing more then institutionalized slavery.  It is rounding up our greatest national resource, and using it in a violent an unreplenishable fashion to promote political interests of an empire.

        They will literally have to kill me in order to take my sons for this purpose.  We will defend our home and family, but we will not fight economic/political wars for the washington elite.  They can go fuck themselves.

  •  Hypothetical (none)
    What happens if another 9/11 comes tomorrow, and we have to topple another terrorism-sponsoring state like Afghanistan? Is a draft inevitable at that point?

    Campaignation: A Strategic Look Ahead to 2006 and 2008

    by malkori on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:42:10 PM PDT

    •  another 9/11 (none)
      Another 9/11 would undoubtedly be traced back to Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, if not to Iraq. It is not politically viable to knock down either of the prior two regimes. Thus we would almost certainly retaliate against Iraq, depite what the evidence says. There are significant limits to our military, political, and economic might which simply puts certain actions beyond the pale. The reason we went after Afghanistan rather than Pakistan or S.A. after 9/11 is because we could do Afghanistan, but simply could not do either Pakistan or S.A.

      George W. Bush does not want you to read the above...

      by mbryan on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:45:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No - volunteers would come (none)
      A volunteer army is good (at least better than a drafted army).  Longer, messier, unjust or unjustifiable wars will not supported by lots of willing volunteers, at least if not an easy rout like the first 3 months of Iraq.

      during WWII they had plenty of volunteers and had to continually turn away those unfit.

      •  I think the population had different values then (none)
        They were used to sacrifice -- they had just come out of the depression -- they had a sense of community forged out of deprivation -- they didn't expect a lot of "stuff" in their lives -- there wasn't the awful great divide between the rich, middle and poor.  Weren't as educated.  Probably not a popular position.  I believe I read more than l/4 of draftees were malnourished.  And news was not as plentiful as it is now -- we have television -- we can see the effects of war.  We see the smirking of our politicians up front and close -- not just print and radio.

        Having said that - it is probable that there would be an initial swelling of enlistees in the event of another attack here.  It is unfair, unfair, unfair though -- the only way we're going to get upper - higher middle classes is a draft.  And they must go too if we have another war we can't avoid.  And college will have to wait --

        It's easy for me to say this because my son is 36 -- though who knows!  I can't imagine how I would feel if he were 16 or 17.  

        Conservatives say "Silent Spring" is a dangerous book! Why do Conservatives Hate Birds?

        by xanthe on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:52:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, not different values... (4.00)
          the difference then was that the population understood what was at stake and what we were fighting for. That is why we had all the volunteers. They understood the importance of winning the conflict.

          It is not that Americans won't sign up for a high-casualty war. It is that that war must have popular support, and you don't get that by lying to the American public.

          •  To an extent you are both right (none)
            I believe the people were just tired of feeling useless and unimportant, and fighting a Fascist shitheel gave them a sense of purpose.  It's the same reason so many Americans volunteered to fight against Franco in Spain - Franco was an asshole, but compared to Hitler he was a saint...

            I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.' --Goldwater, 1981

            by John H on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:51:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  My guilty conscience comes from (none)
          knowing that I have only one brother and one nephew who are draft eligible as things currently stand.  I have a friend whose only child is gay and she would pack him in a trunk and ship him to Canada before she'd let him be drafted.  But the rest of my family is in the too old(30's and up) and too young(preschool) to be drafted.  Though I oppose the war, I am not 100% anti-draft since I think it would have a few good effects.  But I am largely talking about drafting other people's children so I feel like a bit of a hypocrite.

          Of course if I did have draft eligible children, I'd be frothing mad every time I discussed the war in Iraq. Or I'd be talking to my relatives in Slovakia about sending my kids over there.

          Tyranny goes with poverty;it's cheaper than democracy. (Larry Niven)

          by Fabian on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:06:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

            •  Pardon me, so sorry (none)
              I am an ignorant gaijin and I don't speak Japanese. I am a frequent patron of a fine Japanese restuarant and associated grocery.  Best takeout sushi in Columbus!

              Tyranny goes with poverty;it's cheaper than democracy. (Larry Niven)

              by Fabian on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:44:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Now I Am embarassed! :-/ (none)
              I speak not a word of Slovak though my Dad might be able say "Hello, do you have any slivovitz?" in the language.  Grandad passed on last year, he remembered enough from his childhood to converse.

              Tyranny goes with poverty;it's cheaper than democracy. (Larry Niven)

              by Fabian on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:46:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  <p>Draft</p> (none)

            It seemed to me when I was in my twenties that lots of older men talked about the duty that young men owed to society. They didn't seem to talk much about what they owed to society.

            I'm 63 now, but I haven't changed that opinion.

            If our society is in such desperate straits that it needs to claim the lives of young men to protect it, and our society has been in such straits several times in the last 150 years, then it is also in such desperate straits that it needs to claim old men's property for the task.

            I say again, the country isn't at war; only the army is at war.

  •  Bob Herbert doesn't mention something. (3.88)
    There was no shortage of volunteers to go into Afghanistan. As far as I know, there was no shortage of volunteers to go fight in World War II either.

    I saw on this site a while back that the "Army likes an all volunteer force", allows them to keep pace with the Marines or something. Anyone else remember that? I saw it in a comment somewhere, someone back me up here.

    •  Exactly (4.00)
      There are men and women who are willing to make a huge sacrifice for their country when it is necessary for the defense of the country.

      As it becomes increasingly clear that this war was not necessary, there are -- understandably -- fewer men and women that see the need to volunteer. This is compounded by the fact that we don't provide our soldiers with the equipment (e.g. armor) or support they need, we cut their benefits, and we insert fine print which says  the government can extend their tour of duty even when it is being extended for an unnecessary war or because the government wants to prove it can fight a war "on the cheap."

      "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

      by muledriver on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:57:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bush at Fort Bragg on Tuesday night (none)
        Well said.

        I was wondering about two things:

        1. lots of Congressmen and military folks have been tap dancing around the declining recruitment figures and when it will become a significant problem.

        Some have estimated it at 6 months and some have put it out to 18 months. Has anyone heard a reliable source on the projections?

        2. Bush is giving his "generational war" and "long haul" pitch on Tuesday night with Fort Bragg as the backdrop. It will be lots of flag waving and Huuraahhhing for sure, but any speculation on how far he might go?

        •  Tap dancing? (none)
          How about avoiding the question if at all possible?  I am of the opinion that whatever committee oversees our national defense has a very good idea just how bad things are in terms of recruiting and current troop levels.  It is no politician's interest to even whisper about the draft as a possibility unless it is an unavoidable necessity.  The political fallout is just too toxic.

          Tyranny goes with poverty;it's cheaper than democracy. (Larry Niven)

          by Fabian on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:15:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  No shortage of volunteers in WWII??? (none)
      If there was no shortage of volunteers for World War II, then why was it necessary to draft 10 million men during World War II?  (There were also 6 million volunteers, but many of them volunteered because they knew they would be drafted anyway, and wanted to have more choice in the timing of joining up, or in where they served -- for example, in the Navy, rather than the Army where most draftees were going.)
      •  It wasn't just the draft (none)
        It was the entire effort. Industry was switched over to producing war materiel rather than consumer goods. Taxes were raised. Important commoditities were rationed.

        We were AT WAR -- in every sense of the word. Even if you didn't get shipped out, you still were helping the war effort in some way. You worked at a factory making planes (or tanks, or whatever). You drove less, if at all. You scrimped on sugar, meat, nylon, lots of things. You planted a victory garden, you recycled tin cans. You SACRIFICED, because we were at WAR. And you didn't profit from it, because that was definitely not patriotic.

        If we were actually acting like we were at war, rather than Bush and his buddies playing war with our kids as their toy soldiers, there might be some support. Not for Iraq, which is indefensible, but for Afghanistan.

        But Iraq is just Vietnam on steriods and speed.

      •  Volunteering ... (none)
        Not to mention, if you volunteered then the guy to your left and to your right had also volunteered ...
    •  Agreed. Herbert misses a key difference (none)
      ... between genuine defense against genuine threats, and fool's errands with bogus justifications.

      Bush broke the nation's convenant with its volunteer servicemembers and reserves -- that they would not be called to shed blood without good reason.

      [surgo is mistaken re WW II, but large scale force on force "cannon fodder" wars are a thing of the past.]

      Don't trust 'em no farther than you can throe 'em.

      by RonK Seattle on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:05:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If we were performing global peace-keeping (3.83)
    activites, our troop level would be fine.  global war-mongering takes a much larger troop commitment.  Naive?  Perhaps.  True?  Yep.  Absolutely.

    Yes, I know there is a real global "war on terror" going on.  I also know that we are fomenting it for profit.

    The fact that mercinaries (private security forces, for those of you who would prefer) are involved says it ALL for me.

    Oh, whatever, I'm tired and just got done with a dinner party where I had to hold my own.

    Bottom line: My son is 8.  When he's 18, we'll evaluate the state of the union.

    There is nothing noble about voting based on who Jesus tells you to hate. ~ JamesB3

    by CJB on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:46:52 PM PDT

    •  "and just got done (none)
      with a dinner party where I had to hold my own."

      Politically that is.  Just felt the need to, uh, clarify. lol.

      There is nothing noble about voting based on who Jesus tells you to hate. ~ JamesB3

      by CJB on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:51:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Our national security needs.. (3.87)
    Are purely a product of our irrational fears. Forcing our fellow citizens to die or be maimed to gain a tiny bit of false security is really quite beyond reasonable. We have troops in over 100 countries. This is necessary for our national security? Sure, it's nice, all other things being equal, but is it worth reinstituting involuntary servitude? I hardly think so.
    We face no threat particularly dire at the present time, and haven't in many decades. Better diplomacy, intelligent foreign policy, and judicious trade incentives, are perfectly capable of resolving our genuine security needs, with the military we have. It is not, however sufficient to serve our emotional need for absolute security, but nothing would be.
    •  There's No War Coming At Us (4.00)
      We face no threat particularly dire

      Exactly. We've had 3 buildings hit by foreign terrorists over the span of a decade (one of them twice), and roughly 2 others had attacks thwarted by the border guard and by passengers on 9/11.

      It must be fairly obvious to the troops, even if only subconsciously, that whatever they're fighting, it doesn't have a navy or an air force or tanks or an armada of missiles or legions of soldiers for them to face on any battlefield. And clearly they're not hitting us at a rate remotely describable as "war."

      I don't think the volunteer army has been honestly tested. I think what's failing is the Volunteer Fodder.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:21:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I dsiagree with Bob Herbert (4.00)
        The all-volunteer Army is not working.

        I disagree, or rather, I suggest it's "working" in a different way than Bob Herbert would prefer.  

        Your Founding Fathers wanted to do away with state-sponsored standing armies altogether, as they thought such armies were inevitably abused by the state to attack neighbouring states with.  Their alternative-- a well-regulated militia-- turned out not to work well enough to provide for the common defense, and their successors went for a European-style conscripted army after all.  

        But if you have to have an army, a volunteer army is closer to the Founding Fathers' intention than a conscripted one.  And if they can't be persuaded to sign up for the state's aggressive and illegal wars of choice?  Mr Herbert, that there ain't a bug-- that there's a feature.  

      •  It's been more than that (4.00)
        You conveniently forget the bombing of our embassies and attacks on our citizens abroad, not to mention the bombing of Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia.  I forgive you for those oversights, because I agree with you in principle.

        Our so-called leaders overreacted to the terrorist attacks on us, while not doing much to actually prevent further attacks at home.  I'm not trying to diminish the impact of the 9/11 attacks - I can't begin to imagine the devastating loss for those who had loved ones perish that day.

        But our reaction to that day has caused the deaths of hundred of thousands of people in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past four years.  And in doing so have played right into Osama bin Laden's hands - we're wasting billions of dollars while delivering new recruits to Al Qaeda every day.

        Bill Clinton got so much shit from the rethugs for launching cruise missiles at Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan because it happened at the height of the 'Monica' hysteria.  Even in retrospect, when I mention this fact to friend on the dark side, they insist on blaming Bill for 'distracting the country' with his improprieties (a position I regretfully have to agree with).  At least he went after the right enemy - I only wish he would have used more force back then.

        I've heard it said that we're fighting the terrorists there so we won't have to fight them here.  To that I say 'bullshit'.  The terrorist got lucky on 9/11 - they caught us with our pants down and I'm sure their plan succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.  Had cooler heads prevailed we would not be in the mess we're in now, and might actually be safer from terrorism.

        I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of 'conservatism.' --Goldwater, 1981

        by John H on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:29:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You got this so right. (none)
          I am amazed at the poster on this thread so eager to call for national service or actually making arguments that the draft would help end this war quicker. I remember Viet Nam. There is no better way to drag this war out for another decade than to institute a draft. And then on to Iran.
          The military is hobbled by lack of troops right now. Let it stay that way. Terrorism is only a limited military problem. Most of it is a law enforcement, or homeland security problem. And the threat has been blown way out of proportion.
          Let me give you an example; We've spent hundreds, hundreds of billions of dollars reacting to 9/11. Reorganized the entire federal executive branch, started two wars, etc...and yet...
          Since 9/11, more people have been killed by cows than by terrorists.
          In fact, in the last 10 years, even including 9/11, 5 times as many people have been killed by cattle as by terrorists. Proportion...that's all. And like you say, a big part of 9/11 was luck. They never in their wildest dreams thought they would actually knock those towers down. No wonder they think God's on their side.
    •  Yup (4.00)
      As I said about a year ago, we really don't need this huge military anyway. The answer isn't a draft, it's a vastly reduced military.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:42:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm sick and tired of the fear... (3.75)
      of being drafted. I'm twenty (and I work with Whit - it's Greg, BTW) and I go through every day of my life in fear of the draft. It's a horrible, horrible feeling, and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.

      I once read a comment here about how a fear of the draft is a leftist tactic to keep us involved in what's going on. If that's true, well, I'm horrified. When I hear or read stuff like that, I'm almost willing to believe the president and co.

      What relief is there for those of us in fear? I'm clearly against the draft in any form, and could never bring myself to ever kill or hurt another person. But my own personal convictions aren't enough to stop anything on a larger scale. Is the only answer to keep worrying, be active in anti-draft and anti-war groups and theories, and pray it doesn't come?

      •  Yes (none)
        I'm 25, and so I'm not totally beyond the reach of Selective Service yet either.

        I think in answer to your last question, yes, the answer is to worry. But that's because that's the way a democracy works. We all must, absolutely must, remain politically engaged. Especially in the face of an administration like this, one that has such fundamental contempt for democracy and the sanctity of human life, we cannot afford a moment's rest.

        I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

        by eugene on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:11:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Have no fear. (4.00)
        You're not getting drafted. Nobody is. Relax. Have a nice chamomile tea.

        Besides, even if everybody's wrong and there is a draft, they can't actually make you go. They couldn't in Vietnam either. I once met a "draft disorganizer" from the Vietnam era. Interesting guy. Apparently he used to take guys right off the induction bus and march them home, and the military couldn't do much. There were too many to prosecute, let alone imprison. Even most of the "disorganizers" got away with it, even though the army knew who they were.

        "I'm almost willing to believe the president and co"


        Like I said, I promise, you ain't getting drafted.

      •  Hey Greg (none)
        The thought of you in Iraq is most tragic indeed, but if there is a draft I'll hide you out in my windowless cabin in Montana if you like. You can help build my little contraptions and tend to the goats we use for both food and company.
        Actually, I remember the old draft and really put the odds on another one at very slim. The Army doesn't want it; it nearly destroyed the Army before. Involuntary recruits are just too hard to deal with, and today's Army is so high-tech and the equipment so expensive it would not be cost effective anymore.
      •  if you are a (none)
        pacificst, document it.  Get in touch with the American Friends Service Committee.  Of course, staying active is also important.  Try to get others involved as well.

        In general, though, living with uncertainty is just an unfortunate part of the human condition.  If you are finding that the fear of this is significantly interfering with your life, you may want to get evaluated for an anxiety disorder.  If you find yourself ruminating, unable to enjoy things, etc., therapeutic help may improve your quality of life a lot.

    •  Army in 100 countries? (none)
      Wow. Didn't know that. I thought there were but a dozen - which is already too much.

      I've always wondered how the host countries tolerate this? I can understand Germany and Japan - dang, there are international treaties which put the troops of the victorious nations on their soil, and I can understand (to a point) the NATO countries, who have the forces of other members on their soil - but then that's mutual, their own are on the soil of other members.

      But for the rest? In my book, I wouldn't want anyone's uniform parading on my soil. By definition, a foreign soldier is not welcome, unless it's an exchange. He's an occupying force.

      And even within NATO - I know the Greeks aren't too happy having bases on their soil. Turks have also voiced dissent - they didn't allow attack on Iraq from the bases they host.

      And what's the purpose of having those outposts? Defending whom from what? From another superpower? C'mon, that argument is worn out.

      If there is freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows - "1984"

      by DrFairday on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:59:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  All-volunteer works when wars are genuine (4.00)
    A dubious, misguided and wrongful war, such as the current Iraq war, indeed severely curbs the volunteer interest. Nobody wants to risk their life for such a war.

    However, I think that an all-volunteer army is quite suitanable if the threat is genuine and the foreign policy is sensible.

    Don't start illegal/unnecessary wars and one won't have an all-volunteer army problem.

    •  Squandered trust (4.00)
      The right wing is already trying to undermine the concept of a volunteer army using the failure in Iraq as the reason the concept doesn't work.

      Here are points why the current situation is not an indictment of the concept, but exposes the failure of the Bush administration as handlers of the all-volunteer army:

      1. This is a vanity war. It was created out of lies by our government. The people dying aren't doing so for the defense of America, but for neocon fantasies of empire.

      2. Lack of equipment. This war is being done on the cheap (except the profiteering). Proper equipment was not available at the beginning of the war. Two years later the problem is worse. Soldiers still lack body armor. Under-equipping a military force is a sure way to destroy morale in the field.

      3. Unreasonable deployments. Because Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld refused to listen to sensible experts about what would be needed to win in Iraq, troops are serving tours that are too long with no hope of it ever ending. Then there is the issue of stop loss and IRR call-ups. This is another destroyer of morale.

      4. Shitty pay and benefits. We are seeing the military personnel and their families being treated like immigrant workers who should get paid as little as possible to sacrifice themselves. National Guard, who are fighting and dying the same as everyone else in Iraq, don't even get the same benefits as the regular forces. Meanwhile the GOP government continues to cut back on pay and benefits.

      5. Mercenaries and private contractors. This is related to the pay issue, but is also a reminder in theater that others are profiting from the blood and sweat of the military. Mercenaries (aka private security) run around the country making things harder and basically are out of control. Military personnel are used to protect private truck drivers and others, who are doing the jobs the military used to do. How do soldiers feel when they need to send three military escorts along for every Halliburton truck driver when the army used to send two or three soldiers as the truck drivers?

      The all-volunteer army is being broken because those in charge of it are misusing it, like corporate raiders who come in and squeeze what they can out of a company before liquidating it. It would not surprise me at all if the plan at this point is to destroy the volunteer military as quickly as possible so they can justify bringing back the draft. The PNAC empire needs for expansion can't be satisfied unless there are enough soldiers to sacrifice.

      GOP: Party before Country

      by puppethead on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:12:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't forget the great home comings too (4.00)
        1. If you're killed in action they fly you into Dover Airforce base at night so no one will see your flag drappped coffin.

        2. If your wounded they don't want to know about you any more because you can't serve a purpose in their schemes.

        They cut your benefits and provide inadequate care ot vets. They cut your combat pay and duty pay and require you to drive huge distances to one of the few hospitals, where your family may or may not have enough funds for you to complete your rehabilitation.

        3. If your disabled permanently your on your own. Bush cut all the funding for job training for the disabled. The Director of the program resigned about a month ago because... no funds... no program. Game over... go home.

        Great benies!

        •  I have to comment on some of this (none)
          They don't fly into Dover at night. They fly in whenever they fly in. It's certainly not just at night.

          If you're permanently disabled in the line of duty, you get medical care (or you're supposed to, though the VA is severely overburdened) and a pension, a percentage of your pay based on the extent of the disability. It may be 100% of base pay, it may be a smaller percentage.

          Also, some disabled are not discharged, but returned to duty with artificial limbs, depending on the job they perform and their recovery progress.

          It's still not what they should get, but it's better than you lay out.

    •  What makes you think a conscript army (none)
      would be any better for a bogus war?

      All-volunteer works when wars are genuine

      Terra will have arrived if a draft is called. Terra at the White House doorstep. Woe to all the war supporters. No one, volunteer or conscript will have extended patience for a vanity war.

    •  Absolutely (4.00)
      Athens, when it first become a democracy,had its mettle tested when facing down the Persian Army. Twice.

      In both cases they had an all volunteer army .. the whole city state.. and they bested the gargantuan empire twice.

      When democracies are really democracies they tend to field the best armies, as Athens shows, because their citizens are involved in their government and they actually participate. They don't want to lose that way of life so they are willing to die to defend it.

      Instead of fielding a conscripted army we would be a lot better advised to put up and make a real democracy instead of just paying it lip service. I garantee that if people feel they can make a difference in their own lives we wont be needing a draft.

      We'll know that the cause is just so there wont be a need to force us to do our "duty" for a conflict only a pack of elites care about.

      Hermaphrodite with attitude!

      by Willadene on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:48:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not True (none)
      Besides the Spanish American War, there has never been a major American conflict without a conscript army.  We had one in the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean War and Vietnam.  Prolonged conflicts cannot be fought with just a volunteer force.
      •  Successful wars fought by volunteers (none)

        The American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War and Gulf War I were successfully fought by all-volunteer forces, and most of the ethnic cleansing against Indians was done by volunteer soldiers.  The Texas War of Independence was also won by volunteers.  

        The wars mentioned above were not all popular.  They certainly were not all just.  The military during those wars benefitted from civilian leadership far superior to that which the Repubs are giving our troops.  Off the battlefield, the national war aim was ably supported by skilled and sometimes ruthless diplomacy.

        •  <p>US Draft</p> (none)

          The first US draft ws in the Civil War. The Union used a systemn in which they broke each state into districts and assigned each district a quota. If there weren't enough volunteers to meet the quota, they then practiced the draft. There were some districts, some whole states, which never had fewer volunteers than their quota. Those never actually experienced the draft. (The confederacy had the draft a year earlier than the Union did, but the Confederacy was truly experiencing total war.)

          The next US draft ws in WWI. Partially, this was passed due to the advice of the British. They'd done without a draft for a good while (at the beginning of the war, the UK not only relied on volunteeers -- they tightened the standards to keep the numbers down to what they could train). The British military thought that they had run through the best material too soon. They suggested that the US use a draft to keep from killing off all their bravest men at the onset. BTW, volunteers went into the Army, draftees into the National Guard.

          The next US draft was just before we got involved in WWII. The draft was continued after WWII, partly to make sure that defense workers had to suffer through boot camp if not combat.

  •  Draft Lottery (none)
    Anyone remember that? That's probably how it will be introduced.  

    "Recruitments are through the roof." Osama bin Laden

    by steelman on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:54:14 PM PDT

  •  the draft is a good thing (none)
    with a draft, government, politicians, people, everyone would think twice before going to war because THEY or their kids or their friends and family might be the ones to fight it.

    with the volunteer army, many people don't have a connection to it. it's "the army". sure send them to war, what do i care. im not in it. good luck

    •  You mean like during Korea and Vietnam? (4.00)

      "'Cause it's getting kind of quiet in my city's head / Takes a teen age riot to get me out of bed right now" Sonic Youth

      by spot on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 09:58:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It is a good thing only if it works to discourage (none)
      unnecessary wars or the election of incompetant lying presidents. Right now, most parents whose kids are not in the military and who do not support this unnecessary war, instituting the draft after the election and the start of the war, is not seen as a good thing.

      "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

      by muledriver on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:00:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bullshit (4.00)
      The draft does nothing of the kind. We've had drafts before and they never, ever stopped people from going to war.

      The fact is, power matters. And the Bush administration is expert at manipulating the public to do things in an undemocratic fashion. We are insane and risking the lives of a generation of our youth to believe in the pipe dream that a draft will put our foreign policy right.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:44:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I can't agree that the draft (none)
      is a good thing. However, I do agree that it would get more people involved and thinking about what is happening in Iraq. A draft will, in effect, bring the war home and get those who don't care about Iraq now to start caring about it and make their voices heard.

      Most of you weren't around during the Vietnam years but the voice of the people finally led to the end of the war. After about 56,000 more dead Americans than in Iraq. If a draft is not wanted for Iraq, then more voices need to be heard today to end the possibility.

      "The lunatics have overtaken the asylum." And the asylum is burning.

      by Skylor on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:41:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is already happening (none)
        In the small towns and villages where most of our volunteers come from, the cost of the war is coming home in caskets.  We don't need a draft to raise consciousness.  A draft in any event is not the miracle cure for our sick American democracy.  We are ruled by a rogue government that, if the draft were in place, would have no hesitation enforcing the law by all means legal and illegal that it has at its disposal.  And recall that any draft would have been been instituted by legislation constitutionally passed.

        What is good about the volunteer army is that it allows ordinary people to vote with their  feet.  No amount of propaganda can hide the caskets, or cover up the bare fact that Iraq did not attack us. Things are on course.  It's just that people have a hard time assmilating a complete and humiliating American defeat in the field.  Better get used to it, because there is no escaping it.

  •  The problem is leadership (none)
    In wartime, you need trustworthy leaders for an all-volunteer military to work. If the war is truly necessary and the civilian leaders have been basically honest in making the case for it, then I don't think you'll have that difficult a time attracting volunteers.

    Of course if you have leaders who are pathologically lying thugs and the people figure it out, then of course you're gonna have recruitment shortfalls.

  •  Does anyone doubt that if the draft was reinstated (4.00)
    tomorrow the chances of the war in Iraq ending in the next decade would be slim to none?

    "'Cause it's getting kind of quiet in my city's head / Takes a teen age riot to get me out of bed right now" Sonic Youth

    by spot on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:02:01 PM PDT

    •  Yep. (none)
      I think we would be out tomorrow.

      When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

      by Clem Yeobright on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:55:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I do (none)
      The bottom line is that more troops are needed if we are going to actually be doing some good for the Iraqis now.  We need to provide security to those building civil infrastructure before Iraq will ever be a stable country-- and we can barely achieve that in central Bagdhad with current troop levels.

      The consequences of running away from Iraq now would be disasterous.  "Staying the course" means a long hard slog where our small volunteer army spins its wheels into irrelevance.  An extra 100,000 troops means security for rebuilding cities, and a working Iraq in a much shorter amount of time.

      "If immortality is found in the absence of time rather than infinite stretches of time, then those who live in the present live forever."

      by WAmod on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:00:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right. We can't provide security (none)
        with the force levels we have, and further chaos and quite possibly civil war would follow an American withdrawal. It's also possible that that chaos could spread throughout the region.

        But how many young, generation y lives should have to be sacrificed for this cause? Just how crippled by taxation should my generation - x - have to be for this cause? How much comfort and security should the boomers in their elder years have to give up for this cause?

        "'Cause it's getting kind of quiet in my city's head / Takes a teen age riot to get me out of bed right now" Sonic Youth

        by spot on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:01:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  How about mandatory service? (4.00)
    A 2 year stint for EVERYONE. Then nobody could take away anyone else's patriotism. Even people who are unable to enter combat would have to serve...perform a task that they were capable of...

    just sayin'...

    •  (Insert sarcasm here) (4.00)
      I absolutely love the idea! Lets push congress to consider this proposition.

      One beef with it though... Can we send those damn commis to the front lines? Their constant bickering causes those damn repubs to bicker and, being the fascist that I am, I hate any form of dissent and I view that bickering as dissent.

      That and Chris Matthews. Send him up front too. He bickers more than most.

    •  1000% correct (none)
      2 year Mandatory Service Requirement or Civil Service Replacement for everyone.


      Until such time that we no longer rely on the militiristic subsidation of our morrally bankrupt lifestyles.

      At least that's my opinion...

      p.s. I have plenty of German and Greek friends and they all did their 1-2 year service. Most chose civil service but not all.

      PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY is the word for today... and tomorrow... and the day after that...

      " admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!"

      King Lear

      by Norwell on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:20:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and no Georgie Porgy... (none)
        Civil Service does not include working on your Dad's friend's Republican political campaign or joining some Voodoo worshipping religious group that's "spreading the word" through charity (no offense to Voodoo worshippers).

        " admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!"

        King Lear

        by Norwell on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:25:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Compulsory National Service (none)
        It's an alternative way to spell 'fascism in action'.  Those of you who are old enough will recall that before WW2 Germany and Greece were both under some spelling fascist dictatorships under you know who, and an even less distinguished Greek.  Apparently these places have changed less than you might have hoped.

        As was demonstrable at the stgart of WW2 there is no problem finding volunteers for a war of expected long duration that is a just war.

    •  Do the numbers (none)
      How about mandatory service? A 2 year stint for EVERYONE.

      Work out how many people that would involve and figure $50K per year each to include infrastructure (housing, equipment, stipends, etc).

      The total $$$ will stagger your mind. It'll never happen.

    •  Involuntary Servitude is such (4.00)
      an attractive proposition. Every nation on earth has practiced it. Free labor, without constitutional rights to speak of. Forced to do what those in power will even to the death.

      Strange that the ones calling for it always find an out for themselves. It becomes "national service" so the whitecollar and upperclass kids can work in offices or planting trees while the poor and minority kids are sent to die.

      Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

      by cdreid on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:17:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, if we're dreaming... (none)
        Then we should be able to come up with some way to balance it out. What difference is there right now, between what Bush, the AWOL chickenhawk, did, and what you're saying about what I'm proposing? Your comment seems to imply that this isn't already happening...

        I'm personally not interested in serving in any military capacity, but if I were to do a service to the country like everyone else, then it could be requisite for citizenship...civil service doesn't have to pay a lot, and corporations (let's not forget who runs/owns this country anyway) can adjust their hiring practices to identify the true patriots.

        To reply to the other post about how much it would cost, I say that if everyone is supposed to do it, in a certain age group, then I am sure we could be creative enough to offer some sort of housing/support that would be cost-effective.

        The "it will never happen" argument is realistic, but why not take this debate into the public? It would show all of the chickenhawks for who they are, at least forcing that issue in the public debate? Or is that too much to ask for from our elected followers?

        As for fascism, well, again, what difference is there between what we have now and my idea? We're living in a pretty-close-to-fascist state right now...unless you're rich.

        •  Go read the constitution (none)
          Then get back to me.

          You "arent interested" in serving in the military? Yet you're willing to send others to bleed for you. Might wanna think about how that makes you sound. Seriously.

          As i said. Read the constitution. Then get back to me.

          Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

          by cdreid on Wed Jun 29, 2005 at 07:43:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Terrible idea (4.00)
      That's a terrible idea: You'd be drafting people to do a job they didn't want to do in the first place, spending taxpayer money training them to minimum compentency, and then discharging them right at the point where they're getting the hang of it. If it were a conscript army Junior sent to war instead of a professional army, the U.S. would be near 20,000 KIA rather than 2,000 by now. And don't tell me a president, especially this one, won't throw thousands of conscripts into a meat grinder: Viet Nam, Korea, World War II, World War I, ...
      •  It's a terrible idea but (none)
        having people in a situation where they don't want to be doesn't guarantee more deaths. You'd be surprised how competent people can become when you tell them that they will die if they don't do something right.

        If the soldiers are all trained the same, there will be no difference in competency between draftees and regular army. When your job is a matter of your life or death, whether you want to be there or not doesn't matter.

        There are recruiters within the military too. If you want to stay or they want you to stay, they have ways of encouraging you.

        You've heard the phrase "boots on the ground". That is what the military wants/needs and it doesn't matter if they are volunteer or conscripted boots. If there aren't any volunteers, there will be conscripts. Bet on it.

        "The lunatics have overtaken the asylum." And the asylum is burning.

        by Skylor on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:57:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's true (none)
          that there is not a difference between the soldiers when they initially come out of training.

          There is a huge difference in ability when you look at an all volunteer army whose soldiers stay active for a minimum of 6 years and a forced conscription army of 2 years.

          Once you get into the forced conscription style, since the ability is less than ideal (most training actually happens OTJ after formalized training has completed) you have leaders who will be forced (and inclined) to maximize MASS (One of the tenants of Air-Land warfare)  as the option for winning battles.

          If you look back at the Soviet model, this was their basic battle plan from WWII until the end of the cold war. Throw hordes of people at a line until the enemy run out of bullets. It was also used quite a lot by the US, which would be one of the reasons that we needed a draft.

          Once citizens realize that their leaders, either military or political, are willing to throw away their lives willy-nilly, they will be less inclined to volunteer. As has happened in this instance.

          We have seen a relatively low death rate so far, because the Army was all-voluteer and really well trained. If we start replacing them with lots of recruits fresh out of boot camp, the numbers will go up. Mostly because the NCO corps will not have the experience to train these soldiers well. In fact, most of them will probably be just beyond their minimum enlistment period.

          Conscription will destroy the NCO corps and thus destroy the effectiveness of our Army to survive and fight.

  •  A Bankrupt Administration (4.00)
    How much more can this nation take? George Bush has bankrupt our checkbook, bankrupt our workforce, bankrupt our foreign affairs, bankrupt our science, bankrupt our privacy,  bankrupt our reputation and now he's bankrupt our military.

    Well, from early on in is career, you have to admit, he's consistent.

    Apathy, the New American Passtime

    by Zen to Go on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:09:34 PM PDT

  •  If we have true controls (none)
    for conscientious objectors, then I am for a draft. I am a pacifist. I don't believe I can take up arms against another - in fact I would rather be imprisoned than doing so, but a draft in which that position is only rewarded with imprisonment is wrong.

    I also feel that deferments are unwarranted, except in cases of serious medical issues [Limbaugh's corns and hemmaroids don't count as serious] and family issues - who will be the arbietor there is another issue.

    I do agree with Rep. Rangel that a draft of these sorts would really get us to ponder the question of whether war is necessary [or even expedient escapades to Grenada].

    Like music? Check out my band:

    by lucid on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:22:43 PM PDT

    •  We like to bitch about deferments. (none)
      But if I'm in college, get drafted, come back and suddenly I've been kicked out of my college, there will be serious problems.
      •  Then maybe you should consider (none)

        But in all honesty - if a draft were reinstated under the parameters I specified, no college aged person would be allowed by law to be kicked out of college.

        In fact, I should have stated mandatory service rather than a draft, again with the exception of conscientious objectors.

        Like music? Check out my band:

        by lucid on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:42:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not going to claim to be a pacifist, (none)
          because I'm not.
          •  Fair enough (none)
            but I am. I have been since I was 9, when I could first rationally formulate that belief. I don't think I should ever be compelled to commit violence against another human being or be faced with imprisonment. But I do believe that as long as we have 'militaries' everyone should be forced to be in them for a time. It's only fair.

            Like music? Check out my band:

            by lucid on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:56:35 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Including you, right? (none)
              •  No (none)
                because I am a pacifist. And if it means going to prison, I will. I will not take part in any enterprise that involves violence to antoher human being. I think the military is an abomination, the very need for one is completely irrational. But if we continue this monstrous way of thinking, then those who engage in it should engage in it. If that means I go to prison, so be it. But that is not just.

                Like music? Check out my band:

                by lucid on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:12:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  So we should all be compelled. (none)
                  But you shouldn't? Right. So what if you're a pacifist? If everyone else is being compelled to join the military, we should be seeing you in the supply line or in the medical corps or something which doesn't involve actual fighting. Don't call for others to do it when you won't.
                  •  See below (none)
                    I'm conflicted by the insanity I see now. I shouldn't be advocating this position, but I'm looking for practical options to end this war. And I am wrong here.

                    Like music? Check out my band:

                    by lucid on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:35:47 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Lucid (4.00)
                  you are not. I've never heard of a pacifist who believes that it is acceptable for the state to draft non-pacifists only. A consistent argument would be that the draft is not acceptable for any citizen, be they pacifistic or not.  
                  •  You're right (none)
                    I shouldn't argue that side. It's not in keeping with what I believe, but sometimes I wonder if that is the answer to the myth of bloodless war we now confront. Many of our own side seem to have complete miscomprehension when it comes to what war is.

                    You're right, I would never want to send anyone to their deaths, but when people such as I are confronted every day with ideas of 'just wars', 'expedient wars', 'pre-emptive wars' and my fellow populace buys into any or all of the above, how do you expect me to respond? I should respond like Ghandi or King, but we live in a different age, and I'm not sure what to say beyond 'go live out your violent fantasies and tell me what you learn'.

                    I should be stronger than that - thank you.

                    Like music? Check out my band:

                    by lucid on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:33:03 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No need to thank me. (none)
                      Let me tell you what I used to believe about the draft:

                      During the late sixties/early seventies I almost joined the Socialist Workers Party. I was so serious about it that I enrolled in the indoctrination classes that they required of all new party members. I completed the classes but declined to join after all. The official party position was that the draft was legal and that the Vietnam war was illegal. Therefore, party members were required to report for duty if they were drafted, and if sent to Vietnam, party discipline required party members to go and fight as any good soldier would. However, party cadres were expected to organize the troops while in Vietnam and build up party chapters within the Army. So under this scenario the draft was viewed as a valuable organizing opportunity for the socialist movement, and therefore the Socialist Workers Party didn't oppose it.

                      I used to believe that!

                      •  Yikes (none)
                        I'm, often a defender of the CPA, though that is much different and earlier than the SWP, but that's insane and completely on point.
                        I'm at a loss how to defend pacifism today. The following link is one of my best tries:


                        I got a lot of heart felt responses from that piece, but I must confess that I don't know how to argue with people sometimes, and often I feel they should be left to their darker instincts...

                        Like music? Check out my band:

                        by lucid on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:18:32 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

    •  That's such total BS (4.00)
      Come on. You're for a draft, with no deferments, AS LONG AS YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO? That's one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard, pacifist or not.

      Look, does anyone honestly think we would have a problem with an AVF if we honestly had to fight another WWII? With a truly necessary war, you could appeal to the patriotism of 80-90% of Americans (in addition to the people who join up for economic reasons). In the Iraq war, though, you can only really appeal to the patriotism of the 40% of Americans who support it-- and at least half of those are thoroughbred chickenhawks.

      As for the argument people make that a draft would mean politicans would be less likely to send their children off to war, that's just plain silly and naive. George Bush Sr. had no problem supporting Vietnam, even though his son would have had to... oh wait. Anyone who buys this line of reasoning is forgetting how easy it is to arrange a deferment when you're a powerful political figure.

      •  You're right (none)
        I was defending something indefinsible. I'm just looking for strategies to help people come to the reality of pacifism as the only rational choice.


        Like music? Check out my band:

        by lucid on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:42:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Politicians' kids will never be at risk (none)
        George Bush Sr. had no problem supporting Vietnam, even though his son would have had to... oh wait. Anyone who buys this line of reasoning is forgetting how easy it is to arrange a deferment when you're a powerful political figure.

        What's more, you can be pretty sure that the well-connected kids, if inducted, will be clerk typists stateside, not grunts on the fron lines.

        The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

        by expatjourno on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:37:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LBJ's son in law (none)
          did as I recall go to Vietnam, where he was given what is actually rather hazardous duty.
          •  Yes, and JFK and his brother... (none)
            ...were in combat in WWII. But I doubt very much they would have had to take those assignments, any more than LBJ's son-in-law would have had to.

            The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

            by expatjourno on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:48:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  It seems like ... (none)
    ... each summer now for five years running we have heard that graduates are going to be disappointed in the jobs market and again this year is the worst.  I can see Rummy saying in two months "Look we made our numbers in June!  There is no problem!"  He also said something on Meet the Bought Off Press about the numbers were not being met because the bar was raised so much higher.

    Also, we need someone on the left side (indie or dem., I don't care) of the aisle to put forward something that mandates a draft the second this or another looney tune (or worse) elected or selected POTUS invades and occupies another country.  No matter the reason!

    Greedy Old Politicians have only one end game, power.

    A Voice IT Wilderness

    •  Fine, have your draft Trevino,,,,,, (4.00)
      but you aren't taking my kids.  None of them.  Not for this illegal quagmire.  No fucking way.

      And I come from a 1st Division Marine Corp family.  My kids are all draft age, college educated, and skilled.  But if anyone, ANYONE, tries to take any one of them for this mess, they will have to shoot me dead to get them.

      And I'll tell you one more thing:  a draft won't work, because every other Mom in this country will be saying the same fucking thing.  I'll lock my kids in a closet if I have to.  That son of a bitch in the White House cannot have them.  Period.  

      "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine Pay attention Georgie - 1700+ dead Americans, 100,000+ dead Iraqis, all on your head. WWJS?

      by Miss Blue on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:32:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your points ... (none)
        ... prove that doing the draft and the War Resolution at the same time will decrease the liklihood of another anti-christ like Bush starting another illegal war.

        Thank you very much.

        Emotional memory is forever!

        •  I already have a wall to visit,,,,, (4.00)
          along with gravestones courtesy of Vietnam.

          Damn right I'm emotional.  And patriotic.  And one of the biggest supporters of the Marine Corp in the country.  And I have been reading of their slaughter for 2 years now.  And have spent 2 holidays in a row watching Nightline read off their names.

          I'm sick of it.  When one party can smear the military service of select politicians, and lying slime like Limbaugh and Hannity, etc can sit on their fat asses while impugning the patriotism of war heroes, something is very very wrong.

          If this is what my country has become, I won't break a sweat to defend it, and I sure the hell won't sacrifice a life of a loved one.  

          Fuck you George Bush, and Fuck you Republicans.  You have trashed the greatest country in the world.  

          "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine Pay attention Georgie - 1700+ dead Americans, 100,000+ dead Iraqis, all on your head. WWJS?

          by Miss Blue on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:00:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oooooooh, you sound so angry (none)
            How terrible. How outrageous. Why do you hate America?

            How can you say such things about -- gasp -- the president? When we should all be sucking up to the red-staters and trying to understand what motivates those pathological shitheads. It's so counterproductive to tell the plain and simple truth and be angry when lied to.

            The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

            by expatjourno on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:49:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Do they need therapy and understanding too? (none)
              Or should we reserve our compassion for the furriners who want to destroy our country instead of the patriots who prefer tyranny over freedom?

              Tyranny goes with poverty;it's cheaper than democracy. (Larry Niven)

              by Fabian on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:12:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  thank you (none)
            Miss Blue.  You summed it up awfully well.

            Something about Bush, Cheney, Limbaugh - all the vile chickenhawks - attacking Kerry's war record (and Gore also went to Viet Nam and was reviled by them) made me sick in a special way.

            The power structures and institutions in this country do not, for the most part, deserve defending.

      •  Amen (none)
        nuff said

        Hermaphrodite with attitude!

        by Willadene on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:00:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  same here... (none)
        as long as i can afford gas to drive to canada, i won't let that happen to my nephews.  no way.

        Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber--Plato

        by techiechick on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:45:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  what bar? (none)
      They're taking just about anybody now. They didn't used to. And they're giving huge bonuses. They didn't used to.

      If that's raising the bar, Rumsfeld doesn't know up from down.

      Oh wait...

  •  I've been thinking about this a lot (none)
    I absolutely hate the idea, but is it any worse than forcing National Guard members, who did not volunteer for this particular service, to fight this stupid war? They should be home helping to combat national disasters.

    I also think that instituting a draft would make this war so horribly unpopular that there would be little choice but to end it soon. It would also make it much more difficult for an irresponsible and foolhardy administration to take the country to war on the shakiest of premises--the stakes would be a hell of a lot higher at home.

    lib·er·al: Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.

    by Joan McCarter on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:27:11 PM PDT

    •  ah, jeebus (none)
      You put Trevino on the front page again? What are you trying to do? Ruin his Republican cred?

      lib·er·al: Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry.

      by Joan McCarter on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:32:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It wouldn't, mcjoan (4.00)
      A draft would do none of the things you hope it would for our foreign policy. We don't have the kind of democracy or media or public participation that would enable such a thing to happen, and I don't care to have mine or anyone else's life risked to make a political point.

      Most Americans didn't really feel like they wanted to go to war in Vietnam, either - LBJ did win election as a "peace candidate" after all - but we went anyway, with a draft. And even with a ridiculously unpopular draft, that war dragged on for 8 long years.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:47:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  McJoan (none)
      You're under a false impression.

      forcing National Guard members, who did not volunteer for this particular service, to fight this stupid war?

      National guardsmen(women) are soldiers just as much as reservist and active duty are. They recieve the exact same training, wear the same equipment etc etc. They specifically sign up for a service. Army, navy, airforce, marines and are, the militaries mainline troops. In a major war active duty troops are the skeleton designed to incorporate and bring up to speed the guard and reserves to do the fighting. The guard and reserves take the same oath as every other soldier, sailor, airman and marine.

      Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

      by cdreid on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:25:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK so they are all trained the same but (none)
        you must admit that there aren't any soldiers who enlisted in the National Guard because they wanted to fight in a foreign war.

        "The lunatics have overtaken the asylum." And the asylum is burning.

        by Skylor on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:22:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course there are (none)
          I know a lot of people that stay in the National Guard when they finish their active duty commitment and, for one reason or another (family stability, career options, etc.) don't re-enlist. They sign up with the Guard to be there if the country really needs them.

          I also know several people in the National Guard that have been deployed more than a lot of active duty personnel, which is why it pisses them off to be called "weekend warriors".

          They're there to get ready and stay ready for the country if we need them - a lot of them.

        •  What kimberley said (none)
          But you need to understand, and guardspeople understand. When you take the oath you're a soldier. You may serve in the reserves. You may serve on active duty. You may serve in the guard.

          But you're signing up to be a soldier. To fight and die at the call of your country. And ya "weekend warrior" does piss them off. Which is why we used to use it a LOT in AIT to piss off our buddies going home. (Ok there was a lot of envy going on there).

          Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

          by cdreid on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 02:06:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You mean like in Vietnam? (none)
      The draft HAS NEVER BEEN POPULAR. When they instituted it during the Civil War, the nation's largest riot occured. It took troops to put it down. The draft has never been popular and will not be now.
  •  My policy on the draft. (3.83)
    If you're in favor of a draft, then consider yourself drafted.
  •  draft politically viable if... (none)
    The draft is only politically viable when the vast majority of Americans perceive a clear and present danger to national security. There were resisters and protestors even in WWII, but there was a much greater degree of a agreement that the Axis posed a real threat to the US. Without that broad consensus we could have never maintained the much greater force level for the years of WWII. When faced with a real threat, the American people have no problem with putting their lives and the lives of their families on the line.

    What we have now is essentially a economically mercenary armed forces. That is not meant to denegrate the patriotism and sacrifice of our troops, but the majority of our troops became soldiers out of economic neccessity. We also have to face that the armed forces are now one of the best pathways to American citizenship now available, and an increasing number of foriegners make up our armed forces.

    A mercenary force works well for politically unpopular military action or those which are intended for the benefit of the few, but will break in an extended conflict.

    George W. Bush does not want you to read the above...

    by mbryan on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:32:45 PM PDT

  •  During World War II... (none)
    ...we had no problem finding volunteers, because everyone knew that we were fighting a righteous war against a truly evil adversary.  But this is 2005, not 1942, and I am not about to sacrifice my son to GWB's delusions of grandeur.

    The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously. -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by KTinOhio on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:34:58 PM PDT

    •  One other very important thing (none)
      If this was WWII, IT WOULD BE OVER.

      Remember that. WWII did not last that long. 4 yrs, barely.

      Hardly enough time for 2 tours anywhere.

      Vietnam, on the other hand, lasted 20 yrs give or take a little.

    •  We needed a draft in both World Wars (none)
      Because people do not rationally throw themselves into a meat grinder no matter how good the cause. Some will, but not enough when your enemies all have drafts themselves. That was the problem.
  •  Draft Schmaft (none)
    What to do when the chips are down?


    Your ole buddies at Erinyes, Titan, etc. are here to help.

    •  This is my thought as well (none)
      The solution to the army crisis, for the neo-cons is not going to be a draft, but a large increase in the number of "privatize military units" (IOW, mercenaries) who operate under the radar.

      Iraq is beginning to look more and more like a private fiefdom.

  •  It's not just this war... (none)
    It's not just because this is an unpopular war either.

    In World War 2, arguably as "popular" of a war as you could concivably have - 2/3s of US troops were drafted.   The ratio in Vietnam was similar.

  •  How about an all mercenary army? (4.00)
    ...Shoot what and when they are told to, and don't sneak off e-mails to web sites telling people back home about the insane policies and lies of those in power.

    Samuel P. Huntington, The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1957); and later, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996).

    Huntington (and  Z. Brzezinski, for that matter) were students of  the late Harvard's Prof. Of Government, William Yandell Elliott.  They are on the side of imperialistic empire, not of the Constitution or Declaration of Independence.

    Oh, don't worry, It Can't Happen Here.

    •  <p>Privatization</p> (none)

      Privatization isn't a solution; it's part of the problem.

      The thing is that the private companies doing jobs that troops used to do don't operate boot camps. Instead, they hire troops trained by the US military.

  •  Cant believe what I'm hearing (none)
    Who in this day and age in the US would initiate a draft? There is simply no need for a huge conscript army. Stupid idea.
  •  no draft (4.00)
    americans will come to their country's aid when it is actually under sustained attack and in danger of being invaded. such a thing has not happened in sixty years, and i see little chance of it happening in the future. were the fate of the nation actually at stake, even skeptics of war like myself would man the barricades, and be picking off the invading troops from the rooftops of our mini-malls, or driving escalade-bombs into their checkpoints. hard to imagine, huh?

    that is because the fact of the matter is that we are not threatened seriously from abroad, and our military has been involved in wars of dubious justification ever since ww2. korea was not in defense of this country. vietnam was not in defense of this country. grenada and panama and all of the little dirty proxy wars in latin america were not in defense of this country. neither gulf war was in defense of this country. out of all of them, only afghanistan was even remotely connected to the well-being of this country, and even then it was more of a police action than a full-blown war of defense against an invading army. when we were actually attacked on 9/11, our military did not protect us. this is not to slander the men and women in the armed forces, but our security does not depend on them half as much as it does our diplomats and our police, because our military is trained to repel an enemy which does not exist anymore. who would invade us? china? russia? the EU? iran?

    our armies are not fighting to defend this country, they are being used to fight for our global hegemony, and the people of america are increasingly  uninterested in dying or killing for the neocons' utopia or halliburton's profit margins. if citizens are unwilling to volunteer, then the war in question must be abandoned. think of it as a citizens' strike. ditto for troops. those who feel that it is necessary to invade one country or another are free to do so themselves, but there is no way they should be able to force anyone else to do so for them. give them a draft, and they'll never stop getting us in over their heads.

    i don't want to die in their dirty little war. an america with a broken military will be in little of attack from abroad, because no such enemy exists anymore. terrorism is a whole different can of worms, and is not deterred by military might anyways.

    crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

    by wu ming on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:46:19 PM PDT

    •  Said extremely eloquently (none)
      As usual.

      No draft. It's that simple.

      I'm not part of a redneck agenda - Green Day

      by eugene on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 10:49:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And definitely not under Bush (none)
      I'm a pacifist but even if I weren't I wouldn't give Bush the time of day. Personally, I don't even trust this whole business of natting over the pros and cons of a draft.

      Nor right now.

      Not when i can't even be sure Bush didn't even stage the whole twin towers fiasco in the first place.

      Talking about a draft right now is too much like the allies talking about sending guns to Hitler, in my opinion.

      Hermaphrodite with attitude!

      by Willadene on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:06:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Consider who is president (none)
        As was stated locally, it would take two years to get the draft up and running. How many years will Bush be president? What has he got to lose by instituting a draft? Would he make an unsound decision? Does he care about what you think? Are you rich?

        "The lunatics have overtaken the asylum." And the asylum is burning.

        by Skylor on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:42:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  wu ming ... (none)
      ..., Read "I'm sorry" below
  •  Yes, an all volunteer force can do it. (none)
    The occupation of a hostile nation is, I think, the most difficult thing you could ask our armed forces to do.  Because it's too hard to leverage our technological advantages into victory.  

    Look at the pre-occupation part of the war.  A nice demonstration in how to exploit our technological advantage and win with relatively little manpower.

    I think we wouldn't have the present crisis if significantly more "boots on the ground" had been supplied.  And we could have supplied those boots.  But, for reasons I believe are best summerized as "partisan inspired incompetence" those boots weren't supplied.  The insurgency got a foothold, and we found ourselves in the present mess.  (This isn't 20/20 hindsight, this is paying attention.)

    So, my answer to question about the abilities of an all volunteer army is "Yes, it can do it."  With good preparation, leadership, and support our army could, to pick an example at random, comfortably effect regime change in Iraq.  I include supplying a good reason to fight with "leadership," btw.

    Without sufficient preparation, leadership or support even a draft augmented army is likely to fail.  

    Armies all through history have fought on in tough fights.  I do think that Americans would be less willing to fight on than, say, your average Mongol hordling.  But not so unwilling as to make an all volunteer army unworkable.  Not with our present technological lead, and not with competent preparation, leadership, and support.

    If the GOP continues as it is, maybe it could make the draft a part of it's basic platform.  "We fight often, and we fight on the cheap!" could be their motto.

  •  No (4.00)
    No draft.

    We've got to bring our troops home and begin earnest investigations, censure and prosecution of all public servants and policy makers that dealt with this public and our military in bad faith.

    We cannot ask more people to die for this.

    We fucked up. We know it. We're facing tactics and dynamics that we simply cannot defeat with conventional warfare or increased presence. Because we fucked up - and we know it - we do not have the moral authority to employ unconventional warfare in order to win. We'll only be giving more insurgents targets of opportunity to send back to the US in boxes.

    No draft.

    •  2006 and 2007 should be interesting (none)
      Remember late in the Reagan presidency, when Iran-Contra was blowing up? It was a big deal back then, and this is nothing compared to the inevitable, upcoming "disclosures" about who made what $$$ from this ill-planned venture.

      For those of us even old enough to remember Watergate, these next scandals will bring back fond memories of thugs and thieves on the defensive. Except this time the subversion of the Consititution is accompanied by thousands of casualties and hundreds of billions of dollars in wasted taxpayer money. Pair that with the Democrats taking back the House and Senate in 2006 and an angry public facing $4.00/gallon gas watching a stream of suddenly "investigative" media, and it should be a fun show to watch.

  •  For those pushing for a draft, (4.00)
    I'd appreciate it if you gambled with your own lives and not mine.
    •  Agreed (4.00)
      You make a great point. I'm at the age where I would get drafted if the draft was reinstated. If we had another WWII, I would have no problems going. Considering that we have a misguided, terribly planned war that was based on lies and is looking more and more like a remix of Vietnam every day, I definitely have no intention of joining up. All you people who are advocating for a draft based on abstract moral principles: run this simple ethical test. Would you agree to get drafted and go die for those abstract principles? If not, then you really have no right to call for a draft.
  •  Including you, right? (none)
  •  asdf (3.50)
    1. Yes, the volunteer army, in concept, is adequate for our defense needs.

    2. The volunteer army has inherent limits which mostly center around the fact that volunteer armies are always lean. Our problem in Iraq is simply that we don't have enough soldiers. We are attempting to do with 200K soldiers what has typically taken at least 500K soldiers. If we were to stop taking on oversized missions, our volunteer military would be fine.

    3. The draft, sometimes, is morally justified, in addition to being necessary.  Most soldiers in WWI, WWII, and Korea, and Vietnam were draftees.

    4. The draft is not justifiable simply to ensure that the Iraq occupation succeeds.

    5. That said, military recruiters should be allowed to recruit (obviously, within reason). It is not evil for them to ask people to join. Even when it will lead to recruits being complicit in an unjust war. After all, the military is not optional. A military without enough soldiers is a huge national crisis. Someone has to serve, and for some people, it is the right choice. They should be allowed to serve without haranguing.
  •  Failure to recognize basic mistakes (4.00)
    on the part of the GOP leadership renders talk of the draft moot.

    The fact of the matter is that a draft WILL NOT HELP this situation.

    A draft will not get enough troops into the game fast enough to make a difference.

    A draft will not obviate the fact that we have made a horrendous, bloody mess out of the situation in Iraq.

    A draft did not win Vietnam, a draft did not prevent the breaking of the military in the latter stages of Vietnam.

    The "plan" was flawed to begin with. Apologists for that "plan" who ignored history, logic, reason, and morality in their cheerleading for the "plan" who now attempt to prescribe "fixes" to prevent disaster without recognizing their own perfidy and bloody hands, who fail to cotton to the dire, egregious, stupid, assinine "mistakes" made by the people who made and implemented the "plan" have no credibility and no honor.

    Calling for a draft NOW, as opposed to recognizing the true nature of the conflict our government CHOSE to enter, is an implicit recognition that the invasion of Iraq was BUTT STUPID.

    NO PLAN will work to save the situation in Iraq, because the conditions NOW are a direct result of the actions THEN.

    THIS is why the ends never justify the means.

    A draft will not work.

    The only way to ensure a free press is to own one

    by RedDan on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:20:28 PM PDT

  •  Retention as a measure of morale (4.00)
    The high retention rate is consistently cited by republicans as proof of high morale.  The claim being that since retention (getting soldiers to re-enlist) is higher than the goal rate that morale is high is just plain wrong.

    The retention rate is still higher than the goal, but this number has been trending downward for some time.  In the 4th quarter, 2001, the retention rate was 164% of the goal.  For every one hundred soldiers the army wanted to retain, 164 re-upped.  The second quarter, 2005 numbers are in, and the retention rate is still higher than the goal rate.  Its 109%.  The marines have been cycling some of their personnel and units through Iraq and Afghanistan on their third combat tours for some time now, and their rates remain somewhat higher, but the Army is only now starting to send people back for their third combat tours since 9/11.  A recent interview with a platoon sergeant in the 82nd Airborne division, a unit with historically stellar retention rates, revealed that every single one of his third-tour soldiers intended to forego re-enlistment and ETS out. (ETS=Expiration, Term of Service--end of your contracted time.)
    The Army has a formalized promotion system wherein a soldier has to go to a military leadership school for each step in the promotion ladder from E-5 Sergeant to E-9 Command Sergeant Major.  Not long ago, the schools were hard requirements--no school, no promotion.
    Starting in 2000, the Army started allowing conditional promotions--get promoted now, and go to school within two years to keep it--to personnel in some technical MOSs.  Starting in 2003, that program was expanded Army-wide.  There are now so many conditionally promoted Sergeants and Staff Sergeants that even if we withdrew all of them from deployments to send them to school, there are not enough seats at the required NCO academies for them all to make the time cut.  About 40% of them will see the clocks run out before they can sit down in a classroom, and that number accounts for the fact that the clock stops for a conditionally promoted NCO who is deployed.
    Deployment is in fact the primary cause of conditional promotions.
    The Sergeant Major of the Army recently stated that he and the Army G-1 staff were looking at waivering the schools requirement for personnel who had served in a conditionally promoted slot in a combat zone.  The theory is that if the soldier was successful at leading in a combat zone, then he/she is ipso facto qualified for the rank.
    What that all goes to is that there was already a shortage of mid-career NCOs, and that shortage is going to get worse, not better.  The NCO corps is the US Army's ace in the hole.  The professional NCOs make the Army run, and without them, things fall apart.  You end up with armies that are little more than heavily armed mobs, like the Russians in Chechnya, or various third-world forces, or the 'hollow army' of the 1970s.

    The wheels will fall off the wagon soon.  Some people here would apparently applaud the collapse of the army.  Those people are fools.  Such a catastrophe would make the use of nuclear weapons MORE likely, not less.  Especially in the event of another 9/11-type attack on the US, or North Korea deciding that the US cannot stop them from taking what they want from the south.

    Wounded Warrior Project Give till it hurts. They already did.

    by soonergrunt on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:22:07 PM PDT

    •  great post (4.00)
      The wheels will fall off the wagon soon.  Some people here would apparently applaud the collapse of the army.  Those people are fools.  Such a catastrophe would make the use of nuclear weapons MORE likely, not less.  Especially in the event of another 9/11-type attack on the US, or North Korea deciding that the US cannot stop them from taking what they want from the south.

      This needs to be stated repeatedly. The collapse of the US military (specifically the Army) would make the world less safe.

      •  Um, so you're saying (4.00)
        that if your government doesn't have a meat army to throw into a conflict, it's liable to do something really stupid?

        In other words, the world would be less safe because you cannot trust your leadership to act with restraint; the primary danger to the world is the lack of judgment of the US government.

        A lot of non-Americans would certainly agree with you there... but somehow I don't think that's quite what you meant to say.

        Folly is fractal: the closer you look at it, the more of it there is. - TNH

        by Canadian Reader on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:42:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (none)
        As someone who regards the defeat in Iraq to be inevitable, I would like to see it happen sooner rather than later for exactly the reasons stated by Soonergrunt. A wrecked army is the worst of all possible outcomes.  Unfortunately, under the present leadership of this nation, it is becoming more and more likely. Christ! What a mess.  So much worse than Vietnam it isn't even worth the comparison.
        •  Reframing (none)

          If it would save Americans and Iraqis from being slaughtered, then perhaps we should encourage the Administration to declare victory and bring the troops home.  Iraq has its elected government and will shortly have a Constitution.  Saddam is gone.  
    •  When do the recruitment short falls (none)
      become and immeadiate logistical problem? Some folks are saying six months while other put it at 18 months.

      Won't that be the point at which Bush mandates a draft because he has to?

      •  It's already too late (none)
        They should have instituted a draft 2 yrs ago. Or more. They really should have started it shortly after 9/11.

        Even if they drafted people starting tomorrow, they wouldn't be trained for a minimum of 6-9 mos, and probably longer. And that's just minimum training. Give them some more technical/complex training (like languages, or cultural training) and it's longer -- more like 1-2 yrs.

        The Army is broken. The Bushies just don't believe it yet. I'm sure the generals do.

        •  And therein lies the rub (none)
          It takes a couple of years to grow a good soldier--one who can do his job without constant supervision, who knows and can perform the responsibilities of the soldiers on his left and right and the eschelon above.  It takes even more time to grow good NCOs.
          What we have now is people who are very good at what they do, and some of whom are ready to do their bosses jobs, but theres few replacements in the pipeline to keep the process going.  So we have lesser-trained people doing the same job, and this results in increased casualties and disaffection, thereby worsening the problem.

          Wounded Warrior Project Give till it hurts. They already did.

          by soonergrunt on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 02:32:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly (none)
            When this whole mess started, the very first thing I said to my friend, my husband, and anybody else who would listen was that if it wasn't over in months, we would need a draft. (And that it was a disaster, the Iraqis would fight us, it would be just like Vietnam, and that Bush was a moron, but I digress)

            It's obvious to anybody who has more than 2 brain cells to rub together - nobody wants to be sent to war, come home, then turn around and do it AGAIN in 6-12 months. And they want to do it even less when NOBODY else seems to be doing anything, giving up anything, or willing to put their asses on the line.

            In that case, they will get out ASAP. No matter how much they believe in this country, no matter how patriotic they are (and most are). Sooner or later you get very, very VERY tired of being the only patriots on the block -- and especially when you're the only ones getting shot at, and aren't getting anything other than lip service from your govt, and your family is falling apart.

            This administration has only themselves to blame. They're not leaders. Leaders understand that you support your troops in any possible way, do everything you can, do whatever is humanly possible to make their lives better/easier, and that you LISTEN to them and their concerns.

            This bunch of morons thinks of the troops as factory workers -- replaceable, unfeeling, machines to be used up and thrown away.

            Well, they're not. They're some of the best people this country has, and I will NEVER forgive Bush and his cronies for not treating them with the respect they deserve.

  •  What if they gave a war (4.00)
    and nobody came?

    Maybe we're finally learning the answer to that question.

    At the very least, we might learn how to solve problems without killing people (ours and theirs).

    We all go a little mad sometimes - Norman Bates

    by badger on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:22:35 PM PDT

  •  I'm sorry ... (3.33)
    ... but I disagree in that this individual in the White House has broken our national security through his decisions/lack of decisions (ignoring the pre 9-11 warnings even before He took the oath of office).  I posted above that the politicians who vote to go to war must have their feet to the fire every moment after that vote (War resolution to invade means a draft, end of story).

    Personally, every fascist or idiot in the Senate and House who voted for the ability of Bush to wage war in Iraq should be voted out of office.  Anyone in the House or Senate who didn't support the Black Democratic Caucus during the recording of the electors in January 2001 should be voted out since they wouldn't stand up to fascism when it walked in the door.  But with our voting system broken by the GOP, I doubt I will see that day.  

    There are people on this planet who wish Americans harm.  It is our duty to protect our children.  Do we need a $500 Billion dollar Defense budget?  I say cut it in half to start!  Do we need record budget deficits until all that is left is the military/industrial complex?  That is the end game for the Neo-cons, nothing less.

    This conversation about the draft is just that, a conversation on how to bring this cabal to its knees and to wake up the corporate media to their own sins.  We owe this subject to all the victims of Bushs plots.

    A Voice in the Wilderness

  •  Always the Rich Who Lead Us to the War (4.00)
    Alway the Poor Who Fall

    As a Quaker, I say that war is never a resort.  It's always the problem, never the solution.

    But people differ, and for those who argue that war can at least be a last resort, it's only fair to consider, then, how to structure the force in a way that truly reflects the gravity of the decision, and how to structure the force in a way that enhances democracy instead of oligarchy.

    People who decide to bring the country to war should have to do so knowing that they and their families will be the first to put their bodies on the line.  A volunteer force like we have now should be sufficient to hold any military situation stable until a draft kicks in and the full might of the United States can be brought to bear.  We're not really threatened by Canada or Mexico, are we?  Our volunteer army should at least be able to buy us time to bring a draftee army to bear and to structure it in a just way.

    If a draft is instituted, Rumsfeld's wife and kids (along with Jenna and Barbara Bush) should be among the first to go.  So should Wolfowitz and his kids, and members of Congress and their families.  Next should be everyone between the ages of fifty and sixty-five.  If these people aren't physically fit to be front line soldiers, they can be put to some other use in the same way concientious objectors -- Quakers like me -- have always been.  They can ferry people from Baghdad airport to the Green Zone.  Bill Frist -- for example -- could be a front line medic or work in an Army Hospital.  Wolfowitz could give troops lessons in personal grooming.

    Those who choose war, and the class that chooses war, should be the first to put their bodies in mortal danger.  This will temper their decision to wage war and make sure that it only happens when they -- the decision makers, the rulers of our country -- really believe it to be worth it as a last resort.

    Also, any war must be paid for from taxes raised then and there.  People who choose war should do so only when they and their contemporaries -- the generation waging war -- are willing themselves to pay for it.  No bills handed down to people who are now kids or who haven't even been born yet.  Otherwise, we're just cannon fodder for an oligarchy and fuck that.  

    If war truly is a last resort no one sane will ever resort to it.

    This aggression will not stand, man.

    by kaleidescope on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:27:02 PM PDT

    •  Progressive draftation! (4.00)
      Yep, break it down by wealth, with the kids of the top 1% of wage earners having a 100% chance of being drafted, the kids of the bottom 1% having a 0% chance of being drafted. After all, the wealthy get the most benefit from our society, so they should carry the heaviest burdens.

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

      by expatjourno on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 02:03:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What... (none)
        That's absolutely ridiculous. Not only are you equating being rich with supporting an unjust war, you're then saying that they should be drafted by circumstance of birth. Sounds exactly like what we're all decrying as unfair (being drafted by circumstance of birth (being poor)).
        •  Not at all (none)
          The rich benefit more, so they should sacrifice more. Plus, almost all campaign contibutions come from the top one-tenth of 1% of income earners, so they are the ones with leverage over the politicians.

          The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

          by expatjourno on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 02:25:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I really like the sound of this thread (3.33)
    Those in favor of a draft don't completely follow their own plan to its inevitable conclusion, and they are just haliriuos. This gang doesn't have it in them to wage a honorable war.So, why support it in any case?

    Second we live in the thermonuclear age. Anyone capable of possing a genuwine national threat will be armed to the teeth with intercontinental balistic missles. Making a draft moot.

    Large scale ground armies in this age are solely for colonial wars and intrenational brinksmenship against other colonial powers. Any soldiers are simply fodder to sort out these military objectives. Knowing that ,why would anyone here advocate slaughter and sacrofice for the rich man's money?

  •  Civil Service Draft (none)
    What we really need to bind this country together is a civil service draft -- all members of society should be required to perform two years of service either as teachers, public works people, social workers.  Service in the police and military will also fulfill the commitment.

    We need to start restitching the fabric of our country and society - this is an attempt to do that.

    "I for one welcome our new insect overlords." - Kent Brockman

    by pawlr on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:32:09 PM PDT

    •  No thanks. (none)
      Involuntary servitude is incompatible with a free society.  Obligation should not extend beyond paying taxes and respecting one's fellow citizens within the confines of the law.  All else should be voluntary.  I can just see the bizarre, anti-civil-libertarian consequences of this idea, like the dysfunctional homeless being thrown in prison for failing to participate.

      My parents came from a society with mandatory servitude of this sort, and I don't care to repeat it here.

      •  You make no sense (none)
        Why should your property be subject to confiscation but not your precious person, when both property and persons are to be spent in a war waged by the polity in general?

        Hobbes spent a chapter explaining why one ultimately has the right to flee into exile to escape execution by the sovereign - guess that doesn't resound to you, eh?

        When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

        by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:27:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Because (none)
          the wingnuts are right when they say that taxation is an evil, but it is a necessary evil, without which society would collapse.  Not so involuntary servitude.   And you always have the option of not earning much if you want to avoid taxation.  And if a fraction of your income is taken away, your manner of life can remain essentially unchanged.  Very much unlike if you were to be drafted to dig ditches or take care of the elderly or fight wars.

          Like I said, my parents came from a society in which people were forced to labor directly for the state, and, yes, they did 'flee into exile.'  

          I don't like the idea of a society in which the government or my fellow citizens own my life, or even a fraction thereof.

          •  Pardon my french, but: BULLSHIT! (none)
            No society could survive with a majority that makes your argument, surely you must see.  (a) Your disjunction between taxation and la corvee is peculiarly specious.  (b) Primary - and agreed - obligations of citizenship cannot be negotiable and do not comprise 'involuntary servitude'.

            When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

            by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 02:02:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  of course a society could survive. (none)
              We survived just fine without a civil service draft until now, haven't we?

              Hell, we could have survived without a WWI and WWII draft (though the world would be a different place) and certainly without Korea and Vietnam.  Admittedly, there are extreme instances in which a military draft is probably necessary.  

              Oh, and la corvee helped to ignite the French Revolution, so anyone who claims that the distinction between this and taxation is 'specious' is indeed up to his ears in 'bullshit.'

              There is a big perceived difference between handing over a fraction of the money in your wallet, and being hauled out of your house to toil at someone else's behest. Speaking for myself, I will willingly pay taxes, but if try to force me to work, you will get a brick squarely between your eyes.

              •  That is (and you are) ridiculous (none)
                I leave it to someone else - anyone who sees utility in doing so, which may mean no one - to continue with you.

                When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

                by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:00:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You're right (none)
                  No one wants to continue with attacking Tritum's points because they are spot on.

                  In the abstract, an obligatory period of National Service sounds pretty good if you frame it right--engagement with the government, maturation of our youth, and free labor for the state--but it's a terrible idea.  It is forced labor, pure and simple.  And maybe I want to sit around in boxers eating cereal out of the box and posting at Daily Kos all morning instead.  In this country, I should be able to do so.    

                  •  Oops (none)
                    Tritium, that is.  Dropped an 'i' in there somewhere.
                  •  boxer shorts and cereal (none)
                    Or maybe you are a math whiz or a brilliant writer, and would contribute more to society if you were allowed to do your own thing for two years rather than being forced to dig ditches.

                    Or maybe you are a brilliant entrepreneur and your contribution to society through taxes would far exceed your contribution through mandatory labor.

                    The whole idea of National Service takes it for granted that the government is able to make more productive use of your time than you are.  This idea was tested in the East, and it failed.

                  •  Yes (none)
                    This is a question of abstract theory verse reality. I think Clem should put down his Sparknotes study guide of the Leviathan and pull his/her head out of his/her ass. I might suggest painting my fence: I swear it will benefit the polity.

                    "The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement..."

                    by ProgressivePrinciple on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:36:05 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  What is (none)
              "peculiarly specious" is equating income tax with mandatory civil service. You say that if it is acceptable for a government to take your property in the name of bettering the community, then they should be able to take your person as well if it serves the same purpose. But isn't there a bit of a value difference between a small monetary sum and your life? And moreover, we only agree to pay taxes within reason. If the government came a demanded we pay 75% of our earnings, we would almost certainly refuse. Likewise, we should refuse when the government demands that we capitulate our lives.  

              "The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement..."

              by ProgressivePrinciple on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:27:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Property vs person (none)
          You're better read than I am, but I think you've overlooked something. The distinction between property and person has long been understood. We have parallel civil and criminal courts, crimes against persons are (usually) sentenced more harshly than crimes against property and Jefferson's phrase "life, liberty and happiness," was originally "life, liberty and property."

          The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

          by expatjourno on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:49:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  <p>Taxation</p> (none)

          The claim that taxation is confiscation of what pertains to the individual is specious willful ignorance of all history.

          You did not invent the tools you use, nor the wheel, nor the lever.

          You almost ceertainly contibuted to what you own. But a much greater contribution came from those who went before. Else we would still be shivering in the caves.

          What constitutes the present wealth is a social creation, and -- therefore -- is subject to social control in distribution.

          I don't claim that all taxes are just; clearly they are not. But I do claim that taxation itseld is just.

    •  I agree (none)
      but when I mention it - I'm shot down.  I don't think people are willing to do this --

      Conservatives say "Silent Spring" is a dangerous book! Why do Conservatives Hate Birds?

      by xanthe on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:36:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just sent this email to Bob Herbert: (4.00)
    I think you have somewhat missed the mark in your analysis of the U.S. military's recruiting troubles. Those who in the past have volunteered to fight for our country have done so with the expectation that they will be sent into combat only for legitimate purposes and with competent leadership. The Bush administration started an unnecessary war under false pretenses and has utterly bungled the job. Certainly the fear of combat is a factor in declining recruitment, but I firmly believe that the fundamental cause is not a deficit of bravery in America but rather the betrayal of trust by its leaders.
  •  I considered (4.00)
    contacting the army and attempting to reenlist.
    The war is a lie. People are dying for nothing. And the corruption and lies this war is based on are shocking. But i thought i might really be able to make a difference. To actually help people in some microscopic way. I havent contacted the army as yet because i dont think theyd have me (I'm a hair past recruiting age, my eyes are going bad and i have a dental problem - the army hates dental problems). I may actually do so over the next week, i'm not sure.

    You see i consider our troops honorable noble people. They dont all join up for that reason. Most join for monetary reasons, lack of purpose etc. But trust me that once they graduate basic training they are different people. They are indeed more noble, more patriotic, and all about giving service.

    The thing is I'm rabidly against forcing anyone to fight. In any war frankly. And i'll fight not just politically but by any means necessary to keep my family from being forced into servitude. Especially in this plutocratic society. What would we see under a "national service" or draft system?  Exactly what we've seen every time before. The poor and the brown are sent to bleed and die. The upper class, the educated, the connected are sent to idle in special "protected" units, or to plant trees, or design parks, or do paperwork. Anything but fight. Anything but sacrifice.

    To those of you calling for a draft, or more pointedly "mandatory national service": Many of us swore an oath to protect the constitution of the united states of america. We gave our freedom and our rights - even our right to life, up to serve you. You havent kept your end of the bargain. You rationalise dismembering the bill of rights. You speak doublespeak about a "national service" that would send "those people" to fight while your children sat stateside in an office.

    No. Just No.

    You cannot have my nephews. You cannot have my sister or brother in law. You cannot have my neighbors or their children. You cannot have cousins children for your national slavery program. They wont spill their blood so you can nurse your unwaranted fears. They wont give their lives so you can drive your Escalade in comfort and security. They wont sacrifice their bodies so you need not fear being called on to sacrifice yours.


    Remember: there's no sense in talking to them. Talk to your base first, the middle second, and the amoral and lying right never.

    by cdreid on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:40:30 PM PDT

  •  Not all or nothing on the draft (4.00)
    • far more likely than a general draft is a 'needed occupations' draft.  The US Draft Board system has ALREADY put all the pieces in place for this to happen.  You'd be surprised how many occupations are 'needed', and Selective Service has told Congress they can have it running in 90 days from 'go'.

    • for those who don't want to be drafted, the 'please ask, and I will tell' deferment is available to all.  All you have to do is say you are openly gay or lesbian, intend to express your homosexuality in public even in the military,  and kiss a few same-sex people in public (with a camera handy), and, as Julia Child said, wallah!

    • I would not oppose a national service obligation for everyone at age 21 or so (after four years of college, or some maturing generally if non-college bound.  Individuals (not the government) could choose civil or military service.  This could be a worthwhile thing as long a Congress takes back the power to declare war from the Executive and Congress passes laws restricting Executive branch committments without a War Declaration.

    "pay any price, bear any burden"

    by JimPortlandOR on Sun Jun 26, 2005 at 11:42:48 PM PDT

  •  Huh? (4.00)
    A clear divide is developing between those who want to continue the present course

    What course? What plan?

    From what I can tell, we aren't reconstructing, we aren't effectively quelling the insurgency, we aren't doing much to prevent the oncoming civil war.

    I fail to see this "course" GW likes to trot out in every speech. Unless it has something to do with lining the pockets of Halliburton's CEOs with billions of dollars, I'm completely in the dark here.

  •  The Department of Peace (none)
    It is time for the dialogue to open up to the possible future... one that includes peace.

    There are many across the globe working for this, and we need more and more people, of all skills and temperments... but what is required most of all is the dedication to Peace.  

    Peace cannot be achieved through war.
    Draft or no draft, belief in the "rightness" of attacking Iraq or not, Peace starts by understanding the things that create it, and working, step by step, day by day, to build it...

    in our personal lives
    in our cities
    in our states
    in our nation
    around the globe

    All these things can be done.

    When a majority of humans "get" the visioning part of Peace Making, then the whole dialogue we are having (draft/no draft, war/no war, etc) will be Reframed.

    What can we do to support peace in Iraq?  in the world?  at home?

    It is time for the Department of Peace to be established, in honor of Martin Luther King, in honor of all the men and women who have served this country, in honor of the simple fact that

    i we are one world i
    and we are all connected.
    All our actions have effect on the global picture.  Quantum physics and ancient native wisdom know about this truth.

    3 simple things any human can do right now to help bring peace...

    • stop swearing and name calling when we are mad at someone
    • start thinking of win/win scenarios
    • do something everyday (like basketball, yoga, or a comedy on TV) which helps one to feel peaceful.
  •  'draft someone else' army (none)
    Those in favor of the war aren't lining up to fill their volunteer army. They want someone else to go fight their war.
  •  An all-volunteer army is exactly what we need. (4.00)
    The all-volunteer army is a good compromise between mandatory conscription (like Russia), and not having a standing military at all.

    The all-volunteer army serves two, somewhat conflicting purposes:

    1. To provide enough military to fight small conflicts.  Our country needs to have a standing military that's large enough, and up-to-date enough with new military technology, to provide a deterrent against homeland attack by other nations, and to fight smaller, localized conflicts  for our allies, or under the auspices of the U.N., such as the conflict in Yugoslavia, or the first Iraq war.

    2.  To limit the unilateral use and abuse of military power by a U.S. commander-in-chief.  If every U.S. male between the ages of 18-26 (leaving aside the issue of conscripting women for the moment) was mandated to enlist, the U.S. would have a huge standing army that could be mobilized to attack anywhere in short notice, with not nearly enough notice for a proper democratic process.  By having a smaller, volunteer army, the military might of the U.S. is sizeable, but limited until a larger force can be raised, which takes time.  But if the U.S. was seriously threatened, that shouldn't be a problem.

    We have to have faith in the American people that, if the U.S. homeland was seriously threatened, people would enlist in droves to defend our country.  In fact, many people enlisted just after 9/11 so they could take the war to Afghanistan.  Many of them are pissed off now to be stuck in Iraq.

    If a world-war scale ground conflict ever happened again (admittedly unlikely given nuclear proliferation), the all-volunteer army should buy us enough time to start mandatory conscription and raise a large enough army to fight a proper war.  Keep in mind that U.S. satellite surveillance should give us plenty of warning of any large troop mobilizations from other countries, and would give us time to raise armies in kind before a conflict could start.

    The issue with our current volunteer army is that people know the war in Iraq was started under false pretenses.  They know they've been lied to, and that the war is not going well.  But most importantly, they know that Iraq was never a threat to the U.S., and they're not willing to die in this war, or have their children die in it.  There's glory in dying for the defense of your nation, but there's no glory in dying for a lie.

    This means that the all-volunteer army is functioning exactly as it should - limiting the military power of the administration, and forcing everyone to re-evaluate a war that shouldn't have been started in the first place.

    •  Oh ferxrissaket! (none)
      First, this community crapped out on the question of the Kelo decision, so adequately elucidated by the armando-guy in Kelo was correctly decided, and now this!

      So often has the term 'knee-jerk been applied to us, and in both these cases our knees have jerked precisely the opposite -and wrong - and unprincipled - way!

      I have to observe that 80 and 100 and 120 years ago when the Chatauqua circuit and the US Socialist party (E.V.Debs/Norman Thomas) were active, discourse was more 'elevated' and 'informed' than it is here!

      Someone please post a reading list so that we all start from the same principles! Please?

      When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

      by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:29:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Paying the Piper (4.00)
    A draft is a great way to assure that there will always be a supply of troops to fight capricious wars for economic or political reasons.

    A volunteer army helps reduce that chance, as no war remains popular once casulties start accumulating in disproportion to victories, so with a volunteer army a country in theory would analyze long and hard any option of entering into prolonged armed conflict.  Of course, that didn't happen with Iraq, so maybe it is a sign that the country needs to be reminded of the seriousness of going to or initiating war, the type of wakeup call that only a draft can really toll.

  •  I'm all for a draft ... (none) long as they take every able-bodied, mentally sound person, male and female, gay and straight, Senator's daughter and dishwasher's son, no exemptions, no excuses.

    I support this kind of conscription because I know it will never, ever get through Congress.  


    Writing dialog George Lucas so terrible at is. --Yoda

    Visit The Next Hurrah

    by Meteor Blades on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:08:14 AM PDT

  •  jeezus, what about the concept of 'citizenship'? (none)
    Search this page for the term - it comes up once, and that in the context of offering 'it' to 'volunteers' (much cheaper, I must say, than $40k bonuses).

    How about these for principles of a democracy:

    a. You don't send people who want to kill to do your killing.

    b. You don't send those who enjoy torture to do your interrogating.

    Someone earlier noted the Greek assumption that all (male) citizens fight for the polis.  Nobody (that I see) observes the alternative of the Roman Empire that armies are best that are 100% mercenary, which led (inevitably?) to the circumstance that the Legions came to appoint the emperors without regard to the citizenry (if such can be said to have persisted).

    Ferxrissake, in the 60s many many of us spent sleepless nights over the question of what were our responsibilities as citizens of a republic, even one engaged in a foolish and immoral war - does that even resonate any more????

    If our polity has determined on war, then we each bear a responsibility, else the entire polity is in danger.  We are in danger at this time! People around the world see that the US is incapable of defending itself on the ground (can the Navy and Air Force protect our 2-ocean borders? Perhaps, perhaps . . .)

    At least confront the question, people!

    When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

    by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:15:44 AM PDT

    •  Citezenship (none)
      This comment mirrors a conversation I had last night with my daughter who just turned 18.  A recruiter called to talk to her last week while daughter was at work.  I calmly told the recruiter that my estimation was 'not my daughter for this war' and hung up.  But the conversation with the recruiter set off a weird psychological dilemma for me.  I honestly believe in the quaint concept of 'citizen soldier'; I think that when your country calls, it is the duty of every citizen to respond according to his/her abilities and the country's need.  

      I believe that--which may make me too idealistic to be allowed out on the streets without a keeper--I don't know anymore.

      At the same time, if any of my kids showed signs of wanting to volunteer for this mess in Iraq, I'd talk a blue streak to try and convincce them otherwise.

      So what does that make me?  A hypocrit?

      I don't know any of the answers to my own questions, but I do think you have raised an issue that needs discussion.

      •  When your country calls, then you'll be a hypocrit (none)
        But it's not your country calling right now, it's Bush calling.
        •  Wait. Now that I posted that... (none)
          I'm not so sure I believe it. What about those guys in uniform on the ground in Iraq? Are we letting them down, letting them wither on the vine here?
          •  You are not far off (4.00)
            It is not intolerable to distinguish between 'the polity' and 'the sovereign', if indeed the one has betrayed the other, but it is truly a grievous matter to do so.  You align yourself with the Roundheads and the Montagnards (who beheaded their kings) and with Abby Hoffman (the early - good - AH) and Eugene Debs and David Harris (who accepted imprisonment for the assertion).

            Your trepidation is ill-based, of course - the guys (and 'gals') on the ground deserve your conscientious consideration of this question. You must negotiate with yourself, in fact, which is not at all a bad thing whatever Commander KookooBananas (to quote the great Homer Simpson), who doesn't think, thinks.

            When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

            by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 02:13:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Wrong on all counts (none)
      Ferxrissake, in the 60s many many of us spent sleepless nights over the question of what were our responsibilities as citizens of a republic, even one engaged in a foolish and immoral war - does that even resonate any more????

      If our polity has determined on war, then we each bear a responsibility, else the entire polity is in danger.  We are in danger at this time! People around the world see that the US is incapable of defending itself on the ground (can the Navy and Air Force protect our 2-ocean borders? Perhaps, perhaps . . .)

      1. When the judges Bush's father appointed gave him the presidency in 2000, it became clear that we were not living in a republic.

      2. The U.S. is not even attempting to defend itself on the ground, it is attempting to occupy another country. If we are in danger, it's not from Iraq and never was.

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

      by expatjourno on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 02:20:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  See my note just above to Surgo (4.00)
        The 'slippage' in our current political circumstance allows you to be silly, but know that it is not a trivial matter to declare your rejection of the declared head of the sovereign state whatever the circumstances exigent.

        If you regard yourself as in a state of revolt, you of course accept the consequences thereof.  Many many have done so in history; many have literally lost their heads while some others have taken the head of the 'pretender'. . . .

        Truly, 'selective citizenship' is a frightening concept (to me).  Since you are an ex-pat, you perhaps have the opportunity to re-assign your allegiance to another polity.  Please let us know with what enthusiasm that other people accepts your conditional adherence . . .  

        (History has many examples of this as well; a perhaps trivial example is, of course, Benedict Arnold in England, but Kim Philby in the USSR is a more recent similarly chilling case . . .)

        When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

        by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 02:36:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  When you are ruled by the unprincipled... (none)
 by principles is for suckers.

          Anyway, I'm not advocating that W be beheaded, I want him impeached according to law. Meanwhile, no member of my family is going to war for the greater good of Halliburton.

          The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

          by expatjourno on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:18:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Remarkable! (but scarcely responsive) (none)

            When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

            by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:29:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Was I unresponsive? (none)
              I didn't mean to be. I just meant to say that there is quite a bit of ground between absolute loyalty and treason and quite a bit of ground between saying someone is not the legitimate ruler and wanting him beheaded.

              The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

              by expatjourno on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:32:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I fear that my reference to 'slippage' (none)
          suggests that this is an historical anomaly.  It is not.  Your ilk have survived in a state of 'compromise' probably more commonly than the reverse has prevailed.  First to come to mind are the 'conforming non-conforming' English Catholics from Elizabeth to Charles, who paid annual fines for non-attendance at establishmentarian Easter services, but who also, of course, paid with - again - their heads for the Gunpowder Treason . . . You are indeed in an interesting position, if you were willing to carry it through.  Are you accomplished at equivocation?

          When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

          by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:28:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  How about this for an answer? (none)
            Are you accomplished at equivocation?

            Yes and no.

            The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.

            by expatjourno on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:34:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  A 4 for esprit! (none)
              but you may learn something from this:

              wikipedia on equivocation

              The fallacy was endorsed by the Vatican as a technique for keeping one's - again - head particularly during the English Persecution, and it is in recent times wonderfully exemplified by "what the meaning of 'is' is" . . .

              When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

              by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:53:44 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Draft should be mandatory during war time only (none)
    As Herbert noted, a volunteer army is fine during peacetime and this is a good argument against the draft. When our leaders want to take us to war, it should always be noted that a draft will be needed to sustain troop levels. I have no problem with a draft during a war, but the idea should be used to discourage our leaders from taking us into war when it's an unpopular war.

    In fact, I think we need a law that would require an indiscriminate draft to immediately begin as soon as the decision to go to war has been made. And there would be no exceptions to this law, so that our leaders wouldn't have a way to get around it. If this happened, I'm sure people would take war more seriously.

    But I don't agree that young people should ever be forced to join the military during peacetime. If all those who support this war would join the military, I imagine we'd have no trouble. The fact that our recruiting goals are being missed is a sign that a) many people disagree with this war, or, atleast, the current leadership behind it, and b) those who support it are not real patriots, because they're not backing up their self-professed love of this country with action.

    This is how democracy should work and these problems should be a signal to politicians that the people are unhappy with the direction to which they're being led. We should never go to war when the people are not strongly united behind it, because our current situation is an example of what happens when we do.

    Democrats -- Progress for the Working Class

    by rogun on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:34:28 AM PDT

    •  voluntary military is a referendum on force (none)
      In war to defend this nation will see volunteers coming out of the woodwork.
      They can't get volunteers because this war isn't about national defense, it's about empire and corporate control.
      The voluntary military is the ultimate referendum on the use of force and it is failing.  That's a good thing.

      Dig within. There lies the wellspring of all good. Ever dig and it will ever flow. --Marcus Aurelius

      by Mosquito Pilot on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:06:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  comments on Trevino @ Redstate (3.75)
    Trevino talks about the disincentive of being killed or wounded when he talks about declining recruitment.  He completely misses another disincentive - the personal and economic cost of enlisting/being drafted.  Sure many of the loudest chickenhawks are cowards, content to cheerlead violent and bloody war safely at home.  Even more chickenhawks know that taking a voluntary leave from career, relationships and family is going to cost them dearly.  If they did their noble and patriotic duty and signed up for the minimum enlistment, what would they find waiting for them upon their return?  Would that job/career still be there?  Significant other? Family?

    My youngest brother is draft eligible.  He screwed up when he was young and fathered a child.  But he has done a good job of actually being a father to his child!  But he is the noncustodial parent and the mother and her family are moving over a thousand miles away.  So now the custody battle is beginning and if he was drafted tomorrow, he could kiss his chances at getting full custody goodbye. Fight a war = lose his only child.  There is incentive for you!

    Tyranny goes with poverty;it's cheaper than democracy. (Larry Niven)

    by Fabian on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:38:15 AM PDT

    •  Rating this a 4 (none)
      Because I really can't see why the hell it got that "1".
      •  I should have explained (1.00)
        I rate it a 1 because it seeks to justify a general principle based on a single exceptional (exceptionally silly, say I, but that's beside the point) case.  Thus, it does not contribute to the discussion and deserves a 1.  You disagree?

        When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

        by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:02:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The last paragraph may be rare. (none)
          But the first paragraph, those are good reasons people don't go off and volunteer. It really would up-end the life.
        •  Yup (none)
          My bro wouldn't find it silly.  He's going from seeing his kid regularly to infrequent and expensive visits plus the added aggravation of dealing with custody issues in another state.  Even though he isn't the custodial parent, the schools were dealing with him since he was far more supportive of his child's education than the mother. So now he's got to try to have a long distance relationship with his kid and also with the teachers and schools in order to keep his kid on course.  It isn't a laughing matter when your child has reading problems and has been held back already and the mother tells the school that "He wouldn't have these problems if you were doing your jobs!!!".  

          [sigh] But yeah, I guess you could call trying to be a good father to your out-of-wedlock child silly. Trying to make sure your kid has a good education so he can have a good future could be humourous.  And having the government tell you to go fight a war and kiss your civilian life goodbye, that's be just hysterical.

          To be honest, I didn't take offence at your comment.  I just don't think I did a good job of making the situation symnpathetic.

          Tyranny goes with poverty;it's cheaper than democracy. (Larry Niven)

          by Fabian on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:02:44 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Single examples add up. (none)
          Empirical evidence. Actual real life facts and examples. The truth on the ground. General principles have real effects on real people. No, the comment did not deserve a 1. I would rather read a bunch of real life examples than a whole page of opinions and philosophical musings.
    •  okay, my bro isn't a great example (3.33)
      Of why the draft sucks.  Not everyone is in the middle of a custody battle.  But everyone is is in the middle of something they think is important and wouldn't want interrupted.

      If you were a rich man's child who had all the bumps in life's hard road smoothed out by money and connections and someone asked you why you weren't out fighting a war that you support for reasons of personal conviction, what would you say?

      Most of them say, in one way or another, "I don't have to.".  
      I don't have to because:
      Someone else will.
      It's not my job.
      I have a family.
      I'm not physically capable.
      I have responsibilities.

      Well, the less fortunate could say all that.  But when it comes down to the draft, will any of that matter?  If it is a fair draft, no.  But if the draft goes the way of previous drafts, it will matter.  It will matter if you have have connections to or are related to someone with enough clout to pull your bacon out of the fire.  And that's what really sucks.  The fact that the rich who talk big and run from service are likely going to stay safe whether we have a draft or not.  Their lives aren't going to be disrupted much and even if they were, they have a much softer landing than most of the deployed troops.

      Tyranny goes with poverty;it's cheaper than democracy. (Larry Niven)

      by Fabian on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 02:47:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  DUH! (none)
    Is it any wonder that no one is too anxious to sign the dotted line when there is a war under VERY questionable pretext and the grunts are abused six ways to Sunday?
  •  Why not a draft? (4.00)
    Some people here have been posting comments to the effect that "a draft won't do a damn thing to democratize foreign policy.  True, but it will do one thing: it will radicalize college campuses in this country and reinvigorate the progressive left.

    Furthermore, my babyboomer parents voted for Bush, even though they were uneasy about the war.  They voted for him because "Kerry was an empty suit."  I tell you one thing - if me or my brother might be forced to die in that bullshit war there, they would have voted for Kerry.  If we had a draft, Bush would have been tossed out.

    Let's bring back the draft for these reasons: (1) radicalize the youth, and (2) make sure the war touches EVERY family in this country (not just some military families).

    Plus, all this talk about the war dividing America is B.S.  The truth is, most people don't care about the war, because it doesn't touch them.  When forced to take a position on it in a poll, it seems we are divided.  But the American public cares more about American Idol than the War in Iraq.

    And a draft, my friends, would change that.

    •  101st keyboard div? (none)
      would you be subject to the draft?

      Dig within. There lies the wellspring of all good. Ever dig and it will ever flow. --Marcus Aurelius

      by Mosquito Pilot on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:08:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yeah, I would be going (none)
        yes, and you know what?  i protested against the war, but there was much more i could have done.  if i faced going, then it would change things.

        and it's not just about me.  i mean, every family in this country would have either a family member or neighbor that would be subject to going to war.  and that would change people's attitudes.

  •  What a load of fucking bullshit... (4.00)
    An all-volunteer army is fine.  The problem isn't that it's "war time", the problem is it's "unjust wartime".  This was an unjust and absolutely pointless war.  That's why no one is volunteering.  Iraq never attacked us and in fact our country was never under attack.  

    If we were actually being invaded there would be plenty of volunteers.  The "inherent unfairness" of an all volunteer military?  What pure, unadulterated shit.  The only thing unfair is that hypocritical assholes support conflicts that they themselves wouldn't fight.  

    Maybe this should be a message for the future: don't fight wars just for the hell of it, or to one-up daddy.  The military is for defense, remember it's call the "Department of Defense", and that's it.  End of fucking story.  

    Anyway, I hope they do hold a draft.  I don't think hardly any young people are going to be willing to go.  I think the public will be outraged.  And I think we'll have riots in the streets.  So, if you want to fight a war, please bring back the draft.  People will be drafted, but they'll be fighting here, not in Baghdad.  

    In Britain they admit to having royalty. In the United States we pretend we don't have any, and then we elect them president.

    by Asak on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:04:44 AM PDT

    •  Draft IS working (none)
      It's working just fine as a referendum on the government's use of force.  It's one of the checks and balances in our system of government and it is working to end the madness of this war of aggression.

      Dig within. There lies the wellspring of all good. Ever dig and it will ever flow. --Marcus Aurelius

      by Mosquito Pilot on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:09:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That draft during the Bosnia conflict helped... (none)
      Oh, wait. We didn't have one. Wonder if the GOP could peg a draft on Clinton, too?
    •  Pointless war? (none)
      Oh, there's a point alright. It's oil, military bases in the Middle East, Haliburton profits and the most sickening one of all, the egos of men like Bush, Rove, and Wolfowitz.

      "The diesel engine can be fed with vegetable oils and would help considerably in the development of agriculture of the countries which use it." R. Diesel, 1911

      by nuttymango on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:03:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Slavery (4.00)
       I do not think that "the draft" should be a topic for clever political maneuvering.  Whatever you call it -- the draft, conscription, mandatory service, impressment (and when there are so many euphemisms you know something must be wrong) -- it is the same thing: government-mandated slavery.  Any country which yanks its subjects off the streets, and throws them into a situation in which their civil and human rights are suppressed, they are not allowed to protest, they will be prosecuted and possibly executed for failing to follow arbitrary orders, and they are moreover highly likely to die, and will, if they survive, be released as physical and psychological wrecks, is a tyranny.  We might as well "draft" people to work in chain gangs mining pitchblende.  The meager "pay" offered to drafted soldiers is a joke: eaten up by mandatory expenses and far too small to be proportional to the hazards of the job anyway.  There is nothing amusing about gambling with the life, health, and freedom of one's fellow citizens.  I am too old to be immediately affected by a conscription program now, but I would not callously impose something so hellish on others.
    •  Hear hear for the Oxford Union of 1935 (none)
      who declared their intent never to bear arms in support of their country.  

      Fully half were killed - as volunteers - within 10 years, as I suspect would be the case with you and me were the occasion to arise . . .

      When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

      by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:46:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We went around this mulberry bush many times (none)
      during the Vietnam era. Court cases against "involuntary servitude" and all that. The complainants lost every time.

      And the pay wasn't "meager," even in the 60's, before the new Army. If you didn't drink, drug, or whore you had more money than you had time to spend it. I got out, having saved enough in four years to buy a BMW motorcycle and tour Europe and the US for a year. One winter, due to oddities in my station and duty schedule, I skied every day. Even so, I hated the greater proportion of it, though the feeling of being of service to my country was very strong. I wouldn't call it slavery. You're right: I'm a psychological wreck, but then I've always been that way.

      Of course my mother was smart enough to persuade me to enlist the week before I was scheduled to be drafted. I owe my mom my life twice.

      "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

      by CarbonFiberBoy on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 02:12:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just a question (none)
    Why do we give a flying fuck what they are saying on Red State?

    The Republican Party: Redefining Oppression for the 21st Century

    by daveriegel on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 03:57:14 AM PDT

    •  Because, while I disagree with him, (none)
      Trevino is attempting to engage in a legitimate discussion with a fair amount of intellectual honesty and historical perspective.

      Near the end of his piece he makes a rather unfortunate set of generalizations on different parts of the political spectrum, but if more people like him were willing to engage in a intellectually honest (and not blithely partisan) manner, we'd get a whole lot farther.

      Now, when a lot of the yahoos over there jump on Hagel for not supporting the cause, when they go after their own, and for that matter when we go after our own (e.g. Clark on Fox), we do nobody a service.

      It is a good article.  I disagree with partions of it.  But it is entirely worth reading.  You might wish to avoid the discussion that follows.

      Happy little moron, lucky little man. I wish I was a moron, my God, perhaps I am! -- Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:33:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (none)
        Near the end of his piece he makes a rather unfortunate set of generalizations on different parts of the political spectrum, but if more people like him were willing to engage in a intellectually honest (and not blithely partisan) manner, we'd get a whole lot farther.

        Translation: he's honest, if you ignore the bits where he's dishonest.  Suuuure.  

        If his idea of arguing the correctness of his position is pre-emptively explaining that anyone who disagrees with him is a Bad Person, then he's not honest.  The fact that in this case he has to slander people in all directions of the political compass in order to acheive this rhetorical victory just shows how narrow his base is.  

        But they're "Americans of ordinary sense", so they, and he, must be right.  

        •  And in answer to daveriegel's question (none)
          I had a quick look around the redstate site.  Jesus Christ I had forgotten what an ignorant prick Josh Trevino is.  He knows nothing, but it doesn't matter, because he believes he knows everything he needs to know.  

          Every so often it's good to check places like this out, just to see if they've improved.  

        •  Rather, my point... (none)
 that there are a lot of self-righteous pricks out there (like my wingnut brother) that would have been among the ones calling for his head for even daring to broach the topic.

          I'm not saying that I like or dislike Trevino, and in fact have never read any of his stuff before, so the size or breadth of his base is not germane to the point.

          And, those "Americans of ordinary sense" acted like a pack of incensed weasels to his article.  A precious few tried to engage in discussion rather than spewing hatred.

          Intellectual honesty is when you are actually willing to examine your own position to see if you're FULL OF SHIT.  

          Perhaps we all should engage in some.

          Happy little moron, lucky little man. I wish I was a moron, my God, perhaps I am! -- Spike Milligan

          by polecat on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:19:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Only empire requires a draft. (none)
    The voluntary military will always be adequate for defending this nation.
    It will never be adequate for empire.

    Dig within. There lies the wellspring of all good. Ever dig and it will ever flow. --Marcus Aurelius

    by Mosquito Pilot on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:03:27 AM PDT

  •  Blaghdaddy Knows of (none)
    at least two people who should be lining up to suppport the President's war...

    So where ARE the Bush Twins?

    A burning question for all...

    "It best, before speaking, to take twice the time pondering one's words as it will take to utter them..." Blaghdaddy 2005

    by Blaghdad on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 04:09:34 AM PDT

    •  Blaghdadday (none)
      Maybe, just maybe, the Bush twins don't support their daddy's war. No one should be forced into the military, EVER! Even if they are the twins everyone so loves to villify for just being born.

      No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual war. -James Madison

      by oneworld on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:53:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  An All-Volunteer Army is the Way to go... (none)
    it is fair, and in times of peace and just war, the way to go in this country.

    Unfortunately, this is not a just war. This is an administration who lies about everything -- from the length of time for tours of duty, to what is really going on on the ground. They cannot be trusted. They keep moving the goalposts. Their primary concern is not the welfare and safety of the troops. Why should anyone volunteer?

    What the all-volunteer Army has become, under George Bush, is a referendum on what Americans really think about this war. Really think. It's different when you have to vote for something with your own life or the life of your son or daughter. Is Iraq a just war... a war we should be fighting? Ask the record number of parents who, when polled, say they are unwilling to allow their kids to enlist right now. It's different than going into a voting booth and touching a block on a screen next to the candidate you'd most like to have over for a barbecue.

    Make no mistake, the all-volunteer Army works when our society works. The ills that have decimated its ranks are but symptoms of a larger, more pernicious problem: An administration bent on world domination with you or your kids as the fodder. If those are the circunstances, then voluntary enlistment will always lose.


  •  National security needs (none)
    Have we been kidding ourselves on believing an all volunteer force is adequate for our national security needs?

    A volunteer force is adequate for our national security needs.  It is not adequate for every little war that a president might want to pursue.  People can tell the difference.  After 9/11 there were guys and gals ready to go deal with Osama bin Laden.  Hasete and poor planning allowed Osama to escape. But this was not widely known.  A lot of these folks thought that this meant that they weren't needed, that the existing forces could handle it quite well by themselves.  The early days in Afghanistan looked like a replay of the Gulf War.

    The contrary phenomenon has occurred in Iraq. People at first were told that we had enough troops.  OK.  Replay of Afghanistan.  But after a year the situation dramatically shifted because of the absolute corruption of the Coalition Provisional Authority.  The "insurgency" began in earnest.  The US was seen to lose control.  Moreover the statements about the war seemed delusional.  Folks who would have volunteered said to themselves that the situation is so fucked, why should they waste their lives.

    The volunteer army, which should have caused the Bush administration to think carefully about how it pursued war, is about to break because of Bush's recklessness and stubbornness.

    And now the conservative blogs want a draft.  Pardon me, but if they would actually support the troops and volunteer, a draft would not be necessary.  The fact that they don't is a tacit admission that Bush is a jerk and this war is a failure despite all their protests to the contrary and the continual flag-waving and yammering about "traitors".

    At one point during the first year when security was relatively good except for securing the oil pipelines and public services, I thought that a draft might make sense.  I no longer have that opinion.  Calling for a draft is a transparent attempt by conservatives to force by law what they are unwilling to do themselves.  It's their war; they should go fight it.

    The volunteer army is doing just what it was designed to do.  Unfortunately, from the very beginning Bush's cluelessness about the military, his bloodlust, and his stubborness have prevented him from arriving at the proper conclusions.  It works. People are voting with their feet, and those feet aren't taking them to the recruiter's office.  Giving the Bush administration the power of a draft would be a major and catastrophic mistake.  Worried about Iran? Bush cannot pursue this folly now; with a draft, he could have the 150,000 troops that Rumsfeld would send.

    In June of 2005, the appropriate answer to calls for a draft is "Draft Republicans only."

    The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

    by TarheelDem on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:05:16 AM PDT

  •  Bob Herbert: Shut your Pie Hole! (none)
    For god's sake, young people have been thrown into the maw of war like infants sacrificed to appease the god Baal from time immemorial. Having a draft would take the pressure OFF Bush to do something about this problem--it would give him unlimited resources of manpower as well as money. NO, NO, and NO to the draft!!
    •  Mr. Herbert has been one of the (none)
      few columnists who have spoken out against this foolish, despicable war.  He is voicing something many of us have thought.  He has a right to write - he has earned it.  Have a little respect for a good journalist -- we have few enough.

      It's his job to get this stuff out into the public discourse.  And, of course, you have a right to respond -- and I have a right to call you out.

      These rights do not come easy by the way.  

      Conservatives say "Silent Spring" is a dangerous book! Why do Conservatives Hate Birds?

      by xanthe on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:19:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think it's a Kos in-joke (none)
        "Shut Your Pie Hole", or sometimes SYFPH, just means "I disagree strongly".  Yes, the phrase is intended to imply that you're suppressing the other guy's speech, but it's just a joke.  
        •  Well thanks for filling me in (none)
          or I might have gone on and on in other posts.
          I'm just a 1956 Pontiac in 2005 California.

          Conservatives say "Silent Spring" is a dangerous book! Why do Conservatives Hate Birds?

          by xanthe on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:04:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Will we sacrifice our young (none)
    in order to continually consume in the manner we are doing right now?  I don't see anyone mentioning we gotta give stuff up.  If you want to give your son and daughter another car in the family for their graduation -- open that door.  There may be a draft notice inside.  Nobody wants to hear this.  

    Conservatives say "Silent Spring" is a dangerous book! Why do Conservatives Hate Birds?

    by xanthe on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 05:11:06 AM PDT

  •  13th Amendment (4.00)
    I dont think a draft would work.  Or would even be legal.  Unless they charged us all with a crime.

    Thirteenth Amendment - Slavery And Involuntary Servitude

    Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

    Emphasis Mine.

  •  Political Advantages of Calling for a Draft (none)
    If Democrats begin to call for a draft, we can undermine a political pillar of the GOP.  Why shouldn't Democrats begin to be known as the Party of Courage.  From Roosevelt to Kennedy/Johnson, we were known less for entitlement programs and more for shared sacrifice.  If we keep this notion of shared sacrifice in mind, a draft is very consistent with everything that the Democrats stand for (equal rights, social safety net, government's role protecting it citizens).
    •  OH BROTHER! (none)
      Has it not occurred to you that this country doesn't have a history of engaging in NECESSARY wars, and there is something called the Military Industrial complex that has lead to these unnecessary wars.

      You think its so great YOU fucking go, but leave the rest of it out of it.

      I became a democrat because, among other thing, democrats were the party of peace.

  •  No draft for Iraq.... (none)
    You guys act like there's no Selective Service System in America. We have a draft. We have longstanding rules for when and how the draft can be reinstated. We're just not using it right now.

    Our all-volunteer Army isn't built to handle long, sustained conflicts that require massive numbers of troops on the ground -- but so what? It's never been meant to do that. The all-volunteer version of the Army is meant to carry out peacekeeping and security missions, train and assist other nations' forces, and -- when necessary -- blast any other Army in the world to hell and gone. It does all those things fine.

    But broad, open-ended, long-term conflicts have always meant the draft in America. What you're missing is that Rumsfeld and his loonies made up a bullshit world in which Iraq was a short-term offensive operation -- sort of like ending a recent coup and reinstating the rightful leadership of a country -- and sold the war to Americans on that basis. And it's even conceivable that a better-planned and better-executed postwar strategy could've enabled our volunteer army to get the job done with some modicum of success. But immediate postwar Iraq wasn't a rebuilding and security effort, it was another day at the trough for a bunch of Republican contributors -- they thought the job was done and they'd earned their feed -- and then the insurgency blew up the trough. It was a pathetic effort. Pathetic.

    So here we are, looking at a war in which we can't achieve our preferred outcome (stability and some measure of liberty in Iraq) without a complete re-envisioning of the conflict, far more troops, and -- yes -- probably a draft. But this isn't going to cause a draft; it's going to cause a change in our preferred outcome. Start talking about a draft, and watch as Americans suddenly decide that the Iraqis are on their own now.

    There will be no draft for Iraq. There will be a patchy and gradual American disengagement, followed by persistent violence and brutality in the region, and probably civil war at some point. Conservatives will argue that liberals "lost" the war through their unwillingness to fight, Michael Moore's enemy propaganda, and all their usual bullshit excuses for their own failures. Liberals will argue that conservatives lost the war by -- well, starting it, of course, and then by putting pigheaded, arrogant intellectuals with no experience of war in charge of running one.

    No, we can't achieve total victory without a draft in Iraq, but we might not achieve total victory with a draft; in fact, that'd probably end in worse disaster. And as Americans realize that they're actually facing life-or-death choices rather than tagging along for an embedded ride with the All-Volunteer Patriots, the withdrawal from Iraq will certainly be planned and carried out. If not by this Administration, by the next.

    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are. - Anaïs Nin

    by Valentine on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:32:01 AM PDT

  •  What about 'citizenship'? (none)
    I find this morning that I am still the only one who mentions the term.  Love it or hate it, you must deal with it, doncha think?

    "Is a puzzlement!" said the king.

    When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

    by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 06:38:21 AM PDT

  •  The Thirteenth Amendment (none)
    Can anyone axplain why the draft isn't illegal under the thirteenth amendment?  I once tried to look for an answer to this, since I am sure that someone had actually read the thing during a time when the draft was in effect and would therefor have mentioned it.  I found a reference to one court decision, but there was no real reasoning given.  It was pretty much "Well, if the Thirteenth Amendment outlawed the draft, then we couldn't have a draft.  Can't have that."  Can anyone give me a real argument?
  •  <p>Two different wars</p> (none)

    Some time back, the US changed its military to be ready to fight -- if needed -- on two different fronts. I, and I believe other liberals, regarded that as an excuse to keep up a large military and keep defense contractors in business.

    Well, we now are fighting wars on two different fronts. And neither sees much let-up. Now W is making noise about Iran; and the new president of Iran plans to resume the nuclear program.

    One problem is the country i not at war. The army is at war, but the country isn't. When we entered WWII, Roosevelt publicly announced that he was easing up on all his New-Deal emphases. W hasn't stepped back from anything.

  •  Voluntary Draft (none)
    I haven't read all of the comments, so I don't know if this has been mentioned, but I think we should have sort of a voluntary draft during wartime. What I mean is the following: if you support the war, put your name on the draftee list, which should be published. Then, of all the chickenhawks, we would know what percentage are actually willing to put their lives on the line and who are the hypocrites. If you don't support the war, then don't sign up. Nobody should have to die in a war that they don't support.

    As far as requisite service, I think that it's a great idea, as long as their are nonmilitary options like work in a VA hospital, VISTAS, forest service, etc.

    Finally, while it may be appropriate to send reservists abroad, I don't think that national guardsmen should ever have to participate in conflict on foreign soil. They should guard U.S. soil, and oonly be sent abroad is the U.S. is claiming soil abroad. If the U.S. is not truly occupying Iraq, then our National Guard has no business there.

  •  Legally, (none)
    how much of a step is it from No Child Left Unrecruited to a back-door draft?  What's the distinction between 18-year-old boys registering with the Selective Service and the lists they're now getting from high schools?  If this sounds naive, it is.  This is coming from my gut, and I just want some info.  Both our daughters (the oldest of the kids) have been getting recruiting bs for a couple of years.  The current high school junior even got a phone call (which someone other than me cut short).
  •  Bob Herbert doesn't know what he's talking about.. (none)
    I wrote Bob Herbert and told him his article was terrible and irresponsible.  If he's for a draft, he should say that.  A draft would likely increase the current number of deaths by a factor of 10 at least - remember Vietnam?  I'm glad that we don't have a draft and we'll be forced to leave Iraq soon as the Army starts to break.  People would sign up if the war were just - a draft needs to be reserved for national emergencies (like World War II).
  •  Draft Jenna Bush? (none)
    Hah. She'll "serve" in a National Guard unit somewhere in Alabama, playing pool volleyball with other repuglican brats.

    The draft is for democrats.

    Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party - DNC Chair Howard Dean

    by easong on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:52:08 AM PDT

    •  No. (none)
      Don't draft Jenna.  Or NotJenna.  Or anyone else for that matter.  Why do some people think it is okay to do to her what you wouldn't want done to you? Sheesh.
      •  I Think My Point Is (none)
        If there is a draft you can bet the children of rich Americans will avoid active duty in Iraq, same as always.

        That's why the draft is always a bad idea. It always snags the poor kids, and blue-collar kids will go because they have been taught to love America more than they love to make money.

        Rich Republican kids cannot be bothered with 3 years of forced cohabitation with the savages, much less risk their cornsilk skin to IEDs.

        Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party - DNC Chair Howard Dean

        by easong on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:23:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I don't see any discussion here about the effect (4.00)
    of a draft on the Army and other services. Maybe I missed it. But what I read in these comments is a lot of discussion about the effect on the civilian population.

    I volunteered during the Vietnam War, though the only reason I volunteered was to keep from going to Nam and getting my ass shot off. Believe me, we troops had discussions about the draft that went on half the night. Our consensus was that the draft was a good thing for the country.

    What you don't want is a bunch of professional soldiers whose jobs are on the line, and who thus need the approval of their superiors for promotion. And you don't want guys who are there to kill or torture. A professional military leads directly to guys who shoot wounded prisoners and kids just walking on the road.

    We called the professional soldiers among us "treads." The most noticable thing about a tread was that they were in it for themselves. They weren't in it for their country, though that's always the rhetoric. They always talked about "learning their job" or "changing jobs" when what they meant was learning to kill in new and different ways. Believe me, we noticed the difference.

    Also, if you have an all volunteer force, it's composed of folks who wound up there because they doubted their ability to get a decent job in an open market. The military takes anyone who can fake their way through a literacy test. Why should these people be selected to fight and die? Don't you see, we already have a draft, but only certain people sign up for it. It's powered by racism, economics, and just bad luck.

    We soldiers felt it was better to have a draft powered by law.

    A real citizen army guards your liberties and America in more ways than one. A citizen army reports abuses. A citizen army is not subject to the sort of rhetoric we hear now: "Well you signed up to kill and be killed, so what are you complaining about?" We felt it's a better army. Certainly not better at killing, but better for the country.

    "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

    by CarbonFiberBoy on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:52:13 AM PDT

    •  NO DRAFT (none)
      History has shown that there is no benefit in forcing people serve who don't want to.

      Furthermore, the concept of a draft is inconsistant with a free country.

      I'm 43.5 years old and there has be NOTHING in my lifetime in which there was such a significant threat to our country that a draft would be warranted, NOTHING!

      They'll draft my child of MY DEAD BODY!

      •  Quite. (none)
        That's exactly how my mother felt about it. My story illustrates how much good those feelings did - I was not drafted. Your dead body will not be required. However, you do have a vote.

        "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

        by CarbonFiberBoy on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:30:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Carbon's points are very important (4.00)
       .. and should go to the heart of any thoughtful debate about a democracy and it's military institutions.  When military service is a hopeful immigrant's only likely path to citizenship, or the poor's only likely path to a college education, then how voluntary is their service really?  We have to frankly admit that the economic structures can be rigged easily enough to ensnare the powerless into military service, whether under a draft or a 'voluntary' system. And the huge mercenary contingent in Iraq, advertised as 'contractors', is certainly not in keeping with the concept citizen army.  

       Are professional armies compatible with a democratic republic?  I'm not so sure.  It's an important (and emotional) debate, but one that's worthy of having.  I don't think there are a lot of easy answers. Despite what man have said here, past empires have been built on the backs of 'volunteer' soldiers.

  •  Just BUY-OFF the Enemy (none)
    The U.S. is spending hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq.

    If that expense were eliminated by terminating military action in Iraq, the money could be used to buy-off the insurgency. Pass-out 200 billion dollars to Iraqis and tell them to fix their country.

    Spend money, not lives. I'm not kidding.

    •  Not a money problem (none)
      If there are 25M Iraqis, that would be around $8K per person.  Would that really be enough to solve the problem?  I don't think so.

      In fact, I don't think it's a lack-of-money problem at all.

      I think that Saddam used a standard set of techniques (ancient, but extended in certain ways by Stalin) that proved to be reasonably effective for ruling Iraq.  The question the neocons have posed is whether there is some other, less murderous way to do it.

      So far, the data seem to be trending toward "no", which suggests that the "insurgency" may continue until another Saddam-style strongman gets into power there.

      Greg Shenaut

  •  No Dem should put draft on the table -EVER! (none)
    Americans don't want it, and the Dem constiuency especially doesn't want it, so just oppose it.

    If we don't have enough troops to fight a war, don't fight it; if it is a defensive war NATO partners are required by treaty to help us; if for some specific war, support is high enough among the citizens that we recognize the need, we can vote to institute the draft, but we should never, never, ever, vote for a draft before the fact, not knowing how our children would be used or abused by a corrupt administration like the one we have now.

    The lack of a draft is the only thing that is keeping a handle on Bush's militarism, the only thing keeping him out of Syria and Iran and probably Korea. If he had the troops he would be drawing up invasion plans, or, more likely, would have already invaded at least Syria.

    Pipe dreams are not an exit strategy.

    by TrainWreck on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 07:55:08 AM PDT

  •  The real problem was here before Bush but (none)
    but reckless pursue of a elective war without an effective plan and total msimanagement has exaserbated the problem.

    The question is in our society more and more people feel like Dick Cheney did about going to fight for their country. And increasingly there are less and less just causes that Americans like the young Dick Cheney are willing to go and fight. So who end up fighting these wars? The people in our society like Wes Clark, less fortunate, poorer with less options in life. Although Wes had been an exceptional student and could have probably got a scholarship most anywhere.

  •  The elephant in the room (4.00)
    The elephant in the room here is class.  I have seen only a scant few comments here bringing it up.  Right now we have poor people, disproportionally black and hispanic, being sent out to die because before this Iraq debacle they saw service as the only way to have any chance of class mobility.

    The rich now wage war on the backs of the poor.  They send off other peoples' kids to die in order to increase the value of their stock portfolio knowing that there is not one single shred of personal risk in doing so.  They can brutally murder over 100,000 people in order to acquire "political capital" and have a "successful presidency" and never worry that their own lives will be at risk.

    Is that a just society?  Clearly it is not but I do not know how to fix this problem, as a draft is obviously not just either.

    A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

    by kenjib on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 08:38:24 AM PDT

  •  Bring Them Home Protests (none)
    I've said it before on other blogs and I'll say it again here...we need a Million Dem March on DC or some other serious protest against these vultures and their "12 more years!"
  •  Real war (none)
    If the US was fighting a  war for survival, instead of running one as a sideshow, the situation would be entirely different.

    I think the draft just makes war easier and bigger.

    •  Exactly (none)
      If a war is fought efficiently and justly, there should be no need for a draft; the regular military should be sufficient. War analysts have been saying that for centuries. The very fact that we need a draft indicates that we have lost the war.

      "The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement..."

      by ProgressivePrinciple on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:58:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Volunteer is "unfair"??? (none)
    How is a volunteer anything something other than fair?  It is the draft that is unfair, because it forces a person into a position they may not choose otherwise.  A draft is immoral, plain and simple... it removes free will from the individual and replaces it with government will.  If the cause is just, an individual will defend their freedom as they see fit.  If they choose not to defend it, they deserve what they get in return.

    The volunteer armed forces is the only "American way" since it allows each citizen to determine for themselves whether the cause is of value to them.  Each American is permitted to weigh life vs. perceived threat to liberty.  "Society" and the government are left out entirely, as it should be.

    It's ironic, during the 2004 Presidential campaign, Democrats began circulating rumors of a draft for Iraq, given the weigning enlistments.  Now it's the Democrats who appear to give the fullest support behind a draft.

    •  Amen (none)
      I'm literally sickened by the amount of draft support on this thread. Unbelievable.

      "The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement..."

      by ProgressivePrinciple on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:55:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  re: Volunteer is "unfair"??? (none)
      >>How is a volunteer anything something other than fair?<<

      You don't actually believe that poor minority kids are just that much more interested in serving, do you?

      Maybe the fact that the society the volunteers come from is unfair has something to do with it. That $20,000 signing bonus means a lot more to a poor kid.

      •  Fairness (none)
        I'm sure it does mean more to them than to, say, a Walton heir.  It's still left up to the individual to choose what they value more: money or risk of death?  It's the same reason contractors are paid more to goto Iraq.  No sane person takes the same amount of money they can get here safely in the States and opts to make that amount in the Middle East.  That is what is "fair", that the individual can weigh the differing values.  For example, there must exist some poor minority high school graduate who desires to join the military for ideological reasons.  Is it "unfair" to recruit him, even though he is both poor and a minority?

        Before claiming that it's only "the blacks and the hispanics" that are being recruited to fight, I'd like to see a statistic indicating enlistment percentages by race and, if possible, by economic status.  It seems only honest to be able to argue from the facts, as opposed to speculation.

        One fact for arguments sake: is the $20K signing bonus worth entering a military zone where, statistically, you have less than a 1% chance of death?  Some people say no, others say yes.  Who are any of us to tell them they made the "wrong" choice or that the choice as presented was "unfair".

  •  If a draft is the answer (none)
    I would say that immediately every red state red voter should put up their kids first, or go themselves if they are young enough.  

    But even before that, every republican politician at every level who supports the current administration's policies and the war effort should be there, of course starting with that pussy Karl Rove.

    Karl's fat ass should be out there first in line to sign up.  Then those lazy Bush twins.  Start looking in the private schools of the wealthy looking for recruits.  

    Ok, sorry for the rant.  

    Impeach this moron...

    by valeria on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 09:01:15 AM PDT

  •  Draft = Never Ending War (none)
    I was drafted when I was 25 when there was a previous cannon fodder shortage. The Draft is involuntary servitude.  

    Phil Carter of intel-dump has been called up out of the Ready Reserves and is off to Iraq and the 101st Airborne. As a Vietnam Vet to me it is incredibly sad. A reasoned intelligent man bravely going to a hell hole that will irrevocably change him.  

    Another indication that the manpower pool is sucked dry.  The mendacity of the White House to lie about the manpower shortage and to continue lying is incredible. On top of that, their hubris is so great they cannot admit that they screwed up and look for alternatives like the UN or Arab League and disavowal of any US claims for permanent bases or control of Iraqi Natural Resources.

    The US Army will fall apart in 2006.  Either it is the Draft or the USA gets out of occupying the Middle East.  Read Juan Cole for possible alternatives to failed Bush policies.

    •  Yes (none)
      The US Army will fall apart in 2006.

      What's really alarming is that yes, that almost certainly will happen, it's set in stone.  There simply will not be enough warm bodies to fill out the Army's current personnel needs.  The people needed to do that have to already be in the pipeline, either currently in training, or signed/sealed to enter the system sometime very soon.  With the Iraq war having no realistic endpoint, you can figure that everyone who can is getting out at the first opportunity, and they are not going to be able to make up for the failure to meet recruiting goals so far by reaping a bonanza later in the year - only more less-than-quota totals that will compound a problem that already exists.

      A year from now, there will be a severe shortage of troops to position in the many places US soldiers currently serve.  It's already a done deal, and no one in a position of power or responsbility in the Bush Administration, or in Congress, seems to be willing to discuss it.

      "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

      by JJB on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 12:25:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  War as a last resort, with national consensus (none)
    In the short term, a draft allows for the prosecution of a war for which there is no national consensus - cf Vietnam. In the long run, wars for which there is no national consensus and which are prosecuted by drafees end in national outrage and failure - cf Vietnam.

    No draft. Bad idea.

    More to the point, we wouldn't be having this discussion if we only went to war when our national interests were threatened and we had overwhelming national consensus to go to war. When was the last time that both of those conditions were met, let alone even one? 1941. And it's no coincidence that that was the last time we followed the constitutional principles about going to war.

  •  Hybrid: A New Model for National Service (none)
    [Excerpted from "Getting Drafty: The Hybrid Model of National Service"]

    The time for a collective free ride on national service is over. Our overcommitted American military is stretched to the breaking point, with a terrible toll and unfair demands on active duty troops and reservists alike. As the situation in Iraq smolders, the prospect of twin crises in the Korean peninsula and Iran remain very real. All the while, the rise of Chinese economic, diplomatic and military power means the United States may once again have to pursue a strategy of continental containment in Asia. And the increasing needs for bolstered security at home and peacekeeping missions abroad mean the United States must make dramatic new investments in civil defense forces.

    Those growing national security needs simply can't - and shouldn't - be met by a volunteer American military. The time has come for new, expanded American armed forces. Combining an enlarged professional fighting force with a new conscript-based Civil Defense Force (CDF), our new hybrid military would be prepared to face the challenges of the next decade. And by reintroducing national service, the United States might actually reinstill democratic values of shared defense and sacrifice across all sections of American society...

    - MORE -

    •  How can (none)
      there be a spirit of "democratic values of shared defense and sacrifice" created through a system of slavery?

      "The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement..."

      by ProgressivePrinciple on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:53:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nope (none)
      Nope. Go to war only for clear national purpose and with overwhelming national consensus. That solves 90% of the problem. If you still see a problem with staffing the armed forces, come back after meeting those conditions and we'll talk.
  •  How 'bout recruiting 35+ white males? (none)
    Is there a reason other than we like to prey on naive highschoolers, that we can't recruit the more experience, mature, and willing arm-chair "patriots" instead?
    Our technology facilitates this older soldier option with much more of a dependance on machinery than physical prowess.
    Hell, even women can handle it so why not older white males?

    Where is the call to arms among this group?  I think we have a great case to put to those chickenhawk baby-boomer's in the media to put up or shut-up when it comes to defending this waste of our army and young people.

  •  I can't believe that some people (none)
    here support a draft, or are at best uncertain about what they support. The bottom line is this: the war was wrong from a moral perspective. No good can possibly come from our presence over there. We need to admit to that fact, leave Iraq, and deal with the consequences.

    "The despotism of custom is everywhere the standing hindrance to human advancement..."

    by ProgressivePrinciple on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:46:09 AM PDT

  •  Fuck the draft. (none)
    I'll say it again: Fuck the draft.

    The draft = slavery. Period. It should not be first choice or even somewhere in the middle. It should be last choice on the clipboard. Right after using nukes.

    The draft was horribly unfair during the Vietnam era, and if the sleazy recruitment tactics inflicted on Black and Brown children are any measure, it will be similarly skewed in favor of the same poor minority children. I will only support the institution of a draft if the children of families making more than $1,000,000 per annum go first. That is not bloody likely.

    I will fight until my last breath to prevent another draft. It might not have been wrong in World War II, it might not have been wrong in the Civil War. Both were situations where the very survival of the Union were in danger. But at any other freakin' way.

    Spread the memes: Californians, vote NO Nov. 8th. Borrow-and-Binge Republicans.

    by MamasGun on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 10:49:01 AM PDT

    •  There is no excuse or valid reason... (none)
      "The draft = slavery. Period. It should not be first choice or even somewhere in the middle. It should be last choice on the clipboard. Right after using nukes.
      It might not have been wrong in World War II, it might not have been wrong in the Civil War."

      Uh, no.  It is slavery. Period.  The war between the states and WWII are no different in this regard.  Your suggestion that the "survival of the Union" was a good reason to conscript our greatest resource into slavery is BS.  There are no exceptions to the absolute you present at the beggining of your comment.  Period.

  •  Anecdotal Evidence, But... (none)
    it is easy to see evidence that Army recruiting is getting tougher.  I was at "Taste of Chicago" (large 11 day festival of food and music by the lake) yesterday.  The Army has a recruiting station complete with a "loaded" Hummer, loud music, basketball hoop, handouts and recruiters in t-shirts.  Only problem, there didn't seem to be much of a line of interested candidates (6-8 max)...more pre-teen boys trying to get a peek inside the Hummer.  Actually saw a couple of young women tugging at their male companions to pull them away from the tent.  Last year at about the same time, the line was quite long...with only 2-3 white males in line.  
  •  Elois, so many elois (n/t) (none)

    When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

    by Clem Yeobright on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 11:30:25 AM PDT

  •  Draft admits illegitimacy of war (none)
    Conscription is concession by a government that its military is engaged in a conflict that does not relate to the interest of its citizens.

    Wars of independence and of (actual) national defense do not require drafts.  Government only resorts to conscription when it cannot convince the citizenry that the safety of their homes and family is at risk.

    A volunteer army, for all its socio-economic failings, is one of the last vestiges of democracy in encroaching tyranny (or in our increasingly unaccountable republic, if you prefer).  It is the last "check" of the American people on the government--the ability to remove from their hands the stick of the American military (or at least limit its reach).  There should be no shortage of individuals willing to fight for the defense of a just cause--every capable American would fight if we were actually under attack (again, I site  "Red Dawn," commie invaders beware!), if we actually felt like our lives and the lives of our families were in danger.

    The value of our "War on Terr'r" is still being debated, and its value is still uncertain to a large percentage of the population.  However, if a draft is actually instated, no question can remain about the legitimacy of the war.  

  •  Just to throw another perspective into the mix, (4.00)
    my dad who was a military man very much opposed the idea of a "professional" all volunteer army.  He felt that it would become too alienated from the citizenry and that like the "professional" armies of South American "banana republics" begin to see its own self interest in opposition to the populace it was supposed to protect and serve.

    He felt that the influx of drafted citizen-soldiers helped to prevent this unhealthy-to-democacy development.

  •  Ah, The Voice Of Militaristic Imperialism (none)
    Look what's of primary concern to Mr. Trevino:

    On the first, it is enough to note that we cannot plausibly threaten another nation should we need to (Iran, Syria and North Korea come to mind) . . .

    In other words, we need conscription to be able to bully the rest of the world to do our bidding.  Lovely.  It seems not to have occurred to him that we might have enough troops for that humble task if we hadn't needlessly launched a war against Iraq.  Well, once you question the central delusion (i.e., that we need to "plausibly threaten" other nations), the whole argument falls apart, so we won't dwell on that any further.

    I do love how he tries to cover his barbaric warmongering with a prose style that . . . well, words fail me:

    But the volunteer Army has failed. [The present war in Iraq] is its first war of any meaningful length, and its lessons are clear: it cannot sustain this effort, through no fault of its own, because, in the end, its discrete parts are rational actors. It is impossible to externally incentivize war.

    Presumably though, we can incentivize it internally.  

    I have no idea that last sentence means, and frankly don't think he does either, but if it makes him feel like an intellectual heavyweight to employ that sort of pompous diction, go right ahead.

    I guess we could label that style Martial Academese - warmongering written the way adjunct professors of sociology at third-rate state universities order words on a page.  The rest of his post is somewhat more accessible, but all the more regrettable for that, sounding like something out of the works of Mussolini, or Juan Peron ("Leftists of the type whose hatred of the [Fatherland] outweighs the normal impetus of patriotism and humanity will think so," etc.).  

    Militant imperialism is a bitch when no one wants to sign up for the joyride, isn't it Tacky?  Pretty soon we may have an answer to that old 1960s question:  what if they gave a war and nobody came?

    "L'enfer, c'est les autres." - Jean Paul Sartre, Huis Clos

    by JJB on Mon Jun 27, 2005 at 01:13:00 PM PDT

  •  <p>What's the problem?</p> (none)

    I'm a type-2 diabetic and spent some time on a newsgroup of hardliners for treating their diabetes. I noticed that there was a dichotomy:
    1)I've got a system which needs certain kinds of food and certain amounts of exercise.
    2)My doctor has to treat my case with enough of the right kinds of medecine. If he doesn't treat it skillfully enough so I can eat what I've grown accustomed to, it's his fault.

    Pardon the analogy, but that's about what is happening here.

    Young men should be patriotic enough to risk their lives for the interests of their country, and -- if not enough of them are -- then we have to grab enough to make them take that risk.

    Nobody else, except a few young women, and -- of course -- a bunch of damn furriners, has to sacrifice anything.

    The treasury was running a healthy surplus when W got in, so that had to be spent on a tax break for the friends of the shrub.

    That didn't leave enough money for armor for our toops and vehicles, let alone for treatment for veterans. Well, that's too bad, but first things first.

    We wanted a wide international consensus supporting our policies and our military in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, if they won't give it to us, it is all their fault; but that doesn't mean that the USA needs to look at what other broad international consensuses there are.

    The National Guard, when it isn't being used to shield the well-connected from the draft, is the second line of support for our national military needs. And, when the nation needs them, they have shown themselves ready to go for more than a century. But, guess what? When they figure out that it isn't the nation which needs them, they are less willing to disrupt their lives.

    Privatization is a huge favorite of the Bush League. Whatever the government is doing, somebody whould be making a profit from it. So they added privatization to the military -- they were about to use the military, but so what? Their pet profit-making projects have priority.
    So the military has to compete with private companies when they want their soldiers to re-enlist. And the private companies have better pay and much better working conditions.

    During a coal strike, many years ago, my father told the strikers: "You have to mine the coal; we sure aren't going to." It was a joke on his part, and received by the strikers as a joke. But it had some truth. It's a dirty job, and nobody else is going to do it.


    Well, serving in the Army is a dirty job. If nobody else is going to make a sacrifice, they aren't going to either.

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