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August 11th, 2007
09:52 am


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In case you missed it: the D-word looms eerily
Jim posts about President Bush's new war adviser saying in an interview on NPR that he thinks we should certainly consider re-instating the draft.

In case anyone's wondering, I would be, uh, against that. I think any conflict where an insufficient number of our youngsters (and other healthy people) are willing to go in service is a conflict we shouldn't be involved in. That's aside from the whole question of whether or not there are better approaches to conflict than fighting, much of the time.

(7 comments | Leave a comment)

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Date:August 11th, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC)
That ML post is from Jim Macdonald.

I'm not sure I agree that a national Draft would never be an appropriate government response to situations that threaten the lives of American or World citizens. (It's easy for me to say that, now, in my old age. Certainly, I didn't want them to get me in the Vietnam years, and was also intellectually/morally opposed to what the United States did in that action. What Bush and Cheney have committed this country to is even more senseless. But if we were faced with a situation like the one in WWII, I would acknowedge the U.S. government's legitimate claim to ask for my service. I'm not sure they could ever get me to point a gun at someone and fire it. I'd probably wind up in a noncombat assignment or in prison.)
Date:August 11th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
I think it would be illuminating to see numbers for voluntary vs. involuntary enlistment during the times when the draft has been in force, and correlate them to public support levels for the war. Has a draft really been necessary for important wars (post-Pearl Harbor, for example), or has it only been needed to support wars that the public didn't want in the first place? If the latter, then Anne has a good point - the correct answer is not to have a draft, but to only enter wars when you have the support of the public.
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Date:August 11th, 2007 04:51 pm (UTC)
oops! thanks for the correction.

I guess my thinking is, I don't mind mandatory service, in principle, as long as pacifists can request non-military service, but I think such service should be an integral part of the system, as it is in Israel (last I checked), rather than a "whoops, we're running out of bodies, let's draft some people" kind of thing (you could set up a system where the recruitment rate is higher in times of war, I'm just saying there should be ground rules in play, not a hasty patch-job produced by an administration that's fucking up big time). And there should be a perfectly legal way for soldiers who've been on the ground to say "no, this is fucked up, I'm not going back" when we're in a situation that's being mishandled by the higher-ups. At which point *hopefully* the higher-ups would be required to, like, replan or something.

Wouldn't that be interesting? Compulsive service, but higher than 10% defection rate means you have to give the opposition voice a chance to run the military? If there were a clear "opposition voice" that might even work.

But, in point of fact, I might rather have a draft system than a system where we just start putting our military and especially our reservists in for longer tours than they signed up for, breaking up families, and generally mistreating the very people we're counting on. The stories about lack of medical care and funding for Iraq war vets (especially the ones where they get re-classified, post-duty, as having had a pre-existing psychological condition (from before they signed up) that means they don't get medical benefits and furthermore have to pay for their training. That shit is FUCKED UP!)
Date:August 11th, 2007 05:01 pm (UTC)
It's probably worth reading the original interview. The actual quote was:

Q: You know, given the stress on the military and the concern about these extended deployments for an all-volunteer military, can you foresee, in the future, a return to the draft?

A: You know, that's a national policy decision point that we have not yet reached, Michele, because the —

Q: But does it make sense militarily?

A: I think it makes sense to certainly consider it, and I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table, but ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation's security by one means or another. Today, the current means of the all-volunteer force is serving us exceptionally well. It would be a major policy shift — not actually a military, but a political policy shift to move to some other course.

To me, it doesn't sound like this is being looked at as a likely option - it sounds more like he just doesn't want to rule it out. Note also that he never uses the word "seriously".
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Date:August 11th, 2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
whoops, didn't mean to paraphrase. I've changed "seriously consider" to "certainly consider".
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Date:August 11th, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC)
I have a modest proposal for reinstating the draft: use publicly-available lists of donors to the Republican Party since 2003. "You supported this, so here's your gear. Unfortunately we don't have enough Kevlar helmets. You could buy a motorcycle helmet, I suppose."
Date:August 11th, 2007 08:40 pm (UTC)
Here's mine: start with the children and grandchildren of any legislator who has voted in support of the war. And put them in infantry school.
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