Reinstituting the draft





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Discus: College Confidential Café: 2004 Archive: Reinstituting the draft
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DRAFT IMMINENET  52   05/18 09:24pm

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 05:40 pm: Edit

I was going to write "OT," but this subject hardly is that, since it has the potential to change our sons' and daughters' lives dramatically during what we now think of as the college years. I had been reading that Rep. Charles Rangel had introduced a universal service bill as a way to inspire antiwar sentiment. However, the possibility of a draft now appears to be far more serious than I had understood:
http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/archives/2004/05/12/opinion/10554.shtml

S.89 and H.R.163, the Universal National Service Act of 2003, seeks to require that all young persons in the United States, male and female, between the ages of 18 to 26, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes as determined by the authorities.

Although I had heard members of Congress talk about offering young people a *choice* between community service and military service (the latter rewarded with college tuition payments), in fact, as the bill is now written the President would retain enormous powers in the way in which its provisions are carried out and would have the right to decide whether young people would serve in the military or the community.

Any thoughts? I have already written to my Senators to protest this bill in its current form.

By Mmhome (Mmhome) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 05:53 pm: Edit

I just read the bill...it is a little scary. Do you know what the status of this bill is and why has it been kept so quiet?

By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 06:02 pm: Edit

Where did you get that bill from (the paragraph on it that you posted)?

By Shopmom (Shopmom) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 06:04 pm: Edit

http://www.hslda.org/Legislation/National/2003/S89/
It is unsettling to say the least.

By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 06:17 pm: Edit

I wonder what they define "extreme hardship and mental disability" as. Hmmm.....

By Ndbisme5 (Ndbisme5) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 06:21 pm: Edit

If this bill passes, Bush can kiss reelection goodbye.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 06:27 pm: Edit

Here's the text of the House bill:
http://www.theorator.com/bills108/hr163.html

Here is an article from the Toronto Star, quoting a well-known Dartmouth professor about the draft boards advertisement: http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/1105-01.htm

And here is a Salon article:
http://fairuse.1accesshost.com/news1/salon1.html

Another from The Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1077906,00.html

I'm sure that other hs boys, like my son, all had to register with Selective Service when they registered to vote, right? So it wouldn't be too hard to draft them.

By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 06:29 pm: Edit

I am a girl--not registered for voting.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 06:34 pm: Edit

Girls haven't had to register...yet.

The following is a letter from Rep. Pete Stark, explaining why he supports this bill as an antiwar measure: http://www.house.gov/stark/documents/108th/univdraftstate.html This was the original logic given for the bill. However, now that the Bush administration has advertised for the draft boards, and with the Selective Service registration a done deal, and with Iraq being the way it is...I think we need to start asking questions before the bills get passed right under our noses.

By Unmatchedsocks (Unmatchedsocks) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 06:47 pm: Edit

I object to Bush's conservative regime, and I don't care if my service would not include combat. I am simply not serving in any capacity in the military or in the community.

Pete Stark seems like a fool. The "Haha, maybe some of you will think twice now!" logic is immature and threatening.

I'm not so much interested in the draft itself as I am worried about the bill. Many countries like Irsael, Russia, and Germany already require such service and I feel that it is a violation of our rights. All the information you guys are gathering is over a year old. Why isn't there anything new on it?

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 06:56 pm: Edit

Let me play devil's advocate.

We've been outsourcing war-related service to civilians who are not bound by military protocol, are not responsible to governmental authority and do not have to abide by the Geneva Convention.

Is that what we want? And if we don't what do we do about it?

By Songman (Songman) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:00 pm: Edit

Unmatchedsocks- UNFAIR!!! you said "and I feel that it is a violation of our rights"

Oh, it is ok though that my son is forced to register for the selective service system at age 18 and if he doesn't he cannot receive aid nor register to vote? This form of dicrimination e.g. Males must register but females do not have to, is ok with you? In this day and age what possible rationalization could there be for justifying this inequality?

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:06 pm: Edit

Why would you not serve your country? Bush does not = USA.
I think everyone should serve min of two years whether they opt for military or stateside service. I am thinking the age should be 20-30, and credit can be given for previous service.(Inc peace corp work etc)
I think the age limit should allow for time to finish education if students are enrolled at time of notification, but that no extensions should be given after allowing for 4 or 5 years to finish college.( can't keep changing your major to stay out of service)
I also think students should have a choice to opt for military ( with incentives) or community based service but how can any one figure that requiring citizens to participate in their community be a violation of their rights?
http://www.mtsusidelines.com/news/2004/02/16/StateAndLocal/Draft.Bill.Still.Under.Review-607870.shtml
My daughter has already given a year of service before she began college and is planning a second after graduation. My brother recently retired from teh air force after 20 years service.
I remember vietnam, and wore a POW bracelet for several years when I was a young teen, I certainly don't think that the government equals the people. But it should. And the citizens of this country do have an obiligation to each other over the taxes that we pay.

By Unmatchedsocks (Unmatchedsocks) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:17 pm: Edit

No, no. Where did I say that I did not think females should have to register for the selective service? I think we should if males have to. However, I am against anyone having to register for anything, and anyone having to serve for the US if they don't want to.

I am planning on joining the Peace Corps after college, but I do not want to do it because I will be forced to. I don't want to be "assigned" a job "as determined by the President." It's our lives, and I don't think we should be made to spend 2 years of it as cheap labor.

By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:22 pm: Edit

Songman--I'm guessing Unmatched socks is a female--I don't know. Maybe she meant that it is not fair for both sexes?

As for why not serve--IMO, I don't want to. Who in their right mind wants to kill someone or be killed over a piece of land? IMO, the USA is not OUR land. God owns the Earth IMO.

By Digmedia (Digmedia) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:23 pm: Edit

I'm probably going to be flamed after this post, but here goes. I am from the Viet Nam era and was radically opposed to that war. I led a local anti-war organization. I also had a low draft number. I was able to work out a two-year period of alternativc service, rather than military service. The rules were: (1) it could pay no more than a new recruit, (2) it had to be more than 300 miles from my current home (simulating thedisruption that other draftees would endure), (3) it had to be a job that the draft board approved as alternative service and that they were having trouble finding people for. Turns out that they had a job in mind for me, and I did it - for two years.

The stereotype of someone like me would be that I was totally opposed to the draft. After all, didn't many protesters burn their draft cards? But my feelings then (and same today) are that I am still in favor of universal service. Obviously, I'm not in favor of universal MILITARY service, but I think that everyone (male and female) should give back to their country.

I agree with Stark that we've sanitized war and isolated its effects from the general population. If this country commits to a just war, then it is all of our responsibilities to contribute to that effort. Even without a war, I think that everyone has a responsibility to our society.

But what happens when the war is not just? Or breaks with precedence so egregiously in ways that we cannot consciously abide, such as the new policy of preemptive attack without international support? Especially when the strong reasons given for going to war later are found to be ephemeral. Then it becomes our responsibility to stand against it.

So where does that leave me? Absolutely in favor of some kind of universal service. Absolutely opposed to giving this leader total the total discretion of forcing that service to be military service during this particular war.

By posting on this board, we all see our children going off to college, and then on to productive lives which we hope will be free of disappointments and tragedies. We really, really want to ignore the possibility of having to face the thought of our kids in a war. So we put on our blinders, oppose any measure to force them into service, and wish that we'd be left alone to our own lives. Let someone else do this. Don't they have enough volunteers?

But the real tragedy is that this war should not be happening. Now is not the time for me to be supporting universal service when the real outcome will be to support a war that should not be. And the thought of using additional young lives as sacrifices because the current leaders refuse to admit they were wrong is sickening to me.

Now flame away.

-

By Songman (Songman) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:26 pm: Edit

Unmatched- well I agree that people should not be forced,except in times of a real war,(like WWII not skirmishes) , otherwise people unfortunately will not volunteer. This is why the IRAQ war is so tough. There are many volunteers and National Guard soldiers that never thought in their wildest dreams that they would eventually be on the battlefield. Unfortunately, the draft is necessary in times of war:not very democratic I admit.

By Shopmom (Shopmom) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:28 pm: Edit

Very well said, Digmedia.

By Demingy (Demingy) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:29 pm: Edit

Bluealien01, why "not registered for voting"? I hope it is because you are under 18, or not a citizen, because otherwise how do you expect to make a difference if you can't vote?

I agree with Emeraldkity4 with much of what she said (I can't say I feel entirely comfortable with forced service, but that is mostly my personality, not that I don't agree that citizens do have some responsibility for their country).

One thing that a friend of mine told me the other day that bothered me though is that her husband (who is from England) is still "on hold" as far as being able to apply for permanent status in the US so he isn't allowed to vote, but he was required to register with the armed forces. That means that he has no right to add his voice to our democratic system (which I don't think is wrong), but he could theoretically be drafted to fight (which I do think is wrong, at least until he has citizen status).

Sorry, didn't mean to get off track here. It has been really hard for me to read the threads similar to this one where almost everyone has talked about how they wouldn't go if they were drafted, and particularly where the girls are saying that they don't have to worry about it because they are girls.

Like I said, even though I wouldn't feel comfortable if I had to serve (for me it is just that I don't want to carry a gun....just a personal issue), I really do think that women should have to register since men have to. Especially considering the fact that it is the LAW for men to register. Women have fought for so long for equal rights, but we still are reluctant to take the same risks.

By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:30 pm: Edit

Digi:

Thanks for articulating my own feelings on this issue.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:32 pm: Edit

I agree that this war should not be happening.
Not when US contractors are buying up Iraqi soil to house their workers, not when the us govt is subcontracting out work that used to be done in house for less money all so we can keep leading the world in consumption of its resources

By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:33 pm: Edit

I am not under 18. I just have never registered. I really don't care honestly.

Comfortable is not the half of it for me--I have emotional issues.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:36 pm: Edit

I hope that this war, unlike other recent occupations will involve the national community not just the global community to open their eyes over what is being done in our name
http://www.southernstudies.org/reports/Intro.htm
Some good has to come of this

By Demingy (Demingy) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:40 pm: Edit

Mine are emotional issues as well (what can I say, euphemisms can be handy sometimes), but that doesn't excuse it. There are many things that I have had to do because it was the responsible thing to do even though they were hard as hell for me to do. I know a LOT of guys that have emotional issues as well, but they have no recourse.

Registering to vote is separate from registering for the services, I just found your statement a little odd. I'm also not trying to be overbearing, because unfortunately I know far too many people who have the same attitude "I really don't care honestly." I just want to point out what I've pointed out to them, if you care what happens in your life then you really do care. This proposed bill is an example. Many people that would be opposed to it are the same ones who don't care enough to vote.....well guess what, odds are that it could pass even if most of the country is opposed to it. In fact, there are quite a few bills that get passed even though they aren't popular because people don't vote.

Anyone who doesn't vote IS giving up their rights.

Sorry, I had promised I wasn't going to be overbearing. I also don't mean this as a flame, just my little soap-box message to everyone.

By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:44 pm: Edit

Define emotional issues. Maybe you don't know what I am talking about. I will have my fits (like 3 year olds do) if I feel it need be. I seriously have the maturity of a 3 year old most days.

By Demingy (Demingy) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:52 pm: Edit

Ah, well I can't say I have that problem (wow, I'm impressed that you admitted it). Mine has more to do with panic attacks, especially when confronted by violence. I've fought PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) for a good part of my life-no, I will not go into what happened, it has no relevance here-and given many of the battles that I've had with it I am confident that if need be I could take the same risk that men do as far as the draft.

I'm really sorry to hear about your problem. That must be incredibly tough to deal with, and I wish you luck.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 07:56 pm: Edit

The bill Hollings (who is a Democrat) introduced last year (which means it's no longer being considered in this congressional session) was intended to slow down progress toward the Iraq war. Hollings at the time stated that his goal was to make sure the members of Congress had a stake in the war that went beyond sending volunteers.

By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 08:01 pm: Edit

I scared a doctor away once because I did not want my blood taken or to have a shot. I hate those things. Have they made this stuff painless yet? The only thing I have seen is the flu shot up your nose. I think he either quit or left the place he worked at. He refused to come in the room with me.

I have had more frequent ones this semester--even though my grades so far appear to have turned out good. Only one of them has not yet been reported. I really hate the uni. that I am at. I thought I was going to fail one class and moped (spelling) around all semester--crying on and off.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 08:03 pm: Edit

On voting and registering for the draft: it is not necessary to register for the draft in order to vote. This government form lets you register in almost all states, and no mention is made of selective service registration: http://www.fec.gov/votregis/pdf/nvra.pdf

Here is the current status of speculations about the reinsitution of the draft: http://www.thedailystar.com/news/stories/2004/01/13/draft.html

By Demingy (Demingy) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 08:10 pm: Edit

Dmd77, I had thought of something similar to that. If service (of some sort) becomes a requirement of all US citizens then politicians would be more likely to think twice when considering going to war because their own children could be involved. They'd even have to think twice about trying to get around it because that could be a black mark against them come election time (it might not make them lose an election, but it certainly wouldn't help).

I really wish I had known earlier that women could still register for selective service even though it isn't required (even the guy in the army office I talked to when my brother registered had told me that I couldn't). Now I'm 26 which is over the limit for registration (at least according to the sss.gov site that I just looked at).

So, for any women who are reading this and want to strive for complete equality, you CAN register as long as you are at least 18 and before you turn 26.

By Songman (Songman) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 08:16 pm: Edit

dmd77- You are correct- one can vote without registering. However other rights are limited- a quote from the Selective Service website on the benefits (benefits?) of registering:

What Are The Benefits?

Federal and many state laws require registration-age men to be registered with Selective Service to remain eligible for applying for the following benefits: student financial aid, government employment, employment with the U.S. Postal Service, job training, and U.S. citizenship for male immigrants.

In other words if you don't register you lose these benefits.

By Ticklemepink (Ticklemepink) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 08:57 pm: Edit

Has anyone stop and thought about the Iraq abuse scandal? I just read the Time special article. Needless to say, I am just astonished at just what happened over there (Sound a little naive I know ut I've been a hermit for the past two weeks with AP's). I am disgusted and one of the issues they talked about was... why did the soldiers do it? It was pointed out that the 6 men and women were prison guards and worked as police in US. True, they were in law enforcment and should have had the experience of dealing with prisoners. But they did not have adequate training or skills to deal with the situation in Iraq. So basically, to me, they were civilians placed in an Iraqi prison if they didn't have a clue of what the heck they were doing to the prisoners. So a draft? How is that going to help? Yes, we are running out of troops but to put in more inexperience young men and women just like the 6 people? That is just not worth my tax dollars.

I can never be drafted myself because of my hearing loss and vision problems. But just about every one of my friends could be eligible... don't want to see them go. However, if I had a choice, I would serve my country but not when I am under an incompetent President who is running out of excuses for keeping troops in Iraq and having young people being killed over there for no apparent reason.

By Emeraldkity4 (Emeraldkity4) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 09:23 pm: Edit

I hope that this country offers alternative ways to contribute to the national and global community. Joing the Peace Corps, working in the Punjab, Kashikstan, Georgia, ... if we focused our energies on making the world a better place, rather than what we can get, perhaps we could regain our place as "land of the free" rather than "home of the oppressors"

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 09:30 pm: Edit

Well, I am also against this war, and if I were not already against the draft, I would be especially so at this moment, now that evidence is surfacing that the bottom rung of our military is being ordered to participate in these abuses by members of the Psy-Ops and other highers-up.

Emeraldkity, I think the plan you outline has a great deal to be said for it. In fact, when I first heard of the universal service proposal, I thought it would be a fine thing for the country, because the implication was that it would include the element of *choice* on the part of the draftee; you could either do military service or community service. Unfortunately, the bill we now have does not include any of the very reasonable provisions suggested by Emeraldkity. The President retains the power to decide whether conscriptees will serve in the military and the community, and draftees can be pulled out of college by the end of a particular semester. I see no reason to institute a system so unnecessarily brutal and disempowering.

Since this is the bill that is now before Congress, I have written to my Senators and am encouraging everyone I know to do the same.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 09:32 pm: Edit

Songman, You are mistaken about the reserve corps. They fully expect to be called up if there is conflict. They are well aware that the majority of US armed services are part-time. They are not naive.

For instance, my 55 yr old cousin who fought in Vietnam, Panama, Iraq I. He's in Iraq now for a year or more. He's in the reserves.

By Unluckycharms (Unluckycharms) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 09:45 pm: Edit

When did we, the American citizens, vote to have this war?

Right. So, why on earth would people be expected to fight in a war we had no say in in the first place?

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 11:11 pm: Edit

>> Rep. Charles Rangel had introduced a universal service bill as a way to inspire antiwar sentiment.

Is there any wonder that the American people are digusted with politicians? The thought of Charlie Rangel voting for a draft is about as ludicrous as George W. going to live in a Buddhist Monastary in Nepal.

Rangel deserves to be thrown out of office for a stunt as cynically partisan as that.

Do these arrogant fools in Washington really think we are so stupid that we can't see through this nonsense?

Don't they understand that we are waiting for some politician, any politician, to do something, anything intelligent or classy (or at least not in the sewer "gotcha" spiteful) and give us a reason to vote FOR them?

By Vadad (Vadad) on Wednesday, May 12, 2004 - 11:44 pm: Edit

The "logic" behind this stupid idea is that the folks in Congress are so stupid, blind and unable to do the right thing, that the only way to make them is to punish thousands of young people by forcing them into a compulsory service that even the military does not want. In what alternative universe is that logical?
If Congress causes or allows a war to be prosecuted that is not supported by the public, the existing, traditional, Constitutional, time-honored way to deal with it is to throw the bums out. We have the privilege of doing that every 2 years. If the prospect of them losing their jobs isn't enough to make them comply with public sentiment, I don't see how drafting everyone will. Or maybe it's just that Rangel and Stark are so out of touch with the prevailing view of the war out here in "red state America" that it forces them into this sort of idiotic "logic."
Compulsory service is like martial law; you only do that in survival situations when you have no alternative. You don't deprive people of freedom just to satisfy some cockamamie vanity of an antiwar minority. Throw the bums that are suggesting it out.

By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 12:16 am: Edit

Is there any wonder that the American people are digusted with politicians? The thought of Charlie Rangel voting for a draft is about as ludicrous as George W.......actually serving in the military he is so anxious to deploy?

By Patient (Patient) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 12:18 am: Edit

Digmedia, why would you get flamed for that post? I'm not sure what part of it you thought was controversial.

I would tend to agree with you about the idea of universal service, although I would be concerned that once again, the privileged and wealthy would find ways of working the system or using contacts to find the most appealing types of service and leaving the more dangerous types for the relatively disenfranchised.

I think it is entirely predictable that this war has become the ungodly quagmire that it is. Americans do not understand the beliefs, culture, religion, or methods of this part of the world and I believe that we were there for unholy reasons to begin with. The thought that people's children, just like ours, are dying for such a misguided campaign, should be breaking our hearts.

Frankly, universal service to work with the poor, the old and sick, the mentally ill, teaching and comforting...that might cure many of this country's ills, including our overly materialistic culture which is to some extent also why we are hated so vehemently by so many in the world.

By Bumblebee83 (Bumblebee83) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 12:32 am: Edit

Bluealien-
I have to say that you especially with your "emotional problems" should vote. Anyone in a situation that could be helped in any way (through funding research, etc.) should find it an absolute necessity to vote.
And as for women not having to register- I have two thoughts on this. One, it's stupid and we should have to, nut the goverment in our country still views women as weaker than men, which leads me to Two, we're not equal. Not quite. When I stop getting 75 cents for every dollar that a man makes, Ill go to war for you. And when all-male groups of polticians STOP making decsions based on their chauvanistic, women-hating religions instead of scientific fact I'll register (Im soeaking of the recent Plan B decsions)

By Smhop (Smhop) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 01:05 am: Edit

A)I think the idea of a draft is ridiculous. Surely the Bill was introduced as political leverage, and not in any expectation that it could or would pass.

If a Bill such as this was actually at risk of *passing* every senator and congressman, every governor, every small town politician, would each be hearing it from upset citizens-- I don't think a bill like this could ever get carried through. It simply would not be supported by the people.

B)I have this notion that the current generation would NOT take too kindly to having thiers lives disrupted thus. Further, I think most young kids are staunchly against this war....
these things combined makes me think we would have an *army of recruits* who simply would not... fight.

*An unwilling soldier isn't going to win any wars*

Ok, thats my (not well thought out yet) rant.

Feel free to agree or flame. But I say the concept of a draft is absurd. For the sake of us all, I certainly hope so.

By Demingy (Demingy) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 01:31 am: Edit

"we would have an *army of recruits* who simply would not... fight."

While this would happen for the most part, if someone is shipped overseas, handed a gun and thrown out onto the line, they would have to fight or die. Unfortunately I'm sure this is how many of the blood thirsty supporters of a draft see it (heck, if the untrained person can get off a couple of shots.....disgusting, but I've actually heard it from seemingly normal citizens).

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 07:52 am: Edit

"When I stop getting 75 cents for every dollar that a man makes, I'll go to war for you." Bumblebee, you said it.

My own s is incensed at the fact that the Administration has managed to alienate the whole world, especially the UN, and now faces a shortage of troops...

And I'm thinking a lot of young people might wonder why they are being asked to die for a country that won't let them buy a beer.

But at least, unlike the Vietnam draftees, you can vote!

Btw, all males who turn 18 are legally required to register with SSS: http://www.objector.org/conscription/draft-registration.html "If you're male and a U.S. citizen, you're legally required to register with the Selective Service System (SSS), within thirty days before or twenty-nine days after your 18th birthday."

For more information about signs of an impending draft, here's a position paper by the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, including quotes as recent as April 21. http://www.objector.org/positionpaper.html

Anyone who wants to write their members of Congress about the proposed draft, just key in your zipcode here and it's a cinch to send off those emails: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/ Imagine if even half of this very literate board wrote to officials...

By Dadx (Dadx) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 09:11 am: Edit

If the UN had any backbone, we wouldn't be there in the first place. Anyone who thinks that any other country in the world will fight any battle for us or lift a finger is meshugenah. Thats been made more than clear. The alienation we have from other countries and peoples arises from our refusal to join them in doing nothing.


"The thought of Charlie Rangel voting for a draft is about as ludicrous as George W.......actually serving in the military he is so anxious to deploy? "??

Well, we can take comfort knowing that if JFKerry had been there, he'd have been home 9 months ago with 5 medals and three bandaids, and a political platform to run on.

By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 09:19 am: Edit

Hey, anytime you think going to war is easy--regardless of whether you think Kerry's injuries were severe--feel free to enlist. In the meantime, making fun of those who DID show up seems like a poor idea to me.

By Voronwe (Voronwe) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 09:45 am: Edit

"My own s is incensed at the fact that the Administration has managed to alienate the whole world, especially the UN."

The UN has me completely alienated anyway. Take a look at the countries on the Human Rights Commission! Libya? Sudan? Good lord! How many human rights violations - egregious ones - does a government have to commit to make it not fit to be on this committee? Or how about that fact that they **repeatedly** issue condemnations of Israel for "mass killings", but never of the Palestinians?

This is NOT the same UN that Eleanor Roosevelt served so faithfully and well.

By Digmedia (Digmedia) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 10:05 am: Edit

The reason I thought I would get flamed is because the post (to me) seemed negative towards Bush. But there are intelligent people who support him, just as there are intelligent people who don't. And sometimes the non-support for the man in interpreted as non-support for the troops.

Someone told me once that if you're young and not a liberal, you have no heart; and if you're old and not a conservative, you have no brain. Unfortunately, I'm a mixed-up conglomerate of both!!! So i can't easily fall back on one doctrine or another to quickly spout what I'm supposed to think. It's harder for me to arrive at a conclusion.

But my core values revolve around my kids:
(1) I want them to be physically secure - no war, no worldwide anti-American feelings.
(2) I want them to be economically secure - no poverty or enormous debts/taxes.
(3) I want them to be healthy and live in a healthy environment, without pollution and as much of the natural world preserved as possible.

So does that make me a fiscally conservative environmentalist conscientious objector? See how labels don't always fit?

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 10:16 am: Edit

>> the blood thirsty supporters of a draft

I follow politics fairly closely and have not seen any serious support for instituting a draft. The military leaders don't want it. Military doctrine is shifting towards smaller force levels.

That's what makes Rangel's proposed legislation so despicable. It was nothing but a cynical, partisan political maneuver.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 10:47 am: Edit

Interesteddad, a few weeks ago I agree with you. But the military doctrine you cite is largely that of Rumsfeld, who is opposed to a draft and who believes that a small, well-trained, high-tech force is the wave of the future. (Many of us may be wondering this week what well-trained really means, but I digress.) In his very anti-Bush column today, Friedman, albeit obliquely, advocates for a draft.

Originally I believed Rangel's bill was just a foolhardy gesture. But there are enough reports of other signs of a possible draft that anyone who is opposed to one ought to be paying attention and speaking up now. The bills may be stalled, but they're in Congress, the draft boards are in place and getting new personnel, and the Administration is short of troops for the Iraqi war.

By Sfe (Sfe) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 12:21 pm: Edit

I don't know what to think. Reports like this are frightening:

from Yahoo News:
"Tue Apr 20,12:34 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A senior Republican lawmaker [Chuck Hagel] said that deteriorating security in Iraq may force the United States to reintroduce the military draft."

from Cincinnati news:
April 2004
"There's going to be a draft...after elections - maybe spring of 2005," said Colonel Dean Smittle, Military Analyst...

from Seattle Post Intelligencer:
"WASHINGTON -- ...despite denials from the White House that a draft is under consideration... talk of a draft has heated up...Military observers and some members of Congress say that the notion of a possible military draft is gaining traction..."

It reminds me a little bit of the very early press reports that the US was considering invading Iraq. I just couldn't believe, in the earliest days of isolated sentences here and there in the press, that it would really happen - since in my view, it was like deciding to invade China, instead of Japan, as a response to Pearl Harbor. And later, as the war train gathered momentum, there was so much opposition that I was sure everybody saw the train wreck coming and would stop it in time. So much for my political-prognostication abilities. (Although it looks like I was probably right about it being a train wreck, unfortunately.)

So I can't take much comfort in the fact that it seems sort of unbelievable right now that the American people would support a draft. The will of the majority does not always triumph in politics (there are many examples of policies that are supported by the majority of Americans that never make it into law for reasons of power, constituencies, etc., and, similarly, of policies that the majority does not support that do become law).

I guess the old "hope for the best, prepare for the worst" adage is appropriate here. But other than try to stop the draft before it starts (with the unencouraging evidence of how successful that technique was re: Iraq), how do we prepare for the worst?

By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 12:33 pm: Edit

Options for Sfe:

Get a diagnosis for something now if you don't want to go?

Lose a limb on purpose?

Gain 300 pounds?

That's a start.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 12:38 pm: Edit

"But other than try to stop the draft before it starts (with the unencouraging evidence of how successful that technique was re: Iraq), how do we prepare for the worst?"
Sfe, I'm not as pessimistic. Or maybe I am, but I won't be able to live with myself if I fail to fight this as best I can. I do agree that the unbelievability of a particular act is not a good litmus test for whether the government will do it or not. If we have learned nothing else this week, we know that. ;-(

The only acceptable compromise for me would be mandatory national service, with the draftee able to choose to either volunteer in the community or join the military. This power should not be in the hands of the President. That would be true in my book even if I thought more highly of the President.

Other than that, you can begin to create a paper trail as a conscientious objector, assuming you are one: http://www.objector.org/advice/contents.html

By Bluealien01 (Bluealien01) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 12:43 pm: Edit

I am not against helping the community. Especially if it involves helping poor homeless animals.

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 12:59 pm: Edit

This is slightly OT, but relevant to the subject of college. Kerry has an extensive national service plan posted on his website that includes substantial financial aid grant and loan incentives for students who do two years of community service: http://www.johnkerry.com/pdf/johnkerry_service_fact_sheet.pdf

However, that has nothing to do with the bills currently before Congress, which is the reality we face right now.

By Kluge (Kluge) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 01:05 pm: Edit

If waging war seems to be relatively painless, then deciding to go to war foolishly is far easier to do. Our recent past experiences with war were relatively painless, and with an "all-volunteer" military the pressure not to send them to war was far less than with a "civilian" army of draftees.

Support for the war against Iraq was drummed up based on false claims of WMD's, and a clever "linkage" of Iraq with 9/11 which the cynical administration knew was false but fostered anyway. We went to war against the advice of long time allies, and without the support of the UN. (Pass the "freedom fries.") The ugly things which are happening now in Iraq were totally predictable, not as specifics, but as examples of the inevitable products of war. War is hell. Anyone who thinks differently is foolish or ignorant. And yet we went to war against Iraq - for what?

I think that the point of a draft is that if you're not willing to send your own children, you shouldn't go to war. If your reason for war isn't good enough to send your own into harms way, it's not good enough to send your neighbors - "volunteers" or not. George Bush wasn't willing to go to war in Viet Nam - I don't blame him for that decision. Having a mercenary military encourages arrogance and adventurism, two mainstays of the current administration. If we had had a draft, and an army of draftees, I don't think we would be in the predicament we're in now. Dadx and InterestedDad may find the actions taken to highlight the consequences of their favored politicians actions as "cynical" - I view them as a long overdue exposure of the fact that actions have consequences. We're facing the consequences of the arrogance and deceit of the Bush administration - and there are no good outcomes on the horizon.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 01:42 pm: Edit

" But other than try to stop the draft before it starts (with the unencouraging evidence of how successful that technique was re: Iraq), how do we prepare for the worst?"

- Read Kluge's post above.

Yes, the political point of the draft, as being pushed in congress, is to get away from the cowboy approach to international relations, and perhaps help us to actually THINK before we naively go looking for bouquets of flowers after invading another country, only to find (shock! horror! ingrates!) that they did not want to be "rescued" by us.

The sad part is, all the criticisms those "darn foreigners" threw at us regarding the invasion have turned out to be largely true.

- We said Iraq was not about oil. Yet, the only building we protected in Iraq post invasion, the only one not trashed, was the oil ministry. Too bad we still can't pump much, as those oil prices are pretty high now.

- It was about Sadam's torture and mistreatment of folks...we use same prison...

- ..to bring democracy. But we hand pick the provisonal council, and refuse to allow elections until they are "ready"!

And, we need more troops for an encore of this?

Having served in the military during the Viet Nam war (fortunately not in VN), the real thing, not Bush's fun and games, I can tell you it is a different world, and that the draft was a big part of bringing sanity to the situation, even with all the draftof that time's imperfections.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 01:51 pm: Edit

>> Dadx and InterestedDad may find the actions taken to highlight the consequences of their favored politicians actions as "cynical"

Whoa! Back the truck up! I have few, if any, "favored politicians". I find virtually nothing to like about either of the presumptive presidential nominees for the Democratic and Republican parties, let alone consider them "favored politicians". So don't make assumptions.

Charlie Rangel's cynical partisan grandstanding ploy is PRECISELY what I despise about both the Democratic and Republican parties. They use 'gotcha' politics and mindless soundbytes in a shell game to distract our attention from their real business (serving the interests of their campaign contributors). Meanwhile, those of us who would prefer a little more straight-shooting in Washington are left with nobody to vote for.

So, don't talk to me about "favored politicians" because I can't find any. Personally, I would lean towards DLC Democrats or Massachusetts Republicans (and I suspect the majority of the country favors similarly centrist candidates). Unfortunately, neither party is interested in voters such as myself.

By Dadx (Dadx) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 02:42 pm: Edit

"..............Support for the war against Iraq was drummed up based on false claims of WMD's, and a clever "linkage" of Iraq with 9/11 which the cynical administration knew was false but fostered anyway."

We had 19 arab murderers kill 3,000 plus people less than three years ago using boxcutters and mace, and the UN hadn't had a weapons inspector
in Iraq for years. The choice was between the risk of action vs inaction and we took it.

The draft is an important feature to our nation's defense. And maybe we would be better off with it. But to attempt to invoke it to stir a political pot abuses it, and delegitimizes it. If we need it, we should use it. If a volunteer army works as well, most people would think that to be preferable. We shall see, in this case, if it does work.

Perhaps if Mr Kerry is elected his keen ability to discern exit strategies and other opportunities will serve us all as well as it has him. Getting out of trouble is a useful skill for soldiers, politicians, and nations. As is finishing things.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 03:01 pm: Edit

"We had 19 arab murderers kill 3,000 plus people less than three years ago using boxcutters and mace, and the UN hadn't had a weapons inspector
in Iraq for years. The choice was between the risk of action vs inaction and we took it."

I'm glad someone believes the GWB propaganda about the connections among the above. I'd hate to see all those propaganda dollars wasted.

Then again, I want my D to continue her education so she will not fall into the rhetorical trap that the author of the quote above seems to have fallen into.

How anyone can equate 9/11 with Iraq and the absence of weapons inspectors or "the risk of action vs inaction" is beyond me. No, it seems to me that our invasion really proved that the UN sanctions worked. Was that worth HUNDREDS of American lives? I don't think so.

By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 04:05 pm: Edit

There was no link between Al Qaeda and Iraq before 9/11. So the fact that "We had 19 arab murderers kill 3,000 plus people less than three years ago using boxcutters and mace," is irrelevant to the decision to invade Iraq. In fact as Bob Woodward has documented, GWB had made up his mind to invade Iraq BEFORE 9/11

"the UN hadn't had a weapons inspector
in Iraq for years. The choice was between the risk of action vs inaction and we took it."

The UN weapons inspector reported that no WMD could be found. GWB ignored this and went to war. No WMD has been found.

So now we're supposed to be in Iraq to spread human rights and democracy and build a shining beacon for the rest of the Middle East? Yeah right. Just say Abu Ghraib and people in the Middle East and elsewhere will believe it.

For a list of casualties so far, see
http://www.antiwar.com

An estimate by Iraq Body Count puts the number of Iraqi casualties so far as at least 5,000.

By Ariesathena (Ariesathena) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 04:26 pm: Edit

While the draft may bring more prudence to wars, forgive me, but I do not understand why that prudence needs to come at threatening the lives (self-explantory) and liberty (forcible commitment to service) of young people, and only young people.

There is also a difference between serving one's country (in military or civilian capacity) and serving one's government. The proposed legislation is aimed solely at doing the latter. Many young people serve their countries voluntarily, through tutoring, teaching, or any type of volunteering. (The largest student organization at my alma mater is a community service umbrella group.) This nonsense about needing to mandate it is just absurd.

Maybe it is my youth and ignorance, but I fail to see how the US and how the youth will be improved for forcible service, either for the military or doing something like patrolling borders for two years - and all the while disrupting education. Forcible government service is the hallmark of countries like Iraq during Saddam's reign or a formerly fascist country, not of America.

I am also against making legislation to target a specific group, whether it be gays, minorities, or the young. Two years is a long time, even in civilian service, to give your life to the government.

There are better ways to accomplish the goals of this legislation, whether those goals be to diversify the army (changing the incentives or expanding them to be attractive to more people), ask all citizens to serve the country (perhaps high schools could require a course for graduation which would involve service), or increase anti-war support.

By Dadx (Dadx) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 04:31 pm: Edit

These boards are like the old Groucho Marx show where you said the secret word and the duck dropped out of the sky and you won $100.

Here, instead of $100 you get powderpuff insults. :)

Well, if the sentiment on the boards is an indicator, Kerry will win in November by a landslide, and can begin to implement his own plan.

By Kluge (Kluge) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 06:20 pm: Edit

"The choice was between the risk of action vs inaction and we took it."

No, the choice was between doing something stupid and doing something smart. Bush chose stupid, which is why the right wing keeps trying to insist that there was no alternative but to "do nothing."

By Kluge (Kluge) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 06:32 pm: Edit

Ariesathena, think of it this way: If we had a draft (which is an imposition on young people's personal liberty, you're absolutely right) but it meant that we didn't go to war in Iraq, with the result that hundreds of (mostly young) Americans were not lost and thousands more (mostly young) Americans did not get crippled and maimed because the nation took the concept of war a little more seriously - is the trade off worth it? Is it better to subject a lot of drafted young people to a lower possibility of being killed or wounded, or to subject a smaller group of enlistees and reservists to a much higher possibility of the same thing?
If our leaders were wiser, less arrogant, had less potent propaganda to fool the public with, and valued the lives of our youth more I'd have no problem saying that a draft was out of the question. As it is, I have to wonder whether we need to hold their children (and the children of their wealthy and powerful friends) hostage to keep them from squandering the lives of the rest.
I wish it wasn't a question I had to ponder...

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 08:14 pm: Edit

The problem with this Having-a-Draft-Prevents-War theory is that history has shown it to be untrue. The harsh reality of the drafting and deaths of thousands of American boys did not seem to deter the government from staying in Vietnam.

Great post, Marite, and let us not forget that the real link with 9/11 was with our good buddies, the Saudis. ;-(

By Sfe (Sfe) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 08:45 pm: Edit

Well I like how most of you people think! (Massdad, Aparent4, Kluge, etc.) I totally agree with you ... and the fact that we're not alone in our opinions does give me some hope (I read a poll that said now almost 2/3 of the American public believes the Iraq war has not been worth it).

Bluealien01 - I personally don't need the options you proposed to avoid the draft as I am a mom over 50. Although the idea of gaining weight to avoid the draft does have possibilities: I think I'd choose locking myself in a room with 500 pounds of chocolate and see what I could accomplish.

By Ariesathena (Ariesathena) on Thursday, May 13, 2004 - 11:28 pm: Edit

Ariesathena, think of it this way: If we had a draft (which is an imposition on young people's personal liberty, you're absolutely right) but it meant that we didn't go to war in Iraq, with the result that hundreds of (mostly young) Americans were not lost and thousands more (mostly young) Americans did not get crippled and maimed because the nation took the concept of war a little more seriously - is the trade off worth it? Is it better to subject a lot of drafted young people to a lower possibility of being killed or wounded, or to subject a smaller group of enlistees and reservists to a much higher possibility of the same thing?
If our leaders were wiser, less arrogant, had less potent propaganda to fool the public with, and valued the lives of our youth more I'd have no problem saying that a draft was out of the question. As it is, I have to wonder whether we need to hold their children (and the children of their wealthy and powerful friends) hostage to keep them from squandering the lives of the rest.
I wish it wasn't a question I had to ponder...


Perhaps yes, holding America's young people hostage (that's really what is it, right? Stop the war or we do bad things to your kids...), is, well - frankly, I don't like the idea of being a hostage. A law which is aimed at restricting the liberty of a minority group of Americans cannot make this country better.

Again, I do think that there are better ways to acoomplish the same goal rather than intruding on the liberty of a few million Americans.

Also not sure how poorly trained and resentful draftees would lessen the casualty rate in any war.

It is always true that the young fight the wars which their elders start. Changing or increasing the young present makes little difference.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 01:52 am: Edit

>> There was no link between Al Qaeda and Iraq before 9/11.

That is not true.

The head of the Congressional terrorism research department published a book a couple of years ago with a very detailed look into what is known about Al Queda, Hama, Hezzbolah, and so on a so forth.

It is true that Saddam Hussein was not a major cog in the terrorist network. Not being a fundamentalist Muslim dictator, he was never in the "inner circle", but he provided logistic support -- passport procurement for travel, weapons transactions, etc. There was a great fear that he would be the conduit for biological weapons or even dirty nuclear devices. And, we should not forget that he attempted to assassinate the President of the United States a few years ago, something that I'm sure left a very personal impression on George W.

The author of the book made an important point: that Al Queda and the others are not independent terrorist operators. Rather, there is centralized command and control of all the major terrorist networks: Al Queda, Hamas, Hezzbolah and that command and control is in Iran. Regular meetings take place where the terrorist groups divvy up theaters of operation (Al Queda in Africa, etc.). Iran provides the coordination and funnels funding. A perfect example was Mogadushu. That was a carefully planned military trap with a great deal of coordination and the transport of large amounts of military personnel and equipment into the area in the days leading up to the ambush.

Osama Bin Laden is known to have extensive training camps in Iran. These are the "graduate schools" compared to the undergrad training that took place in Afghanistan.

Any "war on terrorism" has to put pressure on Iran, either through the use of force or the threat of force. But, here's the problem: we have not had the means to put military forces on Iran's doorstep. All you have to do is go back to the hostage crisis to see the difficulty a couple thousand miles causes for military planners..

In my opinion, Iran is the "Tokyo" in the 9/11 version of Pearl Harbor. Attacking Iraq was like occupying the Pacific Islands in WWII -- a strategic step that had nothing to do with a desire to attack Midway or Wake Islands, but rather intended to position our forces within striking distance of the eventual target. The hope, of course, was that the presence of military power would cause Japan to collapse without a full-scale invasion. But, for that to work, you have to position your forces. I believe that the military planners viewed Irag in the same purely strategic military terms and that their real goals center around Bagdhad International and other operation airbases -- something that we had been unable to put in place in region (thanks to back-stabbing "allies" like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan).

We now have military assets positioned on both sides of Iran. I am quite certain that the images of US tanks on Sadaam's front lawn got the attention of the Iranian leadership. I also believe that we now have the ability to bring heavy airpower to bear should we figure out where Osama is hiding in Iran.

Furthermore, I believe that our military is probably quite content to have enemy combatants continue to stream across the Syrian and Iranian borders into Iraq. While we take a few casualities, it is basically a shooting gallery for our armed forces and the terrorist foot-soldier casualties are huge.

IMO, the American people are asking the wrong questions. The BIG issue is not whether attacking Iran sooner rather than later was good military strategy. To me, the big question is why our intelligence services have been so inept. Note that neither Bush nor Kerry wants to talk about that.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 06:52 am: Edit

If we attacked every country in which Al Qaeda is known to have some supporters, there would be few left standing. Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, pretty much the entire Middle East...
So Iran is the hub and we attack Iraq? And try to turn Iraq into a democracy by fiat and by mistreating prisoners in contravention of the Geneva Convention?

A tortuous chain of reasoning, in my opinion.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 10:32 am: Edit

The issue is not "some supporters". The issue is bringing pressure to bear on GOVERNMENTS that enable worldwide terrorism because without this state-sponsored support, the terrorists have nowhere to hide.

Applying pressure on a country does not necessarily mean attacking. For example, I highly doubt that we are war-planning an attack on Saudi Arabia -- a major enabler of terrorism. Or, that we have planned any attacks on Pakistan, another two-faced enabler. Yet, clearly the Saudi royal family and the Pakistani government have been feeling some heat and changing their behaviors.

The invasion of Iraq has "brought pressure to bear" on a number of terrorist (i.e. enemy) countries in the region, most notably Iran and Syria, who now have a sizeable US military presence on their doorsteps. The key is demonstrating our resolve. Americans are not going to forget 3000 people being killed in downtown New York. In the past, enemy nations could count on the US to bog down in U.N. hand-wringing and never make any serious effort to combat terrorism. I'm not sure that terrorist states can continue to rely on our passivity. 9/11 was strategic blunder by the terrorists because it pushed the US across a threshold into deep resolve.

BTW, I think the idea of turning Iraq into a democracy is just so much hot air intended for PR consumption and bandied about by TV talking heads. I don't believe that the US military strategists care one way or another, as long as it is not an Islamic fundamentalist regime. Good grief, talk about wanting "instant gratification". I wonder if the media was upset that Japan wasn't a fully functioning democracy one year after Hiroshima? Maybe people forget that half a century after the occupation of Japan began, there are still 40,000 US troops stationed there?

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 10:34 am: Edit

"BTW, I think the idea of turning Iraq into a democracy is just so much hot air intended for PR consumption and bandied about by TV talking heads."

I'm glad you admit that GWB is spouting hot air.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 10:43 am: Edit

The ONLY thing wrong with the current all-volunteer military is that it has been grossly mismanaged and misused by the current administration.

No military officer I am aware of is pining away for the old days when a majority of the troops were comprised of people who really did not want to be there. They know that draftees would never be able to function in today's high-tech miitary climate.

What we should have is a required two year period of national civilian service upon completion of EVERY 4-year college degree with an exemption for those choosing to join the military. Room and board paid for according to the cost of living in the area of service with an additional modest stipend. Payment on federal student loans deferred during service, and forgiven upon completion. Any college graduate refusing to complete this service could not ever qualify for such privileges as driver's licensing, voter registration, or a username on College Confidential. :)

There is nothing wrong with today's military that a Commander in Chief (with a brain...) could not manage.

By Dadx (Dadx) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 10:44 am: Edit

Well, GWB admittedly has a long way to go before mastering the art of what people want to hear.

And God help him if he (or anyone else) said we wanted to do anything for self-interest.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 11:10 am: Edit

I hear GWB. I just don't find his message convincing. Actually national interest would have been a convincing reason to go to war. GWB turned Clausewitz on his head, prefering to think of diplomacy as an extension of war rather than war as a substitute for failed diplomacy. GWB failed to give a rationale based on national interest because he wanted to go to war from the day he assumed office. He failed to persuade the world that there were WMD to be found--and none were found. And since then, he has failed to persuade the world that democracy can be imposed on an occupied people.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 11:33 am: Edit

"No military officer I am aware of is pining away for the old days when a majority of the troops were comprised of people who really did not want to be there. They know that draftees would never be able to function in today's high-tech miitary climate. "

You obviously never served as an officer in the Army (I have). Actually, the quality of the enlisted ranks was far superior in the draft days. They many not have wanted to be there, but they did a great job. And curiously, as I was part of one of the most high tech parts of the army at the time, our top enlistees were the draftees. It was the volunteers that ended up in the bottom rung jobs.

Interesteddad, I guess where we differ is that I do not believe speculation about a problem that MIGHT exist, or bringing "pressure to bear" is a justification for invasion of anyone. Add to that the lives lost on both sides, and..(I'm at a loss for words.)

And look how successful our "pressure" is.

- the world now knows the LIMITATIONS of our military forces (feel safer?)

- they know we are NOT bringing peace, freedom etc.

- they have serious doubts about our true motives (which I still cannot figure out. But I can tell you that none of the behaviour post Afganistan is consistent with a terrorism emphasis.)

Geesh

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 11:34 am: Edit

>> I'm glad you admit that GWB is spouting hot air.

There's nothing to "admit". I can't stand the guy. Never have. I think he has done a misearable job, failing to show much personal leadership after 9/11, failing to present a rationale for military efforst, and failing to instill much confidence that serious shortcomings in our intelligence and immigration operations have been addressed.

Having said that, I do not dismiss the strategic military value in have a sizeable US force structure in the Middle East. I am unwilling to rely on French or UN "sanctions" as our prime weapon in a fight against terrorists and terrorist nations that bombed New York City. When Pearl Harbor was bombed, the country had no choice but to throw EVERY resource into defeating the enemy. In my opinion, bombing New York City demands the same response.

Since there can be no answer that does not include dealing with Iran, I believe that we have to put ourselves in a geographic position to apply pressure on Tehran, something that Jimmy Carter's helicopters clearly demonstrated we could not do previously.

I do not think that we will invade Iran. However, I do think that we are now positioned for Global Hawk surveillance and quick strikes should that prove advantageous. We also may finally be in a position to put some intelligence resources on the ground, something that has been clearly lacking.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 11:49 am: Edit

>> the world now knows the LIMITATIONS of our military forces (feel safer?)

Limitations? Are you kidding me? The march to Bagdhad was the most impressive display of military speed and precision in the history of the world. While Iraq's military wasn't the greatest, they had sizeable forces of tank battalions, which were decimated like ducks in shooting gallery. Remember the infamous "sandstorm" when we were assured that the US forces were "bogged down"? Well, according to the books that have started to appear, our air forces absolutely decimated the Iraq forces during that time. Every time they moved, they were wiped out.

No other military in history would have even attempted to move that far that fast. The speed with which the US military occupied Bagdhad has got to send a shiver up the spine of any terrorist government in the region.

Casualities? Let's put that in perspective. The last time I looked it up about a week ago, the US death toll stood at about 600. Let's compare that to the 58,000 US soldiers who died in Vietnam. Or the 3000 US citizens who died in the World Trade Center air attacks.

Was invading Iraq the best strategy in a war against terrorist nations? I can't possibly know that and won't be in a position to judge until the history books are written years from now. But, I think positioning military assets on the borders of Iran is a plausible strategic move -- just like positioning our forces closer to Japan was a strategic necessity in World War II. If you want to fight terrorism, you can't simply ignore the country that is the nexus for many diverse terrorist groups.

By Marite (Marite) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 11:54 am: Edit

Wait a minute. If the real target is Iran, is it a good reason to invade Iraq?

By Kluge (Kluge) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 12:12 pm: Edit

Well, InterestedDad, at least you provide a logical (if not necessarily rational) justification for the war, which is more than the administration has done. I question many of your premises and conclusions, though. Yes, our military is the mightiest in the world (did anyone doubt that before?) But conquering is one thing - occupying is another. Alexander the Great did a terrific job of conquering. How long did his empire last? It seems to me that the net result is that we're creating thousands more recruits for current and future terrorist organizations by what we've done - predictably. It took twenty guys with one-way airline tickets and box cutters to pull off 9/11 - you don't need government sponsorship to kill a lot of people if you're willing to die yourself. (Heck, Timothy McVeigh killed hundreds in Oklahoma City with a rent-a-truck and fertilizer.)
It sounds to me like you're making the classic mistake of preparing to fight the last war. Have you considered that you may be espousing a Maginot line strategy?

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 12:13 pm: Edit

>> If the real target is Iran, is it a good reason to invade Iraq?

We did not have the ability to apply military pressure on Iran. The closest we could get was aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf. The distances were simply too great.

If the real target in WWII was Tokyo, was it a good reason to capture the Pacific Islands? Yes. Because without forward deployment, we had no ability to apply military pressure on Japan.

Iraq gives us a forward military presence in the region and made an inviting target because Saddam Hussein's removal from power was long overdue. That job should have been done ten years earlier and probably would have been were it not for our inabilty (at the time) to prevent Iraq from becoming a radical Islamic regime in a post-Saddam era.

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 12:29 pm: Edit

>> It took twenty guys with one-way airline tickets and box cutters to pull off 9/11

Actually, it took a well-coordinated multi-year effort to pull of 9/11 -- an effort that stretched from Afghanistan to Germany to US flight schools with funding and enabling assistance (such as passports) from a number of countries. Viewing the terrorist problem as a rag-tag bunch of freelancers is a big mistake. The fundamental premise of going after the enabling countries is correct, IMO.

Ultimately, the solution hinges not on conventional warfare, but on convincing the enabling states that our resolve is limitless. The enabling countries can only operate to the degree that the United States is not really committed to stopping terrorism. Paying lip service to the fight on terrorism does little good when our "allies" like France are busy doing oil and nuclear technology deals with the likes of Saddam Hussein and Iran.

Again, I have no idea if invading Iraq was a good idea. But, I am inclined to believe that we must err on the side of doing too much rather than too little. I am also inclined to think that Rumsfeld and our military planners are pretty intelligent guys (the commander in chief notwithstanding). Doesn't mean that they won't make mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable when trying to do something about a serious problem. I'm sure that we made mistakes in WWII.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 12:36 pm: Edit

Interesteddad, if your definition of a great show of military force is the march on Bagdad, more power to you. Those of us with military experience take a different view, especially given the fact that the Iraqi army chose not to even put up opposition, but melted away instead.

Yes, we've proven again that a third world economy starved by economic and UN sanctions for a decade cannot stand up to the war machine of the strongest economic power on the planet, the one that spends more on the military than the next dozen or so put together (maybe everyone else in toto?). Duh.

What we also showed was that our vulnerability is the logistics tail. Maybe you forgot that our forward units were close to running out of fuel and ammunition as the logistics tail faced assaults on its lines waaay back behind Bagdad. I suspect you never read those accounts, however, as those were not front page reports (after all, we were at war and the media was under great pressure to tell the "right" story...).

So, surprise surprise, we've shown the world once again our vulnerability to unconventional warfare, just like we've faced before, and Russia faced in Afganistan. Gee, I can sure sleep better now that we've allowed our enemies to battle test and perfect a winning strategy.

Interesteddad, you should know that at various times in the last 6 months our forces in Iraq have come uncomfortablyt close to running out of supplies. If you think this thing is "won" then you really need to start reading beyond the Bush press releases and oficially sanctioned accounts. Have you spoken to anyone who has been over there? (actually, probably not, as none of the Iraq vets have been allowed off active duty. Until that happens, they are legally muzzled.)

By Aparent4 (Aparent4) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 12:38 pm: Edit

"When Pearl Harbor was bombed, the country had no choice but to throw EVERY resource into defeating the enemy. In my opinion, bombing New York City demands the same response."

What response, toward whom? How did Osama bin laden morph into Saddaam Hussein? Every indication is that the GWB administration was out to get Saddaam before 9/11 ever happened.

I read an interesting survey and analysis of the response to 9/11. Where people in other parts of the country who had been repeatedly exposed to the video clip of the plane crashing into the tower tended to want to retaliate, residents of NYC, who actually lived through the horrifying violence and its aftermath, responded in a far more measured way.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 12:58 pm: Edit

MassDad,
You are absolutely correct that I have never served as an officer in the military. I turned down that honor and served in the enlisted ranks instead.. But since you seem inclined to pull rank, let me refer you to Rear Admiral [Ret.] Jim Carey who is presently the Chairman of the NATIONAL DEFENSE COMMITTEE. With all due respect, kindly read what he thinks about returning to the draft:

http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,Carey_042604,00.html

By Interesteddad (Interesteddad) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 01:09 pm: Edit

>> What we also showed was that our vulnerability is the logistics tail. Maybe you forgot that our forward units were close to running out of fuel and ammunition as the logistics tail faced assaults on its lines waaay back behind Bagdad. I suspect you never read those accounts, however, as those were not front page reports (after all, we were at war and the media was under great pressure to tell the "right" story...).

Actually, I just finished reading one of first published accounts of the war: "A Time of Our Choosing" by NY Times war reporter Todd Purdam and the NYTimes staff.

He went into some detail about the logistics problems associated with the rapid advance. He also gave some staggering casualty numbers inflicted on Iraqi tank battalions during the sandstorm when we were "bogged down".

I look forward to reading more, but it's been my experience that the really insightful books generally aren't published for several years.

During the war itself, the only reporting I saw that was of any particular interest was that of the embedded reporters. Most of the "talking heads" stuff was pretty unreliable, whether from Fox News or NPR.

For example, none of the talking heads really explained the military tactics behind the maneuvers during the first day or two in Baghdad or how those relative bold thrusts came about. The interesting stuff comes out over time.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 03:38 pm: Edit

Morgantruce, with all due respect to Admiral (ret) Jim Carrey, the navy, his service, never had draftees, so I wonder how much experience HE actually had with draftees?

By Britbrat8604 (Britbrat8604) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 07:55 pm: Edit

Well....i have been hearing more and more about this required military service bill over the past couple of days in school. Personally, i agree with it. It is a sort of right of passage to be able to live in this country. I am a female who will be turning 18 within the next couple of months and would be willing to go and fight for my country. but those are just my views. Surprisingly, many of my classmates agree (guys and girls who are all 18)

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Friday, May 14, 2004 - 08:14 pm: Edit

Thousands were drafted into the Navy during WWII. By the way, many men were drafted into the Marine Corps towards the end of WWII as well as Korea and Vietnam. The Army, however, got the lion's share of draftees. All of us should be grateful for their service and sacrifice, but listen to what these two men have to say:


"A return to the draft is a very bad idea whose time passed with the world wars, Korea and Vietnam. These wars were tragically wasteful because in large measure they were fought with drafted soldiers. Drafted soldiers are far more likely to die in combat than long-service professionals. Military leaders know from painful experience that it takes years to produce a fully competent combat soldier. They also know that older soldiers live longer in combat. Drafting teenagers and committing them to combat within only a year of enlistment will create an Army of amateurs. Our Army in particular has a sad history of committing to battle men who are too young and inexperienced to have much hope of surviving against a hardened and skillful enemy."
--ROBERT SCALES JR.
Retired general, former commandant of the Army War College and historian.


"America deploys the most powerful military on earth because its soldiers freely choose to serve. Today's military is picky. In 2003 more than 9 of 10 enlistees had a high school diploma. The military takes virtually no one who doesn't score in the top three of five categories of the Armed Forces Qualification Test. Equally important, the all-volunteer force (avf) is staffed by soldiers who want to be there. Draft advocates want "citizen soldiers." But 4 million young people turn 18 every year, while the military inducted 185,000 recruits in 2003. A system that took just 5% of those eligible would be highly arbitrary.

The worst lie told by conscription advocates about the avf is that it is an underclass military. Overrepresentation of blacks is modest; Hispanics are actually underrepresented. While there may be few sons and daughters of Wall Street in uniform, the military is an overwhelmingly middle-class force. The most obvious reason to maintain the avf is practical: it's the best way to raise the world's finest military. What sets American society apart from totalitarian hellholes like Saddam Hussein's Iraq is its dedication to individual liberty. Conscription sacrifices the very values we are supposed to be defending."
--DOUG BANDOW
Former special assistant to President Reagan, now a senior fellow at the Cato Institute

By Kluge (Kluge) on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 01:42 pm: Edit

...and of course, since they're volunteers, it makes it easier to send them off to die pointlessly, another great advantage to the deep thinkers in Washington.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 10:53 pm: Edit

"Overrepresentation of blacks is modest"

This statement is really funny - blacks make up 26% of the army. If over 2x the rate is "modest" then how much accuracy should I ascribe to the rest of this person's opinions?

Come on Morgantruce, can't you do any better than this? This same author ignores the fact that the military today is overwhelmingly southern and rural. It is FAR from representative of our society. That't an improvement? Not in my book. One of your other references said "Military leaders know from painful experience that it takes years to produce a fully competent combat soldier." So, what have we done the past year? we activate reservists and throw them into the breach in Iraq, with a few months training at most. Yes, they got "training" while in the reserves before active duty. Been there, done that. Not the same.

By Morgantruce (Morgantruce) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 09:52 am: Edit

Using Guard and Reserve elements as THIS administration has done is a sign of mismanagement. Such mismanagement does not negate the fact that an army of professionals is a better fighting force than an army of recent straphangers.

If you would prefer to fight with a force that is representative of every element of our society, that is your business. If I were going to be in the proverbial foxhole, I would much rather be sharing it with a fellow who is likely to have come from rural and southern roots---someone who didn't just recently learn marksmanship skills.

Neither of us is likely to gain any first-hand knowledge of how today's professionals stack up against yesterday's draftees, but most people sense that professionals have the edge---by a large margin.

It is NOT necessesary to embarrass the Bush administration with an actual return to the draft in order to defeat them in November. The fact that we are even discussing such an absurd remedy to the mismanagement of our fighting forces should be enough to convince most voters that we need a new commander in chief.

By Massdad (Massdad) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 11:48 pm: Edit

Morgantruce,

Agreed. I checked a few of my sources that have experience both in the draftee days and more recently in the volunteer days, and they do in fact prefer the volunteers - easier to manage. Then again, it is rather unfair to compare viet nam era service with its combat intensity level to that of the past 20 years, up until Iraq.

By Moojuice (Moojuice) on Monday, May 17, 2004 - 12:03 am: Edit

Yeah, I would imagine a volunteer would be easier to handle simply based on the fact that he wants to be there! If you don't want to do something, no matter what it is, you're not going to do it with as much zeal as someone who wants to be there.


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