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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Do You Want A Draft in 2007? Decide Now

Juan Cole makes the point this morning that the call up of 2500 marine reservists is one step closer to overextending the volunteer military and one step closer to reinstituting the draft.

I think this is something that should get more attention now, because there is, obviously, no way a draft will be instituted before the November 7th election. It would be political suicide for those in power. A draft would be the death knell of the remaining support for the war. That is why people need to be aware of the possibility now while they can still do something: vote.
"This was the plan in 1973: Dump the draft. Count on volunteers. When something big comes up, rely on the reserves and National Guard.

A special commission had told Richard Nixon the country could suffice with a smaller all-volunteer, active-duty military unless something really big came up.

Only in the case of a long-term, large-scale foreign deployment — define that as more than six months and 100,000 troops — would there be any need to bother with a draft again."
We have gone significantly past 6 months and 100,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (remember Afghanistan?). President Bush reiterated this week that we would not pull out of Iraq while he is President which is another almost 2 1/2 years. This is obviously untenable as we have been in Iraq for 3 1/2 years and so-called "backdoor" drafts are already necessary. This isn't a question of "cut and run" v. "stay the course" (neither of which are actual policies, BTW unlike Joe Biden's proposal, which is at least worth discussing) it is a simple question of numbers.

People need to make a decision: for the war or against it. And if we are for the war then the American people need to be made to realize that continuing it will require real sacrifice. WWII type sacrifice. That may mean rationing (particularly of gasoline), that may mean travel restriction, that may mean higher taxes, it sure as hell will mean more casualties. It will mean more than simply deciding which color "Support the Troops" ribbon to put on our cars. It will mean more than just being good little consumers.

These sacrifices have been acceptable to Americans in the past. In fact, they have often been worn as a badge of honor by a country united against a common enemy. Our political leadership has failed to prepare us for this sacrifice, or even to ask for it. Instead we act as if changing our lifestyle in anyway is a tacit declaration of surrender to our enemies.

War requires sacrifice. If we think the Iraq war is not worth sacrificing for (and judging by recent polls, most Americans do not) then we should end it in due course rather than put all the sacrifice on our overstretched military (and those who will subsequently be drafted into it).

The worst part is, to effectively fight the war on terror, we will need the support of the people because it will be a long battle. Losing support for conflict when conflict is necessary will be a difficult way to fight an extended and complex war.

November 7th is your chance to decide.

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