RED LIGHTS AND SIRENS
Published on December 26, 2003 By Wahkonta Anathema In Current Events
I have posted a partial refutation of the thesis that this present Administation is fascist. I refuse to believe it. There has been one main reason: The mandatory draft!
Folks, if we get a mandatory draft, then all of my arguments change instantly. It is axiomatic of fascism and is THE signal of its' entrance. I am on it, and on it hard. If we see a draft instituted, it is a red alert sign we MUST NOT NEGLECT!
I put this up for your information and let's see where it goes. Feel free to comment or e-mail: wahkonta@graffiti.net
ARTICLE BEGINS
Beware of Attempts to Revive Military Draft

By Bob Keeler
Bob Keeler is a member of Newsday's editorial board.

December 22, 2003


It has been 30 years since the last time an American entered the armed forces through the not-so-tender mercies of the draft, on June 30, 1973. The next time could be just around the corner, if President George W. Bush is re-elected.

No, no, no, a thousand times no, say the White House, the Pentagon and Congress. They insist they have no plans for a draft. In any case, take this to the bank: It will not happen before Nov. 2, 2004. Still, the rumors refuse to die, and it was the Pentagon itself that started the buzz.

Last month, on its anti-terrorism Web site, the Pentagon posted a plea for volunteers to serve on the draft boards and appeals boards that will decide whether men (current draft law does not affect women) can get deferments or exemptions. The law created the boards as an insurance policy, in case of an emergency need for more troops.

The Selective Service System - the civilian agency that registers men when they turn 18 for a possible future draft - had nothing to do with this announcement. But it did get a lot of applications for draft board membership as a result. (Hint: Opponents of war are also eligible to sit on these boards.) When the appeal created a flurry of stories, the Pentagon quickly took it off the Web.

At the time, an organization vitally interested in the draft, the Center on Conscience and War, got a flood of anxious e-mails and calls. The center's executive director, J. E. McNeil, did not see the incident as evidence of movement toward the draft. But in recent weeks, she has heard of rumblings, from the Republican side of the aisle in Congress, about a draft after the election.

In a perfect world, the Pentagon would reject a draft. It likes its soldiers willing and malleable, not angry and cynical. But the current situation is far from perfect. Despite the capture of Saddam Hussein, young Americans are likely to keep dying in Iraq. Reserve and National Guard troops have been deployed far longer than they expected. This may soon start to erode enlistment and re-enlistment rates. At the same time, Bush's reckless preventive-war strategy could commit further troops to battles in other countries.

If Bush's policy keeps demanding more and more troops, and the supply of volunteers dwindles, it only takes a simple act of Congress to start the draft. That would be a profoundly bad idea.

As one of 230,991 draftees in 1965, I have some interest in this. When Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Manhattan) proposed this year to create a fairer, more comprehensive draft, including women, it got me thinking about the issue again. If there were a draft, I felt, a lot of young people and their parents might have had second thoughts about cheering Bush's invasion of Iraq. Then I had a second thought of my own: Naaaah!

"There are usually two reasons for a draft," McNeil said. "One is people who believe that having a draft will keep us out of war. The reality is that the draft has never kept us out of war." The second argument, which seems central to Rangel's thinking, is that a draft would make the military more equitable. It would pull in people from all strata of society, rather than just those who volunteer because they need a job or could not otherwise afford college.

Some even argue, against the evidence of history, that a draft would conscript the children of members of Congress. "During Vietnam, not one single member of Congress had a child who was drafted," McNeil said. "The reality is that the middle class and the upper middle class always have more options than the lower class in the face of the draft."

As the law now stands, once Congress activates the draft, it would be somewhat tighter and fairer than in the early Vietnam era, with fewer exemptions. Selective Service would leap into action, using a lottery to start by drafting 20-year-olds. But unless they make the draft age 55, to conscript war-loving lawmakers, "fair draft" is an oxymoron, like "smart bomb" or "friendly fire."

As divided as this country is now, a new draft would only exacerbate the division. And it would give this war-without-end presidency an endless source of warm bodies to pursue its cowboy foreign policy. Who knows what "October surprise" invasion Bush may have in store to boost his re-election chances in 2004? Then the next step might be a "February surprise" draft in 2005.
ARTICLE ENDS click link for article verify
Comments
on Jan 01, 2004
Restoring the draft would be such a calamity on so many levels--public relations, military effectiveness, basic human rights, family disruption, education policy, financial costs, social and political alienation, etc.--that it is hard to believe it could possibly happen. On the other hand, its supporters have a trance-like messianic glow about them as they spout the (imaginary) benefits to society that a draft would produce. Everyone should be eternally vigilant as draft supporters are a presence (although usually a small presence) in all ideological groups. Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska deserves America's gratitude for leading the successful effort to kill the draft in the early 1970's, an effort that saved our country dollars, lives, careers, and trust of three decades of young men.
on Jan 01, 2004
I'm curious as to what other countries have drafts imposed. I remember hearing that people in some European countries (i.e. Germany, France, etcc.) must serve in their military when they turn a certain age.
on Jan 02, 2004
A draft is supposed to mean that a professional army is reliant on citizens called to duty for their country. There's something noble about all of our nation's youth expected to serve, rather than as now youth entering the "profession" because that seems to be the only opportunity to better themselves, despite the risk. However, if we continue to engage in wars of choice and not necessity I am against the draft. I enlisted in WWII because the country was deliberately attacked and so many other youths either couldn't wait to be drafted or stormed the board to draft them immediately.
on Jan 02, 2004
I agree with that. I would never support a draft for this war, unless the United States itself was jeopardized. At least then, I'd die for a reason more noble than political.
on Jan 02, 2004
Reply to 'stevendedalus' I feel pretty much as you do on this issue. Sad how we've gone from open patriotic support to debate as to whether or not to force our youth to serve in the military. Recall that there are still U.S. troops picking up trash for Haitains. It besmirches our Military honor to use our best youth to be servants of he civil populace in foreign countries. I also buy the position that the female officer being Ordered to wear head cover out of respect to culture of foreigners we were protecting is bogus. If the same nation tells us they don't like Afro-Americans, would we Order them to leave? Forget all this nonsensical use of our Military forces to babysit and moderate barbarian debates as to how to implement Holy Democracy. If there's nothing to shoot, no American interest, then get out of Iraq. I could care less if they beat each other over the head to pick a leader, and its none of our business. Let Haliburton and the Zionists who want to to kill Moslems govern them if they want to. Our soldiers have jobs and families to raise of their own.
on May 11, 2004
I understand your views on the draft. I have so much honor for our men and women who are out there giving up their lifes for us. They have so much more courage than I ever would have. In english class I used the same response you are using to a question, whether we should be in war or not. My english teacher then responded by saying, "What if American just stood around and watched Hitler kill off all the people in Europe. He wasn't attacking American, so why should we have gone in there and lost men for something that wasn't dealing with Americans." I took that to heart and thought about it. We all are the same even though we don't all believe in the same things or we don't all look the same. If there are people over in Iraq being killed then I think it is our job as humans not Americans but humans to do something about it. I am so proud of the men and women who are saving lifes over in Iraq.
on May 11, 2004
Superbaby,

Some European countries have compulsory national service for everyone at the age of 18. I know that Germany provides a civilian alternative to those who don't wish to join the military.

I think it's a different model to the US/UK. Germany has a small standing army but I suppose that most German males have some basic military training. The US/UK have larger armies but the general population as a whole has never been in uniform.
on May 12, 2004
Hm draft may be appropriate only when USA is under a serious threat of being overtaken, but not otherwise.
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