Saturday, September 22, 2007

The draft

By Capt. Fogg

Much is being made of the argument that re-instituting the draft would shorten or end the occupation of Iraq or perhaps would curb any further Napoleonic urges of our warpresident. At one time I bought into it, but as someone who came of age as the US had begun sliding down the bloody slope of increasing involvement in Indo-China I have to reflect on that experience which so disturbingly presages our world.

The arguments for the draft assert that it would increase opposition from those of draft age and their parents and thus impede capricious military adventure. Another argument is that increasing the difficulty of raising a large army would also make aggression less attractive.

I have argued from experience in other venues that the existence of the draft made it far easier for war supporters to dismiss protest and to marginalize the opposition with accusations of cowardice and lack of patriotism. It is after all, different to hear objective arguments from someone who is not in danger of any discomfort than from someone who may shortly be in harms way or is the parent of a draft age child. That war went on for some 16 years and that makes it hard to argue that the draft did more than make more noise and tear gas in the streets. Nixon supporters loved him more for standing up to or ignoring public protest and saw it as courage and character.

Lacking a draft today, the neocons have to work harder and use more absurd accusations against dissenters because that opposition comes from a non-draftable public. In my day, nearly anyone favoring withdrawal from Vietnam could be and usually was dismissed as a cowardly communist sympathizer and draft dodger -- regardless of his status or hair length. Bush doesn't have quite that ability at present.

I think I can argue too, that what has kept us out of Iran and perhaps Syria so far has been the inability of the Bush administration to go to war with the army they wish they had. If we had instituted the draft in 2001, he would surely have had it by now. In some respects, giving Bush a small but efficient, well trained, motivated, equipped and professional military is like giving Barney Fife one bullet to carry in his shirt pocket. He's going to have to think carefully before using it.

Of course Bush didn't think too carefully or listen to those who did when he decided to "liberate" Iraq; my arguments are more valid for a sane and intelligent leader than they are for George and it's true that the professionalism of our troops might have convinced him he could do this on the cheap and so avoid public wrath, but I still lean towards the belief that a peacetime draft would not have prevented the attack of Iraq and the neglect of Afghanistan and that the lack of it may have prevented the ground invasion of Iran and any other oil rich country Cheney might want to claim for his corporations. I have to ask myself: would the world be a safer place if George had a 2 million man army?

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  • I think the draft will only fuel the war machine!

    Would you be willing to spread the word about It's a site dedicated to shattering the myths surrounding the selective slavery system and building mass civil disobedience to stop the draft before it starts!

    Our banner on a website, printing and posting the anti-draft flyer or just telling friends would help.


    Scott Kohlhaas

    PS. When it comes to conscription, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

    By Blogger Scott Kohlhaas, at 2:50 AM  

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