The Only Reason There Won’t Be a Draft

Yahoo is blathering on about why there won’t be a draft.  The main point seems to be that there won’t be a draft because drafting people won’t actually solve the military’s problems.  I’m going to address that in a second, but let’s be clear.

The only reason there won’t be a draft is because it would be political suicide for the party whose administration enacted it.  If the burden of this war has to be born more equitably across social classes, you’d see ugly like we’ve not seen in a long time and no politician wants to be responsible for that.

But here’s why Yahoo thinks we won’t have a draft and why I think they’re full of shit:

Yahoo: “But the downside, the report claims, would be a less effective fighting force, thanks to a sudden influx of draftees who would remain in uniform for much shorter spells than today’s all-volunteer soldiers.”

Me: What’s to prevent the military from keeping drafted soldiers as long as they want?  Our “volunteer” soldiers are already doing a lot more for a lot longer than they signed up for.

Yahoo: The report says that while 91% of last year’s recruits were high school graduates, only 80% of U.S. residents aged 18 to 24 have attained that level of education.

Me: Ha, ha, ha.  The armed forces are really trying to argue that many Americans are just too stupid to risk letting them into the military?  Please.  Then don’t draft drop-outs.  Problem solved.

Yahoo:   The CBO, which does not make recommendations but only charts options for lawmakers, estimates that somewhere between 27,000 and 165,000 would be drafted each year. That relatively small slice – some 2 million males turn 18 each year – could resurrect the problems seen in the Vietnam era when deferments and friendly draft boards kept some well-connected young men out of uniform.

Me: Yeah, well, guess what.  Well-connected young men are staying out of uniform right now as it is.  At least this would make going to war a real, actual possibility.

Yahoo:  If it doesn’t make military or economic sense to launch the draft, what about the notion of fairness? Critics have claimed that minorities are over-represented in the all-volunteer military because they have fewer options in the civilian world.

Me: No, critics have claimed that poor people, many of whom are minorities, but many of whom are white, are over-represented in the all-volunteer military because they have fewer options in the civilian world.

Okay, back to my point.  There’s no reason that the government can’t enact a draft that suits the military’s needs.  This nonsense about not needing a draft is all a smoke screen and anyone who thought about it for very long would see that.   What we’re asking from our military and supporting families right now is gravely unfair.

But no one really wants a draft.  People who oppose the war don’t want a draft because, well, we oppose the war and don’t want to send anyone to fight it, not the folks who are there, not the folks who aren’t there.

And people who do support the wary don’t want a draft because it would solidify opposition to the war and make opposing the war seem urgent for most Americans in a way it just doesn’t now.

10 thoughts on “The Only Reason There Won’t Be a Draft

  1. I have absolutely nothing against a free person deciding to sign up to go to war. I wouldn’t do it myself, but then again I wouldn’t fly a plane or have sex with Brittney Spears. So I have no idea why certain circumstances and/or choices appeal to some people.

    But when we start talking about a draft–especially a draft for a war on foreign soil–I start protesting mightily.

    There is no reason for the government to take men by force and, by force, send them to protect the government and citizenry of another country.

    ESPECIALLY since this “war on terror” implies that we are at risk RIGHT HERE from terror attacks. Why send every able-bodied man we can get our hands on to fight half a world away when we are supposedly at risk in our own home? The very idea of a draft undermines the argument FOR the war on terror.

    After all, isn’t the war on terror all about fighting against people who want to come over here and kill our innocent citizenry all in the name of some Cause?

    If we enact a draft aren’t we then allowing our government to kill our innocent citizenry in the name of their Cause?

    Or am I missing something?

  2. Pingback: Volunteer Voters » Smokescreens

  3. I don’t want a draft. I want mandatory service a la Israel.

    We have 1.4 million active duty personnel, and less than 900,000 reservists. That means that out of our 303 million people, there are 2.3 million that run a realistic risk of ending up in a war zone. Assuming the average family is four, and that each family has only one person that runs a risk of going to war, that means that 2.3 million households out of nearly 76 million households have a direct stake in our nation’s foreign policy.

    The people that make the decisions in Washington DC can feel safe in starting needless wars right now. Only when foreign policy is discussed around every dinner table in the country because junior could be there next year can we ever have a sound, sober foreign policy.

  4. Bottom line: There would be no need for a draft if every male that purported to support the war “due to our National Security”, would just man up and enlist. Fat fucking chance. Chicken hawks, every last one of them.

  5. Pingback: The Reason We Need (At the Least) a Draft « The Freedonian

  6. Word up, Mr. Mack. I might add, Mr. Maynard, that mandatory service is no panacea, either. Israel’s foreign policy isn’t exactly constructive, and Israel offers deferments for certain reasons as well. Furthermore, the same kinds of people who were able to avoid war in the Vietnam draft era (either by avoiding the draft or avoiding combat a la Dubya) would find their way away from war even with mandatory service.

    Whether or not we have a draft, mandatory service, or whatever, the heart of the problem flows from Mack’s bottom line. With one or two conditional exceptions, every war in which the U.S. has participated has been an optional one, because those who make the wars happen and those who beat the drums most loudly are usually the ones who profit from the wars while facing little or no personal risk.

  7. Whether it is a volunteer military or a draft one, the burden is more heavily positioned on the portion of the population with fewer options – the poorer kids with fewer job prospects. However, a draft would increase the possibilty that the military could be bigger than it is now. If it’s bigger, some politician will want to use it all somewhere else. There’s no stopping politicians when they start being stupid.

  8. totally agree about the political suicide aspect of why there won’t be a draft & all the reasons in the yahoo article are bs. i can think of a couple more yahoo would leave out:

    * the “poverty” draft is working (although not as well as the military wishes it would).
    * a “green card” draft may be on the horizon, i linked a post recently about it being written into the failed immigration legislation. i expect it will pop up again.
    * if they get desperate, there’s the “go to jail or go in the military” draft. i served w/ more than a few (late 70s) who got that option. hell, there’s so many folx in prison, they could even take the “go in the military, get outta jail free” route.

    ok, that was 3 (4 really). btw, hope ms. wigglebottom is on the mend.

  9. i’d just like to second mr. Maynard’s point, too. before immigrating to the U.S., i served as a conscript in a national army down those lines. it had a huge impact, not so much on the kids who served, but also on my home country’s domestic and foreign policy.

  10. The family back east on the rightward side of politics has been known to mutter “But there’d better not be a draft..”., even when they supported the present administration on almost every other point…

    I can’t imagine that reinstating a draft would be anything less than a huge disaster to administer, let alone deal with the public pushback that you mention above.

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