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Author Topic: Conservative Calls for Draft
David Ricardo
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The pro-war Tacitus interprets the deteriorating recruiting and retention problems of the Army and simultaneously concludes that the volunteer army has failed and that the draft must now be considered:

http://tacitus.org/story/2005/6/11/211030/134

quote:
I just spent an evening with a friend recently back from Iraq. Her stories were depressing enough -- she was running an aid station near Baqubah -- and now that she's back in the US, she's getting to follow up with many of the soldiers whose lives she helped save. They're without legs, or arms, or significant portions of skull, for the most part. Another peculiar trauma is one that is disproportionately affecting officers -- I forget the specific name -- in which a blast basically shakes your head so violently you suffer brain damage: shaken baby syndrome in adults. Horrifying all around. That's war, and that's what war does. As troubling are the decisions taken by people like her to leave the Army as soon as possible. She told me when her unit is going back, and it's ridiculously soon. These young people in their twenties are volunteers, well educated, and tired of rotating in and out of war. My friend is lucky -- she's only been to war once. I know others who have been to war twice, and probably a third time before the year is out. It's not that these people have no sense of duty: to the contrary. But they don't see the sense in the open-ended mission, plagued by strategic incoherence, and chronically undermanned. It's impossible to blame them. "I've read about the recruiting problems," she said, "And I think, no joke."

The volunteer soldiers have proven themselves fine warriors. But the volunteer Army has failed. This is its first war of any meaningful length, and its lessons are clear: it cannot sustain this effort, through no fault of its own, because, in the end, its discrete parts are rational actors. It is impossible to externally incentivize war. The choice is therefore between that Army's continuance and a draft. If the choice is for its continuance, then the subsequent choice will probably be between losing Iraq and losing the Army. Losing Iraq will be a strategic disaster for the United States. But losing the Army would be the end.

Tacitus has been among the most strident supporters of the Iraq invasion from the very beginning. But at least, he has the intellectual honesty to admit that we are simultaneously losing the war in Iraq and permanently crippling our volunteer Army.

As for the volunteer army having failed, I will disagree with Tacitus on that point. In truth, our civilian neoconservative knuckleheads in Pentagon have failed the volunteer Army and the country at large with their inept and incompetent management of the fiasco in Iraq.

[ June 20, 2005, 02:38 AM: Message edited by: David Ricardo ]

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yossarian22c
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The volunteer army survived the war, it isn't surviving the police action. The army is planned around and trained to take battle fields not battle insurgents half way around the world. Let's place this failure not on the army or the patriatism of Americans to join the army but on the civilian planners who thought 120,000 troups were enough and the genius that disbanded the Iraqi army instead of putting it to work bring peace to the country. Will a draft solve the problem, probably not. It will create a new generation of anti war fanatics. It's one thing to volunteer for the army and die it's another to be forced in and die. A draft would ensure that political pressure increased to withdraw our troops sooner if the job was completed or not.

I guess I view the draft a little bit different since I'm still young enough to be drafted. I'm not sure what I would do if I were drafted. The seemingly endless and lack of a defining objective make this a hard war to want to serve in. There is no Berlin to fall and no victory at Waterloo will come. This war lacks a defining victory at this point. If things could have been handeled differently 3 years ago, if we could have stifeled the insugency before it picked up steam, maybe the fall of Bagdad could have been one of those defining victoy moments. But with no clear victory objective I'm not sure I would be willing to serve, there is no end in sight. I think this is what the American public is begining to see and it's why Bush's approval ratings have dropped.

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Pete at Home
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Why in the world would we want to draft a bunch of whiners that don't want to go? If the US wants soldiers, fast, all they have to do is glance south of the border. Hell, I can put Rummy in touch with illegals right here in this country that served in the Mexican special forces in Guatemalan and Honduran incursions. They've told me they'd throw their lives on the roulette wheel for the chance of being treated like actual human beings by their gringo neighbors, who treat them like ghosts.

[ June 20, 2005, 04:01 AM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Daruma28
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quote:
the fiasco in Iraq.
David, your perpetual optimism is so refreshing.

This would be a good place to contemplate some news like this concerning the "fiasco."

quote:
The Australian hostage held captive for nearly seven weeks in Iraq before being freed last week has said his rescue by Iraqi troops is a sign that U.S. and Australian policies are working.

"I actually believe that I am proof positive that the current policy of training the Iraqi army -- of recruiting, training and buddying them worked -- because it was the Iraqis that got me out," Douglas Wood told reporters in Melbourne after returning to Australia Monday morning.

Losing the war, eh David?

The primary goal for bringing our troops home is to train the Iraqi's to take over and defend their country for themselves. Looks like we're well on our way as they become more and more involved in their own defense with operations such as the hostage rescue operation.

Iraqi's Stepping Up

We are LOSING, right David? Afterall, why else would you be able to show up every few days and provide the PROOF that all is lost from various media outlets? Afterall, there is NO WAY the media abounds with journalists and pundits bent on slanting everything in a negative light to ensure that Iraq becomes a lost cause, right? They are all simply being objective in reporting TRUTH, right?

8000000 Iraqis showed up at the polls and voted for a free and representative Iraqi government, despite threats of violence and terrorism.

The Iraqi troops are steadily increasing in their enrollment and training, and are becoming more and more involved in counter-insurgency and security operations.

The Iraqi constitution is in the process of being debated and drawn up.

The insurgents have now resorted to suicide bombings as the primary means of attack -- the surest sign of the desperation of the losing side in any war.

I would call that tangible results demonstrating that we are slowly and surely winning the war of ideas (NO ONE said it would be easy or without cost).

How are we "losing" so far?

What is your criteria, or your goal posts that you would consider to be 'success?'

From where I sit, there is no realistic chance for you to EVER consider Iraq a success because you seize on every piece of negative reporting and use it to selectively bolster your pre-determined conclusion that we are "losing" the "fiasco."

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erik the awful
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Tacitus presents an interesting case that I shall consider at length.

At the risk of over-simplifing, I think the volunteer Army could do with a large raise. My understanding is that US Army pay doesn't compare favorably to McDonalds. It's a raw deal. Army spouses are on public assistance.

We need to pay our people a livable wage. When our people get hurt or killed, they need to know beyond a doubt that their spouses and children will be VERY well taken care of. Better taken care of then if the hurt or killed person had been around and healthy at length.

*THEN* you'll see the recruitment problems go away.

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kenmeer livermaile
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"(NO ONE said it would be easy or without cost)."

I recall Rumsfeld and Crew referring to a much less difficult process than the one we're on now. A word like 'fiasco' is a very subjective term. Iraw looks like a fiasco from some perspectives, a noble enterprise gradually achieving higher goals from others.

Likewise, the interpretation of suicide bombing as a sign of desperation, even the "surest sign" thereof,is highly subjective; and of course you and we are entitled to such views. One could also easily say that suicide bombings are a sign of intractable resolve.

David Wood's gratitude for his rescue and his belief that its achievement by Iraqis indicates that Coalition policies are wise and effective is, to say the least, subjective, even singular. His perspective is far more unique than common.

Likewise, the perspective that 'the media' is bent toward tainting public opinion against the war is highly subjective. Lots of folks I know feel exactly the opposite. Their subjective opinion reflects a very different perspective. Some folks fear FOX; some fear NPR. Said fears perhaps are more aboiut the effects of these news entities' effects on an individuals cognitive dissonance than on the actual veracity of their reported data or analysis of same.

30 years after the American-Viet Nam war officially ended, there are folks who think it was a victory in (an officially undeclared) Long War, and folks who think it was a bloody nightmare that ended when we decided to wake up. (My good friend, Long Tom Sylvarrh, a former history prof with Nam shrapnel in his chest, believes the latter.)

The War to Influence Public Opinion on the Iraq War, as practiced here and in the editorial pages and surveys at large, is itself a moot contest, although currently it is leaning toward a belief that we're losing the war. But that could change next week.

One could reverse the polarity of this statement:

From where I sit, there is no realistic chance for you to EVER consider Iraq a success because you seize on every piece of negative reporting and use it to selectively bolster your pre-determined conclusion that we are "losing" the "fiasco."

...and be just as subjectively correct. What the tides of war are washing ashore depends to a great extent on what strand of beach one surveys, and what sort of flotsam and jetsam one features.

One thing no one disagrees about, though, is that we ARE at war in Iraq, and people ARE dying every day, as happens in wars irregardless of one's perspective on them.

By this definition, and with a body count that continually leaves more innocents dead than combatants, be they dead from suicidal insurgents or well-intended but fantastically lethal guided bombs, fiasco suits the situation well, unless one feels that currently self-perpetuating bloodbaths are NOT 'fiascoesque'.

Fiasco means 'complete failure'. Death is a complete failure of a human life. Fiasco, however, also means "Fiasco (plural: Fiaschi): the traditional straw-cased chianti bottle."

It really IS difficult to know when, if ever, we might open a flask and drink a toast to, um, victory... since agreement on what 'victory' in this case might mean is highly and subjectively moot.

The definition of death (in THIS world, at least), however, is not. Dead's dead. David Wood's rescue by Iraqi troops is certainly NOT a fiasco. Every child blown apart by cluster bombs IS.

Perspective is, by definition, subjective.

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Funean
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Nice post, Ken.

I spent the afternoon yesterday with my kids' father, who just got back from two weeks in the Palestinian camps in Israel.

This appears to be a true statement:

quote:
By this definition, and with a body count that continually leaves more innocents dead than combatants, be they dead from suicidal insurgents or well-intended but fantastically lethal guided bombs, fiasco suits the situation well, unless one feels that currently self-perpetuating bloodbaths are NOT 'fiascoesque'.

It also appears to be true that we are *not* winning hearts and minds, in Iraq or anywhere else.

I have long been in the "since we got into this mess, let's wrap it up in proper fashion and clean up after ourselves" camp. I am now beginning to lean perceptibly toward "this can't possibly turn out well; let's wrap it up and get out before we make things Far Worse."

In any case, resorting to a draft will be a terribly revealing, and I believe ultimately disastrously unsuccessful, move. If the volunteer army has "failed" (really a rather offensive statement), I do not understand how the infusion of unwilling bodies is going to remedy the situation.


edited to remove an infection of m's

[ June 20, 2005, 11:16 AM: Message edited by: Funean ]

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The Drake
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I disagree violently with the draft. I see the volunteer army as being another check and balance on truly open-ended or senseless wars. If you cannot convince the troops that something is worth putting their life at risk, you don't deserve to lead them.

A young E3 gets $1550 a month. Add combat pay. Add housing allowance. Add college benefits. Whatever number that is, probably not enough for anyone who doesn't believe in what they are doing. That's why the private mercernaries get paid more.

But maybe this multilevel marketing strategy will work...

Navy recruiting page (Delayed entry program)

quote:
Now that you are a member of the Delayed Entry Program it is time to get a head start on your journey. While you are in the DEP you have the opportunity to advance.

Utilizing the referral forms in this book, provide your recruiter with names and phone numbers of individuals you believe can benefit from the same opportunities the Navy offered you. Your recruiter will contact these individuals, and when they enlist, you will be on your way toward awards or advancement.

When two people you refer enlist in the Navy, you will be advanced to E-2.

When four people you refer enlist in the Navy, you will be advanced to E-3.

As I mentioned elsewhere, none of this recruiting will help prevent the loss of trained soldiers.

re-enlistment bonuses

quote:
The bonus to be paid may not exceed the lesser of the following amounts:

(1) The product of 15 times the monthly rate of basic pay to which the member was entitled at the time of the discharge or release of the member

(2) The product of the number of years (or the monthly fractions thereof) of the term of reenlistment or extension of enlistment, not to exceed $60,000.

Re-enlistment must run for a 3 year period, so this amounts to a 42% raise during that period.
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kenmeer livermaile
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"In any case, resorting to a draft will be a terribly revealing, and I believe ultimately disastrously unsuccessful, move."

My perception is that since 1977, when the politically leveraged oil supply crises got the Big Boys in the Beltway looking ahead, and one of them passed around a copy of M. King Hubbert's 1956 oil production predictions (which remarkably well predicted the current oil supply situation), American foreign policy has been overwhelmingly dominated by a determination to get as much oil for ourselves as possible (while making as much noise about democracy, human rights, freedom, and the egalitarian exaltation of humanity, as possible).

Kissinger first plotted this course in the late 70s. Cheney reclarified it in 2001, when he said that oil would dominate American foreign policy in this decade. He was simply reasserting a 24-year old Hard Line, not that the Hard Line doesn't extend further than this in action.

Oil and Foreign Policy

With this in mind, 'this' being a belief that dominating global oil supplies as much as possible is the central crankshaft driving America's foreign policy in the Middle East and other oil-rich regions, and considering that other big nations have similar aims, a draft is a highly likely occurrence. But We the People, of course, will not accept it without some tremendous motivation.

Before Pearl Harbor, massively deadly wars could be started/joined into with no more incident than a bit of cannon fire at Fort Sumter, a sabotage explosion in the U.S.S. Maine (I'll leave open the question of sabotage by WHOM? [Wink] ), the assassination of a royal fop (archduke Ferdinand) and the torpedoing of an ocean liner (the Lusitania)...

...even then, post WWII belief in inherent rightness of American military endeavors was strong enough that even in the 1960s, an ambiguous radar reading (the Tonkin Incident) could be used to declare war and send conscripted American chaps off to war.

But, by 1975, that changed. Beginning in 1990, we resorted to more significant causus belli, such as Saddam Hussein invading Kuwait (albeit with our initial diplomatic blessing, but that, after all, is mere chess work, is it not? Not nearly so effective as propaganda as an actual army invading a tiny nation (basically a patch of sand sitting on the world's finest concentrated oil reserves of the time).

We went to GWI almost gladly. I came that close to volunteering my 34 year old carcass to the cause before the patriotic short-circuit burnt itself and reason reasserted itself.

Never mind the little stuff: Panama, Granada, Kosovo. Some, like Kosovo, had easily compelling causus belli, even if their history is confusing. Others, like the El Salvador/Nicaragua nonsense, did more damage to the Great Cause of Noble American War than good.

But when 911 happened, we were back on a 'wartime footing'. I don't think we even thought in those terms during GWI. We just watched the show on TV and oohed'n'awed at doctored smart bomb images and marveled how easily we destroyed Hussein's army. But after 911..

911 was Pearl Harbor revisited, said numerous politicians, and flags sprouted like magic mushrooms in a Puyallup Valley cow pasture in spring rains, with an halucinatory effect almost as potent.

But now it seems that the fervor to fight has waned. The American belief in the inherent rightness of American military action has paled, and as for global opinion...

...so, I for cynical, suspicious, politically pessimistic one, feel it isn't too many years from now that something that makes Pearl Harbor and 911 look tiny is due to occur. The Powers That Be in the American sphere of influence need bigger, bolder, bloodier causus belli to produce a second wave surge of waving flags and war sentiment.

This being a nation built upon a plebiscite, public opinion cannot be ignored by our politicians. It must, therefore, be manipulated.

Watch the birdie.

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Richard Dey
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This reason number 2 why I am now opposing the occupation of Iraq.
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