Why There Is Very Good Reason to Feel a Draft

· 2004 Election

Need for Draft Is Dismissed by Officials at Pentagon, NYT
Rumors of a secret plan to reinstate the draft are churning across the Internet, worrying some in Congress and even coloring the presidential campaign…Officials note that Congressional proposals for…30,000 to 40,000 more troops, would hardly require a new draft …
DKo: A few points for perspective:
1. The current situation is already worse than has been recognized. There is normally a substantial recruitment “buffer” maintained: recruits already lined up but not yet called–“in the pipeline.” This buffer amounts to about 30% of the next year’s requirements. But in the annual cycle just ended, the quota was met only by “borrowing from next year,” i.e., by moving up enlistment dates–and thereby emptying the pipeline.
2. The “Stop Loss” policy has kept many people on the rolls (through 11/2, notably), who will drop off as soon as they are able.
3. The very high rate of “re-upping” that the US military has enjoyed in recent years is obviously headed for a downturn–especially in the Guard and the Reserves, more than a million people, who make up about half of US troop strength.
–Active forces are only being asked to re-up into roughly the same–often career oriented–military service they signed up for in the first place.
–But the Guard and Reserve are being asked to join an entirely new kind of military service, one that did not exist before–different from (almost opposite to) anything they’d ever bargained for.
4. The high-tech, small-ground-forces, low-casualty, swift-exit military model–which was going to make America’s role as World Cop sustainable–is patently in shreds. So now “Money talks. Bullshit walks.” US supremacists will have to either come up with the big troop numbers, or just give up the game.
5. You can get the troops, without a draft, by spending a lot more money on pay, bonuses, services, and benefits. But there are two limits on this:
–Obviously, it breaks the bank on the overall Federal budget.
–But just within the divvy-up of what does go for Defense spending, a larger share for troops will be considered unacceptable.
This will sound merely facetious, and I wish it were. But every dollar we fritter away on the soft stuff–pay, food, housing, clothing, health, and pensions for the troops–is a dollar taken away from the hard-core, high-tech and big-iron, high-development, low-production, unmonitored and uncontrolled contracts to major military contractors.
They do get a piece of the action in clothing and housing too. But that is partial and imperfect. It’s the mainlining of pure appropriations they are addicted to. If we don’t shoot them up regularly with missile-defense systems and cold-war fighter-bombers, they will die.
“Too big to fail?” That could become a political question that America soon will have to face.