There Ain’t Gonna Be A “Bush Draft”

I was in college during the Gulf War and I can still remember the professors in my “War, Peace, Justice and Human Survival” class telling us that we might be drafted to make up for the 100,000 casualties that we could sustain fighting the ferocious, battle hardened Iraqis in what would surely be another Vietnam. Being a dopey college kid, I totally bought into what they were saying and mentally prepared myself to go fight and maybe die in the “big sandy” if my country called on me. However, now that we’re more than a decade out from the Gulf War, we all know that the US laid a beatdown for the ages on Iraq that will probably be studied in military academies on the moon 100 years from now.

But, since we’re locked in a global war on terror that doesn’t look like it will be over anytime soon, we’re again hearing hysterical left-wingers claiming that there’s going to be another draft. Here’s someone named Michael Lenz hitting all the high spots of the paranoid “the BushHitler is going to draft you for his Haliburton oil war” argument…

“(T)he Defense Department has called on volunteers to sit on local draft boards. Could the re-emergence of the draft be just around the corner?

…Despite our Marines’ complaints of fatigue (and rightly so) and the realization that American troops are indeed stretched to capacity around the globe, it appears unlikely that President Bush would reinstate a national draft before the 2004 presidential election.

Arguably, such a maneuver would damage the president’s chances for re-election. However, if the violence does not subside within the next year and an escalation of conflict ensues, President Bush, assuming he wins election, might very well incorporate the draft into his post-war strategy.

…Daniel Ellsberg, a former employee for the Defense Department who leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times and Washington Post, spoke at Amherst College and noted the likelihood of a future draft.

“If President Bush is re-elected, it is likely that he will reinstate the draft. The war on terrorism will not end in Iraq, but instead will proceed into countries like Syria and Iran,” said Ellsberg.”

Ok, let’s run the gauntlet here shall we? First off, contrary to the impression some people are being given, the draft boards aren’t doing anything out of the ordinary. According to the National Selective Service office, they’re filling open slots like they always do, although there are a few more open positions than usual. So there’s nothing to worry about there.

Next, whether we need anymore troops or not is debatable. Over the next few months, most people in the know expect the number of troops in Iraq to drop significantly and there are already large numbers of troops in other parts of the world who will be redeployed elsewhere as we continue to close and move bases around the world. For example, there are 40,000 troops in South Korea right now who are there because they’re a security blanket for the South Koreans, not because they’re necessarily needed.

But, let’s assume that we do decide that we need another few divisions, why would we not simply recruit them? Keep in mind that 8 Army divisions were slashed during the Clinton years, so there’s no question that we can field a much larger volunteer force than we already do. Furthermore, the military is currently hitting its recruiting goals, so we have no reason to think that we couldn’t add many, many, more volunteers if we decided it was necessary.

Last but not least, you have to understand that a draft would be incredibly unpopular on both sides of the aisle in anything other than the most dire of emergencies. “So what,” you say, “that just means President Bush will wait until after he’s reelected to call for a draft”. Look, it just doesn’t work like that with something that would be as unpopular as a draft. If Bush called for a draft in 2005, every Democrat across the country would be running on it in 2006. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that implementing the draft would probably cost the GOP the Senate and quite possibly even the House. You think Bush is going to do that? Fat chance buddy.

So take my advice and don’t sweat a draft, it’s just not going to happen…

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