The Draft issue

The Draft issue

On September 26 I wrote about the strange silence surrounding the legislation currently before the US Congress enabling universal conscription (including women). Now it’s finally begun to surface in the US presidential campaign. Here’s an insightful posting by Joshua Micah Marshall on the subject:

“My point, as I’ve said previously, is not that there will necessarily be a draft or that the Bush administration is planning one or wants one. The point is that the administraiton has pursued a mix of policies that make it a very real possibility — not because the administration wants a draft, but because they may drive the country into a position where we have no choice.

Take the president’s comment to the Associated Press. We have the manpower to deal with another major theater conflict in North Korea or Iran? Really? The US military is under great strain now with current deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. How can we possibly have sufficient manpower to handle an all-out war with North Korea and its aftermath, without pushing the all-volunteer military past its breaking point?

Through a mix of conscious policy and mismanagement, the White House has gotten us to the point where another major conflict would be quite difficult to sustain for a number of reasons. The point of a debate about a potential draft is to weigh the consequences of those policies and that record of mismanagement.

By making categorical statements that are false on their face — i.e., there will never be a draft — the White House is trying to avoid or cut short that debate. And that makes sense because when you have the debate on its merits, a draft does seem like a real possibility.”