November 20, 2006

If you're hoping to see the popularity of the Democrats decline...

... This must make your heart leap.

ADDED: Tons of commentary -- collected here. I haven't read that much of it, but somehow I feel as if I already have.

61 comments:

Seven Machos said...

Republicans secretly want to reinstate the draft. Leftists have been chanting this for years. Get with the program.

rhodeymark1 said...

7M - if that desire is secret, who outed it to you? And which Republicans would this be? As a vet who served post draft, I can tell you that serving alongside involuntary conscripts would have been a real drag. Nothing short of Armageddon should force weapons into the hands of the Indymedia crowd.

Pogo said...

rhodeymark1, 7M's comment was made tongue-in-cheek.

Goesh said...

We are too hedonistic to ever believe in a draft no matter what dire circumstances may befall us. As my uncle Carl used to say, it is better to masturbate than to choke a potential enemy. Rangel isn't hitting on all 8 cylinders that's for sure. The best way to hold our government accountable is to vote rascals out of office. In light of this most recent changing of the guard in Congress, he is very arrogant and pompous to be thinking of legislation for a draft. His ability to sling pork and sucker Black people does not assure him an eternity in office.

MadisonMan said...

Milton Friedman's comments on mercenaries leaps to mind, since I just read about them in his obituaries last week.

Anyway -- if this gets to the floor for a vote, won't it be interesting to see who votes for and against? I would think that more Republicans would support it, but my vote forecasts have been wrong before.

Seven Machos said...

Madison -- Your prediction is hideously wrong and bespeaks a grave lack of knowledge. The issue came to a vote last year when Charlie Rangel pushed the issue. He voted against it as did virtually all (if not actually all) of those present.

George said...

Could it be that America just voted for Johnson, fearing Goldwater?

There've also been stories about raising troop levels in Iraq before lowering them.

If Nancy Pelosi shows off her gall-blader operation scar, we're all in trouble.

The Drill SGT said...

a couple of comments:

1. The military absolutely doesn't want a draft. The draft army sucked. I was in it.

2. Rangel only raises this issue to harass the GOP and because he WANTS to decrease the Army's effectiveness and deployability

3. This bespeaks volumes about the Dem interest in actually accomplishing anything in the next two years. Yes 7M is correct, it Rangel postured 9 months ago. Hastert called the question and it failed something like 400-3 with Rangel voting against.

4. And as my wife the Colonel notes, "what would they do with all the women?"

5. Having said that, and aware that our hostess thinks it's discriminatory, I'd love the concept of national service requirement for voting or running for Congress. I think that public service is a good thing.

Susan said...

The first time Rangel brought up the issue of the draft, wasn't it because he thought the job of soldiering was too often on the shoulders of the poor? Of course, I don't remember him pushing for the reinstatement of ROTC at Ivy League colleges which would have gone a ways to help that cause.

The Drill SGT said...

Susan said...
The first time Rangel brought up the issue of the draft, wasn't it because he thought the job of soldiering was too often on the shoulders of the poor?


That may be his fantasy, but it is not born out by the demographics: Overall the following is true.

The average recruit is ___ than his year group

better educated
smarter
got into less trouble with the law
more likely from a 2 parent home
from a home with a higher than average income (on average)
more rural
more southern or western


that doesn't describe Rangel's constituents on average

Sloanasaurus said...

Rangel says he wants a draft because then lawmakers will be more hesitant about "sending their kids off to war."

There is little historical evidence that this will be the case - therefore it is pure leftism.

The only real benefit to the draft is to have a citizenry where more people have served, perhaps therefore having a more patriotic country.

Nevertheless, Republicans should use it to stick democrats politically. After all, who is responsible for the draft in the last 100 years - Democrats.

Al Maviva said...

The draft would be a good way to degrade the military's operational capabilities. The weapons systems, strategies and tactics are all built around very complicated skillsets that take years to build. An infantry sergeant with six or seven years in knows how to call naval and air fire, the basics of managing company level logistics, and how to use all the individual weapons in the inventory, ours and the bad guys. The average junior enlisted soldier does run around and play grunt or gun bunny or supply clerk or mechanic, but is basically considered a leadership/management trainee - the rule is everybody should be able to do the job that a person two steps up in rank or duty position can do. And the officer corps... for the most part, the officer corps is better trained at operational management and logistics than any officer corps in history. Only one officer gets to stand at the front with a sword, but it takes thousands of them (and senior staff NCOs) to get the force onto the battlefield in proper formation with the proper equipment and sustainment at the right time.

In short, you can't achieve this level of proficiency with two year draftees, shake 'n' bake draftee NCOs, and an officer corps comprised primarily of 90 day wonders. Have draftees served ably in the past? Yes, but. The major draftee armies the U.S. has fielded in the past generally triumphed as a result of greater manpower and material weight, and due to tactical skill gained through a series of costly disasters. Rangel shouldn't be allowed to push the military back a generation, just to cynically score political points.

Al Maviva said...

And just to drive the point home, Rangel thinks it would make it a lot less likely that we use the military. That's true.

It would also condemn us, upon being attacked, to lose thousands of troops unnecessarily, as our low caliber military learned the hard lessons of warfighting. Sometimes, what looks like the pacifistic way out, only leads to a much greater bloodletting.

Pogo said...

Rengel here combines colossal stupidity with a pandering cynicism, and then lies about his motivation. He wants to disable the military from fighting, thinking that would cause us to engage in fewer fights. He tries to cover this defeatist proposal with a 'service' sheen, but fails.

What an idiot. Democrats are indeed expert at knowing exactly what to do to ensure American military defeat. It's unclear why anyone would be proud of that.

rhodeymark1 said...

7M - my apologies, I should know you better than that. My own snark has been misidentified before, so I guess it's come 'round to bite me. Garçon, more coffee!

Seven Machos said...

No problem. Come on...

Steven said...

Rangel is either

A) A simultaneous victim of Alzheimer's and drug addiction;

or

B) A traitor to his country, deliberately trying to wreck the ability of the military to fight because he thinks he can extract some advantage out of it.

Because I can assure you he's been properly informed of the tremendous damage a draft would do to the military.

Either way, the man should be expelled from Congress. Article I, section 5.

rhodeymark1 said...

Sometimes, what looks like the pacifistic way out, only leads to a much greater bloodletting.

Al, so true. You could change that to "usually" or drop the qualifier altogether. Our enemies have a long memory, and we have a (mostly) lousy history instruction.

ada47 said...

Ah, Charlie Rangel. Best argument I've ever seen for term limits.

We need some discipline, and Madame Speaker just made it clear we ain't gonna get it from her. However, I'd like to remind everyone that the rank and file Dems didn't go her way, and you don't hear anyone other than that identity politics-playin' gasbag calling for a draft, using my kid as a pawn is his game of chicken with the GOP.

Don't be suprised if you see a new Speaker in the near future, someone who has th guts to tell the likes of Charlie Rangle to STFU.

Zach said...

Wasn't the volunteer army supposed to keep us from starting wars, since nobody would volunteer for an unpopular war?

Instituting a draft or getting rid of one for the effect of influencing future voters is pointless. You can't predict how people you don't know will react to situations you can't predict.

The draft is a) a way of mobilizing large numbers of people into the military, and b) an in-kind taxation that falls on the young.

Our current needs aren't for large numbers of raw recruits, it's for smaller numbers of recruits who will commit to the military for extended periods. Raising salary, bounties for enlistment/reinlistment, etc should work for that. In kind taxation is traditionally the least popular and least efficient way to extract resources from a population. You can almost always increase happiness for everybody by substituting a monetary tax.

SteveR said...

Rangel: At least he's not in charge of something important like the Ways and Means Committee.

Internet Ronin said...

MadisonMan: I'm genuinely surprised by your comment. Can you name a single Republican who supported this idea the last time Rangel brought it up? I can't. Why would any of them think it was a good idea now?

Susan said...

Drill Sgt: Yes, to be clearer, instead of saying "he thought the job of soldiering was too often on the shoulders of the poor", I should have said "he SAID the job of soldiering was too often on the shoulders of the poor even though he knows that's complete nonsense".

Mike said...

MadisonMan, I'm as surprised as IR. On what do you base your opinion?

PatCA said...

Holy grandmother's worst nighmare, Nancy!

Timekeeper said...

Madison Man, the same bill was put to a vote in 2004, after the GOP basically told Rangel to "put up or shut up". Only 2 Representatives voted in favor of the bill--Stark, D-CA, and Murtha, D-PA. (The D after their names indicates they are Democrats.) Even Rangel voted against it, based on the flimsy pretext that there was not enough debate, and the Bush administration did not testify (IOW, he didn't have an opportunity to showboat just in time for the 2004 elections.)

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-10-05-draft_x.htm

RogerA said...

Interesting comment thread; I enlisted in the Army in 1961 at a time when my basic training company was a "record-breaker" in terms of education as we had an average of a 9th grade education. And that figure was increased because we had draftees who were better educated in the basic training company. My experience with draftees (at least prior to Viet Nam) was they were more mature, better educated and considerably more capable than many of the volunteers who much more resembled the force that Senator Kerry was thinking of when he made his comments a while back.

While having a draft would create some burdens on the current military as it adapts to a draft, I think there are some larger sociological points in favor of a draft, the two most important of which are: it could act as an agent of democratization by mingling the strata of more numerous socioeconomic classes, and could, I believe, act to instill some ethos of public service; and finally, while our military is superb, I have always had long term and nagging doubts about the advisibility of a standing, professional, all-voluntary service increasingly divorced from the larger civil society (viz: the evolution of the Roman legions during the Republic to their evolution into Praetorianism and militarism during the Empire). I think military sociologists such as Sam Huntington, Morris Janowitz, and Charles Moskos make the points much better than I do.

And in the interests of full disclosure I am a Military Academy Grad, and served for 25 years in the army.

Revenant said...

I enlisted in the Army in 1961 at a time when my basic training company was a "record-breaker" in terms of education as we had an average of a 9th grade education.

Congrats. But that was 45 years ago, and the modern Army is on average better educated than the civilian population. Adding a draft would dumb it down -- and "democratize" it only in the sense of adding a greater number of less-educated, less-responsible, and generally inferior people to it.

Tim said...

"...while our military is superb, I have always had long term and nagging doubts about the advisibility of a standing, professional, all-voluntary service increasingly divorced from the larger civil society (viz: the evolution of the Roman legions during the Republic to their evolution into Praetorianism and militarism during the Empire)."

This, I think, is a legitimate concern, and one I share.

I also appreciate the value of a professional, volunteer military. However, there might be a way to split the baby - institute a draft for the National Guards and Reserves.

The draft could be for a year or so into the active services expressly for the purpose of basic and job training plus a short stint (3 months?) active doing that job or advanced training (albeit segregated from "real" active units who might deploy or be preparing to deploy), then mustering out into Guard or Reserve units to finish a six year tour.

This would offer us surge capability, a military that "looks like America," but still protect the quality and esprit de corps of the professional volunteer services (which would still carry the bulk of the load).

Downsides? Personnel, training and equipment costs would skyrocket; qualitative differences between the professional volunteer units and the conscripted Guard and Reserve units would be glaring (thereby relegating the Guard or Reserves to low-priority, low-"skill", low-risk missions if activated); equipment disparities would be glaring as well.

It would probably compromise the focus of the military's mission, but it might also strengthen the foundation of a Republic in which most every citizen stood a fair chance of being responsible for its defense.

That's clearly not Rangel's point, as he wants to create an Army hostage to everyone's fears so it never deploys - but we'll always have people who think America isn't worth defending.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

Everybody's overlooking the obvious. We're a much larger country now than we were in 1941 or 1961. How exactly can the military cope with an influx of 10-20 million legible kids?

Stamp every kids forehead with 15K because that's the bare minimum it costs to turn a civilian into a ground pounding trigger puller. Want airborne? add 10K. That's the cheap stuff. Want maintenance and logistics types add 20-40K to that number. My numbers are low guesstimates. Now that you've trained them you have to pay them.

I'm supposed to believe Rangel with his fingers on the purse strings at W&M is going to fund this? Until he writes the necessary corresponding legislation to quintuple the military's current budget this can be dismissed as the worst form of naked partisan showboating.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

RogerA and Tim

The idea that the military is cocconed in it's own world divorced from society is not the case. Everyday at 16:00 give or take, thousands of servicepersons get in their cars and go home to spouses and children and deal with the problems every other working person deals with. His/Her job is different from yours but his life is very much like your's or mine.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Abraham said...

The military services should not be used as a welfare agency. Nor are they a replacement for civil society.

RogerA said...

molon labe lamp's point is well taken; and in fact, assuming gender equality, we would need to add females to the total numbers. As to the costs, presumably a conscripted army would be paid less, although clearly, that genie is already out of the bottle!

My points upthread were mean to be of a more general nature; clearly, the mechanics of implementing a conscripted force may simply be too complex at this point.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

RogerA, Heh. Good point about the sex indiscriminate draft. Don't tell Anne I flubbed.

Also noticed no mention on exempting college students. So is the economy forced to wait 4 years while all military aged college bound kids go do their term of service?

Not likely, so then only the kids not going to college (which will include a lot more poor and uneducated) will be forced in to service. How exactly does this give us an army more representative of the population?

Sounds like a plan to turn the military into what Rangel and Kerry have always seen it as.

Abraham had it right. The military is not a social experiment to be played with to right the perceived wrongs of a society. It's job is to fight an win the wars the politicians deem necessary. If you don't like the war take it up with the politician. Messing with the military to influence security/foreign policy is treasonous, especially when you're a Congressman well versed in the consequences of your proposed plan.

hdhouse said...

just out of curiousity...where are you going to get the troops.

we have 500,000 total on the ground troops avail. the rotations keep 130,000 plus deployed, just coming back, or getting ready to go to Iraq. thats 78%. so where are you going to get the troops from?

simple question for simple minds. i'm sure you can answer that....well maybe.

Hey said...

Rangel voted against his own resolution as a parliamentary tactic (so he could move to reconsider in the same Congress without having to reintroduce it, see Robert's Rules of Order) and it was supported by 2 people. About the same number that opposed impeaching Alcee Hastings or supported ratifying Kyoto.

If you're going to do a draft, none of this lottery crap, or useless 2 year service requirements. Make EVERYONE serve in the actual military, no matter education, family, health, or beliefs. Then make it at least 6 years, so that people can actually gain skills and be functional, rather than leaving just as they begin to be useful.

That's 8% of the population, or about 24M people. Also known as a large enough force to conquer and occupy most of the world, and definitely sufficient to control the Middle East and Asia. I view this as a good thing, but many may not, and this would require the DOD take something like 25% of GDP.

Arguing for a draft as an attempt to hobble american policy should be construed as adhering to the enemies of the United States. My favourite, and least utilised, section of the Constitution. Time to take out the trash, starting with Congress. Ted Turner and Jane Fonda are also overdue for their trials.

Molon_Labe_Lamp said...

Get the troops for what?

Internet Ronin said...

hdhouse: What troops? For where? Iraq? Not going to happen.

mikeyes said...

The draft did one thing for me, it made me study harder. I was very ill in my first year of college and skipped about 8 weeks of the first semester. With the draft looming, I stayed in school (repeating the first year) and studied my ass off. So hard, in fact, that I got into medical school and (ironically) was drafted as soon as I graduated (in spite of the lottery - my number was 315, way over the limit - but there was a 100% doctor draft then.)

I doubt that the draft will be reinstated in the near future (that was a brave comment) but it is a wonderful boogie man for all involved. It will serve political purposes on both sides of the aisle.

The Drill SGT said...

hdhouse said...
just out of curiousity...where are you going to get the troops.

we have 500,000 total on the ground troops avail. the rotations keep 130,000 plus deployed, just coming back, or getting ready to go to Iraq. thats 78%. so where are you going to get the troops from?

simple question for simple minds. i'm sure you can answer that....well maybe.


I assume your question is where are we going to get the troops to support Iraq without a draft?

First off, and off the top of my head, I'd say your math is off, both on the supply and demand side. Here's the simple minds math.

demand
that 130k+ includes Army, Marines, and limited USAF and Navy folks.

supply
1. The Active Army is about what you say the total supply is, it is roughly, and these numbers are rough 535k of ACTIVE ARMY
2. add Active Marines, roughly 150k
3. add Guard and Army Reserve, another 700k
4. add USMC reserve? I have no idea, maybe 50k
5. add some limited rotation from USAF and Navy 50k

supply is roughly 1,500K

don't get me wrong, the drain on our active and reserve army troops is huge. my wife has folks in her unit deployed continuously. but it less strenous than your (135k times 3) / 500k factor

Abraham said...

hdhouse:

The U.S. armed forces are not in need of unskilled cannon-fodder. If they need more personnel, the same amount of money spent on training and equipping unmotivated and useless conscripts would be much more productive increasing the incentives for smaller numbers of smarter and more motivated volunteers.

hdhouse said...

hey putzes.

the figures come from the armed services subcommitte and were reinforced last week by our good general in charge.

you are forgetting the 20,000 in afghanistan, 38000 in korea, and the numbers in europe and other bases in potential hotspots.

so where are you going to get the troops. simple question. i don't like the draft. i hated it when i was drafable. but tell me where you get the troops.

the pentagon says we don't need a bigger army. the president won't spend for it. where do the bodies come from?

hello all you war loving neo-cons...where do these bodies come from. just answer the question.

RogerA said...

Hdhouse: the endearing greeting "hey putzes," establishes your expertise in these matters; well, if not expertise at least your civility.

Lets go back to what Drill Sgt said--subract those troops in both Korea and Germany from the figure of 1.5 Million that Drill Sgt quoted and the number of troops is, quite frankly, enough to fight another front in another war. Furthermore, the troops in Germany and Korea are both available for duty elswhere if needed because both forces are primarily symbolic. There is frankly no threat at all in Europe, and the Korean forces are a tripwire.

Now, and while this might be a big step for you: do the math: Subract your 58K from 1.5 million and see what you get. And dont forget to add in what the military call force multipliers.

Seven Machos said...

hd -- Who is complaining that the military is too small? Except you and Chuck Rangel? And dson't you want the U.S. military out of Iraq (and probably other foreign territories)? Are you all of a sudden a gung-ho warrior now?

In the event that we need bodies, we have a register of -- what? -- 10,000,000 men to call up on a few months notice.

You are so ridiculously shrill. It amazes me. I mean, seriously: what is your freaking point here?

The Drill SGT said...

I'm complaining that the Army is too small. So is McCain. The point is that we need more volunteer troops, not draftees. That means a long lead time and bonus increases and frankly the equivalent of the Solomon Act to get recruiters access to HS seniors. The draft is not the best way to solve this problem.

Here is part of a McCain speach from last week.

“Now, I would like to speak briefly about the issue that is uppermost on the minds of Americans. I’ll make another trip to Iraq in the coming weeks, and will speak more extensively on the subject when I return. But, let me make a few observations here.



“Good and patriotic Americans disagree about the wisdom of the original decision to remove Saddam Hussein. I supported it and still do. And clearly the country is divided on the question of how we proceed from here. But I believe all Americans agree on this: to treat this war as a partisan issue for the advantage of either party would dishonor the sacrifices of the young men and women who have fought in it so bravely.



“We have made a great many mistakes in this war, and history will hold us to account for them just as the voters did last week. The situation in Iraq is dire. But I believe victory is still attainable. And I am certain that our defeat there would be a catastrophe, and not only for the United States. But we will not succeed if we no longer have the will to win.



“Americans are tired of Iraq because they are not convinced we can still win there without an intolerable loss of additional lives and resources. I understand that. But in no other time are we more morally obliged to speak the truth to our country, as we best see it, than in a time of war. So, let me say this, without additional combat forces we will not win this war. We can, perhaps, attempt to mitigate somewhat the terrible consequences of our defeat, but even that is an uncertain prospect. We don’t have adequate forces in Iraq to clear and hold insurgent strongholds; to provide security for rebuilding local institutions and economies; to arrest sectarian violence in Baghdad and disarm Sunni and Shia militias; to train the Iraqi Army, and to embed American personnel in weak, and often corrupt Iraqi police units. We need to do all these things if we are to succeed. And we will need more troops to do them.



“They will not be easy to find. The day after 9/11/, we should have begun to increase significantly the size of the Army and Marine Corps. But we did not. So we must turn again to those Americans and their families who have already sacrificed so much in this cause. That is a very hard thing to do. But if we intend to win, then we must.



“It is not fair or easy to look a soldier in the eye and tell him he must shoulder a rifle again and risk his life in a third tour in Iraq. Many of them will not want to. They feel have already suffered far more than the rest of us to win this war. Their families will be even more upset. And they will be right. It is a hard thing to ask of them. But ask it we must – if, and I emphasize if, we have the will to win. As troubling as it is, I can ask a young Marine to go back to Iraq. And he will go, not happily perhaps, but he will go because he and his comrades are the first patriots among us, and he will fight his hardest there for his country to prevail. Of that, I have no doubt. But I can only ask him if I share his commitment to victory.



“What I cannot do is ask him to return to Iraq, to risk life and limb, so that we might delay our defeat for a few months or a year. That is more to ask than patriotism requires. It would not be in the interest of the country, and it surely would be an intolerable sacrifice for so poor an accomplishment. It would be immoral, and I could not do it.

Cedarford said...

Abraham said...
hdhouse:

The U.S. armed forces are not in need of unskilled cannon-fodder. If they need more personnel, the same amount of money spent on training and equipping unmotivated and useless conscripts would be much more productive increasing the incentives for smaller numbers of smarter and more motivated volunteers.


Abraham unfortunately reflects an ignorance of military staffing requirements and manpower training required that likely comes never having served.

The "unmotivated and useless conscripts" of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam would take exception to just how low value they were.

And the nature of warfare is such that "smaller and smarter" forces in ground combat or insurgencies do NOT win over larger numbers that have mastered the needed small skillset that can be assembled in short order. Especially when intelligence is neutralized by not being able to speak the language or understand the culture and 6 "highly motivated Army with advanced skills and 42 years of collective spec ops experience" are turned into hamburger. Which is normal for Iraq. 6 inside their 1.8 million-dollar fully equipped, up-armored, state of the art Bradley done in by an illiterate person who stood out like a sore thumb to any native Iraqi who all want to see infidels dying rather than warn the US troops - an illiterate who was paid 300 dollars to plant a surplus Soviet 155mm howitzer shell with a cell phone fuse and detonate it.

The military is NOT best served by ultra-elite soldiers with 2 million in training invested in them surrounded by high tech toys.

As the Israelis are learning - using a 3 million dollar invested pilot flying a 43 million dollar plane serviced by 8 crew costing 600,000 dollars a year in salary and benefits to drop a 90,000 dollar JDAM on a Jihadi who cost 2,500 dollars to recruit and train firing Katushka rockets costing 166 bucks a pop makes no financial or military sense.

In Iraq, most of the jobs and missions can be accomplished by draftees with 6 months training. All garrison and checkpoint jobs can be. As in any war, draftees are singularly motivated by knowledge that if they don't do their job to the best of their abilities, or the buddies they live with don't, they have a far higher chance of being killed or maimed or just stuck in war longer than necessary.

I dare say that if Iraq was covered by 300,000 draftees and 50,000 officers and volunteer elisted - half being frontline soldiers - and armed with 60 year old WWII equipment - they would have done a better job. Than the 28,000 "highly motivate, trained, and intelligent (aside from not understanding the language or the people) frontline troops we currently have working (105,000 are support troops and forward and at mega-bases. We have more traffic control MPs, VIP greeters, and power point presentation specialists at the suport base for the Ramadi area (all highly motivated and intelligent careerist soldiers, no doubt) than we have actually in the field in the hot zone working with Iraqis and engaging the enemy.
*************************
Rangel is right in advocating a Draft - though he is doing so from impure motives. He is right about several things.

1. The Ruling Elites would be less sanguine about war if their kids were not immune from risk by wealth, privilege, and better educational & job opportunities.

2. Same with the wealthy Jewish and Gentile lawyers of the ACLU and other anti-Western legal attack fronts, their peers in academia and the MSM. Not that they would be more pro-war, just considerably LESS pro-terrorist rights, LESS willing to hold the life of an enemy civilian as more valuable than a US military person's life - if their own children were at risk from a Draft.

3. Rangel is also correct that draftees are on the balance, good soldiers. The proponderance of medals awarded for America's bravest and most valorous have gone to Draftees like Colonel Hackworth, SGT York, Audie Murphy. The idea that todays military is "just so high tech" that draftees cannot master basic infantry weapons, tactics fight effectively AND do their MOS like power point presentation clerk, mess cook, Bradlee driver, helicopter airframe cleaning with 6-9 months of training, is specious. It also ignores that in times of Draft, many prefer to volunteer for a special elite rather than be grunts - doing away with 70,000 dollar benefit signing bonuses - and that many originally Drafted stand out, love the life - and remain as volunteers.

4. Rangel is also on mark politically. America is dividing into two Americas - and any unifying force that puts all of us in the same boat is good for the country. And in the past, the Draft either revealed class differences that literally were a matter of life and death (Civil war, Vietnam deferments) or unified us (WWII).

Seven Machos said...

We've had fewer wars since the draft era ended, not more.

Cedarford said...

Seven Machos said...
We've had fewer wars since the draft era ended, not more.


Bullcrap. Take any 30 year period in US history and count the wars compared to those in the 30 years post-1973.

goesh - We are too hedonistic to ever believe in a draft no matter what dire circumstances may befall us.

One nuke=end of hedonism. Draft will be no problem after a WMD attack. The idea that only "highly skilled supersoldiers" can master the intricacies of M-16s, driving a Supply truck, be a food preparer, or whack Jihadis at a checkpoint is specious. Draft dodgers will be hunted down like they were in WWII, where no sanctuary existed for them.

As my uncle Carl used to say, it is better to masturbate than to choke a potential enemy.

Funny, my wife's uncle was in Vietnam in recon. On patrol, he once killed 2 VC who were jerking one another off and making noise enough to be detected.
Moral of story is to choke a potential enemy before choking one's or some homo friend's chicken.

Revenant said...

Take any 30 year period in US history and count the wars compared to those in the 30 years post-1973

The total human cost of *every* military conflict we've had with a volunteer army -- our losses, enemy losses, and civilian losses -- doesn't come close to the cost of any *one* war we fought with a conscript army.

You can afford to piss away conscript troops, because you can always get more. You can't afford to piss away volunteers -- people quit volunteering. Conscript troops also have less reason to care about the rules of war and the welfare of the civilian populace they're stationed around, since they're short-timers, resentful of their position, and uninterested in a career in the military.

So by all means, if -- like most members of the leftie fringe -- you don't give a shit about human rights, human life, or competent national defense, please support a draft. If you do care about those things, don't support a draft. It is that simple.

Abraham said...

Abraham unfortunately reflects an ignorance of military staffing requirements and manpower training required that likely comes never having served.

I do not currently serve (though I did very briefly), but I know several NCO's and officers well. I base my assertion on what they tell me personally, and what generals report generally. Now, it could be, I suppose, that they are all wrong and you are right - but I'm comfortable with the probabilities.

Seven Machos said...

Are we counting Panama and Grenada and even Gulf War I as wars now? Because if we are, we have to count every skirmish with every Native American tribe.

John Kindley said...

What makes this country good and great is not so much "democracy" but our recognition and legal protection of certain natural rights that each individual person is endowed with by God. Going to war with the intent of trying to kill people you've never met and who have never personally harmed or threatened you is mortally serious business, obviously. In certain situations you might be convinced that doing so is the necessary and/or moral thing to do. But I don't think that a government has a natural right to demand that of any of its citizens through a draft or conscription, nor does any person have a natural duty to comply with such a demand. Taxes are bad enough.

Seven Machos said...

Libertarians are so cute. High taxes aren't bad policy, they are a violation of our natural rights. As is conscription. And if we end up being dissolved as a country because people don't feel philosophically compelled to fight, and we fall under the authority of some entity that doen't respect all the natural rights we are clearly endowed with, well, them's the breaks. We may be all dead or slaving away in gulags under the grip of tyranny, and our women may be forced to wear veils and our skin may be used for lamp shades, but we still have our natural rights. No one can take those away. Not ever.

John Kindley said...

Seven Machos,

If a person saw those kinds of things coming, I would think that would be a situation where you might, and should, be convinced that going to war was the necessary and/or moral thing to do, as even many members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) did in WWII. (I'm a Quaker -- present day, not WWII era.) And I think that the idea that a government has a natural power to conscript is certainly more tenable when the country is actually attacked.

Preemptive wars like Vietnam and Irag are quite different. (And I'm not equating these two wars or even saying anything about the merit or advisibility of either of these two wars.)

I guess I just don't trust and love my government (and its "national interests") so much that I'd be willing to kill perfect strangers simply because it orders me to. I'd want more assurance than that that the awful thing I was being ordered to do was necessary, if not "right."

It's a moot point for me, as I've already served and am now too old for any draft (at least, at 37, I hope so).

My comment on taxes was an afterthought and not meant too seriously. Although I think they are outrageously high, I'm not sure any violations of natural rights are implicated.

Cedarford said...

abraham - I do not currently serve (though I did very briefly), but I know several NCO's and officers well. I base my assertion on what they tell me personally, and what generals report generally.

If that is what those NCOs and officers who you claim to know well tell you - that draftees of the past are "unskilled cannon-fodder", "unmotivated and useless conscripts", as opposed to "smarter and more motivated volunteers" - then your point proves one major criticism of the volunteer military.
Based on your pals.
That not only do they not get the bottom of the barrel, they also don't get the top end of American brains and talent serving. Your friends appear to be middle-level illustrations of that lack of superior ability and brains being forgone in the volunteer military. They clearly have no clue about past performance of Draftees. Tell them a former Navy officer who has worked with Euro conscripts that were superior in performance, ability to learn compared to their American peers because they came from the top end of their societies and were selected out for some of the most critical tasks - said so.
**********************
Seven Machos amply illustrates why Libertarians like John Kindley will never be more than a kook political fringe in America. Mainly populated by college kids, dopers, and those determined never to let reality intrude into their make-believe world of perfectly ordered "natural" rights.

But I don't think that a government has a natural right to demand that of any of its citizens through a draft or conscription, nor does any person have a natural duty to comply with such a demand.

Kindley, I'm not wanting to become abusive of another poster, but I have no choice.....Do you have any idea how stupid that sounds in light of the nature of war? In most wars of the existiential kind - your fate was death, enslavement, rape, all your belongings taken if you lost. When any government saw an enemy host coming to wipe out their society, from the dawn of time they could conscript able-bodied citizens for the collective good.
And the collective society - in every culture from the dawn of time until now has held there is no "natural right" to refuse duty. Especially given the alternatives that would be meted out on all losers in a war. And especially when some people have come to believe that pacifism and making someone else fight and possibly die in their place is an ethically moral way to disguise selfish risk avoidance or unwillingness to do the hardships of the people going in their stead.

I suppose that would be fair if it came with ancillary restrictions - libertarians such as yourself would forgoe the right to vote. Only present or former soldiers who were willing to serve and possibly die for their country would be permitted (Heinleins Starship Troopers example) - and where shirkers gained no economic benefit from avoidance of the unpleasant need for all the people to do duty as required in order to defend all the people from an enemy.

Fairness also matters. An enemy may only threaten one part of a nation. People not directly threatened may wish to hold back and let those areas in most danger pick up their slack. There is also a natural instinct not to want to volunteer for a shit job if there is a chance someone else, with a not so hot job, family, girlfriend - someone undoubtedly less worthy, with a less valuable life will volunteer so you don't have to. Even in WWII, with a generalized threat, only 3 million initially volunteered. The remainder, 9.5 million, had to be Drafted, with 3.5 million additional volunteers saying they were volunteering mainly because they wanted a choice rather than be drafted.

The Draftees, BTW, had lower AWOL rates, the upper crust of the Draftees was put into the most elite military jobs in a higher level than volunteers, and Draftees won more awards for bravery and outstanding performance than volunteers.

John Kindley said...

Cedarford,

I think my last post makes clear that I consider conscription to defend against an actual attack on the country (specifically with intent to conquer) as a very different situation, but one that the US has not faced since WWII. (Responding to the 9/11 attacks by invading Afghanistan was arguably a similar situation, but also clearly different.)

Sure, if you were an Aztec and your human-sacrificing chieftain decided he was going to wage a war of aggression against a neighboring tribe and kill and enslave their people, you'd damn well better go and kill and enslave, or face having your heart cut out on the temple summit yourself. But there certainly wasn't any natural moral law or duty compelling your participation -- just necessity.

We've lost that tribal feeling, and it's gone, long gone. That's not a bad thing. Now we're left with this gargantuan superpower state that we identify with on a more abstract and impersonal level, whose "national interests" sometimes seem to take on a life of their own and have a certain distance from the interests of ordinary Americans. This great Leviathan, whose founding ideals I revere, is currently the biggest power player on the world block, and despite the serious threats in the world, does not seem in danger of imminent collapse. The sordidness of the politics that make up the guts of this entity are on display for everyone to see, so is it any wonder that my sense of patriotism and filial feeling does not extend so much to this inhuman machine as it does to the people of quality and honor I know, have known, and would like to know, in my own town and across the country? For the sake of the people, the Union must be preserved, if necessary at just about any cost, but it does not follow that anything and everything the Union wants must be done. So anyone facing a draft remains a moral agent, with a conscience and a decision to be made. Is this war necessary to preserve the very survival of the government upon which the peace of the people depends? The mere fact of having been drafted does not by itself spell out and determine a person's moral duty to comply with the draft.

I'm no doper or self-indulgent shirker. I prefer the language of "duty" to the language of "rights." We have a duty not to kill people without very compelling reasons. I think that duty is reality-based and not "make-believe," as you put it.

Abraham said...

They clearly have no clue about past performance of Draftees.

I'm not sure what you are referring to here. Their performances were largely honorable, but were only really effective because of their ability to absorb huge numbers of casualties. Sometimes, that's been a crucial ability that's necessary for victory. Right now, it isn't.

Revenant said...

High taxes aren't bad policy, they are a violation of our natural rights

No, *taxes* are a violation of our natural rights, because they involve someone taking our property without our consent. Most people believe this too, even if they don't think coherently enough about politics to realize it -- note, for example, the outcry over the Kelo decision, where governments forced people to sell property so other people could use it "better". How's that different from having your tax money spent on something you don't want? In either case your property is being taken from you without your consent and used in ways you didn't want to use it.

That taxes violate our rights is a given. The question is merely how much of a violation is acceptable, and the general answer is that the violation is acceptable only inasmuch as the alternative would result in a worse violation. Hence most libertarians support taxes for police, the military, et al, but not for wealth redistribution (the vast majority of the federal budget).

And if we end up being dissolved as a country because people don't feel philosophically compelled to fight, and we fall under the authority of some entity that doen't respect all the natural rights we are clearly endowed with, well, them's the breaks.

First of all, "if we don't take away people's rights, they might use them in a bad way" is an un-American attitude. Your mentality is the sort that supports laws against hate speech on the grounds that it can lead to murder and rioting and opposes school vouchers on the grounds that people can't be trusted to make the right educational decisions for their children.

Secondly, the notion that we'd ever need a draft to defend our country is just stupid. We have the most powerful military in the history of the known universe and it is all-volunteer -- and on top of that we've got nukes and a heavily armed citizenry. Nobody's going to conquer us or force us into their empire.

Finally, your argument is simply this: if we don't let an authority take away our rights, we might fall under an authority that doesn't respect our rights. It is easy to see the flaw in that argument, which is that it only makes sense if the loss of rights prevented by a draft is (a)greater than the loss of rights of the draft itself and (b) prevented by a draft. I'd be interested to hear you explain just how such an enemy could exist.

John Kindley said...

Revenant,

I appreciate your observations on taxes and natural rights. It's given me a sounder philosophical basis on which to resent them, or rather, so much of them. Unfortunately, my knowledge of libertarian political philosophy is mostly second-hand, unless reading Harold Browne's "How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World" a couple decades ago counts. Any pointers to must-reads in this area?

Revenant said...

John,

I'm glad you found my remarks helpful. Thanks!

Anyway, off the top of my head:

- Milton Friedman ("Capitalism and Freedom" and "Free to Choose")
- Friedrich Hayek ("The Road to Serfdom" and "The Constitution of Liberty")
- John Stuart Mill ("On Liberty")
- Virginia Postrel ("The Future and Its Enemies")
- Adam Smith ("The Wealth of Nations")
- The Cato Institute has a lot of good material, too.

I cannot, unfortunately, actually recommend any books explicitly about libertarian political philosophy, as I've never found one I thought was well-written.