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Honest Argument: The U.S. needs to institute a military draft immediately.
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The U.S. needs to institute a military draft immediately.

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The U.S. needs to institute a military draft immediately.  The U.S. needs to institute a military draft immediately.
       Necessity is irrelevant - neither the President nor Congress will call for it  Necessity is irrelevant - neither the President nor Congress will call for it
       Forced conscription would have mostly negative consequences  Forced conscription would have mostly negative consequences
              Instituting a draft would cause widespread domestic unrest.  Instituting a draft would cause widespread domestic unrest.
              Instituting a Draft would polarize world opinion against the US  Instituting a Draft would polarize world opinion against the US
                     This is completely unfounded  This is completely unfounded
                            Would be seen as increasingly aggressive posturing  Would be seen as increasingly aggressive posturing
                     A draft would signal USA desires to increase its military capacity for greater quantity, duration, and geographical dispersion  A draft would signal USA desires to increase its military capacity for greater quantity, duration, and geographical dispersion
       Pentagon opposed to conscription  Pentagon opposed to conscription
              Higher quality of professional soldiers  Higher quality of professional soldiers
                     Lowering standards too far for recruits  Lowering standards too far for recruits
       There are alternatives to conscription  There are alternatives to conscription
              USN and USAF personnel should be deployed as ground forces  USN and USAF personnel should be deployed as ground forces
              Recruit foreign enlistees as path to citizenship  Recruit foreign enlistees as path to citizenship
              Hire more security contractors  Hire more security contractors
       Iraq and Afghanistan deployments require increased force sizes  Iraq and Afghanistan deployments require increased force sizes
              Creating a stable Iraq is the only result that truly serves US interests.  Creating a stable Iraq is the only result that truly serves US interests.
                     The cost of a stable Iraq is less than any other option.  The cost of a stable Iraq is less than any other option.
              Need to ease burden on active duty and reserve personnel  Need to ease burden on active duty and reserve personnel
                     Duty to ease burden does not rest on those who would be drafted  Duty to ease burden does not rest on those who would be drafted
              We need to withdraw our forces from Iraq  We need to withdraw our forces from Iraq
       Draft Conflicts with rights cited in Declaration of Independence  Draft Conflicts with rights cited in Declaration of Independence

Comments:




Re: node: The U.S. needs to institute a military draft immediate

I'm puzzled. I thought, since we're AT war, that we're on a "war footing".

This administration diminshed the military, both in the way they treated the joint chiefs, etc, and in number. Simply put, had we recruited commensurate with our efforts, troop reserves would not be the problem they have become.

No attempt to institute a draft is politically feasible.

Comment by: Horofan At: 2006-12-27 11:37:17



Re: comment: Re: node: The U.S. needs to institute a military dr

No, we need to get out of Iraq with the quickness. We are wasting military resources and lives on a futile attempt of preventing a civil war.
When soldiers do volunteer to risk their lives by joining the army, they consent to obeying the commander in chief. Somewhere there must be an implied trust that they will not be put in harm's way if the security of our country or are allies is not at stake.

Comment by: mosca At: 2006-12-27 13:23:38



Re: comment: Re: node: The U.S. needs to institute a military dr

I think that the point is that we have not been able to recruit commensurate with our needs, and therefore Craig is arguing that the only other choice is s draft.

Over the last several years, we have seen the following with regard to recruiting:

- targets have decreased, only to see frequent failure in meeting those decreased targets
- the maximum age for a recruit has been raised to 42
- decreased standards have been employed, allowing recruits with minor drug and minor criminal histories to join the services

I'm not sure how this tracks with pre/post-Iraq invasion timelines, but I suspect that it was much easier before it was a certainty that we were going into Iraq

I also have to agree with Craig on the "war footing" issue. This administration never asked the American people for sacrifice. They tried to do the Iraq invasion on the cheap, and it cost Shinseki his job. (Unfortunately, it is now all too obvious who was right.) And they're kicking the financial burden down the road to our children and grandchildren.

But you're right about the political feasibility. Bush doesn't have the courage to call for a draft, and the Dems know that their base will simply not show in 2008 if they were to call for a draft or even agree to one.

My bottom line - it needs to happen (though in a National Service format), but it ain't gonna happen.

Comment by: coolgeek At: 2006-12-27 21:09:09



Draft would be disastrous for world perceptions of U.S.

The world view of the U.S., however damaged, is a country which respects individual freedoms and diplomacy. Were we to institute a draft, the rest of the planet would immediately perceive us to be moving to a more militaristic and colonial stance. The economic might of the US combined with conscription into the military machine would validate the fears and conjecture aimed at our nation. We are the only superpower at the moment, and any move to increase our leverage would result in animosity from all quarters.

Comment by: wethion At: 2006-12-27 22:08:36



populist discontent would turn to outright rebellion

The baby boomers and their children have seen the inequity of the draft, and were it to be reinstituted, the flare of anger to follow would dwarf the political activism of the sixties. The disenfranchised and sullen would have a target for their frustration and rage, along with the support of large portions of the baby boom generation. Such an huge release of anger backed by the not insignificant economic powers of parents and grandparents and technical abilities of the participants could easily cross a threshold and incite open rebellion in the form of protests, riots and most likely domestically originated terrorism. There are many people in the US who are well schooled in the art of destruction. The least of these would be the misanthropic teenager who's spent time on the Internet looking at anarchist sites who would face the very real prospect of dying in another country anyway. With the tools and teaching from the popular media, an endless research facility in the Internet and incredible stores of chemical materials, the overnight rebel would be born. The U.S. would be hated from without, and attacked from within. The social structure would be shattered in a relative eyeblink. You want to send my child /where/ to protect your oil supplies? Did you ever see what happens when you take this and mix it with that and put the compound... well, nevermind.
And don't use the possibility of censoring the Internet. Ad hoc wireless networks, steganography and high mobility would assure the propagation of knowledge, even if the Internet were to be shut down.

Comment by: wethion At: 2006-12-27 22:42:39



Re: comment: Draft would be disastrous for world perceptions of

I'm wondering how you think the world currently sees us. I don't think instituring a draft would alarm world opinion any more than what we have already done.

Comment by: Craig Upton At: 2006-12-28 08:00:27



Re: comment: populist discontent would turn to outright rebellio

As wethion noted, the biggest problem with a draft is the historic inequity in its deployment. I think that much of the inequity - and thus domestic discontent - could be avoided by:

1) deploying a National Service model - the individual's choice of military or communityservice
2) disallowing all deferments or avoidances except in the case of severe physical or mental disability

Comment by: Ulysses Berman At: 2006-12-29 07:50:02



Re: node: Instituting a Draft would polarize world opinion again

I think that this is an artifact of the disastrously inept, immature and petulant foreign policy of the Bush administration.

As Horofan noted earlier, immediately following 9/11, when roughly 90% of world opinion was behind us, the world would not have batted an eyelash had we significantly increased the size of our military.

With the adults back in charge, we have the ability to begin rebuilding our credibility as an overall force for good in the world.

But to do so would require that we stop ignoring:

- the Taliban resurgence in Afghanistan
- the genocide in Darfur
- the other civil wars in the Middle East

It would be even better if those deployments were untertaken under the auspices of NATO or U.N. forces, as opposed to a straight up U.S. mililtary deployment.

I'm not saying it's going to be easy, quick, or inexpensive. But I believe that the long-term benefits far outweigh the "short"-term costs

Comment by: Ulysses Berman At: 2006-12-29 08:04:28



the draft

Weathion and Ulysses have made strong points. No matter how large the Army, how do you defeat an ideology? These are dark times and it may take a darker (Ops) and greater CIA presence.

Comment by: agedone At: 2007-01-04 15:37:07



Re: comment: populist discontent would turn to outright rebellio

Conscription is an immorality akin to slavery. I will not be forced by gunpoint into fighting for a cause that I do not believe in. Likewise, I will not be forced by gunpoint into performing acts that the government deems to be "community service". I love this country and the freedoms that we possess, but I will reluctantly leave it if the government decides that I must risk my life for a war of aggression; or, if there are enough others willing to protest, I would join them instead. While this is not fact-based, I know there are many others who feel the way I do.

Comment by: lanerebel At: 2007-02-19 11:30:37



Can't Draft for a war that never was

How do you institute a draft when congress has refused to declare war in the first place? Congress had a chance to declare war, but did not, a congressman (forget who) stating in response to Ron Paul, that the need to declare war by constitutional standards was "anachronistic". We were never "at war" in the first place. This "war" is a product of Council on Foreign Relations members conducting foreign policy for over 70 years.

Comment by: danibal006 At: 2007-08-15 10:35:01



Re: node: The cost of a stable Iraq is less than any other optio

How can these quantities be computed realistically? I don't see how this statement can be evaluated at this time and so is neither true nor false.

Comment by: MaskedMarauder At: 2008-04-16 13:29:48



Re: node: The 'war' in Iraq is a red herring

smartypants - I moved this node, and changed the short text to better reflect the long text (which I left unchanged)

Comment by: Ulysses Berman At: 2008-07-04 19:28:11



Re: comment: Re: comment: populist discontent would turn to outr

Actually, the problem with a draft is that soldiers are like government surplus - politicians with available resources tend to find a way to spend them.

If we had more soldiers, the government would, over the years, find a way to employ them. The reason Jefferson argued against a peace-time standing military is for this very reason.

Politicians historically use their office to further personal ambitions. This predictably involves creating "causes" around which to rally power, people, and cash - which the politician then uses to curry a web of alliances and favors to grow/maintain their power.

Giving government more power/resources (again, with 5,000 years of history) a disastrous course of events.

Comment by: frankadams At: 2008-07-09 11:34:19



Re: comment: populist discontent would turn to outr

frankadams -

that sounds like a good refuting node against the thesis (The U.S. needs to institute a military draft immediately.)

Comment by: Ulysses Berman At: 2008-07-09 20:53:09



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