Eyes Like a Bat, My Feet are Flat, and My Asthma's Getting Worse

|

Nick Confessore at TAPped reads the tea leaves—and the memos on mobilization of inactive reservists—and concludes that a draft will soon be necessary given our current "operations tempo." From this he infers that we need to start thinking about the best and fairest way to structure the draft before "the need for one becomes inavoidable." But, of course, it's always avoidable. Maybe it's time to tell the band to slow down the tempo.

NEXT: Pre-Teenage Lobotomy

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Chou Enlai, I hope he dies; kill me a thousand or so. If you ever have a war without guns and bombs, I’ll be the first to go.

  2. Why would we need a draft when the US military already turns away a large number of canidates already?
    If we need more people why not lower the fairly high entry standards we have in place now?
    At least then we’d still maintain an all volunteer force with an average quality that would be no worse and probably better than what you’d get if you drafted the general population.

  3. The military doesn’t want a draft, because volunteers are better for the type of fighting it wants to do. Specialized, high tech, capital intensive (as opposed to labor intensive, but I wouldn’t want to tell that to 3rd ID PFC), lots of air power and Special Ops.

    But the kind of wars we’re likely to be fighting, if the Bush Doctrine continues to be applied, involve a lot of guys standing around with rifles. Peacekeeping/counterinsurgency/force protection/boots on the ground/holding territory work. Draftees can probably do this type of fighting just fine.

    Which is to say, we’d better not depend on “the Pentagon doesn’t want draftees” to derail this train.

  4. The American Prospect (TAP)??? A Leftist/Anti-War site??

    How about you guys checking out “How To Make War”, the HTMW page, check under the heading of “Infantry” or “Leadership” or “How Things Really Work” for a counter view that says, Why the Draft is Dead and Will Never Come Back.

    Generally, the calls for a draft, or the suggestions for a need for the Draft are from those attempting to jump start the opposition to the war in Iraq.

    Right now the Navy and Air Force are in a Reduction in Force and the Army and Marines are meeting their recruiting goals or exceeding them. Further, the Reserve Component has NOT seen a decline in either enlistments or reenlistments.

    Bottom-line: the Services see no need for a draft. Charlie Wrangel sees a need for a draft, but he’s not interested in fighting a war…in Iraq, only in our streets.

    The All Volunteer Force (AVF)is achieving its numbers box and its quality boxes, producing a well-trained force capable of meeting the goals set forth by the National Command Authority. Draftees will NOT be as good as the AVF, they are less well-trained and less experienced, plus the leadership cadres become less experienced.

  5. I thought we outsourced the armed forces.

  6. I thought we outsourced the armed forces.

  7. Joe L, if our armed forces have the troop levels they need, and are properly trained and equipped for their missions, then why are tank drivers and artillery spotters kicking in doors with rifles in the hands, and putting wrist cuffs on people?

  8. Why don’t we just postpone the next war until we get one so popular we don’t need a draft?

  9. Joe L.

    “The American Prospect (TAP)??? A Leftist/Anti-War site??

    How about you guys checking out “How To Make War” …”

    but that wouldn’t fit with the party-line that we (especially the poor and minorities) are going to be shipped off to fight war for oil 🙂

    joe makes a good point about draftees being able to provide the boots on the grounds in ‘occupation’ –
    but again in the long term that is not to our advantage if the military is not a well trained professional force (see the prison abuse scandal involving mostly reservists/contractor types, as opposed to professional servicemen).

  10. Agammamon,
    After seeing those jail house photos from Iraq , I don`t think we need to lower the standards any farther.In fact hiring Larry Flint as a recruiter may be an improvement.

  11. Plus, having RTFA article I see the conclusion as a non-sequitur and the author reveals his ignorance of the military system.

    First off, the IRR or the Ar-Arr-Arrrr as my friends call it is VOLUNTEER. You are a reservist, that is subject to recall individually. This talk of “signing up now” makes no sense whatsoever. The IRR IS SIGNED UP NOW!

    And calling up the IRR does not mean a Draft is in the offing. It means that the military, if it is INDEED contemplating use of the IRR, is looking to top up certain specialties, medical, intell, IT, etc., etc., that it is having troubling filling via the use of Active or Reserve UNITS. It doesn’t mean that we are short of “warm bodies.”

    Oh and Joe, peace-keeping and peace-making do NEED highly qualified troops, well led and trained. our successes in Fallujah and Najaf are the result of steady, well-aimed individual rifle fire. Contrary to Hollywood and Rambo visions of war, today’s grunts have some very accurate sighting systems, allowing fairly precise fire, plus the increased use of snipers and marksmen. It is getting close to “one Shot One Kill” Hundreds of Iraqis civilains ARE NOT dead in Najaf and Fallujah (Against what the insurgents had HOPED) because the Army and Marine Corps are fairly precise in their targeting, Mama-san is NOT getting whacked, the guy with the AK standing next to her is… and that is the result of good training and good leadeship. All by-proucts of the AVF.

    So, the fact is the Pentagon does NOT want a draft, and that is a very good reason to believe that their will not be one. Further, the services don’t want a draft because that means more warm bodies, but will there be a commensurate increase in funding for training and equipping these warm bodies? If not, more warms simply dilutes the resource pool and does not enhance national security. It’s one of the reasons that the Army really doesn’t want to add two more divisions, in spite of Congress’ apparent willingness to do so. Will Congress fund the 40,000-plus warm bodies for the requisite time 2-3 years to create the two new divisions or will the Army have to pay for 12 divisions out of 10 divisions worth of money? The Army is betting the latter, not the former and so opposes new troops.

  12. “Joe L, if our armed forces have the troop levels they need, and are properly trained and equipped for their missions, then why are tank drivers and artillery spotters kicking in doors with rifles in the hands, and putting wrist cuffs on people”-Because a combat division is a multi-purpose unit, but designed for high-intensity combat versus armour-heavy formations. We don’t need artillerymen, but we have them in the 1st Armoured Division, so we convert them to infantry/MP’s. It’s using the tools that come to hand. A division designed to “fight” in Iraq would have little or no artillery, no air defenses, and little anti-armour capacity, making it ineffective for deployment to Korean in the event of hostilities there. So, we design our army to fight Kim Jong-Il and extemporize when we face the Fadayeen Saddam.

    And doesn’t this sugest that the AVF is a GOOD force, the Artillerymen and maintenance crews know enough small unit tactics and can practice fire discipline well enough, to double up as grunts at need?

    Me I’m impressed with the performance of the force in Iraq. Yes, yes I know Abu Ghraib, but I expected the odd Abu Ghraib to occur…unlike SOME warhawks or peaceniks I’ve actually read military history and don’t expect perfection, just good enough.

  13. “Oh and Joe, peace-keeping and peace-making do NEED highly qualified troops, well led and trained. our successes in Fallujah and Najaf are the result of steady, well-aimed individual rifle fire.”

    What you are describing is main force infantry action, not peacekeeping/policing/occupation. What’s going on in Najaf is warfighting, and is appropriately handled by first-rate combat troops. What’s going on in Mosul or Basra, otoh, doesn’t require the same degree of combat skill and equipment.

    Modern American infantry units are absolutely as high tech, capital intensive and specialized as their armored or winged comrades – which makes it wasteful to use them for scut work.

  14. “Why don’t we just postpone the next war until we get one so popular we don’t need a draft?”
    Will kind of a-historical…The last popular war, in Studs Terkel’s words “The Last Good War” demanded a draft, that being the Second World War.

    Only WWII has had almot NO opposition, in the US almost every other war fought has generated significant opposition, domestically, WWI, the Spanish-American War (both before and after), the Civil War (the Copperheads and the Democratc PArty in 1864), the Mexican-American War (Thoreau’s “On the Right and Duty of Civil Disobedience”)The War of 1812 (The Northeast darn near seceded) and the Revolutionary War.

    US wars almost always generate domestic oppostion that is vocal and determined… it took someones as loathsome and horrid as Mussolini, Hitler, and Tojo to unite the Left AND the Right in support of the war, and then it took a draft to generate the combat power necessary to fight a global conflict.

  15. Joe L, what would happen if Kim Jong Il rolled his army south tomorrow? How many of the specialized, top flight combat soldiers we’d need to stop his army are station in Al-CamelFart, doing work that could be performed just as well by your typical parking garage security guard?

  16. Handing Najaf over to the Ba’athists was a success?

    I guess I need to watch more Fox News….

  17. “Modern American infantry units are absolutely as high tech, capital intensive and specialized as their armored or winged comrades – which makes it wasteful to use them for scut work.”

    Joe, absolutely UNTRUE. It makes them EXTREMELY effective in this type of war. This is NOT scut work, but the nuts’n bolts of infantry work, patrolling, small unit actions. All requiring good intelligence, capable leadership, and the ability to intelligently generate violence, even in Mosul.

    Note that the Brit’s did very well in Northern Ireland with their AVF. It is PRECISELY these conditions that a well trained force comes into its own. They are facing “Border Yahoos” inter-mixed with civilians.

    When the yahoos meet the grunts, it’s wheat in the thresher. So, they hope to hide amongst the populace to generate casualties, to create more popular support for them and to demoralize the US home front. So far, that approach has not succeeded. And one of the reasons is the troop quality inherent in the AVF.

    In “Small Wars” especially, it is not large armies that win battles, but good ones. (Hat Tip: Maurice de Saxe)

  18. Joe, when the Immum Gun rolls South, we’re going to need the REST of the Armed Services, two Marine Divisions (one of them Reserve) and all the Guard and Reserve Component, combat units.

    Full Load the US Army is about 1.2 million people, right now 800K are active, we still have 400K in reserve.

    The Army and Bush are loathe to call up the Reserve Component divisions and brigades, for political reasons… Bush doesn’t want to call out a bunch of potential voters in an election year. The Army really doesn’t want the Reserves to operate without the Regulars there to oversee them, in part because IF the Reserves do well, it suggests that the Regulars can be CUT in size…”Our phoney-baloney jobs are on the line here”(Mel Brooks).

  19. Joe
    If the Chinese did not intefer,(and i don`t believe they would)S. Korea would kick N. Korea`s but faster than Israel kicked Egypt.

  20. Joe
    If the Chinese did not intefer,(and i don`t believe they would)S. Korea would kick N. Korea`s butt faster than Israel kicked Egypt.

  21. Joe
    If the Chinese did not intefer,(and i don`t believe they would)S. Korea would kick N. Korea`s butt faster than Israel kicked Egypt.

  22. “Handing Najaf over to the Ba’athists was a success?”
    1) That would be Fallujah.
    2) If it revitalizes the Iraqi Security Services it is a victory. Sooner or later the Iraqi’s are going to have to face their internal opponents, if they are to be a viable government. The US can’t fight the war for the “little people”- a mistake we made in Vietnam.
    3) If it allows the opportunity to continue to attrite the insurgents in Fallujah at the rate we have been under the on-going “Ceasefire” its a victory.
    4) If it splits the Iraqis in Fallujah from the foreign insurgents, its a victory. The carrot and the stick. Hand over the foreigners and things return to normal, it is a wedge to be driven into the insurgent’s base of support.

    Check out the “Belmont Club” for a much, much better discussion of Fallujah and Najah than I can give here.

  23. Oh and yeah, What hydroman said… the South Koreans have a large and capable military.

    The US is there or was there as much to keep the South from going NORTH as to deter the North from coming SOUTH.

  24. Joe L, you keep ducking! Stop it!

    I didn’t question whether the 2nd Armored Division could effectively carry out the forceful end of peacekeeping. Of course they can. But asking them to do so is like batting Hank Aaron first, and telling him to bunt.

    Not to mention, there is an awful lot more to peacekeeping than initiating violence (did I actually type that?), and your decision to offer up British troops in Ulster to bolster your point demonstrates a massive gap in your reasoning. Bloody Sunday? Widespread sympathy for the IRA engendered among the previously-peaceful population? Hello?

    And you seem determined to ignore that I’ve repeatedly distinguished between peacekeeping, of the sort being carried out by 10th Mountain in SE Europe or British Marines in Basra, and warfighting, of the sort being carried out by Marines in Falluja. Frankly, I think ordinary, non-kill-for-a-living-military people could probably maintain public order without engendering massive resistance BETTER than their point-of-the-spear comrades. Leave the 4th ID in desert bases, to be called by the Civil Affairs and MP units running the cities as needed.

  25. sir real,

    Najaf was NOT handed over to the baathists

    Yes, you do need to watch some News.

  26. Well I thnk that we are not so far apart, Joe… Still MP’s and Civil Affairs have their limits. And MP’s and Civial Affairs troops are not draftees either and have skill set not easily attainabnle by draftees, without a lOT of OTJT.

    The “Kill-for-a-living” folks have a role too. A big one, Civil Affairs and MP’s are the long-term solution, but on a day-to-day basis the ability to mount raids and ambushes is important too.

    Plus MP’s won’t handle Fallujah or Najaf nearly so well. It is a Combined Arms Team necessity.

    And notice, I still don’t see any supoort or need for a draft, in any of this.

  27. Joe L
    Yes, the South Koreans have a capable army , I met some of their Tiger Force Squads in Vietnam in `66.They also have an industrailized nation with three times the NK population.They are not wimps,as your Gov. would like you to believe.
    I believe the only reason for our troops on the 37th P. is “US global presence” and threat of China.
    China doesn`t seem to be a cause anymore that`s why there now talking of leaving the 37th.
    Maybe our “presence’ will be moved to ROC(Taiwan) now that a scary thought.

  28. I don’t see the US moving the force to Taiwan. The US for better or worse adopted the One China Two Systems policy and moving the troops there would put the US directly in the path of any conflict brought on by Taiwanese moves for independence.

    I think we are in Korea for a host of reasons, inertia, lessons of history, deterrence of No. Korea, the PRC, extended deterrence thru out Northeast Asia. As with many things it is “over-determined”

  29. “And MP’s and Civial Affairs troops are not draftees either and have skill set not easily attainabnle by draftees”

    I’m envisioning a lot of guys with rifles, who could be draftees, assigned to those CA and MP units.

    Raids and ambushes of the sort needed are not the specialized actions that require career military.

    And remember, I’m not arguing FOR a draft. I’m deflating the argument “what the military does these days is so specialized that it can’t be done by the man on the street,” which is often seized on by my fellow draft opponents to make themselves feel better. In fact, there are a lot of activities that our military will be carrying out (assuming things continue as they have been) that ordinary people can do just fine, and that the Pentagon doesn’t like to see its highly trained, specialized, exspensively-equipped units doing.

  30. “Raids and ambushes of the sort needed are not the specialized actions that require career military.”-Simply untrue. This is not scut work… Raids and Ambushes require good intell, they require decent planning, and a fair degree of skill. Oh it CAN be done by anyone but it is BEST done by well-trained pro’s. That’s my point. The AVF works.

    Anyone can prepare your taxes, too… I’d prefer H&R Block or a tax lawyer.

    One takes higher losses and inflicts larger degrees of collateral damage with less qualified troops. And there is empirical evidence to back this up. Check out the complaints against the UN Peacekeepers, worldwide. Some units, Samoans, Brit, Canadian, do well, some are absolutely atrocious… and it comes down to their skills and training. I wold refer you to “Instapundit” and also to “How to Make War” for the citations.

    Bottom-line: more professionalism equals far better results and in fact, can determine the success or failure of a given Stability and Support Operation.

  31. The military doesn’t want a draft, because volunteers are better for the type of fighting it wants to do. Specialized, high tech, capital intensive…

    Perhaps you’ve never seen this story then.

    Still not very likely. But there’s no denying that the groundwork is there.

  32. As a former member of the all volunteer military, allow me to make a few observations.

    1. All those who volunteer for the military are losers, that’s why they volunteered to begin with.

    2. Those that get in, still consist primarily of rather dim bulbs.

    3. Those that fail the ASVAB are too stupid to stop bullets or chip paint (still amongst the most popular jobs)

    The assertion that all the high-tech gadgetry requires smarter soldiers is a ruse. System specifications require that they be made robust and easy to use before they are deployed in the field. Today?s troops play with more sophisticated toys, but the training (most) grunts get, is no more intellectually demanding than that required for an M-14.

  33. OK, that’s pretty creepy, Pavel.

  34. The notion that peacekeeping requires less individual capability might explain the poor effectiveness of our domestic police.

    Peacekeeping/Policing seems to require more judgement (soft skills) than does loading a cannon. The requirement is not stupider volunteers, but more training for likely tasks. An airborne division must know how to win and hold ground after they drop from the sky. Better people in, better results out, no matter the task.

    joe: The military makes the man on the street into a soldier. Look for an increase in Military Police as the forces adjust their org charts to the expected needs. How many battalions could be filled with volunteers from the pool which now supplies civilian police? I expect plenty would choose “the glory of national service” over the prospect of answering domestic calls and hassling drunk drivers.

    Coldly, a draft is required when the existing troops die in large numbers. The army just isn’t as dangerous as it used to be.

  35. The last popular war, in Studs Terkel’s words “The Last Good War” demanded a draft, that being the Second World War.

    Eh, not so much “demanded.” Enlistments were really pretty overwhelming; the draft provided a structured way to muster and train men who were, by and large, going to sign up anyway.

  36. I guess I’m missing something here in this long and drawn out yet ever-so-pragmatic discussion of involuntary servitude.

    Aside form already being outlawed (said illegality being routinely ignored by the feds) by those amendments adopted during Reconstruction, the draft is immoral.

    I don’t care how ineffective or effective the all vol military is, it is wrong to draft anyone into the military or any other form of national service.

    Hmmm, maybe we could make that argument about the income tax as well.

  37. Warren,

    People who volunteer for the military are losers and dim bulbs and you were one of them. Is that correct?

    M-14? When were you in?

  38. Whenever the Left raises the specter of a draft, it is always and only for anti-war purposes. Why bother to take such rot seriously?

  39. Pavel,
    Congratulations. You just managed to scare the holy hell out of this Arabic-speaking, computer savvy 25-year old. I am the exact demographic described in that article. Christ, I wish I didn’t have so many skills marketable to the war effort. Though I would find it ironic (and annoying) if I got picked up in something like this after having my apps to civilian anti-terrorism agancies ignored (or pushed in the “Draft Later” pile).

    Warren,
    Mixed in your denigration of the military is a good point (I know quite a few non-losers that volunteered). One of my friends makes some of the fine technology out on the field. When they were transitioning their technology from SpecOP use to more universal use, they had to “idiot proof” the device to make sure the grunts would be able to use the technology with little training. So yes, most of the technology a draftee would encounter, he would be able to learn relatively quickly. Besides, for the more complex and specialized tasks, you can use the volunteers with the training and have the draftees do the less specialized tasks, like loading shells or driving fuel trucks.

  40. Mo-
    If you get drafted and don’t have the guts for civil disobedience, try civil fuckuppery. Flunk out of boot camp! Even if you’re such a great shot you can hit a bull’s eye blindfolded, make a point of missing every time. Pretend to be weaker than you actually are. Fail all of your physical fitness tests. Remember: KP duty is better than death.

    In fact, there’s no need to go to boot camp at all: during your draft physical, just keep muttering to yourself and swatting at imaginary butterflies. Accuse the doctor of being one of “them,” but don’t specify who “they” are.

    If that fails, pretend to be gay. Start memorizing show tunes now. (Though of course, I’m sure the military’s anti-gay policy will evaporate as soon as the Pentagon decides it needs more cannon fodder.)

  41. D A,
    I served in the USN from 85-88. I definitely fit the loser bill when I joined up. I did my bit and got out. Since then I’ve shed the ‘loser’ tag but still fall into the ‘nerd’ box. I’m considered a fairly bright guy even amongst fellow engineers. The relative IQ vacuum I was forced to deal with in my navy days was positively mind numbing. In fact, my vocabulary still hasn’t recovered.

  42. Jennifer,

    How’s it going? I’m sure the military’s anti-gay policy will evaporate as soon as the Pentagon decides it needs more cannon fodder.

    Show tunes? In a previous post, you cited Crisco. Give a gay man a break. I loathe Oklahoma and restrict my involvement with Crisco to deep fried foods that will be outlawed before the military drops its anti-gay policy. ;>

  43. Only Oklahoma should have been emphasized in that last paragraph. Or maybe fried foods.

  44. Andrew-
    Actually, I’m just jealous of gay guys. Their apartments are better looking than mine, their sense of style surpasses even my own, and being a gay man has more panache than being a straight woman who doesn’t tan and works as a copyeditor for the military-industrial complex.

    And show tunes are better than techno dance shit any day, except for the ones where you’re on E.

  45. Jen: Thanks for the advice, but I’ll decline. Chances are if the draft the article Pavel cites ever happens, those drafted will be far, far away from the front lines. Most likely I’d end up in intel and have the joy of listening to Iraqi phone calls. Unless they talk to some of my ex-girlfriends, then they may set me up for prison guard duty. 😉 If the Arabic skeelz test in written instead of oral, I won’t even have to try to throw it. To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t mind serving and would take the duty seriously. I would prefer to choose how to do so on my own terms, however.

    Besides, I have friends that can help me fail a drug test, stat.

  46. Warren,

    Good response. Peace.

  47. Being the only person who ever posts on H&R who is currently in the military I have the following observations:

    -The Department of the Army (DA) is currently looking through members of the IRR to see if these people can be notified if they are needed. This has to start pretty far ahead in the long term planning process since many IRR folks are hard to find.

    -Warren what is an M-14, maybe that is before my time but maybe you meant M-4. Anyway for the most part I agree with you there are a wide spectrum of people in the military and amongst them there is no shortage of dim bulbs. The pay and benefits are pretty good even for those low on the totem pole. Of course that money is no good when you are getting shot at or you get killed. On the other side of the coin there are some very innovative and intelligent people in the military that aren’t here for just the pay.

    -If there is a draft in the future I can’t see how it would function unless it drafted only trained people that the Army has trouble retaining: Doctors, Nurses, Civil Affairs, Engineers, people along those lines. There is no shortage of unskilled labor looking to join the military.

    -Personally if I were running the show I would cut down on the number of reserves specifically the National Guard. Basically unless NG units are mobalized under federal command they function as 54 seperate Armies. One for each state, the virgin islands and guam. Since the leadership of these Guard units is appointed by the governor of equivilant they tend to be very political which takes a lot away from there affectiveness. Additionally many soldiers in these units are non-deployable that is they suffer from many of the things that Jennifer outlined earlier that she would come down with if drafted.

    -Out of the 484,000 (actually 512,000) on active duty, 350,000 in the Guard, and 240,000(?)in the Reserves I think only around 500,000 are actually deployable. This is due to 20-25% of soldiers being in training (schools) at any given time and the large number of reservist who are non-deployable or only exist “on the books” at reserve units.

    -Anyway while there has been talk on this thread about making the active army smaller and the reserve force bigger I think the cheaper alternative is the opposite. Granted I am biast, but I wouldn’t want to be a civilian employer who has to employ a reservist. And I wouldn’t want to be a reservist who has two different careers but likely won’t excel at either one due to the other. The army could get by better with a 12 division active force and only 200,000 highly trained and well compensated reserve force for a total force of 800,000 shaving 400,000 of the top. Anyway that will never happen because of politics but it would solve a lot of problems…

  48. By the way one forget to mention that the reserve forces have lower standards (ASVAB score) than active duty. This leads to a lot of deadbeats who really want to be in the military enlisting in the reserves rather than the active force. Check some of the bio’s on the reserve MP’s at Abu Ghraib if you doubt that.

  49. America has never lacked volunteers
    to fight a just war.

  50. “America has never lacked volunteers
    to fight a just war.” Well that’s argument by exclusion or definition isn’t it, 10 words or less? If there weren’t enough volunteers ipso facto it wasn’t a just war, eh?
    “You told us that if we believed, the Foreign Devil’s bullets would not touch us.” “Are you not alive? Did the Foreign Devil’s bullets touch you? YOU must be believers, the others must not have been believers.” “Oh OK.”

    The reality is that the Civil War would not have been possible without conscription, in the end and the Second World War required the draft, the Armed Services didn’t get 12 million VOLUNTEERS and wouldn’t have gotten close to the required manpower necessary to defeat the Axis. Now, I’d consider both the Civil War and WWII to be just wars, and you?

    The difference between now and then, is that we don’t need 12 million troops today. The 1.2 million troops we have available are more than sufficient.

    This talk of a draft is a Red Herring designed to provoke a response from the likes of you folks, not produce usable military manpower. It is in fact designed to END the war, not further its proscecution.

  51. Joe L,

    “Just” war. Think hard about it.
    Read a history book or twenty.
    Think for yourself.

    Then ask yourself: Would Viet Nam have been possible without a draft?

  52. Anyway while there has been talk on this thread about making the active army smaller and the reserve force bigger I think the cheaper alternative is the opposite.

    Damn straight. Having served in the Guard (my intention at the time was to get through college and get my commission in the Regular Army), I can vouch for the fact that reserve troops just aren’t any good for most of the jobs they’re used for. I was in a reserve armored cavalry regiment, and we were awful cav troops. It was fun to play around with the tanks every weekend, but we weren’t good tankers (except for the ex-regular troops). Most of the guys in the units around me were just plain awful, many of them too overweight to fit into a tank. It being rural Tennessee, they were generally good ol’ boys who had known each other since high school and used the Guard as a social activity in many ways, and I didn’t fit in. I ended up skipping drill for two years until I got out, which I’m not proud of doing at all, but it seemed the best solution at the time. Hey, if you can be president while having skipped Guard duty . . .

    A regular force with reservists serving non-combat roles is by far the best solution. Reserve forces just can’t get enough training to be good at combat arms roles. But the money keeps flowing to the Guard, more if the units in the state are combat arms. God, how I hate politics. As good as our military is, it’s gutted compared to what it could be if the politicians would get out of dictating military policy (as opposed to military uses) and let the soldiers do what they know needs to be done.

  53. Then ask yourself: Would Viet Nam have been possible without a draft?

    Or a draft with any meaning without a baby boom.

    Or WWI or WWII possible, for the U.S., without all of those immigrants’ sons.

    It’s so confusing.

  54. “After seeing those jail house photos from Iraq , I don`t think we need to lower the standards any farther.In fact hiring Larry Flint as a recruiter may be an improvement.”

    Hydroman
    That’s exactly the sort of thing you’re going to get if you bring in draftees, something that those suggesting the draftees can serve as rifle/policemen seem to forget. Those involved in the Abu Grhaib scandal were from the group allowed to serve, many who are worse are turned away now but will be in service for a draft.

    That doesn’t even touch the subject as to whether or not a draft is really even compatible with a democratic society. The government is supposed to serve us, not the other way around. We as a group are supposed to have the final say on these foreign adventures. Right now we do, the missions the military can be given by the government are limited by the amount of manpower they have to convince the populace to give. Right now there’s a limit on the number of place we can poke our noses into. Start a draft and how many more Somalia’s, Haiti’s, Bosnia’s, even dare I say it Vietnam’s will we be in along with Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The military doesn’t need more people, they need to have the mission focused on what’s important and not spread around the world for duty that only by the most liberal definition is realted to US interests.

  55. Gee 10 Words, being a European History Major it may be that I HAVE read 10 or 20 books… and have come to the conclusion that “Just War” is NOT an oxymoron. I’d recommend a book by JUST that title, “Just and Unjust Wars” by Michael Walzer, excellent work…
    We wing nuts, we aren’t just pick-up driving PBR drinking, Redneck Baptists… oh we may do all those things, but we may have invested some thougth into our positions, too.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.