Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What a Difference a Draft Makes

To my mind the biggest inconsistency within the Bush administration's sales pitch for the so-called Global War on Terror (as John Stewart said, "After we defeat [terror], I’m sure we’ll take on that bastard ennui") has been that for what's being billed as a critical conflict that demands sacrifices, those sacrifices seem to be limited to a very small portion of the population. Bush has said,

Wars are not won without sacrifice -- and this war will require more sacrifice, more time, and more resolve.
And to help rally the nation to make this sacrifice he has done his Churchhillian damnedest:
We will confront this mortal danger to all humanity. We will not tire, or rest, until the war on terror is won.
But, beyond the rallying rhetoric, this President's real notions about national sacrifice border on idiotic:

[Jim] LEHRER: Let me ask you a bottom-line question, Mr. President. If it is as important as you’ve just said - and you’ve said it many times - as all of this is, particularly the struggle in Iraq, if it’s that important to all of us and to the future of our country, if not the world, why have you not, as president of the United States, asked more Americans and more American interests to sacrifice something? The people who are now sacrificing are, you know, the volunteer military - the Army and the U.S. Marines and their families. They’re the only people who are actually sacrificing anything at this point.

BUSH: Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night. I mean, we’ve got a fantastic economy here in the United States, but yet, when you think about the psychology of the country, it is somewhat down because of this war.

What no one is really saying, but everyone means, when they ask about a national sacrifice, of course, is why, if this struggle is so important, doesn't the President implement a military draft (whereby all Americans of a certain age would be called upon to defend their nation against this global threat). The President's response to that suggestion (even from his own generals) generally combines praising the brave young men and women serving and insisting "the all volunteer military meets the needs of the country military." What he doesn't say though is that he understands full well that his currently low numbers in the polls would look like astronomical sums in comparison to measures of his popularity if he started calling up the nation's young people randomly and shipping them off to go fight in the desert. More than that, however, he knows that a draft would (finally) spark the anti-war movement into high gear.

I suspect we're going to hear a good deal more about the draft (or lack thereof) in the upcoming Presidential elections.
Senator Clinton has already asked the White House to clarify their position after Bush's so-called "War Czar" (isn't that what a Commander in Chief is?) said we should consider a draft. And on the GOP side of things, Mitt Romney is sure to be asked to clarify his position on the draft given that his gaff about his five sons "serving" their nation by helping get him elected doesn't seem to want to go away.

Personally, I don't think Bush should have invaded Iraq, and I don't believe we'd be having this conversation about the draft if Bush had focused on al Qaeda instead of seizing upon the 9/11 attacks to launch his long-standing dreams of securing the oil in the Middle East for his business associates. I do believe that if the President is forced to repeatedly re-deploy the same men and women to Iraq and Afghanistan, or cancel their scheduled leave, because reserve troops are not available, that the sacrifices they're being asked to make are too great. Also, I do believe we'd see a much quicker withdrawal from Iraq should a draft be implemented. The remaining Americans who support this fiasco might be willing to sacrifice our civil liberties to its cause, but if the examples set by Romney or Bush tell us anything, many seem to be very unwilling to sacrifice their own children to it.

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23 Comments:

Anonymous sherie' said...

It is utterly tragic that this war-avoider bush has been allowed to run riot like a dry drunk for the last 7 yrs. He is the picture of self-will run riot. He and his cronies, all of whom never served a day in their lives in sacrifice to anything, are responsible for the death of untold thousands for securing the oil they want in Iraq. It's just criminal. And of course, it is our nation's poorest who are sent to die so the wealthy can continue to live the life they want.
We should be on the white house lawn with pitchforks.

8/15/2007 09:52:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa Hunter said...

You said it, Ed. I grew up in a military family, and the way this Commander in Chief is abusing the patriotism and good will of our volunteer army makes me furious.

8/15/2007 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger Joanne Mattera said...

Charlie Rangel brought up the draft idea several months ago--not to actually get a draft, but to make some of these same points. How tragic that we have to talk about sending in even more men and women to end a war that never should have started. In the Times yesterday, the front-page story was about how more single parents are being sent off to fight. How does Bush's famous "no child left behind" fit into that scenario?

8/15/2007 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

"We should be on the white house lawn with pitchforks."

Of course we should, but we're not. WTF! http://www.impeachbush.org/"

8/15/2007 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous David said...

How does Bush's famous "no child left behind" fit into that scenario?

Takes on a new meaning when you think of it as the slogan for his war policy, doesn't it.

8/15/2007 12:43:00 PM  
Anonymous jason said...

Lehrer: ...The people who are now sacrificing are, you know, the volunteer military - the Army and the U.S. Marines and their families. They’re the only people who are actually sacrificing anything at this point.

Ha! Don't forget the corporate mercenaries -- U.S.-funded corporate forces actually outnumber the volunteer military presence in Iraq (I believe it's something like 180,000 v. 140,000). Also, we need to remember that this so-called "volunteer" army effectively functions like an economic draft (focused primarily on poor, desperate minorities).

sherie': He and his cronies, all of whom never served a day in their lives in sacrifice to anything, are responsible for the death of untold thousands for securing the oil they want in Iraq.

Nope, we're all responsible. That is, all of us whose taxes are funding this war, and whose comfortable, oil-dependent lifestyles, whether we like it or not, benefit greatly from U.S. economic expansionism.

8/15/2007 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

"U.S.-funded corporate forces actually outnumber the volunteer military presence in Iraq (I believe it's something like 180,000 v. 140,000)."

I'm quite sure these nice people don't want to give up the stream of cash either. Plenty of cash to support another idiot candidate that will keep us there for good.

As the planes begin to head into the sunset, back to Texas, and the revisions of history hit the airwaves, we need to demand impeachment procedings. It's the only way to get at the truth and make them accountable.

8/15/2007 01:24:00 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

The fall of Saigon.

Will look like a debutante ball.

In comparison.

8/15/2007 01:55:00 PM  
Anonymous bambino said...

Have heard Pink's song "Dear Mr. President"?
Love it

8/15/2007 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Have heard Pink's song "Dear Mr. President"?

Yeah, I like it too, but there are a number of similar songs out there that don't seem to be catching fire. Again, I suspect the underlying reason folks are not marching en masse to stop the war is it doesn't touch the lives of as many Americans the way Vietnam or WWII did. The agony is isolated. Add a draft to the picture and Pink's song will seem quaint compared with the outrage you'll hear from Bush's previous supporters, I suspect.

8/15/2007 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous bambino said...

Only today at least 250 people killed and 320 people injured in Iraq.
Just stop and think for a minute and imagine someone close to you could be there, and how that could affect you. Your life would be upside down.
All of us sometime sget sad and emotional when we watch movie and could cry seeing somebody gets killed or murdered. And today 250 people got killed in REAL. Does it upset anyone deeply?
Nobody has right to take somebody's life. I am really upset and angry about this, because everyday more and more families get destroyed, some members of the family never would return back home.

And here in the States we would be going back to our daily routune, where and what should we have for dinner, whom I can hung out tonight, whom I dont want to see and etc....

I might be little overreacting but it's really getting unacceptable.

8/15/2007 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

beer by yourself is the highest form of protest.

100,000(s) will die if the us leaves a power vacuum. And it will if it does.

8/15/2007 05:19:00 PM  
Anonymous skipvancel said...

I recently read that when we went into the first Gulf war in 1991 we had 360,000 troops. It is incomprehensible that these chcken-hawks imagined we could actually win this idiotic war with a mere 140,000 troops. Bush is a lame duck and will leave the implementation of a draft up to the newly elected 2008 president. Trust this, Karl Rove is not going quietly into the night. I can only imagine the dirty tricks they will pull to win the next election. And, of course, the American people will buy right into their duplicity.

8/15/2007 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger the expat/pissedpoet said...

The wars being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are un-winnable, well for the forces of the invaders primarily because their isn’t a stream of immigrants chomping at the bit to pick up the spoils of victory.

Unlike Australia, USA and Canada were the genocide of the native inhabitants allowed peoples from some other place to came and take root nobody is queuing up to make a new home in these promised lands.

Eventually the invaders will tire of their sport, as did the British and Russians in Afghanistan and the Americans in Vietnam, fold up their tents and head for home.

A draft will only speed up this process which will be bloody good news for the Iraqis and Afghanis.

8/15/2007 08:28:00 PM  
Blogger No. 0001 said...

'LEHRER: ... The people who are now sacrificing are, you know, the volunteer military - the Army and the U.S. Marines and their families. They’re the only people who are actually sacrificing anything at this point.

BUSH: Well, you know, I think a lot of people are in this fight. I mean, they sacrifice peace of mind when they see the terrible images of violence on TV every night. I mean, we’ve got a fantastic economy here in the United States, but yet, when you think about the psychology of the country, it is somewhat down because of this war.'

I can't believe no-one's pointed out the nature of this exchange. Well, you know, all our poor immigrants who got no other option are dying for us, but that's okay, you know, cos our tv viewing gets upsetting occassionally, and that's kind of the same, but, you know, we can still afford to keep on buying crap, so it's all okay, you know?'

8/16/2007 01:23:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

skipvancel you read right

"I recently read that when we went into the first Gulf war in 1991 we had 360,000 troops. It is incomprehensible that these chcken-hawks imagined we could actually win this idiotic war with a mere 140,000 troops."

This is a great example of the arrogance of Rumsfield thinking he could micro manage the occupation. Colin Powell war hero of Desert Storm said at the outset more troops were needed to patrol the northern and remote regions, he was ignored, Rumsfield thought he could rely on the Northern Alliance to maintain order, again Powell said The NA is exaggerating reports of its militia, again he was ignored. Powell, a keen military strategist predicted what would happen, when he was constantly ignored by the arrogant, he resigned. Another example of Rumsfield's arrogance, Wolfowitz made a request for emergency generators to be sent to regions where US bombs had destroyed the infrastructure, he knew that the chance for America to be a viewed as a liberator would depend on quickly rebuilding what we destroyed, and even bringing aid to remote regions, again ignored, if they stayed sincere to their own Heart and Minds propaganda, they could have indeed won some, their blatant negligence to actually follow through with their redirick, revealed more and more their intentions, and let's face it they acted exactly the way th Islamic extremists accused them of.

all that said if Powell was listened to, let say Iraq had come under a puppet democratic government, and the good ol' boys from Texas were as you read sacking the riches of Iraq and no American soldiers were dying, would you care what the plight of the Iraqi people might be?

how urgent is it that something is done to change the way the US executes its international policies?

What needs to be done?

Watch This

8/16/2007 02:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

next stop: Iran.

8/16/2007 10:06:00 AM  
Anonymous sherie' said...

"nope we're all responsible"

I do not deny that. But I disagree. Bush's legacy is simply Death. And I do not sign on to that, this war, the next one he'll get us into or ANY of this administration's policies and our dependency of oil. We must stop the mindless killing for oil. That is our responsibility.

Bambino's comments are piercing and poignant.

8/16/2007 11:17:00 AM  
Anonymous pp said...

(I apologize as this is a bit long for a comment. After reading D.Byrne's blog..)

BALLAD OF DAVID BYRNE

This is a song
of the visit made
to Venedig
by David Byrne
No better place where
crowds go on
in search of
pleasure, knowledge
fame, or gain.
July or August
time is fine
to visit Europe
to set the sail
so thought
the artist
David Byrne

And when he arrived,
what did he saw?

No wonder -
as from America
he came
not much surprise
supermarket shelves
full-stocked
with images of
3,000 men
These soldiers
in war were slain
Yet nothing bought
was by
David Byrne

Next he saw
a Korean take
Lee Utan was
the master
it wasn't fake
A mounted wall
so smooth and black
that light wouldn't fly
A stone laid by
to create
a delicate contrast.
It all so nice
and asked no interact
so David Byrne
didn't even try

He went ahead
to Russian tent
and stood the queue
to shower stall
with TV rain
of modern news
A thousand images
of talking heads
were falling
on rainbow artist
David Byrne

Then there was
something - lo!
not really - one
in art fair
should not say that
that was wrong.
Naked men were
set in row
to wear
prosthetic vaginas
on them
David Byrne
felt he was
turning on

8/16/2007 06:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

disclaimer: this is a joke it is only a joke

it makes light of the current administration's warped perception of the world, and possibly some insight into why it is warped


WORLD WAR III


President Bush decides to leave the White House and go out to sit in a local bar.

A guy walks in and asks the barman, "Isn't that
Bush sitting at the end of the bar?"

The bartender says, "Yep, that's him."

So the guy walks over and says, "Wow, this is a real honor! What are you doing in here?"

Bush says, " I'm planning WW III."

The guy says, "Really? What's going to happen?"

Bush says, "Well, I'm going to kill 140 million Muslims and one blonde with big tits.

The guy exclaimed, "A blonde with big tits?
Why kill a blonde with big tits?"

Bush turns to the bartender and says,
"See, I told you, no one gives a shit about the 140 million Muslims".

whose fault is it anyway?

8/16/2007 07:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Propose Peace said...

These Good ole' Boys are so confident that they have control they act as if they are not accountable to the law, and think they can ignore the constitution, and they can as long as we let them, as long as we elect candidates that support the interest of corporations over citizen, and allow special interest to write the laws

an energy policy written by oil companies

a bankruptcy reform bill written by banks

copyright laws written by publishers and record companies

should we let child molesters write a sexual equality law?

where is the Responsibility of Blame

8/16/2007 08:29:00 PM  
Blogger Hungry Hyaena said...

Tar and feather me, but this is just one more reason to adopt mandatory service requirements. It doesn't have to be military duty; Germany and Spain, for example, allow health and civic work as well as military. A little bit of time spent serving the country may reek of nationalism to some knee-jerk folks, but it damn sure plugs you in to the greater beast.

Pitchforks on the lawn would be in much greater number, as would progressive policy.

8/17/2007 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here we are in 1984. Democraic Underground discovered that the neo-con offshoot group, Family Securityy Matters directed at recruiting women to their insane belief system is advocating Bush become a" President for Life" (Project for the New American Century supporters Cheney, Paul Dobriansky and Elliot Abrams are members of FSM) After word got out, FSM removed the post form their wesbite but here's the link for all to see:
(CUT AND PASTE IT'S TOO LONG TO GRAB)
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=389&topic_id=1574242&mesg_id=1574242

This is no joke or some spoof. This is real and although it might not happen you can see what these nuts aspire to. We should get out and do whatever we can to stop these insane power mongers

8/17/2007 10:13:00 AM  

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