What a Difference a Draft Makes
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:
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.
[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.
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.