It's amazing. In recent years, we've seen John Kerry allege that President Bush planned to reinstate the draft, and we've seen senior Democrats such as Charlie Rangel and John Murtha call specifically for reinstatement of the draft. And now that 'War Czar' General Douglas Lute state that the draft 'has always been an option on the table,' Democrats again have their mouths watering.
First, Lute's statement makes clear that while it's worth considering, the military is fine right now, thanks:
I think it makes sense to certainly consider it, and I can tell you, this has always been an option on the table. But ultimately, this is a policy matter between meeting the demands for the nation’s security by one means or another. Today, the current means of the all-volunteer force is serving us exceptionally well. It would be a major policy shift - not actually a military, but a political policy shift to move to some other course...
But on the Left, there seems to be a clamoring for an end to the all-volunteer military.
Center for American Progress analysts Lawrence Korb and Max Bergmann wrote recently, “Considering the current state of the Army, if the president wants to sustain a substantial number of U.S. troops in Iraq beyond the next 18 months, he should call for reinstating the draft. … Yet the president will never call for the draft. He knows the country would never support the level of sacrifice for this war that implementing a draft would demand.”
DailyKos is the most emphatic, as usual. He's positively praying for people to believe that the war against terror is impossible without a draft:
There's only so much that war supporters are willing to do in their might and heroic struggle against Islamofacism. For example, they're willing to endlessly talk macho. But they're not willing to, you know, actually wear combat boots.
This clash of civilizations is only the Most Important Struggle Of Our Time as long as they don't actually have to do anything about it. That's for the poor shlubs who signed up to deal with.
What percentage of today's military has volunteered for enlistment (or re-enlistment) since September 2001? It's probably pretty high, since the longest Army tours (I am told) include six years of active duty. The math says that most of today's Army signed up since September 11. So it's not as if all of our men and women in uniform enlisted thinking that the Army is a country club, and instead were surprised to find themselves being sent into conflict. Rather, most of them volunteered with their eyes open as to what was ahead.
Further, many of those who support the war in Iraq are among those fighting it. So when people like Kos challenge those who believe in the war to fight it... they are. Does Kos think Scott Beauchamp is the rule, or the exception?
Comments from Left Field thinks a draft will be essential for those who want to extend the surge past early next year:
So anyone serious about continuing the surge past early next year must seriously consider a draft.
Yet, for this bit of candor, I suspect it will be quite awhile before we hear from the War Czar again.
It's hard to develop war strategy based on the conusel of a war opponent of course, and this post shows why: how likely is it that the draft could be reinstated and yield significant increases in troop levels within the next 9 months?
This is all splitting hairs, of course. Those on the Left oppose the action in Iraq, and oppose the War on Terror. They want those efforts to be tremendously unpalatable to the public in general. So they advocate the draft and tax increases, figuring those will undercut public support. It angers them that the military leadership says the current effort is sustainable, just as it angers them that the budget is approaching balance -- even with the cost of fighting the war.