One Unforeseen Crisis Away From A Military Draft? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak

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The fact that the bulk of the American public's military assessments are filtered through the prism of the powers that be...a la the Bush administration...can be rather misleading and may well engender a false sense of security. Implied in these assessments is an assurance that our nation is being sufficiently protected from harm. It's not only possible that this is a rose colored view; we may be one unforeseen crisis away from the need to reinstitute a military draft.

A survey of a few thousand current and former military officers overwhelmingly concludes that our military has been stretched dangerously thin by the war in Iraq. What the survey doesn't state may be the ominous six hundred pound gorilla in the room.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military has been stretched dangerously thin by the Iraq war, according to almost 90 percent of retired and current military officers polled on the state of America's armed forces.

Eighty percent said it would be unreasonable to expect the U.S. military to wage another major war successfully at this time, according to the poll by the Center for a New American Security think tank and Foreign Policy magazine.

More than 3,400 serving and retired officers took part in the poll, organizers said. Around 90 percent were retired officers, a large majority had combat experience and about 10 percent had served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

"We are putting more strains on the all-volunteer force than it was ever designed to bear," Army Lt. Col. John Nagl, a prominent counterinsurgency expert, said at a panel discussion in Washington on Tuesday to announce the results of the survey.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents said the U.S. military had been stretched dangerously thin by Iraq. Sixty percent said the military was weaker than five years ago, 25 percent said it was stronger and 15 percent said it was about the same.

Truth be told, most Americans still look at military service as an abstract notion that rarely hits home. Yes, they are aware of the failings evidenced during the execution of the Iraq war and the tragic and prolonged loss of life...but they rarely have to worry that their family members might face the prospect of a draft.

If this survey provided only one insight, it should be a recognition that we may be one military crisis away from the necessity to reinstate a policy of involuntary military service. Even more disquieting is the prospect that we may not be able to properly respond to an unexpected military conflict.

In reality, the implementation of a draft would not facilitate an instantaneously fortified military nor would it come without a tremendous price tag. Hence, we could well find ourselves in the unenviable position of having to prioritize our military engagements...or prosecute them with dangerously compromised strategies.

Not only does that suggest a level of vulnerability not seen since being forced to ramp up in order to meet the challenge of past World Wars...it points out just how absurd it was for George Bush to ask Americans to go shopping in the aftermath of 9/11. It also demonstrates the inherent short-sightedness of our commander in chief and the degree to which he prefers placation and prevarication to the direct dissemination of the low-down.

The fact that we have repeatedly found ourselves in unrevealed and/or unexpected positions and predicaments suggests that Americans shouldn't take comfort in the assurances that a draft is out of the question.

A look at the recent Pakistani election and the evaporating power of Pervez Musharraf highlights our current president's propensity to put all of America's proverbial eggs into one basket. All too often that basket has turned out to be a leaky sieve filled with little more than broken and empty shells. The need for a draft may be the next egg scheduled for a surprise scrambling. That would not be a delectable dish.

Tagged as: 9/11, George W. Bush, Iraq, Military Draft, Military Preparedness, Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, War

Daniel DiRito | February 19, 2008 | 9:14 PM
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Comments

1 On February 20, 2008 at 9:23 AM, Ben in Oakland wrote —

One interesting and possible outcome for a re-instituted draft would be the end of DADT. Since being gay no longer has the stigma that it had 35 years ago when I was a lad, I suspect a number of people would just say they're gay and take their miniscule chances with a perjury charge.

If DADT is removed, then it will clearly demonstrate what has always been clear-- it was never about preparedness or unit cohesion, but solely about anti-gay prejudice given some sort of diginity that it does not have.

It would be interesting to see how the anti-gays will work this one out.

2 On February 20, 2008 at 1:28 PM, Jimi wrote —

I don't believe today's youth would line up for indoctrination into the armed services. The sense of duty to ones country has evaporated. It's the pervasive "Get Mine and screw you" attitude of too many who've been raised in the Consumer Society.

Ben, I think DADT is about bigotry and prejudice. Period.

Thought Theater at Blogged

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Reading between the lines of a newly released survey of current and former military officers seems to suggest that the U.S. military may be one unexpected military crisis away from the need to reinstitute the draft. Those who doubt that the war in Iraq... [Read More]

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