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Do you feel a draft in the air?
March 14, 2004 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Do you have special skills? If so, Uncle Sam may want to speak with you. "The government is taking the first steps toward a targeted military draft of Americans with special skills in computers and foreign languages." Nobody sees a need for a large scale draft like Vietnam, "But they thought that if we have any kind of a draft, it will probably be a special skills draft." The folks at SSS stress that this possibility is likely far off. It could take about two years to "to have all the kinks worked out." Is the draft in our future?
posted by madamjujujive (31 comments total)

 
Thank god I have no skills of any kind.
posted by jonmc at 10:48 AM on March 14, 2004


I can write a mean guestbook script in PHP. Should I move to Canada now?
posted by RylandDotNet at 10:50 AM on March 14, 2004


Note to fellow computer geeks: you could always start laying a groundwork now to exclude you from the draft later. The stereotype of male geeks is that they don't know what the heck to do with a woman, nor do they know any flesh-and-blood examples thereof. That can be used to your advantage later on: think "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". Your involuntary asexuality could be passed off as homosexuality to the local draft board with little effort. :-)
posted by Asparagirl at 11:09 AM on March 14, 2004


Given that Selective Service looks at the very youngest age-range of adults (and only at men), it strikes me as a poor resource for foreign-language recruiting (unless their going after native speakers of certain languages, which would put an interesting twist here, to say the least!); maybe they should first think about asking the military to consider keeping some of the people they've already trained.
posted by BT at 11:17 AM on March 14, 2004


Yeah, since the military's need for translators isn't great enough to keep them from discharging translators who happen to be gay.
posted by homunculus at 11:17 AM on March 14, 2004


Of course I meant "they're going after." I hate it when I do that...
posted by BT at 11:18 AM on March 14, 2004


Homunculus, you owe me a coke.
posted by BT at 11:19 AM on March 14, 2004


Legislation to reinstitute the draft, introduced by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., has minimal support with only 13 House lawmakers signing on as co- sponsors.

strange.
posted by clavdivs at 11:19 AM on March 14, 2004


I'll provide evidence and be a character(?) reference for anyone that needs it to get out of this.

And how will they know who has what skills? By last name? major in college?
posted by amberglow at 11:20 AM on March 14, 2004


Coke or death?
posted by homunculus at 11:23 AM on March 14, 2004


On a complete tangent, on a personal level I'm kinda bummed that they don't have the draft anymore. A trip through the Marines might have made me a more fit adult.
posted by jonmc at 11:36 AM on March 14, 2004


clavdivs, why is it strange?
posted by davidmsc at 11:38 AM on March 14, 2004


davidmsc-
I think he's implying that it's strange that a Democrat would sponsor such a bill, since we all know they really spend all their time popping amyl nitrate while masturbating to pictures of Nicolae Carpathia and plotting the redistribution of the world's wealth to black single mothers.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:41 AM on March 14, 2004


I wonder if posting out of one's ass on blogs and message boards is considered a skill. I know a lot of candidates, if so.
posted by Slagman at 11:42 AM on March 14, 2004


>And how will they know who has what skills?

They have their ways.

Insert shifty eyes.
posted by graventy at 11:43 AM on March 14, 2004


On a complete tangent, on a personal level I'm kinda bummed that they don't have the draft anymore. A trip through the Marines might have made me a more fit adult.

Maybe, in fact I thought the same thing, and even signing up after high school, but ended up not going.

I definately would be more physically fit, I don't think there's the slightest doubt in my mind about it.

I think it requires a level of trust in our government that's unattainable right now. We see how easy it was to get people out of the draft in the 60s, does anyone believe that it would be harder to get out of it now?

I'd trust a 'random' draft as much as I trust the Republicans to scrutinize themselves as thoroughly as they do the Democrats.

I think it could stem the emergence of 'neo-cons' in the future, though.
posted by Busithoth at 11:49 AM on March 14, 2004


Homunculus gave links to the stories, here's the previous mefi discussions.
posted by cpfeifer at 11:52 AM on March 14, 2004


Well, at least there'll be some IT jobs that don't get outsourced...
posted by uosuaq at 12:18 PM on March 14, 2004


Rangel, the
Dem who introduced the bill, had in mind that if there were to be a draft, then a heck of a lot of people would have serious thoughts about Iraq and what we are doing there and perhaps soon elsewhere, and so he was asking the congress (and Bush) to call for a draft or stop the nonsense.

We have not had a draft in peacetime. If this is now a war (against what country?), then the draft may well stay in place for many many years. And of course there will be no draft till after the elections, at the earliest.

The good thing, though: all the fooks who lost their jobs in comp[uters etc and can find no work because jobs went overseas can now go overseas with the military and get paid for it.
posted by Postroad at 12:47 PM on March 14, 2004


This idea really bothers me. I can understand the principle that the state has some kind of right to draft by the criterion "healthy male citizen" (though, yes, I realize our previous drafts did not conform to this principle, but effectively wrote in "poor" etc.).

But the special skills draft is repugnant to me because it seems contrary to freedom of thought and expression. "We will make some of our citizens into cannon fodder, discriminating on the basis of their skills." Profiling people for a draft because at some point they conceived a desire, say, to read contemporary Arabic literature & discuss it in Arabic with Arab intellectuals, is way too close to drafting people based on their beliefs and politics. Knowing a language or a skill is something you should be able to do without weighing to possible consequence for it of getting blown up by a roadside bomb in the Sunni Triangle.
posted by Zurishaddai at 3:11 PM on March 14, 2004


Homunculus: is, um Dr. Pepper available?
posted by BT at 5:06 PM on March 14, 2004


BT: Something tells me Osama doesen't want to be a Pepper, too.

As the guy in Cool Hand Luke said, some men you just can't reach.
posted by jonmc at 5:56 PM on March 14, 2004


A draft is immoral and, to my mind, un-Constitutional.
posted by davidmsc at 6:18 PM on March 14, 2004


As the guy in Cool Hand Luke said, some men you just can't reach.

Whoa, whoa, whoa... Are you sure he's just not ripping of the beginning of "Civil War?"
posted by Cyrano at 7:20 PM on March 14, 2004


Well, apparently the you can be excused from becoming cannon fodder if you've taken illegal narcotics more than thrice in your life...

...in which context everyone I know with even a smidgeon of geek factor is hereby excluded from military service in perpetuity.
posted by clevershark at 11:42 PM on March 14, 2004


Sometimes, its nice being old.
posted by Goofyy at 1:54 AM on March 15, 2004


Ummm... we've had more drafts in peacetime than not, I think, since we never declared war in Vietnam or Korea and since the draft was instigated before the declaration of war in WWII, considering the delay to get troops to Europe after declaring war in WWI.

That said, a special skills draft seems pretty cheap to me... an excuse not to pay certain people what they're worth in the market.
posted by dagnyscott at 6:57 AM on March 15, 2004


Whoa, whoa, whoa... Are you sure he's just not ripping of the beginning of "Civil War?"

I think the beginning of "Civil War" is a clip *from* Cool Hand Luke.
posted by mrbill at 9:09 AM on March 15, 2004


Goofyy et al, what is considered "old" by the US armed forces? Anyone know?
posted by shmuel at 10:08 AM on March 15, 2004


I think "draft age" is 18 to 27. At least thats the age when you have to keep your selective service information (address registered with them, etc) up to date.
posted by mrbill at 11:18 AM on March 15, 2004


Actually, for those with technical expertise, the upper end of the draft range is much higher. For Doctors, it's 35. I have heard that for geeks and similar techies, it will be 44. Think about it. How many 18 year olds do you know with degrees in CompSci?
posted by ilsa at 1:46 PM on March 15, 2004


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