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Military Draft - Fact or fiction?
April 13, 2004 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Men aged 18-25, have you got your lighters ready? It's going to be draft time soon, according to the Nader campaign. The Selective Service denies it.
posted by mr_crash_davis (86 comments total)

 
I'd like to ignite Nader. And push him over the dock. In a locked Opal.
posted by the fire you left me at 11:52 AM on April 13, 2004


Begin Nader bashing in 3...2...1...
posted by iamck at 12:10 PM on April 13, 2004


This might be better suited to AskMe, but this caught my eye:

"He noted that Selective Service, a branch of the Justice Department..."

Why is the Selective Service part of the Justice Department and not, say, the Department of Defense?
posted by armage at 12:13 PM on April 13, 2004


Avoid massive military buildup and a potential draft by voting for Nader. Hilarious.
posted by PrinceValium at 12:22 PM on April 13, 2004


Umm... two questions:

1) Why is this a FPP
2) Who cares what Nader says anyway, except maybe Karl Rove, who laughs his way to the bank?
posted by swerdloff at 12:26 PM on April 13, 2004


Why is the Selective Service part of the Justice Department and not, say, the Department of Defense?

My guess - As long as you're a civilian, the DoD can't make you do anything. It's a law enforcement issue.

As to the plausibility of this, they definitely need more troops if they're going to go ahead with the current mission (and I use that term loosely), and I think we're pretty much at the bottom of the barrel. They're sending guys right back in who shouldn't have to see combat again for at least another year. Given that this quagmire in turn will go on for a few more years (compare/contrast with our other "nation-building" efforts to come up with guesstimates as to how many years), somethin's got to give - either the "mission" changes or a draft begins.
posted by badstone at 12:28 PM on April 13, 2004


Speaking of those other nation building exercises, here's a familiar sounding story.
posted by badstone at 12:33 PM on April 13, 2004


I'm confused. Are we withdrawing from the quagmire on June 30? But didn't we go in to get basing rights, so that means we're still gonna be there? (confused)
posted by inksyndicate at 12:33 PM on April 13, 2004


i've never been so happy to be 30 and half-blind.

inksyndicate: i know there haven't been many iraq-related FPPs made lately, so you might not know, but we are merely turning sovreignty over to the provisional government.... not, you know, leaving.
posted by keswick at 12:37 PM on April 13, 2004


I like how the stock photo images on the Selective Service website represent the range of emotion from unbridled joy to abject despair.

Men aged 18-25 — is that one of the focus groups we don't base policy on?

~wink~
posted by eddydamascene at 12:39 PM on April 13, 2004


Badstone, either the mission changes, the army just attempts to complete its objctives understaffed and without as many resources as it would like, or a draft happens. I'm guessing option B. Of course, option B would probably entail a half-assed job getting done, but that's not a surprise.

As far as Nader is concerned, sadly he's become merely an attention whore; at this point he's like Courtney Love or PETA.
posted by Spacelegoman at 12:42 PM on April 13, 2004


"1) Why is this a FPP"

So you personally could come in here and complain about it. Mission accomplished!
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:43 PM on April 13, 2004


Don't think that just because you're not in the 18-25 age range that you can't or won't be drafted. =) If the army starts running out of youngsters, us older folks will start winning the lottery.
posted by geeknik at 12:44 PM on April 13, 2004


Spacelegoman - I would put my money on B as well, I suppose. But half-assed nation building is a wonderful way to seed the future with new wars. Maybe the extreme hawks that call for "nuking Iraq into the stone age" have already foreseen this future and are just looking out for everybody's best global interest. It's going to be an interesting century.

Oh, and inksyndicate, you may be surprised to learn that we still have troops in Afghanistan and that Kosovo and Somalia are not exactly peaches and cream just now...
posted by badstone at 12:52 PM on April 13, 2004


oh, ok. But wouldn't we need fewer troops if we're just letting the government go to hell?
posted by inksyndicate at 12:53 PM on April 13, 2004


Nader merely using such nonsense to sare folks into supporting him. McCain on TV last evening said there would be no draft because what was need was special forces guys, career types, trained etc and draftees would not fit the bill. But then it is not MCain nor the draft board who will decide these things. What is very worrisome is that when in the past there was a draft, you knew it ended when the war ended. The War against Terror has no end and therefore we may well be forever stuck with a draft! But then, the military may well be one of the few careers open in the near future...
posted by Postroad at 12:55 PM on April 13, 2004


Also according to the Nader campaign, cats cause leukemia. Selective Service has remained conspicuously silent on the matter, but is clearly expressing its opinion by failing to draft cats of legal military age. At the same time, the armed forces have not ruled out replacing depleted uranium weapons with depleted cat weapons, in their zeal to cause cancer wherever possible in the Arab world.

*goes back to fashioning crude tinfoil propellor beanie*
posted by stonerose at 1:21 PM on April 13, 2004


Bleh. A draft is unlikely as we have most of the humdrum no-brainer jobs filled. Its the experts, the technicians, the special forces, and the vairous auxilliary squads needed. And you really can't draft people into those.

And as a military member, no no no NO! A draft would really not be good. How would you like working with people that only work there to stay out of prison? I chose to come here; hopefully that will continue to be the policy.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 1:22 PM on April 13, 2004


Lord Chancellor, your 'volunteer' military is already composed of a great many people who only work there to stay out of prison... they're called poor, young, black men. Or gun fodder. And that's one of the reasons so many of us are especially pissed off about Bush's callous waste of lives: because whether it's for penal or economic reasons, a lot of these kids being blown apart don't really have a choice in the matter.

This isn't meant to denigrate the role played by the many brave men and women who willingly allow themselves to be put in harm's way to perform important tasks - exactly the opposite, in fact.
posted by stonerose at 1:28 PM on April 13, 2004


Should the Draft Be Reinstated?
With U.S. forces stretched thin and many reservists on full-time duty, some urge a draft for reasons of fairness and practicality. Opponents say it's unnecessary and dangerous. Time Magazine, Dec 21, 2003


previous MeFi threads about possible reinstatement of the draft here and here

have you got your lighters ready?
posted by matteo at 1:28 PM on April 13, 2004


I think Ralph needs to stick to blowing up Pintos.
posted by Rob1855 at 1:28 PM on April 13, 2004


http://www.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/breaking_3.html

I'd assume this is to free up more soldiers for Iraq.

And no, I don't understand how tags work, thank you.
posted by Spacelegoman at 1:47 PM on April 13, 2004


Men aged 18-25

I hope the feminists campaign against this gross gender discrimination on their 25th April rally!
posted by SpaceCadet at 1:57 PM on April 13, 2004


There are several reasons for the draft. As stated above we're running out of people and using old men (in their 40s) from the reserves. A recent Esquire article talks at length about the Wild West atmosphere of Iraq and how you can go through Baghdad and not see an American soldier at all.

But of course there are several alternatives. Allowing more volunteers in (this will certainly be done for the draft) or get people to avoid jail time by going to war (this was done to a friend of mine after being caught with a small amount of weed at a busted party).

And if there is a draft Bush will lose all support for the war. Many middle-age baby boomer parents remember Vietnam but don't consider the situation now like Vietnam. They may love Bush but the second a draft appears they'll quickly jump ship -- probably for good reason. anecdotally, my own mother is the stereotypical MADD, "i hate everything" conservative mother who said she'd vote for Nadar if need be to keep the draft from happening. I can imagine there are millions and millions just like her.
posted by geoff. at 1:59 PM on April 13, 2004


If they start the draft up again and I get picked in the lottery, I'll call discrimination and refuse to do serve unless women get drafted as well.

/ignorant crazy talk
posted by sciurus at 2:00 PM on April 13, 2004


I should also add, that even though I am no expert, today's army is no like the 1960s where you can give a grunt a gun and yell at him, then send him out to combat. From my understanding modern squad warfare is so complicated, I can't imagine the benefit of taking the time to train someone for only 18 months of duty.
posted by geoff. at 2:01 PM on April 13, 2004


I'd assume this is to free up more soldiers for Iraq.

Either that, or to prevent them from getting turned into glass when he fucks up Korea like he fucked up Iraq. After all, if we're as sanguine when the residents of Seoul get torn to shreds as we have been about the residents of Iraqi towns, all Bush has to worry about is keeping dead soldiers off the news.

*waves at stavrosthewonderchicken, ponders taking up a collection to bring him home to Canada*
posted by stonerose at 2:07 PM on April 13, 2004


I wouldn't say that, stonerose. As a poor, young, white man, I felt a financial pressure that well influenced my decision to join the military (up until four days before my choice, I was fiercly anti-military). Not many people have the total freedom to do what we want, and we all have our pressures that might slides us into a life style. But each person had to sign on the dotted line in the end. And that counts for something. What would you do about?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:08 PM on April 13, 2004


Pat Buchanan weighs in on the should-we-stay-or-should-we-go issue. Of course, being Pat Buchanan, he misses the obvious third option (I'dpersonally say the only option), asking the UN to take over, which Kerry says he'll do.

re: the high tech, well trained soldiers issue that Lord Chancellor brings up, yes it is Rummy's wet dream that all American soldiers be Robocops, but the truth is we're just trying to replace the saps in the Iraqi "army" that were supposed to fill in for US troops, but instead they either refuse to fight or are too incompetent too. An American draftee with six weeks of training probably actually would do a better job.

And thank goodness SpaceCadet is here to keep this thread on target.
posted by badstone at 2:18 PM on April 13, 2004


If they start the draft up again and I get picked in the lottery, I'll call discrimination and refuse to do serve unless women get drafted as well.

Not if you're expecting a woman to drag your injured, limp, and clinging-to-life body out of harm's way while taking enemy fire from all directions.
posted by Witty at 2:20 PM on April 13, 2004


Can I just get it out in public one more time? I'm gay. Gay, gay, gay. You didn't ask, but I'm telling. NOTE TO SELECTIVE SERVICE COMMITTEE: I am gay. Fuck off. Actually, tell you what: Give me the right to get married to another guy, and I won't burn my draft card. Deal?

That said, I don't think this is crazy talk; I suspect the notion's been put on the table a few times by now somewhere in the government. I've been seeing mentions of a post-election draft (obviously this is assuming Bush wins) turn up in several articles that aren't even necessarily on the topic. Somebody's definitely buzzing somewhere...
posted by logovisual at 2:27 PM on April 13, 2004


I understand those pressures, Lord Chancellor, and I am clear-eyed about the fact that they'll never be completely absent. What I would want from my government is the following:

-To ensure that all kids have a reasonable minimum standard of access to quality education, healthcare, training, and freedom from violence.

-A penal system that, to the full extent it's appropriate to do so, emphasizes rehabilitation and training for young offenders, to offer them hope.

-A civilian leadership that respects the lives and deaths of its people, and other people around the world, to such an extent that it avoids sending them on ill-advised military adventures.

Now, one can argue about the meaning and operationalization of each one of these. But the growing consensus is that Bush doesn't seem to give a shit about any of them. He cuts social programmes, cuts support for military families, emphasizes harsh "justice" rather than communication and diplomacy (both at home and abroad), prosecutes a bafflingly inept war, and has the sickening gall to keep Americans from watching the coffins of their servicemen roll in because it would threaten his chances for re-election.

Is this really the way to create a force of committed, dedicated servicemen and women? Is this the way to show respect to military families? Is this the way to ensure that people who choose military service are doing so for the right reasons? American values, my ass. Bush is a sociopath, divorced from the realities that impact the decisions of the people he sends to die for his interests.
posted by stonerose at 2:27 PM on April 13, 2004


Not if you're expecting a woman to drag your injured, limp, and clinging-to-life body out of harm's way while taking enemy fire from all directions.

Right, Witty. For that task, you want a gym-toned, highly-motivated, never-leaves-his-buddies-behind (or his buddy's behind) FAGGOT. That's right: you need us. So why do you keep us out of the military?

And big ol' brush-cut, military bull-dyke lesbos. They're good for dragging wounded GI's to safety, too.
posted by stonerose at 2:31 PM on April 13, 2004


There is another option than the draft, one which we've been working towards for years. Up military pay and benefits to make even combat duty an exciting alternative to the attractive manufacturing career of burger construction. Offer special citizen rights to military personel and veterans. Indoctrinate Educate the young into the military mindset that there are people who want to destroy "freedom" and they must be opposed. Tax the livin' bejeesus out of those unpatriotic America haters who don't serve. In essence, turn America into a military state.

Note to the paranoid: I'm not saying that this will happen to the degree it could, but it is an option. After all, a nation at permanent war with concepts (drugs, terror, pornography) must be prepared to fight to the end, that never comes ...
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:33 PM on April 13, 2004


I have been an officer in the army, and still communicate with many of my still-serving friends who are still in. There is ZERO desire among anyone in the military that I know for a resumption of conscription.

Many of the things that you are seeing in Iraq now, from the rotation of whole units (as opposed to rotating individual soldiers) to the emphasis on massive uses of force during actual combat, to an aversion to conscript armies, are direct responses to the military's analysis of why Vietnam went so wrong.


Commanders want smart, talented, professional soldiers. They don't want to ride herd on a bunch of conscripts who, while just as smart, talented and patriotic as anyone else, don't really want to be in uniform.

The solution to this problem will work itself out without conscription -- they can do things like raise military pay and benefits above the abysmal levels that they are at today, or they can offer more predictable rotations, etc, but I will wager just about anything that there will be no conscription.
posted by stupidcomputernickname at 2:43 PM on April 13, 2004


Actually, Wulfgar!, we were having a "long view" brainstorming session at work a few weeks back, where we all played armchair futurist trying to decide what technologies (and in our particular interest, technology training and education) will be important in the mid-term future, say 20-30 years from now. One of the proposals that came up is that the US will turn into a sort of military service economy. As all the manufacturing, office, and high tech jobs move overseas, the one big advantage we have left is military capacity. So, the US officially becomes the world's police force, and most of the economy is directed towards a profit-making military. Sort of like what you are talking about, but more capitalist than fascist.
posted by badstone at 2:46 PM on April 13, 2004


Right, Witty. For that task, you want a gym-toned, highly-motivated, never-leaves-his-buddies-behind (or his buddy's behind) FAGGOT.

And big ol' brush-cut, military bull-dyke lesbos. They're good for dragging wounded GI's to safety, too.


You'll get no argument from me.
posted by Witty at 2:51 PM on April 13, 2004


Not if you're expecting a woman to drag your injured, limp, and clinging-to-life body out of harm's way while taking enemy fire from all directions.

If my body is all those things I'd rather just have my fellow soldier put a bullet in my head and be done with it.
posted by sciurus at 3:04 PM on April 13, 2004


Anyone who needs out if drafted--I'll vouch for your homosexuality and our everlasting love if it'll help get you out. (I mean it.)
posted by amberglow at 3:12 PM on April 13, 2004


There's no way I'd defend the U.S. of America - I disagree with to much of what the country does. That from someone who was born, raised, pays taxes, and continues to live in the mid-west.
posted by LowDog at 3:17 PM on April 13, 2004


Then move, please, LowDog.
posted by keswick at 3:20 PM on April 13, 2004


Exactly.
posted by Witty at 3:23 PM on April 13, 2004


i wonder if this will shift american policy on how to fight wars. they're very much into superior technology, which requires expertise. now they're stuck with not enough experts. what are they going to do in the long term to resolve this? are they hoping that the technology will get simple enough for unskilled use? are they going to try swing public opinion towards accepting mass deaths and return to a more traditional approach? hire foreign experts? make miltary help (ie foreign gun fodder) a requisite for trade?

[on preview - since when does dissent mean you have to leave the country? boy, you must be proud of your freedom, you people.]
posted by andrew cooke at 3:28 PM on April 13, 2004


Dissent is one thing. Dissent all you want. Lord knows I do.

"There's no way I'd defend the U.S. of America."

Inexcusable, no matter how you slice it.

I'm not willing to fight in Iraq; it's not in our defense or best interest. If a battle came to our shores, you bet your ass I'd be there, ready to die for this country.
posted by keswick at 3:34 PM on April 13, 2004


A draft would be an absurdly blunt instrument to solve a very narrow problem.

The greatest enlistment shortfalls that would be likely to occur, including both an increase in force levels and a decrease in volunteerism at current incentives, would be in the 100,000 to 150,000 a year range, which is a fraction of one percent of the total population between 18 and 29.

Very minor changes in incentives (either to join the military, or the incentives NOT to join the military, such as federal student aid programs which compete with the GI Bill) would do the trick.
posted by MattD at 3:37 PM on April 13, 2004


[on preview - since when does dissent mean you have to leave the country? boy, you must be proud of your freedom, you people.]

Well, it's not just dissent, its a claim that the United States no longer deserves his ability to defend it. It's not saying that he objects to military service, it's say that he objects to service to the United States. The country he lives in. You don't have to agree with the things a country does to defend it, in fact, I don't like a lot of what the U.S. does now. But that's not the point. I care about what the U.S. represents, about the ideals, about a good republic that was founded on good principles that I love dearly, and about that fact that anything like that, like family, you won't ever stop looking for faults, but you won't ever stop defending either.

If your dislike the dream or the reality to the point where you no longer will defend it in some way (whether through military, civic, or just sticking up for the name of that dream) I would wonder why you still live here. Certainly not to make things better.

I hope I don't sound overly patriotic, because patriotism usually gives me hives.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 3:38 PM on April 13, 2004


If a battle came to our shores, you bet your ass I'd be there, ready to die for this country.

Me too--just like the Iraqis (unless it was Canada invading--they'd be good for us). altho i'd probably be better at sabotage than actual combat
posted by amberglow at 3:41 PM on April 13, 2004


Anyone who needs out if drafted--I'll vouch for your homosexuality and our everlasting love if it'll help get you out. (I mean it.)

Don't ask, don't tell!
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:41 PM on April 13, 2004


I can't believe there will be a draft. There was a fundamental difference between Vietnam and Iraq - the existance of the Soviet Union. These days, there is no prospect of another Superpower attacking the United States. As such, the US is able to devote proportionally more of it's forces to Iraq than would have been possible in the Cold War.
posted by salmacis at 3:56 PM on April 13, 2004


I would wonder why you still live here

Where exactly are we supposed to go?
posted by cmonkey at 3:59 PM on April 13, 2004


Canada? Europe? I don't know. You're the ones that hate America. (tongue half in cheek)
posted by keswick at 4:07 PM on April 13, 2004


So when I turn 26 in a few months, does that mean that I'm no longer in the primary draft group?
posted by waldo at 4:12 PM on April 13, 2004


Where exactly are we supposed to go?

Elsewhere? Europe is really nice and I would live there if I didn't live here. Really, if you are to the point where you not only hate what the nation currently is, but are to the point where the dream that the nation is trying to achieve isn't worth fighting for, then there has to be a better country.

(But if you stayed, I hope it is because there is something in the U.S. worth fighting for that you can't find elsewhere. . . I can hope.)
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:14 PM on April 13, 2004


No, really, I'm genuinely curious which country the "love it or leave it" crowd imagine to have such lax immigration laws that they'll welcome an influx of disgruntled Americans with skills that would just compete with the existing population.

I stay only because I have no other option.
posted by cmonkey at 4:21 PM on April 13, 2004


no matter where you go, something's gonna be missing or wrong. it's not "love it or leave it", it's "love it or work to fix it or be a parasitic asshole."
posted by badstone at 4:22 PM on April 13, 2004


Okay, cmonkey, where would you rather live then? I mean, you don't have to love the place that you're from; it's just preferential since you, er, live there. I mean, where is it so much better? (or better in the ways that are important to you?)
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:25 PM on April 13, 2004


cmonkey:
Hear hear! It's not as if we have the option to emigrate to another industrialised nation where we could make a living. I would seriously love the opportunity to live and work in, say, one of the EU Member States. Yet it is practically impossible to qualify for a work visa. In fact, it's much easier for most Europeans to immigrate to the U.S. than vice-versa.
posted by sixdifferentways at 4:54 PM on April 13, 2004


keswick, weren't you going to leave Mefi because you didn't like it here? If you're going to ask someone else to leave the country, the least you could do is set a good example and leave the website as promised. Send a postcard!

Just quit telling people to love it or leave it. Please.
posted by letitrain at 4:54 PM on April 13, 2004




Well said.

letittrain: your inability to understand a single word i've been saying is impressive. i stand in awe.

posted by keswick at 5:11 PM on April 13, 2004


Lord Chancellor: I'd give it a go in any country with a fairly temperate climate.

But since I'd fail to pass any country's immigration criteria, having neither refugee status nor a college degree, I have no choice but to stay here.
posted by cmonkey at 5:15 PM on April 13, 2004


Oops. I mean "well said" in response to to "love it or work to improve it or be a parasitic asshole."
posted by keswick at 5:16 PM on April 13, 2004


One thing to keep in mind is that the military doesn't want a draft. Drafting was useful decades ago, when countries fought wars by tossing large numbers of unskilled recruits at each other. The US doesn't really fight that way anymore. Due to the difficult and lengthy training process, as well as the expensive equipment, from the military's standpoint it's unproductive to waste time with an unskilled draftee. Add in the fact that the most effective American military tactics involve either small elite units or precision weapons that require skill to use, and you have a situation where the military really wouldn't have any use for the draftees.
posted by unreason at 5:18 PM on April 13, 2004


Oh, bullshit. There's plenty of second and third world countries who would love to have you. Oh, America suddenly doesn't look so bad, eh?

Also, I find it hard to believe that Canada's immigration laws are that strict, but I'll freely admit I am ignorant of them.
posted by keswick at 5:20 PM on April 13, 2004


But unreason, I honestly wonder if what you're saying is entirely true now that the military's new mission apparently includes policing civilian populations on a long term basis. Do we need high tech for that?
posted by badstone at 5:26 PM on April 13, 2004


the military's new mission apparently includes policing civilian populations on a long term basis. Do we need high tech for that?

No, but you need something even more important: high skill. Policing requires much more experience and training if it's to be done right. You need to deal with a lot of different situations. You basically need to know everything about being a soldier, plus everything about being a policeman in a city where most of the population won't talk to you or trust you. It's actually even more important in these sorts of cases that you not use a draftee. You can make equipment that's easy to use, but you can't make the mission easier.
posted by unreason at 5:33 PM on April 13, 2004


...and your position in the draft will be determined by your ranking in Counter-Strike...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:35 PM on April 13, 2004


You can move pretty much anywhere in southeast Asia and teach English. You don't even need a degree to do it... just speak English.

You basically need to know everything about being a soldier, plus everything about being a policeman in a city where most of the population won't talk to you or trust you.

...or speak the language.
posted by Witty at 5:38 PM on April 13, 2004


...or speak the language.

Exactly. So what I'm getting at is that this is a pretty complex job, and it's not the kind of thing where you can grab some draftee of off the street, hand him a gun, and shove him out onto the battlefield. It requires experience, and it requires motivation.
posted by unreason at 5:43 PM on April 13, 2004


badstone, I think that the clueless would rather argue the mundanely obvious than think of the efficacy involved in transforming our union into a military state. That scares me, a great deal, because our leaders aren't so shallowly informed.
posted by Wulfgar! at 6:27 PM on April 13, 2004


From my understanding modern squad warfare is so complicated, I can't imagine the benefit of taking the time to train someone for only 18 months of duty.

For people who wondered why Microsoft got off so easy in the last anti-trust....its so they could make the X box, put SOCOM on it and let the military get training for free!

*removes tounge from cheek*
posted by rough ashlar at 8:18 PM on April 13, 2004


I come from a long line of military people...and I personally wouldn't join the military. (I don't follow orders well. I barely take direction well.) That said, were some country dumb enough to actually attempt a land invasion on the US, sure I'd be out there sabotaging them at every turn. But mostly cause I think it would fun to blow things up. I like it when things go boom.

All anarchistic kidding aside, I think a draft is possible. I've been told by more than one person at socom that it's not only possible, but that a specialized draft is likely. The magic age isn't going to be a factor...it's what you know.

Do seasoned vets want draft kids in the field? Oh good god, no. But running the computer systems...why not? No reason to waste a perfectly good, fit and able soldier in that position, when an old geek will do ya.

Just saying...the draft is likely to pull from the digerati this time around.
posted by dejah420 at 9:19 PM on April 13, 2004


One thing to keep in mind is that the military doesn't want a draft. Drafting was useful decades ago, when countries fought wars by tossing large numbers of unskilled recruits at each other. The US doesn't really fight that way anymore. Due to the difficult and lengthy training process, as well as the expensive equipment, from the military's standpoint it's unproductive to waste time with an unskilled draftee. Add in the fact that the most effective American military tactics involve either small elite units or precision weapons that require skill to use, and you have a situation where the military really wouldn't have any use for the draftees.

Unfortunately the civillians in charge of the Pentagon basically hate the military. They like war, but they could give two flips about what any generalor other high-ranking military figure thinks. It is also worth noting that these same disdainful jagoffs (to be objective) also think we do still live in the Cold War world. The absolute last factor that will come into play in the formulation of any of our military policy as long as the Bush administration is around is what the top militray experts are thinking.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:59 AM on April 14, 2004


I didn't read the thread. I am a bad man.

I fucking pray for a draft. That'll bring this simmering puss-pot to a head, right fucking quick. And bring down the Junta before you can say 'puppet fucktard macaroni.'

Which isn't a long time at all, if you think about it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:59 AM on April 14, 2004


'puss', of course, meaning 'pus', except in states where that sort of shit is prohibited by law.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:01 AM on April 14, 2004


I care about what the U.S. represents, about the ideals, about a good republic that was founded on good principles

So...in other words, you are willing to go to war and kill people to defend a fantasy, while consciously choosing to ignore the reality that exists around you now. Some people would term that pathological, yanno.

There is no room for patriotism in one with a commitment to truth. When your country is moral and good, you support it; when it is not, you denounce it. If you are lucky it is moral and good more often than it is not, but there are no guarantees (you were, after all, born in your particular nation purely by chance and had zero effect upon its moral character before you were born and damned little since).
posted by rushmc at 8:25 AM on April 14, 2004


When you have a draft, you risk putting more kids in the field like the guy who fired a missile at a man with a slingshot. Or is that the point?
posted by stonerose at 8:48 AM on April 14, 2004


1. Nationalism is a dangerous and antiquated arrangement of peoples. With the exception of organizing the Olympics. This is only the tip of an iceberg full of reasons why one might choose to not defend an amorphous (as some might see it) abstraction.

B. I would support a mandatory public-military service draft -- peacetime, wartime, what-have-you-time. Not in combat roles necessarily but a mandatory service that gives every single individual in any country one single shared common civil experience.

#. Perhaps a swarming number of grunt-like, rifle totin' bodies is exactly the missing element in warfare: fewer numbers of soldiers on the battlefield/filed of occupation opens the way for ample nefarious activities by a population. (Said with a wink and a nod to Stavros...)
posted by Dick Paris at 8:59 AM on April 14, 2004


I think we're going to be stuck with Nationalism for a while yet. It's what you get when you average over all the people in the world who are still tribal/local/familial in their identity and the people who are global/universal in their identity.
posted by badstone at 10:13 AM on April 14, 2004


(you were, after all, born in your particular nation purely by chance and had zero effect upon its moral character before you were born and damned little since)

If you were born in it.

So...in other words, you are willing to go to war and kill people to defend a fantasy, while consciously choosing to ignore the reality that exists around you now. Some people would term that pathological, yanno.

I suppose so, in a way. I mean, sometimes principles are the only things that mean anything. It doesn't sound good that way, but it is in a way true. Of course, you work to right the reality is the point, but you still have to fight for it.

I mean, if not for priciples, what else are we willing to defend?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 11:31 AM on April 14, 2004


Nations are worth maintaining (and defending) as they are at present the most effective scale of organization of humans. Individual tribes or city-states are no longer the most effective simply because we have learned to effectively organize at a larger scale. On the other end, we are not yet advanced enough socially, culturally, and technologically to organize effectively on a global scale (e.g. - compare what the US is capable of versus what the UN is capable of.) As nice as a truly global perspective sounds while you're contemplating you Buddha nature, when it comes to working for real change, nations are still the most effective and practical at this point in human development. Also, bear in mind that the majority of the people around you don't even truly have nation-scale consciousness, they are still at the tribal level in that they know and care more about their local sports team, bad, or PTA than they know and care about what is happening in D.C.

Nationalism has its obvious downsides and in an ideal world we would all jump right up to the level of universal consciousness, but it's not an ideal world, so we do the best we can. Defend your nation (from external and internal threats like bad presidents), maintain it's integrity, and identify and work to correct its weaknesses.
posted by badstone at 2:03 PM on April 14, 2004


I mean, if not for priciples, what else are we willing to defend?

By all means, defend your principles! Little, if anything, that you can do is more important. But make sure that that is, in fact, what you are doing when politicians send you off to kill people on their claim that it is necessary. The Founding Fathers had some brilliant ideas and the Constitution is a superior document...but neither are much represented in either the government or the society of the United States in 2004, and less so every day.
posted by rushmc at 2:23 PM on April 14, 2004


...but neither are much represented in either the government or the society of the United States in 2004, and less so every day.

In your humble opinion.
posted by Witty at 2:29 PM on April 14, 2004


By all means, defend your principles! Little, if anything, that you can do is more important. But make sure that that is, in fact, what you are doing when politicians send you off to kill people on their claim that it is necessary. The Founding Fathers had some brilliant ideas and the Constitution is a superior document...but neither are much represented in either the government or the society of the United States in 2004, and less so every day.


This is where you and I disagree then. Though there is much that is imperfect now, and some that was better than but fallen now, I would say that the United States, that government, that contract between individuals and society evolves and grows. Sure there are birth pangs. Sure governments become ill or evil sometimes. But we owe it to ourselves to stay the true as long as we can. To work constantly inside the bounds of the system to make it better as long as we can. And though the hour is dark, it is not as dark as you say, to the point of giving up the patient. There are good representatives. There are good systems of democratic government that are active right now, inside the nation. Maybe not a lot of focus is placed on them, but upon their back the system rests; and as long as they strain, so will I. So while you overreact and cry to abandon ship, I will not. And there are many that are with me. America is a passionate idea, or it is nothing.

(I keep sounding jingoistic when I say things like this. It's not intentional as I said patriotism gives me hives. And believe me, I wish a suitable global government existed. Really. I like people. All people. *sigh*)
posted by Lord Chancellor at 4:11 PM on April 14, 2004


.
posted by Witty at 8:57 PM on April 14, 2004


You are correct, Lord Chancellor, this is indeed where we disagree. You can say I'm overreacting and I can say you're afraid to face the reality and so deluding yourself with wishfulfillment, but it won't bring us any closer. Time, alone, will prove who was more right.
posted by rushmc at 9:36 AM on April 15, 2004


What rushmc said.
BTW - defend the U.S. of America... did I mention, been there/did that - '68, '69' & '70 - never again. I'll defend me and mine to the death, but not the likes of those that run the U.S. government.
posted by LowDog at 6:30 PM on April 15, 2004


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