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draft military exodus
May 29, 2004 11:03 PM   Subscribe

According to this article: The military may see a "mass exodus that will reach the hemorrhage point by mid-2005." Just in time for the return of the draft. (links via Buzzflash)
posted by thedailygrowl (53 comments total)

 
Just for kicks - anyone wanna tell me who Soldiers for The Truth is? I'm not up for researching them at this hour - readers digest version please.

Are they, for example, a group with an axe to grind about the Iraq war?

If so, why is that FPP material again?

Can't you people do the simple thing and just post, once a day - George W. Bush is a chimp, and his war on Iraq is evil incarnate. Down with Bushitler?

It would be way easier than slogging through random blog-posts, groups like ANSWER, CommonDreams, and SFTT every day.

Just saying.

--Swerdloff: Trying to keep the level of utility of Metafilter from falling into total partisan crap levels since 2002.
posted by swerdloff at 11:42 PM on May 29, 2004


haha, bush broke the military.

what a fucktard.
posted by delmoi at 11:55 PM on May 29, 2004


swerdloff

I've developed this system. If a mefi post dosn't look like it would be intresting, I don't read it. It works pretty well.
posted by delmoi at 11:56 PM on May 29, 2004



Are they, for example, a group with an axe to grind about the Iraq war?

If so, why is that FPP material again?


Because if they are a group of soldiers who have an axe to grind with the Iraq war y'all should probably fucking listen, that's why.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:01 AM on May 30, 2004


Swerdloff
Post was'nt meant to bash Bush or the admin other than to point out a current exodus reality that SFFT has uncovered and the timing of impending draft legislation, which I thought was an interesting juxtaposition. I think troop readiness is a very valid concern for the U.S. Lets not dust it under the carpert as a partisan issue.
--
Soldiers For The Truth is a grass-roots educational organization started by a small group of concerned veterans and citizens to inform the public, the Congress, and the media on the decline in readiness of our armed forces. It is a non-profit organization under section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal revenue Code.

Inspired by the outspoken idealism of retired Colonel David Hackworth, SFTT aims to give our service people, veterans, and retirees a clear voice with the media, Congress, the public and their services.

SFTT has become a full-time, results-oriented, reform-delivering outfit that’s causing serious changes in our military by constantly pushing to get our troops the right gear, the right leadership and the right training.

The hot skinny from the troops and our ahead-of-the-pack reporting keeps us running and gunning, fighting for our grunts every step of the way.
posted by thedailygrowl at 12:13 AM on May 30, 2004


Military: War not deterring recruits (Tallahassee Democrat, May 23 2004)

Recruiting not affected by Iraq events (Naples Daily News, May 25 2004)



This is an exodus?
posted by dagny at 12:13 AM on May 30, 2004


anyone wanna tell me who Soldiers for The Truth is?

Here's a biography of their co-founder and the article's author, Col. David Hackworth.
posted by homunculus at 12:13 AM on May 30, 2004


The Air Force has achieved about 99 percent of their recruiting goal for the remainder of this fiscal year (which ends on on September 30, 2004)

"We're still going to accept highly qualified applicants, who show a strong desire to join the Air Force and are willing to be very flexible when it comes to job assignment," one Air Force Recruiter told me. "The biggest change is going to be that we can afford to pick and choose among applicants. I expect fewer waivers to be considered, and those who aren't willing to be very flexible about taking what jobs are available, are not going to be able to enlist during this period."

Talk about a crisis!
posted by dagny at 12:16 AM on May 30, 2004


But why read actual statistics when Hackworth can quote "what hundreds of soldiers have told me during the past few weeks".. sigh. Buzzflash links sure make for great FPP material...
posted by dagny at 12:20 AM on May 30, 2004


The bio of the article's author.
posted by nathan_teske at 12:20 AM on May 30, 2004


Sorry dagny, but people leaving the military has not a whole lot to do with new, inexperienced people wanting to join.

The Bush job market can take care of that.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:36 AM on May 30, 2004


I think this reflects ideological changes among recruits more than anything else, a change I expect happens during many wars.

Many of the National Guard and reservist recruits, which make up a very large proportion of the of troops currently serving in Iraq, signed up before 9-11-2001 for the typical 4-year stint. Now I would never question the dedication nor the valor of our uniformed defenders, but I would bet that many of them signed up primarily to pay for college, or get a home loan, or get technical training, rather than out of patriotic imperative. If they were really interested in going to war, they would have enlisted for active duty. In any case, the point is that the service requirements for pre-9-11 recruits are ending soon and en masse.

But from the data others have posted, it looks like enlistments are pretty much steady. What this indicates to me is, like I said, a changing ideology. Those who enlist now expect to go to war. They are aware that by enlisting in the military now they will probably be in danger, and as such we must assume that they are willing to face that danger and support the policy that puts it in their way. I would argue that an army made of these types of soldiers, who volunteered because they believe in the mission, will only will make our military stronger.
posted by ChasFile at 12:47 AM on May 30, 2004


On the way home from the races tonight, we were listening to the radio when a commercial for the National Guard came on.

When it said "Most National Guard members serve one weekend a month and two weeks every year" everyone in the van busted up laughing.

My son's and daughter's best friends' fathers each just got back from one-year tours of duty in Iraq (one is a firefighter, the other a communications specialist) and as soon as they got home they filed the paperwork to resign their positions. These are men who both served in Gulf War I and had no problems re-enlisting after that, but this round they've decided it's time to get the fuck out.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:48 AM on May 30, 2004


My son's and daughter's best friends' fathers

This is a gay couple who both served and whose adopted child is the best friend of your son and daughter? Please elaborate...
posted by ChasFile at 12:56 AM on May 30, 2004


I think it's fairly clear to most people with a minimal comprehension of the English language, ChasFile, but I'll spell it out for you anyway.

My son has a best friend whose father is in the National Guard.

My daughter has a best friend whose father is in the National Guard.

Collectively, these two men are my son's and daughter's best friends' fathers.

If there's anything else about my post that's confusing to you, please feel free to ask. I'm always more than happy to clear up these niggling questions for those whose reading comprehension seems to be lagging.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:16 AM on May 30, 2004


haha, bush broke the military.

HR 163 and S 89, both introduced in January of 2003 (before the Iraq war began), have nothing to do with current events or plans of the current administration. In fact, H.R 163 was introduced by Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY), and S. 89 was introduced by Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC). Aren't those D's after those names up there? I believe they are.

Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), a co-sponsor of H.R. 163, stated his reasons for co-sponsoring the bill.
Reinstituting the draft may seem unnecessary to some. But, it will ensure all Americans share in the cost and sacrifice of war. Without a universal draft, this burden weighs disproportionately on the shoulders of the poor the disadvantaged and minority populations.

It is my understanding that out of the 435 Members of this House and the 100 members of the Senate, only one -- only one -- has a child in active military service. Who are we to know the pain of war when we ourselves will not directly bear the brunt of that action? It won’t be us mourning the loss of a child or loved one. Maybe some of you in this Congress would think twice about voting for war in Iraq if you knew your child may be sent to fight in the streets of Baghdad?
Legislation as political soapbox. Impressive. Not to mention, manipulating 18-25 year old kids into voting for John Kerry when the electorate predictably blames this on Bush is particularly devious.
posted by David Dark at 4:07 AM on May 30, 2004


Legislation as political soapbox. Impressive. Not to mention, manipulating 18-25 year old kids into voting for John Kerry when the electorate predictably blames this on Bush is particularly devious.

It's sometimes good to step back from teh political cheerleading to realize that it's people's lives that are being played with here to achieve some dubious gain, and a threat of a draft is just one of those political reality checks that the 101st flying keyboarders squad seems to need more of.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:44 AM on May 30, 2004


I just wanted to point out that it was authored by Democrats, has been sitting in committee since early 2003, and likely will never be brought up for a vote. As long as we all know that this is a political ruse, a "threat", as you put it, then I have no problem discussing it in its proper terms.
posted by David Dark at 5:06 AM on May 30, 2004


An important point is missed here: if so many flock from the military, then many will flock to it because potential employment no longer exists (or shit jobs only)...
posted by Postroad at 5:47 AM on May 30, 2004


Dagny: you may want to look up what "exodus" means. Hint: it is almost the opposite of "enlisting".

Postroad: true theoretically, but at the current levels of unemployment this effect should already be in play... which some may say it already is.
posted by Ynoxas at 6:05 AM on May 30, 2004


I've served for 16 years (and counting) on active-duty, and my experience among my active-duty peers runs counter to what Hackworth claims. I have friends, co-workers, and neighbors who have been to Afghanistan, Jordan, Iraq, Oman, and Kuwait during the last year (and a sister who's deployed to Saudi & Kuwait), and none of them came home with plans to get out. Every one of them was proud of what they had done, and while they all admitted that that it was difficult "over there" while being separated from family, they all continue to serve and not one of them has expressed a desire to separate or retire at the first chance.
posted by davidmsc at 6:17 AM on May 30, 2004


An acquaintance of mine was a cook in the national guard. They sent him to Iraq & stuck a rifle in his hands. A few weeks later, he got shot twice in the chest & his best friend got killed. He survived with only bruises (flak jacket) so they put him back out on the streets the next day. He won't be enlisting again.

I have a cousin in the army and a cousin in the navy. Neither one will be enlisting again when their terms are up.

A friend of a friend is a reservist that is being forced to stay for some extra time. He won't be enlisting again.

I know another guy that is in the Coast Guard in Maryland. I think he's going to enlist again.

So of the 6 soldiers I have met or know of personally, 1 is dead, 4 are leaving asap, and one is re-enlisting. Those don't sound like good odds for our military.
posted by password at 6:22 AM on May 30, 2004


There is an entry at Snopes [ click here ] that addresses the issue of S 89 and HR 163, the bills cited in the article that is linked about the reinstatement of the draft. It would seem that these bills are not what they would appear, at first glance, to be.
posted by dryad at 7:18 AM on May 30, 2004


David Dark - the legislation is a disingenuous political ploy by the Democrats. It's exactly this kind of crap that is going to force me to vote for Nader. The Democrats are not acting as a true opposition to Bush, and I'm not having it.
posted by pyramid termite at 7:28 AM on May 30, 2004


swerdloff, maybe if you made a spiel like that for every post that may not support your political biases, you can again resume life in the bubble unchallenged?
posted by mcsweetie at 7:42 AM on May 30, 2004


pyramid termite: Thanks for your vote. I appreciate anyone who votes for Nader.
posted by davidmsc at 8:21 AM on May 30, 2004


davidmsc straps on his waterskis...
posted by Space Coyote at 8:26 AM on May 30, 2004


"waterskis" - ?
posted by davidmsc at 8:53 AM on May 30, 2004


swerdloff, maybe if you made a spiel like that for every post that may not support your political biases, you can again resume life in the bubble unchallenged?
We're still waiting for you to make a comment that isn't a one-line dismissal of any opinion not in your personal bubble.
posted by darukaru at 8:59 AM on May 30, 2004


Are there any figures on how many soldiers are quitting to enlist as mercenaries in Iraq? I mean, given a choice between crummy soldier's pay and "private contractor" rates for basically the same job with less supervision it seems like there would be an obvious choice for a lot of people.

It also seems to me that there should be no moral qualms if many enlisted people choose to become free-lancers. After all, the revolving door is well-oiled for their commanders as they flit between military posts, private corporate contracting, and politics.
posted by meehawl at 9:12 AM on May 30, 2004


Hackworth has a point, in that there will be a lot of people leaving. Out of the approximately 30 journals that I review regularly from soldiers, about half of them want to leave the military ASAP. This is an especially common opinion amongst the reservists.

As for the draft legislation, it was a way to make a point, but it's hardly an evil scheme that you should blame all Democrats for. It was only supported by a very small handful of Democrats -- such as Rangel, who sees the war as disproportionately sending young Blacks to risk their lives -- and isn't supported by the party as a whole.

I personally find it very disturbing that *ALL* Democrats and *ALL* Republicans are lumped into the same polarized, derided boats. It's damaging to democracy to assume that individual representatives aren't allowed to have their own opinions. It oversimplifies politics, and it does those people who are in politics in order to help our country no honor whatsoever.

I've also seen a whole lot of uninformed villification from Nader supporters of Kerry lately. The logic used is as such:
Democrat == BAD.
Kerry == Democrat.
Kerry == BAD.

Nevermind the positive words that Nader recently had to say about Kerry, or the things that Kerry has said or done in the past.

According to an interview with Nader after their meeting, Kerry told him, “Don’t judge me by the people who preceded me. You may have had a disagreement with Bill Clinton, or Al Gore, or the Democratic leadership in Congress.... but that’s not me. I have fought with you, I have been with you on a range of issues, and you should judge me by my record in the Senate.”

I think that's a fair thing to say, as he's arguably the most progressive Democratic candidate for president in decades. Hell, the League of Conservation Voters gives his a higher rating on environmental issues than even Kucinich.

A statement on Nader's website indicates that both Nader and Kerry share a "common determination” to "end corporate welfare", strengthen "the rights of 42 million non-unionized workers", and crack down on “corporate crime, fraud and abuse.” It also indicates that they will continue to talk and work together on issues.

I think that Nader sees some real potential in Kerry, *IF* he can maintain his independence from the ideologues in the Democratic Party. In that sense, Nader supporters can be of great value in keeping Kerry engaged on the issues. That said, it does no good for angry, polarized Nader ideologues (there are some in every party...) to automatically lump Kerry in with "the Democrats".

If you're a Nader supporter who would like Kerry to support a more progressive platform, then you should ask him to do so. That's why Nader and Kerry met, after all. That said, to what extent are you prepared to reward Kerry if he tries to address your concerns?
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:34 AM on May 30, 2004


I think we should be looking at who is not re-enlisting as far as their role in their unit is concerned. Units have built in losses which tend to decrease as the rank of the members increase. There will always be lots of new recruits to fill the slots (or fresh meat for the grinder as my Drill Sergeant used to say).
But when you start losing whole strata of soldiers, the problems begin. When all of the First Sergeants in your Brigade retire en masse, or four of your six CW2s retire and you do not have experienced people to fill their boots, then you have serious problems. Rank surely has its privileges, and experience is one of the unmentioned ones.
posted by TomSophieIvy at 10:00 AM on May 30, 2004


We're still waiting for you to make a comment that isn't a one-line dismissal of any opinion not in your personal bubble.

well to that I say, shine on you crazy diamonds! every one of you.
posted by mcsweetie at 10:24 AM on May 30, 2004


From the 'return of the draft' article:
Signed by Canada's minister of foreign affairs, John Manley, and U.S. Homeland Security director, Tom Ridge, the declaration involves a 30-point plan which implements, among other things, a "pre-clearance agreement" of people entering and departing each country. [Emphasis added.]
Does anyone know exactly what this agreement is - and what it would mean should the draft return?
posted by kickingtheground at 10:57 AM on May 30, 2004


My brother and two cousins (who are brothers) have enlisted in various branches of military in the last six months. Exodus, sure, but I think enough new blood is coming in where it'll only matter regarding experience.

The trouble with this is this guy's talking to people personally, not following numbers. Just like how I am in my obvservations. I could be right and think that the population of the military is going to stay around the same point. He could be right and think that there's an exodus and we're going to need a draft and we're all fucked, etc.

Problem is neither him or me, or really anyone here, has any idea what they're talking about. Apply that statement liberally to anything involving war, iraq, military, and pink fluffy bunnies, rinse, repeat. Thank you.
posted by angry modem at 12:54 PM on May 30, 2004


Well said, insomnia_lj.
posted by rushmc at 12:56 PM on May 30, 2004


at least the return of the draft in the USA (after only three decades) would regale us with the funny spectacle of thousands of "War On Terror" chickenhawks running away to Canada to evade said draft.
after all it's so much funnier to send less-educated, less-well-off people (sometimes even non-citizens) off to fight the very war one rabidly supports on various Internet sites.
Patriot acts, indeed.
posted by matteo at 2:51 PM on May 30, 2004


the return of the draft in the USA (after only three decades) would regale us with the funny spectacle of thousands of "War On Terror" chickenhawks running away to Canada to evade said draft.

Wow, that just sounds like a wet dream to you matteo. Boy, if only that would happen, it would prove once and for all that everyone who disagrees with you is a hypocrite!

One does not serve in the military, to support a foreign policy that used the military, much as one does not be a fireman, to support using the fire department to put out fires.

More so, as some one who volunteered, and has served in the military, I can tell you that volunteer Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines have no desire to work with conscripts. Our volunteer Armed Forces consider themselves professionals, and do not want to be slowed down buy people who do not want to be there.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:12 PM on May 30, 2004


One does not serve in the military, to support a foreign policy that used the military, much as one does not be a fireman, to support using the fire department to put out fires.

You know, that sentence does not make sense.
posted by y2karl at 3:45 PM on May 30, 2004


One does not have to serve in the military, to support a foreign policy that used the military, much as one does not have to be a fireman, to support using the fire department to put out fires.

Please excuse my fast typing.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:05 PM on May 30, 2004


I'm certainly glad that Rumsfeld is the SecDef. He is the #1 opponent to the draft in all of Washington.

Which makes me wonder about those people who so adamantly want to get rid of him. Granted, he has done a lot of controversial things, but as long as he is on the hot seat, I doubt a draft will be authorized(*).

(*) BTW, Congress doesn't actually have to pass a "draft bill". All it takes is a decision by the President. He already has the authority. And he hasn't. I wonder if Kerry wouldn't?
posted by kablam at 4:36 PM on May 30, 2004


"professionals" is a cute name for people who kill people for a living
posted by mr.marx at 5:52 PM on May 30, 2004


Please excuse my fast typing.

That's quite alright, we all make mistakes when we are in a hurry. I really did wonder what you were trying to say--which is why I made the comment..
posted by y2karl at 5:55 PM on May 30, 2004


"I think that Nader sees some real potential in Kerry"

KERRY/NADER '04
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:18 PM on May 30, 2004


Mr. Marx: "professionals" is a cute name for people who kill people for a living

First of all, not EVERYBODY who is in the military is a literal "trained killer." Medics, cooks, personnel specialists, chaplains, public affairs officers, missile maintenance, civil engineering, communications, computers, and many others.

Second of all, United States military personnel truly are professionals in every sense of the word. There is no finer military organization. Training - education - discipline - dedication - and so on.

"Profession: An occupation, the practice of which directly influences human well-being and requires mastery of a complex body of knowledge and specialized skills, requiring both formal education and practical experience."
posted by davidmsc at 8:33 PM on May 30, 2004


Second of all, United States military personnel truly are professionals in every sense of the word. There is no finer military organization.

Well, you would say that, wouldn't you?

But more seriously, the armed forces are probably better seen as a quasi-socialist microcosm of the job market, with a large base of skilled trades up to what are more commonly called 'professions'. Life's rich tapestry.

Problems are bound to arise when voluntary military service becomes a means to an end, rather than an end in itself; and when reliance upon reservists compromises the overall professionalism. I don't particularly want to single out the Torturers de Jour here, but they're exemplary of what happens when davidmsc's idealistic vision gets short-circuited by events.

What's worthy of speculation, I suppose, is the effect on recruitment, had Bush done the occupation of Iraq the 'right way' -- with perhaps double the number of troops on the ground, for longer tours of duty.
posted by riviera at 8:50 PM on May 30, 2004


insomnia - the logic is precisely like this -

Iraq war - Kerry voted yes
Patriot Act - Kerry voted yes
Big donations from corporate sponsors - Kerry said yes
Me - I'm voting no

And he DOES flip-flop.
posted by pyramid termite at 10:51 PM on May 30, 2004


There is no finer military organization. Training - education - discipline - dedication - and so on.

What's your source for this? It seems to be generally accepted that the British officer corps is the best-educated and highly-respected in the world, and I know that on the ground Canadian light infantry are considered to be much more reliable and skilled at carrying out missions than their American counter-parts.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:24 PM on May 30, 2004


just some interesting stats on desertion from the US army, and the US navy.
22,000 since 1997
posted by kev23f at 5:32 AM on May 31, 2004


My source for this is first-hand knowledge and history.

And meaning no disrespect at all to our British or Canadian allies.
posted by davidmsc at 7:23 AM on May 31, 2004


My source for this is first-hand knowledge and history.

And meaning no disrespect at all to our British or Canadian allies.


-This is not quite what my friends in the RN say. Rather, according to them our American allies have the best equipment whilst sailors in the RN are generally of a 'better'* standard.

* highly subjective based on ancedotal evidence.
posted by johnnyboy at 2:22 AM on June 1, 2004


pyramid termite -

Don't most politicians "flip-flop"? Why is it that Kerry takes such a beating on this, but Bush doesn't. Example: for months, the Administration refused to budge on an independent commission to investigate 9-11. Once it became obvious that Congress was going to set one up regardless of what the White House had to say about it, suddenly they were leading the charge on getting one set up.
posted by Irontom at 4:50 AM on June 1, 2004


"the ground Canadian light infantry are considered to be much more reliable and skilled"

Well, they have to be. When you don't have enough bullets for your guns, you gotta be very, very good at getting the shot in safely and dead accurately.

I'm almost at the point of voting for whichever PM candidate promises the most money and training to our military.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:00 AM on June 1, 2004


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