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Ready for WW4 ?
October 31, 2004 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Get Ready For WW4 : FOIA document details SSS preparations for a widespread draft to start with a callup of 36,000 doctors and nurses : an in depth analysis with a detailed timeline : "...the SSS is in fact preparing for the real possibility of a Skills, Medical and Combat Draft for 2005. Congress of course must still pass a 1-page trigger resolution reauthorizing current conscription law, but the Selective Service will by early 2005 have geared up the entire draft system and be prepared to register more than 40 million Americans for a new Skills Draft and the Medical Draft....The NY Times on Oct. 19 published a long article on a subcontractor, Widemeyer Communications, that over the summer consulted the SSS on how a Medical Draft could be started up with minimal attention. The SSS said 36,000 doctors and nurses would be taken in the first batch of draftees. Why would Bush need so many? 36,000 is a huge number....Wesley Clark charges in his book Winning Modern Wars, that a senior Pentagon official told him in 2001 that there was a 5-year plan to topple 7 countries" Here's the Seattle PI's take : "Administration's own actions fuel rumors of draft" Here's a Feb. 2003 document (~500k pdf) obtained under the FOIA, on the SSS plans for a widespread draft. (more inside)
posted by troutfishing (63 comments total)

 
Also discussed on these previous Metafilter threads (all from 2004 ) : October 25 : "Rock The Draft"
September 15: "John Edwards Says No Military Draft if Democrats Win"
May 29 : "Draft Military Exodus"
April 23: "Military Draft - Fact or Fiction?
March 14: "Do You Feel a Draft in The Air?"
posted by troutfishing at 11:23 AM on October 31, 2004


The general draft registration, by the way, would be required of all adults between the ages of 18 and 44.
posted by troutfishing at 11:25 AM on October 31, 2004


This sounds like yet another rumor on the Internets.

That said, such a draft wouldn't work without being noticed.
posted by oaf at 11:28 AM on October 31, 2004


How dare the democrats use such scare tactics in saying there might be a draft, shameful.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:29 AM on October 31, 2004


But I'm glad that my vision is so bad. And I have flat feet. So I'm pretty much unfit for combat.
posted by oaf at 11:30 AM on October 31, 2004


all adults between the ages of 18 and 44

That's 18 and 34. Still, for me, that's a long way off.
posted by oaf at 11:37 AM on October 31, 2004


Space Coyote,

Could you explain to the rest of us something? Bush needs troops. He can't get them from his allies (whose numbers are dwindling). He has no international support.

Where is he going to get these troops from? A plausible answer would help some of us sleep tonight, thanks.

Oh, and PLEASE don't say there won't be a draft because Bush said there wouldn't be one. This guy's promises are worth less than zero.
posted by xammerboy at 12:00 PM on October 31, 2004


(I wonder which keyword on this page triggered the "Gay & Lesbian drug rehab program." ad.)
posted by smackfu at 12:04 PM on October 31, 2004


You people will believe anything, won't you? Repeat after me: THERE WILL NOT BE A DRAFT. THERE WILL NOT BE A DRAFT. THERE WILL NOT BE A DRAFT.

And xammerboy: the President doesn't want a draft, the public doesn't want a draft, and the MILITARY doesn't want a draft.
posted by davidmsc at 12:07 PM on October 31, 2004


Excuse me. It ain't up to Bush about the draft. Ever heard of Congress?
posted by konolia at 12:08 PM on October 31, 2004


davidmsc, how is it relevant whether or not he wants a draft? If he keeps the country at war, he'll NEED more troops. Why is that so difficult to comprehend? Where do you expect he will get them?

It's with good reason that you and no one else who believes there'll not be a draft can answer this question: there is no answer besides a draft. If you've got one, we'd love to hear it. Otherwise, you can suggest everyone else is daft and gullible all you want but it's you that comes across that way.
posted by dobbs at 12:20 PM on October 31, 2004


oaf - you're right. It's 44 (with NO deferments for health reasons) if you've got medical skills :

"On October 4, Republican Rep. Tom Delay attempted to defuse fears about a Bush Draft by calling for a vote on Democrat Charlie Rangel’s protest legislation HR163, which would have (1) expanded the draft from only men 18–25, to women and men aged 18–34, and (2) reinstated the compulsory draft immediately. Not only was the legislation defeated by a vote of 402–2, Rangel voted against his own bill—a House first. The Republicans are saying that since the Rangel legislation has been defeated, no one need worry about a re-instatement of the draft if President Bush is re-elected.

The truth is that any President can go to Congress under the Military Selective Service Act, the current registration law, and ask for re-authorization of the Combat Draft. All Congress need do is pass a 1-page “trigger resolution” and the Combat Draft for men 18–25 is back. At the same time, the Medical Draft is automatically activated for men and women, 18–44, with no deferments for health reasons."


davidmsc - can I give you a drum to beat while you do that chant ?

Funny - I recall the same sort of tone when people were first discussing the (then "unthinkable" or "absurd") possibility that the US would invade Iraq (again).
posted by troutfishing at 12:21 PM on October 31, 2004


Actually, dobbs, it's the libs who come across as gullible -- they are so willing to believe ANYTHING negative, evil, or otherwise prejudicial about President Bush. Didja hear that Osama bin-Laden would be captured by Bush just in time for the election, for instance? Or captured much earlier, and only "produced" in time for the election? Riiiiiiight.

Re: the draft -- you guys have an automatic "gimme" on this issue, because as long as there ISN'T a draft, you can keep shrieking over & over that it is imminent. Sorta like the psychos on the streetcorners (and some websites) who are positive that The Last Days are upon us.

And troutfishing: going back to Iraq was never considered "unthinkable" -- we've been there since August of 1990 -- many would argue that going "back" in large numbers was inevitable, not unthinkable or absurd.
posted by davidmsc at 12:31 PM on October 31, 2004


Actually, dobbs, it's the libs who come across as gullible -- they are so willing to believe ANYTHING negative, evil, or otherwise prejudicial about President Bush. Didja hear that Osama bin-Laden would be captured by Bush just in time for the election, for instance? Or captured much earlier, and only "produced" in time for the election? Riiiiiiight.

So now Bush is to be given credit for not capturing the man responsible for 9/11 even though he's spent over $100 billion and had more than three years to get the job done? Davidmsc, I'd really like to know how much time and effort will need to pass before you'd join the Anybody But Bush team.
posted by billsaysthis at 12:39 PM on October 31, 2004


boy, thinking that our president would have been capable, and actually captured or killed the person responsible for 9/11 is some foolishness, huh? what were we thinking? Spinning his failure as our fault is absurd.
posted by amberglow at 12:45 PM on October 31, 2004


davidmsc - of course it wasn't unthinkable for government or military planners, but it was not something which the American public had much considered until the current Bush Administration cranked up it's deception mills and started firing out fussilades of b.s. for media lapdogs to vomit back at the American public and so persuade them that Saddam Hussein constituted an "immanent" threat.

That's all old history, and we've been through the "dance of the 24 veils of shifting rationals for war " now, but George Bush Sr. saw the problems in occupying Iraq quite clearly :

[ excerpt from George Bush Sr.'s March 2, 1998 NYT op-ed titled "Why We Didn't Remove Saddam" - in short, because it would have been really stupid to do so. ] ".....Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different--and perhaps barren--outcome."
posted by troutfishing at 12:57 PM on October 31, 2004


thinking that our president would have been capable, and actually captured or killed the person responsible for 9/11 is some foolishness, huh?

They're too codependent.
posted by homunculus at 12:59 PM on October 31, 2004


Don't play cutesy, billsaythis -- you know that my point was that the ABB crowd (or at least many of them) seemed to be so sure -- gleefully anticipating, in fact -- some sort of "October Surprise" in which President Bush would hold a press conference on or about October 29th and state that American forces had captured OBL.

And FWIW: I am not a true Republican -- my political bent is much more Objectivist, with some sprinkling of Libertarian and a few dashes of GOP. But the absolute hatred of Bush by the "other side" is absolutely amazing, and that hatred and the associated vitriol usually causes me to defend Bush.
posted by davidmsc at 1:03 PM on October 31, 2004


Does anyone know if the constitutionality of the whole idea of a special skills draft has ever been seriously questioned? As I've said before, training yourself to be a doctor, nurse, PA, etc., 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. I understand that the State can call on its healthy citizens for war, but can it really discriminate based on the medical knowledge in their brains?
posted by Zurishaddai at 1:07 PM on October 31, 2004


"Gleefully?"
GLEEFULLY?!?

WE ARE SCARED AS HELL AT WHAT BUSH MIGHT DO NEXT IF HE GETS RE-SELECTED.

How many of the dread predictions (more wars, draft, dismantling SocSec, dismantling civil liberties, outlawing abortion, etc. etc.) have to come true before you concede anything? The scariest thing about Bush & Company is the evidence that the ONLY THING holding them back is the need to get past this inconvenient election. And if they cheat to win THIS election what are the chances we'll EVER get another chance to vote them out? That's the state of mind of a lot of the Anti-Bush voters, and the greatest fears of a lot of the Pro-Bush voters are that Kerry WON'T go to war against Iran or outlaw abortion.

Nope, no glee from this corner until/unless the flying house lands squarely on the Wicked Witch of Crawford, Texas.
posted by wendell at 1:20 PM on October 31, 2004


I understand that the State can call on its healthy citizens for war, but can it really discriminate based on the medical knowledge in their brains?

Yes.
posted by Stynxno at 1:21 PM on October 31, 2004


And xammerboy: the President doesn't want a draft,

Based on what data?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:38 PM on October 31, 2004


I can easily believe that Bush et al don't want a draft, as a draft on their watch will kill the GOP for a decade. But the simple question is: what are they doing to maintain or increase troop levels? I've heard recruitment is substantially down as is retention.

But I wouldn't be surprised if contingency plans were being put in place, including the activation of draft boards and expansion of registration.

No one's going to activate the draft for Iraq or any other elective war. But, if NK goes south, if China wants prime beachfront in Taiwan, if Iran goes nuclear, if Pakistan collapses, etc., then there will be a plan in place because the current US military is in bad shape and someone is going to try to take advantage of that fact eventually.
posted by pandaharma at 1:38 PM on October 31, 2004


As for the medical draft, doesn't anyone remember the backstory to 'MASH"? The doctors were old enough that they wouldn't have been drafted if it hadn't been for their medical skills. WW2 had similar skill drafts.
posted by pandaharma at 1:42 PM on October 31, 2004


This may in fact be good news for those who qualify for the draft! Given the major loss of govt help in health care, minimum wages (swtagnating), jobs and globalization, rising costs of food, housing and clothing; given what may be the end of Social Security, or a greatly modified one, and given the ousourcing of a majority of jobs in America--the military can offer jobs, housing, clothing, food, medical help, pensions, etc....if you manage to stay alive...this then is an answer to a system that is going down the tubes.
posted by Postroad at 1:42 PM on October 31, 2004


I think it's perfectly fair for Democrats to present the possibility that the draft is looming if a Republican president is re-elected. Since 70-odd percent of Bush supporters believe that the leadership of Iraq was somehow involved with 9/11, and the Bush administration has done its damnedest to support that misunderstanding, the Democrats have a freebie on their hands.
posted by Hildegarde at 1:59 PM on October 31, 2004


I think it's perfectly fair for Democrats to present the possibility that the draft is looming...

Yes, especially since it was DEMOCRATS who introduced draft legislation.
posted by davidmsc at 2:26 PM on October 31, 2004


You guys are dumb.
posted by angry modem at 2:31 PM on October 31, 2004


I've heard recruitment is substantially down as is retention.

Well, talk to a recruiter before you believe that one.

The last thing anyone in the military wants is a draft. They don't want people who don't want to be in the military. And as for a drop in signups, we don't see that here, at least.
posted by konolia at 2:34 PM on October 31, 2004


So what are your feelings on recruitment, Konolia?

My statement admittedly was partially based on rumors and partially based on news of troop shortages, stop-loss orders, growing dissatisfaction within the ranks, especially within the National Guard.

But I'd love to find evidence for the correct situation. Stats I googled for recruitment seem to be all over the place. Some claim declines; some claim increases. And all stats were for 2003 and don't reflect the current strains and ugliness.
posted by pandaharma at 2:59 PM on October 31, 2004


An interesting point, Postroad. Remove all reasonable options for social support other than entering the army--and to hell with the people who aren't fit for military service--and a despot doesn't need to have an active draft.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:59 PM on October 31, 2004


konolia - I'm sure you're right. But, the reinstatement of the draft would be done by politicians, regardless of whether the military thought it was a smart thing or not.

Remember, most of the military's pre-invasion studies about scenarios for an invasion of Iraq produced pretty gloomy assesments about the long term prospects for such an action - and they were correct. The Bush Administration just ignored the military's best advice on Iraq which - at least - cautioned a much higher initial troop deployment to secure the country and prevent looting.
posted by troutfishing at 3:03 PM on October 31, 2004


What's getting lost, here, is that this "special skills" draft doesn't have the two most serious problems of a general draft:
  1. It doesn't degrade general military readiness the way a general draft would;
  2. since it affects a small community, it doesn't have the PR impact of a general draft.
That's why, if it starts to look like we'll have many tens of thousands of troops committed to combat, we will have some kind of special-skills draft. It will happen. Count on it.
posted by lodurr at 3:21 PM on October 31, 2004


On October 1, the New York Times reported that the Army and Army Reserve met their recruitment goals for 2004 (the National Guard had its first shortfall since 1994), but they did it by relaxing their recruitment standards:
To help meet its recruiting objectives at a time when its forces are strained by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army's recruiting command has lowered some goals for recruits.

The changes are among the clearest signs yet of the military’s growing problems in recruiting and retaining soldiers. They mean that many hundreds of prospective recruits who were likely to have been rejected last year could now be enlisted this year.
posted by kirkaracha at 3:23 PM on October 31, 2004


If recruitment was going so well they would not have needed to send OPFOR to Iraq. They already have a backdoor draft through the stop-loss orders. The percentage of NG serving in Iraq is at record levels, to the point of straining the system at home in the event of domestic emergency.
Even our stalwart ally Poland is not going to be sending any troops our way.
If Bush is president, he'll need troops, and there won't be any way to get them other than a draft.

As for democrats proposing the legislation - that was just a tactic to get the story on the news, and it worked. It was also a preemptive maneuver to make sure that any future legislation that is passed makes it harder for rich kids to evade the draft.
posted by bashos_frog at 3:35 PM on October 31, 2004


They don't want people who don't want to be in the military. And as for a drop in signups, we don't see that here, at least.

WHICH IS PRECISELY WHY UNIVERSAL MILITARY SERVICE IS A MUST. an all-volunteer army is an intellectual incest mill. it feeds on it's own "us vs. them" mythology until it can no longer be controlled.
posted by quonsar at 3:38 PM on October 31, 2004


Anyone want to wager on a great increase in the number of self declared homosexuals should there be a draft? :-)
posted by nofundy at 3:51 PM on October 31, 2004


Here's a little tidbit from the Memory Hole :

"Serve Your Country and Your Nation : Become a Selective Service Local Board Member"

Here's another website plugging this case

[ regardless, Q's right in the long run, I believe ]
posted by troutfishing at 3:57 PM on October 31, 2004


Anyone want to wager on a great increase in the number of self declared homosexuals should there be a draft? :-)

my offer still stands, btw. I'll get any mefite out of it when it happens, lovers. : >
posted by amberglow at 3:58 PM on October 31, 2004


OK. I'll need to talk it over with my wife first though. ;/
posted by troutfishing at 4:24 PM on October 31, 2004


" I am not a true Republican -- my political bent is much more Objectivist..."

Oh, for a second there, I was afraid you were a nutcase. Thanks for clearing that one up.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:36 PM on October 31, 2004


Ha ha, EB. I feel your contempt.

Hey, Quonsar -- you *are* kidding about universal military service, aren't you? Please tell me you don't really believe that.
posted by davidmsc at 5:11 PM on October 31, 2004


I bet he does believe it. I do. Lots of folks do...progressive folks, even.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:34 PM on October 31, 2004


"you know that my point was that the ABB crowd (or at least many of them) "

(or at least some of them) (or perhaps a couple them)....

I'm one of the October Surprise believers. My mistake was that I underestimated the incompetence of the United States current administration....but then they aren't really worried about Osama bin Forgetten.
posted by srboisvert at 6:24 PM on October 31, 2004


I am one who has for many years been in full support of equal rights for women. Since we have war after war, neglected the equal rights of women to be drafted and to serve in combat,I think the next few wars ought to draft and use only women to make up for the neglect we have shown them over so many years. I figure about 4 wars with preferential treatment for only women drafted should
be just compensation for our years of mistreatment of babes in arms.
posted by Postroad at 6:25 PM on October 31, 2004


Having read the document that is the supposed "smoking gun" in this link, I don't see how it's reasonable to conclude that this suggests a draft -- either general or medical/special skills -- is more likely. The document's from February 2003 (before the war started), and points out certain areas in which skills are lacking. Notwithstanding that there is no draft, there's still an SSS, whose job it is to plan in the event there ever will be a draft. I would assume there would be many, many documents that talk about that possibility.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:41 PM on October 31, 2004


the President doesn't want a draft, the public doesn't want a draft

Is the public's opinion that difficult to change? Here's one way to do it:

Wait for another terrorist attack to occur in the U.S.
Claim that increased mobilization is the only hope for defeating the evildoers.
Use a word besides 'draft', call it the 'Patriotic Duty Program'.
Denounce as traitors those who argue against it.

Bonus points for invoking religion to support all of the above.
posted by jsonic at 7:46 PM on October 31, 2004


>Wait for another terrorist attack to occur in the U.S.

Why would this make people like Bush more or want to fight for fraudulent reasons:
"I don't think Osama bin Laden sent those planes to attack us because he hated our freedom. I think he did it because of our support for Israel, our ties with the Saudi family and our military bases in Saudi Arabia.
You know why I think that? Because that's what he fuckking said! Are we a nation of 6-year-olds?"
- David Cross
posted by skallas at 8:20 PM on October 31, 2004


"A vote for kerry is a vote for the terrorists"
-nofundy
posted by Keyser Soze at 8:38 PM on October 31, 2004


Why would this make people like Bush more or want to fight for fraudulent reasons

Where did I say this would make people like bush more? I was simply describing one method of swaying popular opinion about the draft. Any 'leader' could use it. It's really just a paraphrase of Himmler.
posted by jsonic at 8:55 PM on October 31, 2004


Not to mention the filling of Draft Boards : merely anodd coincidence, I suppose.
"Defense Department Deletes Notice About Draft Boards" - via The Memory Hole

">>> On 23 Sept 2003, the Defense Department Website called "Defend America" posted a notice for people to join local draft boards. "If a military draft becomes necessary," the notice explained, "approximately 2,000 Local and Appeal Boards throughout America would decide which young men, who submit a claim, receive deferments, postponements or exemptions from military service, based on Federal guidelines."

In early November, that notice started to receive media attention, with articles from the Associated Press, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer , the Oregonian, the Toronto Star, the BBC, and London Guardian (unsurprisingly, none of the major papers or networks in the US covered it).

In a familiar turn of events, the notice suddenly disappeared from the Website."
posted by troutfishing at 9:19 PM on October 31, 2004


WHICH IS PRECISELY WHY UNIVERSAL MILITARY SERVICE IS A MUST.

I absolutely agree with this, for a lot of reasons. Not the least of which that more people as well as the media much more engaged in the process of vetting reasons for war. If you know it's going to be your kid, I think you'd want to hear all the facts first. It also tears down walls, which is something we in our Red State/Blue State condition desperately need. Personally, I would have gone happily if it had been required. As it was, I might have gone anyway, had I not be so strongly discouraged from it.*

* Heard it over and over again from my parents, teachers and guidance counselor the military (in the mid 80s) was not a good career move for a white Ivy-bound kid from the suburbs. To this day, I still wonder what if.
posted by psmealey at 9:20 PM on October 31, 2004


Helen Thomas: Despite his vehement denials, Bush may be compelled to call for another military draft if he persists in making war.
He is scraping by now with his all-volunteer military, along with reservists and National Guard members, keeping them on duty longer than planned with a so-called a back-door draft. If he wins a second term, he wouldn't have to worry about running again and would have a free hand to undo his read-my-lips campaign promises.

posted by amberglow at 9:46 PM on October 31, 2004


off topic : "Even Republicans Fear Bush" - "Former Republican members of the U.S. Senate and House, governors, ambassadors, aides to GOP Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, Ford, Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush have explicitly endorsed the campaign of Democrat John Kerry. For many of these lifelong Republicans, their vote for Kerry will be a first Democratic vote. But, in most cases, it will not be a hesitant one. "
posted by troutfishing at 9:50 PM on October 31, 2004


"A vote for kerry is a vote for the terrorists"
-nofundy
posted by Keyser Soze at 8:38 PM PST on October 31


Typical Bushwhacker tactic. Outrageous lies. Go back to Freeper Land you troll. You are obviously not capable of functioning in the reality based community.
posted by nofundy at 4:37 AM on November 1, 2004


>Wait for another terrorist attack to occur in the U.S.

Why would this make people like Bush more


Well his approval rating hit 90% after 9/11, so presumably some people have their reasons.
posted by biffa at 5:00 AM on November 1, 2004


biffa - it's a fairly simple instinctual response, and quite predictable.
posted by troutfishing at 6:25 AM on November 1, 2004


Here's how the reThugs are using fear as a political tool.

Despicable the lows some will sink to feeding their power lust.
posted by nofundy at 11:53 AM on November 1, 2004


nofundy, that's one of the lowest, most unfounded, pieces of shit i've seen so far in this election.
posted by amberglow at 12:03 PM on November 1, 2004


Amberglow means the business pointed to by the link, of course! There's lots more being carefully documented and will be a permanent part of dkosopedia for future reference. None quite as low as this one, however
posted by nofundy at 1:42 PM on November 1, 2004


quonsar: WHICH IS PRECISELY WHY UNIVERSAL MILITARY SERVICE IS A MUST.

Unfortunately, it's also diametrical to the notion of freedom. Y'know, that stuff we're exporting to all the forgotten dusty corners of the earth.

We still cherish freedom in the US .... right?
posted by oncogenesis at 3:17 PM on November 1, 2004


I'm sorry, onco--we can't answer that until we've seen your signed and notarized loyalty oath.
posted by amberglow at 4:56 PM on November 1, 2004


pandaharma, by definition licensed physicians have to be older just to get through all the schooling, residency and internships required, so no surprise there. Plus, on MASH the doctors only aged about four months for every real year since the series ran 11 years and the war three (probably less since the series first episode already was a some unspoken but meaningful period of time into the police action).

davidmsc, I note with little surprise that you avoided my question: how long is reasonable before one questions the Bush team on why OBL is still at large?
posted by billsaysthis at 5:37 PM on November 1, 2004


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