Rumsfeld's comment
January 21, 2003 10:00 PM   Subscribe

Rumsfeld's comment about the draft has caused a stir. The Hispanic Caucus is upset and they're the new major minority (an oxymoron?). It has also riled the feathers of the Vietnam Veterans of America. If you Google "Rumsfeld draft" there are the two links above but the only article in a major newspaper is The Moscow Times. Rumsfeld called his statement at a Pentagon press conference "not eloquently spoken". Is this a big story? Talk amongst yourselves.
posted by whatever (11 comments total)
You owe it to yourself to read the Moscow Times article. My favorite quote: "But just as foul deeds will rise, no matter how thickly they are plastered over, so too will a word of ugly truth sometimes escape from the lips of even the most practiced deceiver."
posted by whatever at 10:03 PM on January 21, 2003

There's no story here — I hate the guy, but he plainly meant that since they mustered out ASAP, the investment in training draftees was quickly lost. He said it about as badly as he could have, but he really didn't mean to imply that draftees weren't valuable in fighting those conflicts.
posted by nicwolff at 11:19 PM on January 21, 2003

And the chicken hawks of today added even less value to the military during the Vietnam war.

Having said that, I agree with the premise that professional soldiers are the better avenue for military personnel (or anything else actually.)
posted by nofundy at 4:39 AM on January 22, 2003

Actually, I think it deserves to be said that this was one of the more eloquent, well spoken apologies I've seen come from the federal government.

Seriously. There's enough questionable statements coming from politicians around the world to complain about. Anyone seriously think Rumsfeld hates draftee vets? Or would he just rather not run a slave military, when a free one tends to defend said freedom better?

People connote unfortunate things by accident. It happens. Unless you want every word ever spoken by a man to be vetted through three layers of lawyers and speechwriters, you'll give him some leeway to explain himself. Fair enough?
posted by effugas at 6:27 AM on January 22, 2003

I don't think "by accident" is the right phrase this time.
posted by mcsweetie at 6:49 AM on January 22, 2003

Being a veteran and having many Vietnam vet friends I find his statement extremely offensive. It shows his lack of compassion and understanding. He should be force to resign!
posted by idixon at 9:07 AM on January 22, 2003

I think that all americans who voted for bush (men and women) should be put into the draft pool. Aren't they willing to DIE for their convictions?

posted by sic at 1:59 PM on January 22, 2003

He seems to have said, in his apology, that he meant to say that draftees were of no value after they left the service. Clear?

Pray tell, who is of value [to the military] after they leave the service?

I tend to believe what he said initially is what he meant to say. But then, I enlisted.
posted by newlydead at 7:36 PM on January 22, 2003

Leave a job, and your employer endures exit costs hiring a replacement. Given sufficient churn, it makes more sense for an employer to pay one person more to stay longer than ten people less to stay for as long as they can bear.

Say an employee makes you $100, then quits. Assume training a new employee costs $100 to train. Guess what -- when the old guy quits, his value is essentially wiped out by the new guy. Sure, you're covered for time, but that's about it.

The purpose of the military isn't to make a profit, but if it overall costs more in volunteer resources to train draftees than you get back in draftee resources before they leave the force, there's no way around the conclusion that the draft fails to add value to the force, at least in the long term (which is precisely what Rumsfeld said.)

The accidental implication of Rumsfeld was that the United States did not appreciate the severe cost of human resources that draftees bore. Even with the economic example, nobody's arguing that the employee isn't providing a value. They're arguing the cost of training(breaking?) the draftee into a soldier doesn't match the temporary benefit extracted from that draftee, to say nothing about the cost to society.

Does anybody here disagree?

posted by effugas at 7:51 PM on January 22, 2003

I disagree to the extent that:

(1) the purpose of a draft never was to add value to the force over the long term, so it is ridiculous to speak of it in those terms anyway;

(2) Rumsfield's carelessness reflects a rather casual approach to viewing people as tools rather than humans; and

(3) Rumsfield is presiding over a department instituting massive cuts in veterans' benefits and that still is not recognizing or compensating veterans for the results of Gulf War Illness.
posted by troybob at 7:13 AM on January 23, 2003

posted by troybob at 7:13 AM on January 23, 2003

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