Saturday, September 22, 2007

To draft or not to draft

I keep running into conversations centering around ending the Iraq war by instituting a draft. Doesn't anyone remember Viet Nam? The kind of people who support wars without particular concern for the cause or effect also support obedience as a virtue. The draft creates the draft dodger and the draft dodger becomes an effective straw man to use against many forms of protest, disagreement or even rational discussion.

The sons of Senators will not be drawn into dubious battle, they will either find deferments or medical problems or will do supervised and fictionalized tours far from the fray, like George W. Bush. It will be your kid or mine or maybe you sent to Baghdad.

Certainly no amount of public protest and demonstration will soften the resolve of those who think in terms of hard and soft, tough and weak, since they admire George for ignoring the people who employ him. It doesn't seem all that long ago to me that we had countless people demonstrating against another brutal, pointless and probably illegal war: business leaders, veterans, clergymen and other pillars of the community, all of whom were nicely dismissed as hippie draft dodgers or "Peaceniks" simply because there was a draft.

This war won't end until we are rid of the Bush crime family and the old Nixonians and neocons they associate with. Until we learn not to jump to take up arms every time some dimwit beats the war drum; until we learn not to identify with the kind of people we customarily elect, we will be in the same position we are in now every few years as a new crop of patriotic fools arises. A draft won't change a thing.


Intellectual Insurgent said...

I disagree. A draft will make Americans put their money where their big mouths are. If they're for the war, the draft should be redundant. If they are against it and don't want to fight it, then they will have to put up real resistance to this criminal regime. Not the faux resistance that is "oh, I'll show them and vote for Hillary in 2008."

Capt. Fogg said...

It's just been my experience that it doesn't matter. Once someone is subject to the draft, his opinion can be written off as cowardice.

The war in Viet Nam spurred more protest than we've seen since and it lasted 16 years and ended more because of our abject failure than because of public opposition. No matter your age or profession, you were simply written off as a hippie draft dodger coward and the supporters elevated to the status of patriots or as John Wayne called them "real Americans"

The draft in the 60's and 70's did more to polarize America than only other factor of that war, in my opinion and that polarization remains with us. It created two classes of citizens: the draftable and the above it all and I think this had a lot to do with today's perceived class warfare.

Intellectual Insurgent said...

I think that Vietnam is a bad comparison because it is my belief that Vietnam was a stunning success for the U.S. One thing I've learned from being a lawyer is that more often than not, fights are not so much about winning (whatever that means), but outlasting the other side.

Vietnam was the final, stunning defeat of the U.S.S.R. financially. Following the war, the U.S. entered the unprecedented world of sole superpowerdom. Just look at the 1973 war between Egypt and Israel. Sadat wasn't stupid. He knew the U.S.S.R. was finished and the '73 war became his opportunity to declare loyalty to a new master.

The Soviets gave it a good run in Afghanistan in '82, but they were finished and they knew it. Their people knew it and the wall came down a few years later.

In Iraq, the opposite is happening. The U.S. is losing and badly. Financially, we aren't going to recover for a couple generations. If the crazies, in their desperation, open a new front with Iran, they will have to institute a draft. There will be no choice.

And that will be the only chance We The People actually stand a chance of ending this madness.

The draft dodgers from Vietnam were taunted because the U.S. won. There was something to gloat about. After Iraq/Iran, the draft dodgers will be heroes. Have you ever heard anything bad about those who dodged military service in Germany in WWII?

Capt. Fogg said...

An odd sort of victory we had then. Recovery took until the 90's and years of double digit inflation - and the social divide it caused has never gone away. If we had never gone into that country things would be the same there that they are today and we would be much richer.

It's just my opinion, but I think whatever we do will just harden Pharaoh George's heart and justify his supporters. But what do I know?

Capt. Fogg said...

I also have to wonder what things would be like if George had been able to draft himself a million or two million man army. Would we occupy Iran by now? Syria - even Pakistan?

d.K. said...

I agree with you concerning who would actually fight were there a draft - and I don't favor one at this point, but I think the "conversation" about reinstating the draft would be useful. It would force politicians to take sides and explain their positions, and I think the debate would be useful, irrespective of the outcome.

Anonymous said...

Interesting discussion. I agree with II that a draft would force some to action instead of just talk. I agree with Fogg that politicians sons are not going to be in the thick of things one way or the other.

I also agree about the perception of the protester during Vietnam, at least before the participation of those who could not possibly be described as hippie dopers, ie communitiy leaders, politicians, lawyers, professors etc.

However, the biggest difference, as far as a draft and protest is concerned, between Vietnam and now is the very fact that now we have a Vietnam in our history. During Vietnam we did not. We had nothing to go back and compare the current quagmire to and nothing equivalent to compare our situation to.

It is obvious to many now that the stand the protesters took during the Vietnam era was correct. That in itself would have impact if we had a draft and the inevitable protests that would follow, now.

I do think it is worthy of debate and that we should be forcing the politicians hand. Let them tell us why it is, with an armed forces that is desparately in need of reinforcements, with having to depend on civilian security forces, with a war that Bush wants to see us in for a decade, and with Iran right around the corner, why it is that no one is talking seriously about the draft?

Bottom line, we need something to shake up the people. Short of martial law and concentration camps, I think the draft might be just the thing to do it. Whew!

Intellectual Insurgent said...

An odd sort of victory we had then. Recovery took until the 90's and years of double digit inflation - and the social divide it caused has never gone away.

Wars aren't meant to be victories for the "people". They aren't fought for the "people". They are fought for and are wins or losses for the ruling elite.

Looking at Vietnam through that lens, the Reagan elite had a bonanza. The people always lose during war, but the elite-owned and run corporations have consolidated on an unprecedented scale.

Capt. Fogg said...

I think it was a victory for Viet Nam and it made it clear to everyone but us, that all our megaweapons designed for an apocalyptic war with the soviets weren't good enough to break up a bar fight. It's true that no one wins but the war profiteers although WW II isn't hard to see as a victory for more than Boeing. Eisenhower's farewell speech should never have been forgotten, but I still see the draft as enablement for warmongers and another way to subdue the populace.

Capt. Fogg said...

DK and Expat

Discussion is always a good thing and at least it may get the attention of the "who cares" entertainment junkies in their closed off private worlds.

The idea that you may be off to Iraq in the morning is a fine way to focus the mind.