Democrats and the Draft
Rhetorical question of the day: why is it that Republicans are accused of wanting to implement a draft, yet the only members of Congress actively calling for reinstating said draft are Democrats? Isn't it ironic that Democrats use the scare tactic claiming that voting for Republicans means that the draft will be reinstated, even though Republicans routinely state such is not an option, yet it is Democrats in Congress who keep introducing legislation to do exactly that?
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) is, once again, doing just that, as he has announced plans to push a measure that will bring back military conscription.
The United States Military has managed quite nicely as an all-volunteer force since 1973. There is no real need to change it. Indeed, doing so, bringing back the draft, may do more harm to the armed forces than good. There is a big difference between a military made of people who WANT to serve versus a military comprised of people who want to be somewhere else. Which is better for America?
I have no doubt what that answer is, having served in the all-volunteer military (Go Air Force!). In reading Tommy Franks memoir, American Soldier, he recounts that at one point during the latter part of the draft era, some bases had such a drug problem that it was not safe for officers to enter some barracks without an armed escort.
Today, the all-volunteer military is made up of dedicated professionals, who want to serve their country. It does not matter if their motivations include gaining access to a college education or developing good job skills (that last worked for me, although I wanted to serve since I was a kid). Those are, in fact, healthy reasons to serve. Just as healthy as a sense of patriotism and desire to serve and protect America.
Bringing back the draft may fulfill John Kerry's "botched joke" about failures ending up in the military, as during the Vietnam era draft, those who were in college could get deferments until they completed their education or were beyond draft age (like Bill Clinton). That is not the kind of military America needs.
I have heard many negative things about the all-volunteer military, the worst of which is the lie that it is an "economic draft," implying that only poor minorities enter the armed forces. Nothing could be further from the truth about the all-volunteer military. Ask anybody who has served in it. Most (if not all) will tell you it is anything BUT an "economic draft."
Rangel has an interesting bit of twisted logic on why the draft should be reinstated (FoxNews):
"There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way."
The draft did not stop President Johnson from escalating U.S. involvement in Vietnam back in 1965. Why would Rangel, or anyone else for that matter, believe that a draft would do so today?
"If we're going to challenge Iran and challenge North Korea and then, as some people have asked, to send more troops to Iraq, we can't do that without a draft," Rangel said.
With over 60,000 troops in Germany alone, there is no need for a draft when we can redeploy these troops where needed.
Further, the military can be expanded as an all-volunteer force by providing proper incentives to encourage enlistment, whether it is by expanding college benefits to those who join up, or other means. There are most likely other incentives that could be leveraged to increase enlistment. However, I don't think that will be a problem as when I entered the service, there was a six-month waiting list for the Air force. I don't know if that holds true today, but it sure did in the ‘80s.
Ultimately, I believe that there is no need to reinstate the draft. The all-volunteer model has worked quite well for over 30 years. Why change it?