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10-05-04, 08:03 AM #1
Uncle Sam Will Soon Want Your Kids
Uncle Sam Will Soon Want Your Kids
By David H. Hackworth
Recently, when John Kerry brought up the possibility of a return to the draft, SecDef Donald Rumsfeld was quick to respond that Kerry was full of it.
But my take is that Kerry is right on the mark. Not only because Rummy has been flat wrong on every major military call regarding Iraq, but because this is a war that won’t be won by smart weapons or the sledgehammer firepower we see every night on the tube.
Right now – with both our regular and Reserve soldiers stretched beyond the breaking point – our all-volunteer force is tapping out. If our overseas troop commitments continue at the present rate or climb higher, there won’t be enough Army and Marine grunts to do the job. And thin, overworked units, from Special Forces teams to infantry battalions, lose fights.
Clearly, this war against worldwide, hardcore Islamic believers will be a massive military marathon, the longest and most far-flung in our country’s history. By Christmas, more troops could be needed not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but wherever the radical Islamic movement is growing stronger, from the Horn of Africa to Morocco, Kenya, Somalia, Yemen and across Europe – remember Spain?! – to Asia.
Accordingly, we need to bring our ground-fighting and support units to about the strength they were before the Soviet Union imploded, especially since the proper ratio of counterinsurgent-to-insurgent in places like the Middle East should be around 15 to 1. You don’t have to be a Ph.D. in military personnel to conclude we need more boots on the ground.
Most of our warriors – who are mainly from blue-collar families from Small Town, USA – have few political connections and few conduits though which they can effectively sound off. So when they get screwed over by a desperate Pentagon’s makeshift policies – such as the “Stop Loss” program that’s holding over large numbers of our servicemen and -women well beyond their contractually agreed-upon terms of enlistment, or the widespread calling up of out-of-shape, ill-trained citizen soldiers from the Individual Ready Reserve – these “volunteers” salute, suck it up and lay their lives on the line.
But like elephants, they won’t forget that they are “backdoor draftees,” as Kerry and John McCain call them. Which means that when their hitches are up, they won’t be rushing to re-enlist. And they’re also warning their younger brothers, sisters and pals to stay away from recruiting stations.
Although Pentagon puff artists insist they’re making quota, recruiters are already saying it would be easier to find $100 bills on the sidewalk outside a homeless shelter than fill their enlistment quotas, even with the huge bonuses now being paid.
So the draft – which will include both boys and girls this time around – is a no-brainer in ‘05 and ‘06.
Oh sure, the Pentagon suits will fight it. Volunteers tend to go with the flow and seldom blow the whistle on military stupidity, flawed tactics and self-serving leadership. And draftees don’t hesitate to make waves and tell the truth. Not to mention influential citizens with draft-age kids who’ll soon be demanding an answer to the same type of hard question their moms and dads shouted during the Vietnam War: “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?”
Rumsfeld, in fact, has already kicked off the anti-draft campaign by denigrating the draftees who fought in Vietnam. The SecDef, who prefers sycophants who don’t ask questions, recently stated that Vietnam-era draftees added “No value, no advantage, really, to the United States armed services ... because ... it took an enormous amount of effort in terms of training, and then they were gone.”
Wrong once again. I led draftees for almost four years in Vietnam and for several years during the Korean War. If well-led, there are no finer soldiers. Ask the Nazis, the Japanese and the Reds in Korea and in Vietnam, where “no value” draftees cleaned their clocks in fight after fight.
Israel, a country that has lived under the barrel of the Islamic terrorist gun for decades, has the most combat-experienced counterinsurgent force in the world – and boy and girl draftees are its major resource.
Count on it. We will follow their lead.
--Eilhys England contributed to this column.
Col. David H. Hackworth (USA Ret.) is SFTT.org co-founder and Senior Military Columnist for DefenseWatch magazine. For information on his many books, go to his home page at Hackworth.com, where you can sign in for his free weekly Defending America. Send mail to P.O. Box 11179, Greenwich, CT 06831. His newest book is “Steel My Soldiers’ Hearts.” © 2004 David H. Hackworth. Please send Feedback responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
ONE PROUD MARINE
Once a Marine...Always a Marine
10-05-04, 10:19 AM #2
This is, apparently on its factual merits, true. This is why I have long believed in the idea of a universal service requirement for all Americans. It's a given that not everyone is cut out for direct military combat service, but for those, there's plenty of work to be done both domestically and abroad in building infrastructure, tending to the sick and wounded, and functioning in a myriad of administrative capacities, allowing them to serve alongside their military counterparts in some capacity. Additionally, a universal service requirement would go a long way towards curing the social ills of this nation. By establishing a stake in this country, I'd call it a pretty fair chance that voter and political participation would increase dramatically, and individuals would be far more likely to take an interest in their communities. In a more tangible sense, it would dramatically, over the long term, increase the education and experience level of our society as a whole, drastically reduce unemployment and homelessness, and as a byproduct, decrease the prevalence of crime and other social woes. I've said it before and I'll say it again, education is the silver bullet, it's the cure for everything, but it takes a long time to work, and a universal service requirement would be a step in the right direction.
10-05-04, 02:00 PM #3
DH Hackworth; sorry, only a disgruntled ex-employee's opinion, take it for what it is worth, or prove you have some self-intelligience and do your own reseach and draw your own "OPINIONS".
"Notwithstanding recent stories in the news media and on the Internet, Selective Service is not getting ready to conduct a draft for the U.S. Armed Forces -- either with a special skills or regular draft. Rather, the Agency remains prepared to manage a draft if and when the President and the Congress so direct. This responsibility has been ongoing since 1980 and is nothing new. Further, both the President and the Secretary of Defense have stated on more than one occasion that there is no need for a draft for the War on Terrorism or any likely contingency, such as Iraq. Additionally, the Congress has not acted on any proposed legislation to reinstate a draft. Therefore, Selective Service continues to refine its plans to be prepared as is required by law, and to register young men who are ages 18 through 25."
10-05-04, 02:33 PM #4
David H. Hackworth is right. All signs point to a draft. If it was not for this needless war in Iraq. We could go after the real terrorists in Afghanistan and throughout the world. Now that we have invaded Iraq and the terrorists are pouring in, to fight the Americans. We have no choice but to win in Iraq. It didn't have to be this way.
10-05-04, 02:37 PM #5
Linking to previous thoughts on this
Cold war Vet here....
Volunteered, not drafted.
I'd endorse MY sons and daughter to enlist and serve, or do related GOVERNMENT drafted work. It would be good for THEM, and the Country.
Talked to them about it, the bennies' and such. Didn't PUSH, needs to be THEIR decision IF they are going to volunteer. But the draft....
Bring it on !!
10-05-04, 02:46 PM #6
We should have a draft, and the politicians should have the guts to talk about the issue. We can't rely on Reserve and Guard units forever. Look at Israel. They have been a country under siege for a long time, and everyone must serve in the military, men and women.
There is no difference between the threat facing Israel and the one facing us. Sooner or later the politicians need to accept this fact and go on from there. Problem is that like raising taxes, or fixing Social Security, or a host of other issues, you don't go near them in an election year if you want to have any hope of getting elected.
10-05-04, 02:51 PM #7
From what I understand Charlie Rangle (D) has already proposed this in the House or Senate
10-05-04, 02:53 PM #8
PRESS CONFERENCE: 2:00 P.M. TODAY
HON. CHARLES RANGEL
THE VOTE ON THE BILL TO REINSTATE THE DRAFT IS A POLITICAL MANEUVER TO PROTECT THE PRESIDENT
WASHINGTON, October 5, 2004 -- The Republican leadership decision to place the draft legislation on the Suspension Calendar is a political maneuver to kill rumors of the President's intention to reinstate the draft after the November election.
I am voting no, because my bill deserves serious consideration. It should be subject to hearings and to expert testimony. The Administration should come and tell us about our manpower needs, about recruitment and retention, about the extent to which out troops are overextended. And they should give us their views about shared sacrifice. If they did all of those things in a serious way, they would have to admit that my bill is an option.
But what we are seeing now is election-year politics. They are using the Suspension Calendar, which is reserved for non-controversial items, to make a cynical political statement. The American people are deeply concerned about this issue deserve more than this. So do our troops, who after we leave here today, will still be on ground, and left with the message that we couldn't take the time to discuss their situation and what should be done to relieve them.
This is hypocrisy of the worst kind. I would not encourage any Democrat running for reelection to vote for this bill.
10-05-04, 03:11 PM #9
Uncle Sam already has my son. He's a Sgt First Class, US Army Ranger, Sniper Plt Sgt with two Afghani tours and one Iraqi tour under his belt. If I had another son, he'd be enlisting if he was not already on Active Duty. That is what the men of our family do.
Sgt 3rd Tanks
RVN 1968 - 1969
10-05-04, 03:14 PM #10
Rangel introduces bill to reinstate draft
Rumsfeld says he sees no need for military draft
Wednesday, January 8, 2003 Posted: 4:28 AM EST (0928 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Rep. Charles Rangel introduced a bill in Congress Tuesday to reinstate the military draft, saying fighting forces should more closely reflect the economic makeup of the nation.
The New York Democrat told reporters his goal is two-fold: to jolt Americans into realizing the import of a possible unilateral strike against Iraq, which he opposes, and "to make it clear that if there were a war, there would be more equitable representation of people making sacrifices."
"I truly believe that those who make the decision and those who support the United States going into war would feel more readily the pain that's involved, the sacrifice that's involved, if they thought that the fighting force would include the affluent and those who historically have avoided this great responsibility," Rangel said.
"Those who love this country have a patriotic obligation to defend this country," Rangel said. "For those who say the poor fight better, I say give the rich a chance."
According to Rangel's office, minorities comprise more than 30 percent of the nation's military.
Under his bill, the draft would apply to men and women ages 18 to 26; exemptions would be granted to allow people to graduate from high school, but college students would have to serve.
Anyone who didn't qualify for military service because of impairments would be asked to perform community service.
The lawmaker has said his measure could make members of Congress more reluctant to authorize military action. The Korean War veteran has accused President Bush and some fellow lawmakers of being too eager to go to war.
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters Tuesday he sees no need for a draft. He said the military is managing to attract enough skilled recruits without one.
"We're not going to re-implement a draft. There is no need for it at all," Rumsfeld said. "The disadvantages of using compulsion to bring into the armed forces the men and women needed are notable."
The nation had a draft in place between 1948 and 1973. It grew to become the center of controversy during the Vietnam War, 1964-1975, an undeclared war that was the most unpopular conflict America has fought.
Anger over the war led many young men to flee to Canada and elsewhere to avoid the draft, and violent protests were rampant. When the draft ended, the United States set up an all-volunteer military.
Since 1980, the Selective Service has required men 18 to 26 to register to give the government a pool of men it could draw from in case troops were needed in an emergency.
As of October 31, 14.1 million men would be eligible for a draft, said Selective Service spokesman Pat Schuback. Twenty-year-olds would be called up first, followed by others -- year by year. In the age group 20 to 26, 11 million would be eligible.
The average number of men registered per year during the Vietnam War era was 18.4 million. That covers the period from July 1, 1964, through June 1973.
10-05-04, 03:25 PM #11
Do We Need to Reinstate the Draft to Insure "Shared Sacrifice"?
Do We Need to Reinstate the Draft to Insure "Shared Sacrifice"?
Data Shows Fairness of the All-Volunteer Force –
Under the banner of "shared sacrifice," Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC) have proposed to reinstate the draft (H.R. 163 and S. 89, introduced 01/07/03). "I believe that if we are going to send our children to war, the governing principle must be that of shared sacrifice," Mr. Rangel wrote in a New York Times op-ed published December 31. Representative Rangel further asserts that "the burden of military service [is] being borne disproportionately by members of disadvantaged groups," and Senator Hollings claims that "if military action is considered necessary, the burden of carrying out that action must not be limited to any one segment of the population." (1)
These assertions have a notable flaw: they are not based on facts. They ignore Defense Department and other private-sector studies that show that no group of Americans is dramatically over-represented in today's military. Moreover, Senator Hollings and Congressman Rangel confuse the statistics of those who serve in the military's enlisted ranks with those likely to serve in the front lines in the event of war. Just as important, they ignore the fact that some minority service members stay enlisted longer because they find the military a fairer and better place to work than the civilian sector.
The Birth of the All Volunteer Force
In February 1970, President Nixon created a commission to study the best means to procure military personnel. The Report of the President's Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force (better known as the Gates Commission) concluded that an all-volunteer force was feasible, affordable, and would enhance the nation's security. The All Volunteer Force (AVF) was instituted in July 1973 following the Vietnam War, after much debate within the Nixon Administration and the Congress. Today the U.S. armed forces are widely considered to be the most technologically advanced, best-trained and best-equipped military in the world.
It bears repeating that today's U.S. military is a volunteer force, and that individuals freely choose to serve their country and to bear this "burden." This paper does not address the age-old debate of whether conscription in a time of war is appropriate to help ensure that all of the nation's citizens equally bear the burdens of fighting and casualties in war or whether the draft is necessary to meet a surge capacity or national emergency (which is why the Selective Service system operates on a standby status); rather, it is limited to demonstrating that the current makeup of the military - among those who choose to wear the uniform - is not in itself a valid argument for reinstating the draft.
U.S. Armed Forces Not Disproportionately Poor or Uneducated
Congressman Rangel expresses concern for disadvantaged groups who will be "placed in harm's way," asserting disproportionate risk to the poor and minorities. More than three decades ago, the Gates Commission, prophetically, disputed claims that reliance on volunteers would lead to a mercenary force consisting mainly of minorities, the poor, and the uneducated. In fact, the makeup of U.S. armed forces is far from disproportionately "underclass."
Recent data gathered by the Defense Department shows that in terms of socioeconomic background, the enlisted force is generally representative of the civilian population; the differences are "not dramatic." (2) The Defense Department, looking at its own internally collected data, says that with respect to parents' education, employment, and occupation, only modest differences exist between military enlisted accessions and the recruit-age population. For example, the percentages of recruits who have parents with a high school degree (or higher) is virtually identical to that of the recruit-age population. One of the DoD studies looked at mothers' and fathers' employment status and found 24 percent of the employed fathers of new recruits were likely to be in "executive, managerial, administrative, or professional" occupations - the four top occupational categories - compared to 34 percent of all civilians in the same age range. The same study revealed even closer comparisons with the employment status of the mothers: 29 percent of the recruits had mothers in the highest occupational categories compared to 33 percent of all civilians in the same age range.
Another more elaborate and technical DoD study indicates that "enlisted accessions come from all socioeconomic levels." However, the study does note a "tendency for access to come from families in the lower three-quarters of the status distribution." (3) Recall, these DOD studies involve the makeup of enlisted service members only. It can be argued that including officers in the data brings the overall picture into greater balance because 96 percent of officers are college-educated and come more from middle- and higher-income backgrounds. (Note that black college graduates currently make up 8 percent of all graduates - the same percent as black officers in the services. (4))
As to education, the standard with All Volunteer Force recruits is that they are high-school graduates with above-average aptitude. Ninety percent of new recruits have a high school diploma, compared to only 75 percent of American youth. (5)
No Class of Soldiers Disproportionately Placed in "Harm's Way"
The Gates Commission, 30 years ago, rejected concerns about a volunteer force becoming "too black," arguing that policy makers should accept whatever proportion of minorities the market dictated. Yet today, are members of minority groups who choose to serve their country in the armed forces placed more in harm's way than their fellow soldiers, as draft advocates imply? According to recent data compiled by the Defense Department:
Black recruits comprise 20 percent of non-prior service enlistees and 22 percent of the active duty enlisted force, versus 12-14 percent of the civilians of comparable age, but comprise 15 percent of combat arms (for example, infantry, artillery and armor).
In fact, blacks tend to concentrate more in administrative and support jobs rather than combat jobs. For example, blacks account for 36 percent of Functional Support and Administration and 27 percent of Medical and Dental career fields. (6)
Hispanics are 9 percent of enlisted personnel in FY2000, compared to 13 percent of the total U.S. population in the comparable age group (18-44). (7)
Women constitute 50 percent of the population and about 15 percent of enlisted personnel. (8)
10-05-04, 03:26 PM #12
Desert Storm Casualties Consistent With Occupational Duties
Casualty trends in Desert Storm were consistent with occupational patterns, with blacks accounting for 23 percent of military personnel deployed to the Gulf, yet accounting for only 17 percent of the combat or non-combat deaths. Whites, who comprised 71 percent of the U.S. forces in theater accounted for 76 percent of the deaths. Hispanics, who were 4 percent of the forces, constituted 4 percent of the deaths. (9)
The Myth of Minorities as "Cannon Fodder" for Front-line Units
Tom Ricks, now a defense reporter for the Washington Post, in 1997 wrote for the Wall Street Journal to expose what he called an "old stereotype about the Army's front-line units being cannon fodder laden with minorities." Rather, he wrote, that the infantry - which typically suffers the greatest casualties in war - had become "whiter than America." Black Americans constitute 9 percent of the infantry, compared to 11.8 percent of the civilian population aged 18-44. Ricks asserted that white males, often seeking adventure while earning money for college, tend to migrate to the combat arms, especially to elite units like the Rangers and airborne, while young black males, seeking job skills, tend to "gravitate toward administrative and technical jobs." (10)
Six years after Ricks' report, the numbers have barely changed: 10.6 percent of the Army's enlisted combat infantrymen today are black.
DoD Surveys Show Minorities See Benefits from Military Service
The Department of Defense observes that some minorities stay enlisted longer because they find the military a fairer and better place to work than the civilian sector. The most recent of the Defense Department's personnel surveys, the Armed Forces Equal Opportunity Survey, (11) reveals that minorities believe they have more freedom from harassment, more freedom from discrimination, are more likely to receive fair administration of criminal justice, have a greater chance to show pride in themselves, have a better chance for fair performance evaluations, and have greater opportunity for education and training.
The current military allows for individual choice and reflects the nation's ethnic diversity; a conscription army affords no such freedom. Minorities overall, according to the Defense Department's Quality of Life Survey, believe the armed forces offer an environment that affords equality of treatment and opportunity without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin. (12)
Reinstating the Draft Would Not Benefit Disadvantaged Groups
Who would benefit from reinstatement of the draft? Former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger recently offered this vignette: "Once, early in 1982, President Reagan and I reviewed a force of young American soldiers newly enrolled. Afterwards, he said to me, 'You know, Cap, I would infinitely rather look each of these young people in the eye and know that each wants to be here.' " (13)
A Report for Congress issued by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service comments on the logical outcome of those who espouse social equity in the military - that it could suggest the imposition of racial quotas. Such a policy would then penalize capable minority youth who may enlist due to lack of perceived civilian opportunities, or force the military to turn away high-quality recruits to make room for less capable ones. (14) Do lawmakers wish to force more Hispanics and women into the service in the search for a mirror image of society? High-quality recruits include many minorities who choose military service for a variety of reasons, among them patriotism, family tradition, and skills and education that can translate to the civilian sector. The premise of those who want to resurrect the draft - that today's armed forces disproportionately put the poor and members of minority groups in harm's way (otherwise, why is military service a "burden"?) - is demonstrably false.
1. Senator Hollings' quotation is from a January 24, 2003 press advisory; Congressman Rangel's quotation is from a December 30, 2002 press release.
2. Robert Goldich, "The Military Draft and a Possible War With Iraq," Congressional Research Service, p. 13., 12/31/02.
3. Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Force Management Policy), "Population Representation in the Military Services, Fiscal Year 1999," November 2000.
4. Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Force Management Policy), Population Representation in the Military Services, FY2000.
5. Conscription Threatens Hard-Won Achievements and Military Readiness (Office of the UnderSecretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness), January 9, 2003.
7. Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Force Management Policy), Population Representation in the Military Services, FY2000.
9. Conscription Threatens Hard-Won Achievements and Military Readiness.
10. Ricks, Tom, "About Face: U.S. Infantry Surprise - It's Now Mostly White; Blacks Hold Office Jobs," Wall Street Journal, January 1997.
11. DoD "Equal Opportunity Survey" conducted by the Defense Manpower Data Center from September 1996-February 1997.
12. DoD "Quality of Life Survey," 1999.
13. Wall Street Journal, "Dodgy Drafters," January 11, '03.
14. Goldich, p. 14.
10-20-04, 01:47 PM #13Sgt. SmittyGuest Free Member
Uncle Sam can kiss my rosy red a$$ if he thinks he is gonna get any of my boys. I won't let my boys die for these stupid, egotistical politicians!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Too many of my generation died in the Nam, a place we had no business being in in the first place to let my boys fight a war for politicians that don't give a dam about the lives they waste and the families that are torn apart by the loss of a loved one. Maybe I'm still a LITTLE bitter over the whole Nam experience, oh well, this country sent me there now they have to deal with it just like i have to. There is no such thing as an HONEST politician.....all they think about is what there mark in history is gonna be when they die. I don't trust this govt. any farther than i can throw it, and have no respect for crooked politicians like Bush.
10-20-04, 01:57 PM #14
Sgt.Smitty...I think your kids need to make their own mind up about military service. I understand how you feel about your Nam experience but we don't all think like you. I felt I had a reason for being in Vietnam and I was there because I chose that duty over stateside polish your brass, shine your boots, drill and practice bull...Welcome home, calm down and go take a ride on one of those fine Harleys you have in your stable. Semper Fi
10-20-04, 02:08 PM #15Sgt. SmittyGuest Free Member
Hey gbudd, just venting off a little pent up frustration.....my boys have seen what this govt. did for and to me. I want them to have the part of their lives that the govt. screwed us out of. Yes, i am bitter towards this country and this govt., but i have to live with it every day of my life and i don;t want my boys to lose out on the best years of their lives like we did. That's not too much to ask is it? If the rain ever quits i will take a ride to clear my head, but no like ridin in the rain....too wet.......LOL..........I just don't want my boys to lose out on their best years. We never got the chance to live free like they are now, and no one is gonna take that from them.
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