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This is why it is easy to see either 1) A Bush cut and run decision if he’s elected, or 2) a return of the draft. This truly makes you want to cry for your country. From the New Zealand Herald:

Where to find the extra troops to fight a seemingly intractable insurgency that echoes Vietnam has become a pressing question. And although you wouldn’t hear it from the Bush Administration, the prospect of deploying a draft for the first time in a generation may be edging towards reality.

…Many US soldiers in Iraq are fighting for a second year. The Pentagon has also deployed about 45 per cent of the 1.2 million-strong National Guard (as against 1.4 million in the regular armed forces), the highest call-up of ‘weekend warriors’ since World War II. Arguably, the move could leave the US more vulnerable to attack.

Other men have been drawn from the Individual Ready Reserve, troops on call for eight years after leaving the military.

The Pentagon has bumped the number of recruiters from 6000 to 7000, and inductees are offered bonuses, scholarships, and various enticements – cosmetic surgery at Government expense is one.

Meanwhile, the war in Iraq bleeds on. Besides the dead, 6690 soldiers had been wounded by September 12.

‘We’re seeing new types of people going AWOL [absent without leave],‘ says Steve Morse from the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors. ‘They’ve returned from Iraq and are extremely stressed by the war.’

Calls to the GI Rights Hotline, run by the committee, have shot up. And a handful of soldiers have deserted, fleeing to Canada.

Can the Pentagon hold the line using volunteers? Or will it to have to resurrect conscription? ‘If Bush gets in I think a draft is a distinct possibility,’ says Ellis. ”

…Despite official claims that a draft isn’t contemplated, there is growing concern at the grassroots.

“We’re getting a lot of calls from people who are worried,” says Morse. “Especially from young men. Even from young women.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding