Michael Bierut, recruitment poster via Swim Inc./Corbis
David Hackworth blasts Bush’s claim of “all-volunteer army, no need for a draft” out of the water in an essay.
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.
…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.