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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Another Call for the Draft

The Huffington Post is carrying an article by someone named A. Smerconish, in which he makes the latest call for the re-instatement of the national military draft.  The main reason he gives is that a draft would make it much harder for Presidents and Congressmen to send young people out on questionable military adventures.    (I would have said "Congresspeople" so as to include women, but I've decided to make it my bloggal policy never to include them whenever some shaky deal is in the air.   They, by definition being the more sensible and less bloodthirsty of the two genders, notwithstanding the stupid and relentlessly evil harridans like S. Palin and A. Coulter, would definitely not care to involve themselves in such situations.)

As one of that smaller and smaller number of American citizens who has ever had the draft board on his case (during the Korean War it  was well on its way to finding a place for me in the Army, before I decided that seeing what P-51 fighter planes and B-29 bombers were into would be preferable to being a rifle-toting groundpounder and carrying around a heavy knapsack all day long), I find that argument hard to buy.   I would think that on the contrary, having more troops on hand to blow up other peoples' worlds and create new hordes of mourners would make bone-headed .American grayheads more, not less, inclined to wield the big stick up close and personal, here, there, and everywhere, to avenge even the slightest disobedience of a country one-tenth our size.

Another argument that Smerconish makes is that the draft would make things fairer all around, by pulling in draftees from all the social settings instead of depending on volunteers from mainly the poorer families, and that's a good point.   Still, I think it can be said that no draft in any era has kept the well-off from finding ways for their sons to avoid being called up, and working out those little diversions would merely be a welcome respite from figuring out yet another way to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

In any case there's one huge reason why no draft has been put into effect since the Vietnam War, and that is the expense, though you rarely see that factor mentioned whenever this issue comes up.    Except for an emergency in the class of a hurricane that ends up flooding the whole country, which doesn't happen often, the members of a large full-time draftee force, most of whom would be in the Army, wouldn't be doing much except sitting around and playing grab-ass with each other, and meanwhile they would need to be constantly housed, fed, clothed, medically treated, indoctrinated, entertained, and incarcerated, and all that takes money, real money, a LOT of it.   And if the Government thinks it's in debt now....   And short of renting them out as mercenaries for the use of the various warlords all over the world, they wouldn't be paying their way in any detectable way.

In addition the country is now far larger than it was during World War 2, when the draft actually worked to a great extent.   Now it has over 300 million people, and just  think of the gigantic admininstrative force it would take merely to process the many millions of young men, and I guess these days also women, who would be called up every year.   You would get the badly out of whack result that the closer that got to being fair, the more unthinkably costly it would be, according to my abacus.

A better and less expensive  solution would be to put into place some compulsory military training of all 18-year olds over some short period of months and then to call them up for refresher courses every two years or so, for the next  five or six years.  I went through some very loose approximation of that even before I was an adult, in the form of the high school cadets and later two years of ROTC in college.   At least I learned all about how to drill, that is, to march in formation with a frail 1903 Springfield rifle on my shoulder, and despite its regimented nature, that's not a bad thing, because it instills a certain clean kind of discipline and a sharpened awareness of what is involved to work in close accord with others.   Young guys today would never have heard of that, and that's all to their detriment, I'm certain.

This would be inconvenient to them, but they could be told to think of it as re-enactments, in the Civil War style, of World War 3 or 4.   They could even be allowed to wear their own civilian get-ups.   Within limits they wouldn't look any scroungier than those present-day "restagings" of the Battles of Bull Run and Gettysburg.

Hey!  I never said that, except when genuine self-defense is involved, rather than heeding the call of bilious slobs overseas and launching preemptive attacks on other, relatively defenseless countries, the military is ever anything other than an exercise in the absurd.

Finally -- and here's the biggest kicker of all -- as has been predicted by many, all signs point to the likelihood that, besides warfare having become no longer a matter of "winning" or "losing" but only of inflicting maximum damage and pain, the waging of it, as has been predicted by many, is now much more a matter of machines than it is of manpower.   The U.S. may even have already accomplished this transformation entirely on its own, if its  heavy use of drones means anything, and in that area all male Americans of recent birth have already received extensive advance training, through their deep immersions in video games.

Behind all that, I would say that renewing the draft would just be a big waste of time, effort, and resources, just like war itself.


Blogger LeftLeaningLady said...

Dan Quayle didn't serve. GWB didn't serve. All of the Romney children would be deferred because they are too rich or too thin or too Mormon (although I know Mormons who have served). It won't make any difference for the rich if there is a draft, but it would make a difference to ME! BabyBoy has about 18 months before he hits that 25th birthday and I'll be damned if he will be sacrificed for OIL!

3:00 PM  
Blogger LeftLeaningLady said...

Or to prove that Mitt(ens) cajones are as big as GWB's.

3:01 PM  

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