An intellectual freedom blog with an emphasis on libraries and technology

Monday, May 10, 2004

More Conscription Contradictions

[Note: as of August 23, 2005 we still have not seen a return of the draft. My prediction from a year ago has not proven true. The war by this writing has lost much of its support (the poll results show less than half the U.S. population approve of the administration's handling of the war). Despite the fact that the prediction did not come to pass and regardless of why, I think that the questions I raised in this and other posts are only now showing up in the mainstream press. I will leave this and related entries as they originally appeared.]

Updated below

The recent stories about the abuse of inmates in Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq have revealed another important piece of information: the U.S. military does not have enough personnel. (See the earlier entry on this topic). According to numerous reports (some making excuses for the U.S. MPs) have mentioned that they were understaffed and overworked, that some personnel left when their time was up and were not replaced and that the population of the prison continued to rise without any additional guards (see the Toronto star story : Guards untrained and overwhelmed).

The point that no one, not even the congressional committee members, has called attention to the Bush Administration's continuing refusal even to talk about conscription until after the election. Have you ever heard the phrase "conspicuous by its absence?"

What I do not understand is why the Pro-War people have not clamoured for a return of the draft? (I also wonder why they don't volunteer, but one inconsistency at a time). The obvious lack of troops together with the Spanish pulling out paints a picture that contradicts the Pentagon's assurances that the draft remains unnecessary.

And here's a controversial idea: Consciencious objectors and anti-war people should welcome the draft as well. A "True" Consciencious objector refuses to fight in all wars (and does not pick and choose or use the phrase "un-just war") and is willing to face the consequences of performing alternate service. A draft would create a "hypocrisy problem" for a whole new generation of chicken hawks (Pat Buchanan, George W. Bush and Dan Quayle have all had powerful fathers who kept them out of combat, to name a few). It would also galvanize a new anti-war movement. Like it or not, many people stay indifferent until their's is the ass on the line.

Conscription is coming, and it's only a matter of time and of whether enough people believe that it will not happen.

Update March 6, 2009
While reviewing this blog's content I found that this entry looks badly out of date. My prediction of a draft proved incorrect. The best I can hope for is what writer David Brin calls the "self-preventing prophecy." By a large number of people paying attention to the possibility of a draft along with the growing unpopularity of the war, the plans for conscription turned into a third rail for the Bush administration. I have no way to take credit for this. who reads this blog?

I'm leaving the entries as I wrote them, as I enjoy pointing out the hypocrisy of the Congress and Bush & Co. sending other people to fight without their own grown children joining in. (Only a handful of relatives of Congress-people have served in either Iraq or Afghanistan as of this writing). And as President Obama tries to succeed where all others have failed in Afghanistan, we may yet see a draft.

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