Tag Archive | "Iraq"

Is A Military Draft Inevitable?

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Is A Military Draft Inevitable?

A confrontation with Iran at some level appears to be a foregone conclusion. Presidential candidate John McCain has stated that there are scenarios that would necessitate the reinstitution of a military draft. Even with Obama and a Democratic Congress could the law of supply and demand leave them with no choice in the event of a military conflict?

Our troops continue be stretched thin all over the world. Are we one more conflict away from a draft? How big will the conflict have to be? Will we be at war with Iran over nuclear reactors? Will the “cold war” over the North Pole heat up as Russia builds up its Antarctic military defenses? The Antarctic is thought to hold 25 percent or more of the worlds untapped energy resources. Maybe North Korea will fuel up(unleaded of course) one of those Taepodong-1 missiles and lob one over the ocean at us. Wherever it comes from, my gut tells me it will be something different than we expected.

Is a military draft a political issue or a simple issue of supply and demand? Can we predict the future by looking at the politics and economics of past drafts?

The last time we saw a draft was the Vietnam War. The last soldier was drafted in 1972. The draft officially ended in 1973. Prior to that time, the draft was historically a reaction to a specific military event. President Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Service And Training Act of 1940 in response to the United States entering World War II.

Prior to World War II, the last draft was in response to World War I with the establishment of the original Selective Service Act, establishing local, district, state, and territorial civilian boards to register, classify, examine, and either induct and ship out or defer men between the ages of twenty-one and thirty for service in World War I. The draft was incredibly unpopular and volatile. For the first drawing 50,000 men applied for the very broad exemptions allowed by the first act. More than one quarter million eligible males failed to register at all. There were often mass roundups and arrests of draft dodgers.

The first national “conscription draft” was the Civil War. The North began conscription in 1863 when Congress gives President Lincoln the authority to require draft registration by all able-bodied men between the ages of twenty and forty-five, regardless of their marital status or profession. You were able to pay a fee to have a “substitute” fight in your place. You were also in the clear if you could cough up 300 dollars to the government. The corruption, politics and favoritism associated with the Civil War draft in part set off the New York City Draft Riots depicted in the movie Gangs Of New York.

The Confederate Draft was such a mess that it really never achieved the needed manpower infusion. There was massive non-compliance leading the Confederate states to begin conscripting slaves.

Prior to the the Civil War, the calling up of military was primarily reserved for state militias. The was often conflict between federal authority to call up the militias and the states willingness to comply. This was a particular problem in the War of 1812.

The constitutionality of the draft has been challenged several times. The first time was the very unpopular World War I draft. The United States Supreme court held that the draft was constitutional in the case of Arver v. United States. Lower court cases have followed Arver.

The current military stance is that there is no need for a draft even with any military recruiting shortfalls that may occur. It is the position of military leaders that a draft would actually decrease the quality of the average volunteer solider in the field. All branches of the military have in fact met or exceed their quotas for whatever that is worth. Is the fulfilling of a “peacetime” quota a symbolic and meaningless statistic?

People have been opining and predicting the need for a draft since the Civil War and the riots that followed.. Without exception it has taken a precipitating military event to bring one about. In my mind it is not a right wing versus left wing, Republican versus Democrat argument. There are so many variables and external forces that any prediction bases on political alliances and agendas is futile. I prefer to look at the constant economic variable that has driven world economies since pelts were being traded for food.

It is a very simple formula of supply and demand economics. In any economy external forces/events drive up or lower demand and supply. When demand increases and you don’t have the resources to increase supply, you make adjustments, re-deploy assets, lean out the supply chain. If demand keeps increasing sooner or later the only way to deal with it is to increase your supply by renewing production. Supply chain management is critical in the military on all levels in including the resource no war can be fought without. Poor supply chain management at Sears costs jobs. Poor supply chain enlistment management in the military costs lives.

How many events can our military respond to before the demand for soldiers outstrips our ability to bring in volunteers?

Our military leaders say we are meeting and exceeding retention and recruiting quota in our all volunteer force. That is really a meaningless statement unless we know the formula they use to determine quota. For example, we know that a percentage of the retention quota is being met through the military’s controversial “stop loss” policy. Many of called this policy a “back door draft”. When this is taken into consideration, the numbers do not appear to tell the whole story. It’s like Enron telling their employees they are kicking ass. Unless you know how they came to their conclusions, it is a false and very dangerous sense of security.

The military is a business. It is a poorly managed business. Sooner or later, you will reach a point where it makes more economic sense to force people to go than entice them with all kinds of incentives and bonuses. I have no idea where that point is. When it happens, there is not going to be a vote, a referendum, a debate etc. We will be told its coming and that’s that.

Will there one day be the new “Pearl Harbor” that will cause a massive “patriotic shift” in favor of a draft? I have no idea. Is it naive and “isolationist” to bask in comfort that it will never occur?

What do you think?

©2008 Brian Cuban

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If John F. Kennedy Addressed The Nation on Middle East

Good Evening.

Seven weeks ago tonight I returned from the Middle East to report on my meeting with the heads of the Iraqi, Afghanistan, and Israeli Governments with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadineja and the others opposed to democracy and self rule in Iraq. His grim warnings about the future of the world, his aide memoir on Israel and Iraq, his subsequent speeches and threats which he and his agents have launched, and the increase in the Iranian military budget and nuclear capabilities that he has announced, have all prompted a series of decisions by the administration and a series of consultations with the members of the NATO organization.

In the Middle East, as you recall, he intends to bring to an end, through the proliferation of nuclear weapons, first Israel’s right to exist and our legal rights to be in Iraq and other places in the Middle East and secondly our ability to make good on our commitment to the millions free people of Iraq to aid them in restoring democracy. That we cannot permit.

We are clear about what must be done — and we intend to do it. I want to talk frankly with you tonight about the first steps that we shall take. These actions will and have required sacrifice on the part of many of ,our citizens, our children….. More will be required in the future. They will require, from all of us, courage and perseverance in the years to come. But if we and our allies act out of strength and unity of purpose — with calm determination and steady nerves — using restraint in our words as well as our weapons — I am hopeful that both peace and freedom will be sustained.

The immediate threat to free men is from within the borders of Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran. But these world outposts are not an isolated problem. The threat is worldwide. Our effort must be equally wide and strong and not be obsessed by any single manufactured crisis. We face a challenge in the Middle East, but there is also a challenge in North Korea, where the borders are less guarded, the enemy harder to gage, and the dangers of communism less apparent to those who have so little. We face a challenge in our own hemisphere, and indeed wherever else the freedom of human beings is at stake.

Let me remind you that the fortunes of war and diplomacy have finally freed the people of Iraq form the brutal Hussein dictatorship. We must not waiver.

Iran with its stated intent to wipe Israel off the earth and its proximity to the democratic free world is in a very real geographic position to carry out its’ threats of Middle East domination. This is not the threat of the Iranian people with whom we sympathize but of a self important leader with visions of world domination to the detriment of the Iranian people……
We are there as a result of our efforts to introduce a free and democratic Iraq to the world– and our basic rights to be there, deriving from that mission; include both our presence in Iraq and the enjoyment of access across the Middle East. In this area we are committed to the right of the Iraqi people to determine their own future and choose their own way of life.

Thus, our presence in Afghanistan and Iraq and our access thereto, cannot be ended by any act of the Iranian government, Al -Qaeda or the Insurgency. The Coalition shield was extended to cover Iraq and other parts of the middle east — and we have given our word that an attack upon that country will be regarded as an attack upon us all.

Iraq is — as never before — the great testing place of Western courage and will, a focal point where our solemn commitments, stretching back over the years

I hear it said that the Middle East and particularly Iraq is militarily untenable. And so was Iraq in Desert Storm, so was Bastogne in World War II. And so, in fact, was Stalingrad. Any dangerous spot is tenable if men — brave men — will make it so.

We do not want to fight — but we have fought before. We do not want our young men to die. Many have gone before them to defend freedom and democracy and to end tyranny. And others in earlier times have made the same dangerous mistake of assuming that the West was too selfish and too soft and too divided to resist invasions of freedom in other lands. Those who threaten to unleash the forces of war on a dispute over Iraq should recall the words of the ancient philosopher: “A man who causes fear cannot be free from fear.”

We cannot and will not permit the Insurgents and those who oppose democratic free society to drive us out of Iraq, either gradually or by force. For the fulfillment of our pledge to that city is essential to the morale and security of Iraq, to the unity of the Middle East, and to the faith of the entire free world.

Insurgent strategy has long been aimed, not merely at Iraq, but at dividing and neutralizing all of the Middle East, forcing us back on our own shores. We must meet our oft-stated pledge to the free peoples of West Berlin — and maintain our rights and their safety, even in the face of force — in order to maintain the confidence of other free peoples in our word and our resolve. The strength of the alliance on which our security depends is dependent in turn on our willingness to meet our commitments to them.

So long as the Iranian government, Iraqi insurgents and Al Queada insist that they are preparing to end by themselves unilaterally our rights in Middle East and our commitments to its people, we must be prepared to defend those rights and those commitments. We will at all times be ready to talk, if talk will help. But we must also be ready to resist with force, if force is used upon us. Either alone would fail. Together, they can serve the cause of freedom and peace.

The new preparations that we shall make to defend the peace are part of the long-term buildup in our strength which has been under way since the Iraqi Conflict began. They are based on our needs to meet a worldwide threat, on a basis which stretches far beyond the present Middle East crisis. Our primary purpose is neither propaganda nor provocation — but preparation.

A first need is to hasten progress toward the military goals which Coalition allies have set for themselves. In the Middle East today nothing less will suffice. We will put even greater resources into fulfilling those goals, and we look to our allies to do the same.

The supplementary defense buildups that I asked from the Congress have already started moving us toward these and our other defense goals. They included an increase in the size of the Marine Corps, improved readiness of our reserves, expansion of our air and sea lift, and stepped-up procurement of needed weapons, ammunition, and other items…

These measures must be speeded up, and still others must now be taken. We must have sea and air lift capable of moving our forces quickly and in large numbers to any part of the world.

But even more importantly, we need the capability of placing in any critical area at the appropriate time a force which, combined with those of our allies, is large enough to make clear our determination and our ability to defend our rights at all costs — and to meet all levels of aggressor pressure with whatever levels of force are required. We intend to have a wider choice than humiliation or all-out nuclear action.

While it is unwise at this time either to call up or send abroad excessive numbers of these troops before they are needed, let me make it clear that I intend to take, as time goes on, whatever steps are necessary to make certain that such forces can be deployed at the appropriate time without lessening our ability to meet our commitments elsewhere.

Thus, in the days and months ahead, I shall not hesitate to ask the Congress for additional measures, or exercise any of the executive powers that I possess to meet this threat to peace. Everything essential to the security of freedom must be done; and if that should require more men, or more taxes, or more controls, or other new powers, I shall not hesitate to ask them. The measures proposed today will be constantly studied, and altered as necessary

And let me add that I am well aware of the fact that many American families will bear the burden of our goal to put an end to terror. Studies or careers will be interrupted; husbands and sons will be called away; incomes in some cases will be reduced. But these are burdens which must be borne if freedom is to be defended. Americans have willingly borne them before — and they will not flinch from the task now.

As signers of the U.N. Charter, we shall always be prepared to discuss international problems with any and all nations that are willing to talk — and listen — with reason. If they have proposals — not demands — we shall hear them. If they seek genuine understanding — not concessions of our rights — we shall meet with them. We have previously indicated our readiness to remove any actual irritants in the Middle East in particularly Iraq, but the freedom of that city is not negotiable. We cannot negotiate with those who say, “What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is negotiable.” But we are willing to consider any arrangement in Iraq consistent with the maintenance of peace and freedom, and with the legitimate security interests of all nations.

We believe arrangements can be worked out which will help to meet those concerns, and make it possible for both security and freedom to exist in this troubled area.

For it is not democracy in Iraq, but the situation in that entire divided country. If anyone doubts the legality of our rights in Iraq, we are ready to have it submitted to international adjudication. If anyone doubts the extent to which our presence is desired by the people of Iraq compared to their “slavery” under the brutal dictatorship of Sadam Hussein, we are ready to have that question submitted to a free vote in the Middle East and if possible, among all Iraqi people

The choice of peace or war is largely theirs, not ours. It is the insurgents, Al Qaeda and the Iranian Governments who have stirred up this crisis. It is they who are trying to force a change. It is they who have opposed free elections. It is they who have rejected peace in the Middle East and the rulings of international law. And as Americans know from our history on our own old frontier, gun battles are caused by outlaws, and not by officers of the peace.

In short, while we are ready to defend our interests, we shall also be ready to search for peace — in quiet exploratory talks in formal or informal meetings. We do not want military considerations to dominate our thinking.

While all of these efforts go on, we must not be diverted from our total responsibilities, from other dangers, from other tasks. If new threats in Iraq or the Middle East or elsewhere should cause us to weaken our program of assistance to the developing nations who are also under heavy pressure from the same source, or to halt our efforts for realistic disarmament, or to disrupt or slow down our economy, or to neglect the education of our children, then those threats will surely be the most successful and least costly maneuver in the history of the region. For we can afford all these efforts, and more — but we cannot afford not to meet this challenge. And the challenge is not to us alone. It is a challenge to every nation which asserts its sovereignty under a system of liberty. It is a challenge to all those who want a world of free choice. It is a special challenge to the United States — the heartland of human freedom.

We in the West must move together in building military strength. We must consult one another more closely than ever before. We must together design our proposals for peace, and labor together as they are pressed at the conference table.

And together we must share the burdens and the risks of this effort.

With your help, and the help of other free men, this crisis can be surmounted. Freedom can prevail and peace can endure.

Thank you and good night

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