June 12, 2005
Sen. Biden: We "Have to Face" Possibility of Restoring Military Draft
Sen. Joseph Biden, the top Democrat of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said today the country is going to "have to face" the possibility of restoring the military draft if the Army continues to fail to reach recruiting goals. Biden appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press" with Tim Russert. Here's part of the transcript.
- RUSSERT: In order to continue current deployments, might we need to revert to a draft?
BIDEN: Remember during the campaign you asked me that question? And I said Kerry isn't making anything up. We're going to have to face that question. I agree with Curt. I think we can avoid it by changing the mix. But the truth of the matter is, it is going to become a subject if in fact 40 percent shortfall in recruitment. It's just a reality.
Also today, the Pentagon announced the U.S. military death toll in Iraq has topped 1,700.
May 28, 2005
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) Calls For Military Draft
Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) has reintroduced legislation to reinstate the military draft.
"I oppose the war in Iraq, but I support the military and the men and women who serve in it," Rangel said. "What is happening now indicates to me that the entire volunteer system is in danger of collapse under the weight of the burden being placed on those who are serving."
Under Rangel's bill all men and women between the ages of 18 and 26 would be required to serve in the military. The length of active duty service would be reduced to 15 months. And deferments for education would be permitted only for students under the age of 21 still finishing high school.
"The longer we stay in Iraq and the more Americans are killed, and the less attractive military service appears to potential recruits, the closer the country will move toward a decision on the draft," Rangel said. "The American people lost confidence in this war long ago, and now that parents are discouraging their children from volunteering, we are faced with a situation in which the most disadvantaged young people from areas of high unemployment will be even more likely to carry the greatest share of the burden."
Last year the House overwhelmingly rejected Rangel's proposal by a vote of 404-2.
on the possible return of the military draft.
April 16, 2005
Oregon Bill Would Require New Drivers to Automatically Register For Selective Service
From the Catholic Sentinel: The Oregon Catholic Conference and Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon have teamed up to oppose a bill that connects drivers’ licenses with a military draft. House Bill 2575 (PDF of bill) would automatically register young men for Selective Service when they sign up for licenses or state identification cards.
“There is a significant difference in moral judgments that an individual makes between applying for issuance or renewal of a driver’s license, permit or an identification card on the one hand and registering with the Selective Service System on the other,” says a statement written by Oregon Catholic Conference executive director Bob Castagna and read to the House Transportation Committee March 30 by Philip Kennedy Wong of Ecumenical Ministries...
Signing up for a driver’s license does not involve moral questioning, the statement said, but registering for Selective Service “raises issues of the most critical judgments and moral decisions a person may be called to make in life: potentially placing oneself in the position of agreeing to engage in warfare, use all the weapons in our nation’s arsenal and take human lives." Read More
April 02, 2005
Military Analysts Warn: Draft May Be Needed in a Year
From the Cox News Service: "If American forces aren't pulling out of Iraq in a year, a draft will be needed to meet manpower requirements, military analysts warned Wednesday. With recruitment lagging and no end in sight for U.S. forces in Iraq, the 'breaking point' for the nation's all-volunteer military will be mid-2006, agreed Lawrence Korb, a draft opponent and assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration, and Phillip Carter, a conscription advocate and former Army captain."More
The warnings came during a forum titled "The Draft: Inevitable, Avoidable or Preferable?" You can read the transcript here. The Center for American Progress has also archived video recordings (in WMV format) of the event: Mark Shields | Phillip Carter| Larry Korb | Panel Discussion | Q&A.
More from CounterRecruiter.net on the possible return of the draft.
March 30, 2005
Washington Monthly Calls For The Return of the Draft
The Washington Monthly has a major essay titled "The Case for the Draft" in its new issue calling for the return of a military draft and mandating all college-bound students serve the country (not necessarily in a military capacity) for a year before starting college.
The co-authors of the article, Phillip Carter and Paul Glastris, write: "America has a choice. It can be the world's superpower, or it can maintain the current all-volunteer military, but it probably can't do both." (Glastis is the editor in chief of the magazine.)
The authors go on to describe their vision of a 21st century draft:
"Instead of a lottery, the federal government would impose a requirement that no four-year college or university be allowed to accept a student, male or female, unless and until that student had completed a 12-month to two-year term of service. Unlike an old-fashioned draft, this 21st-century service requirement would provide a vital element of personal choice. Students could choose to fulfill their obligations in any of three ways: in national service programs like AmeriCorps (tutoring disadvantaged children), in homeland security assignments (guarding ports), or in the military. Those who chose the latter could serve as military police officers, truck drivers, or other non-combat specialists requiring only modest levels of training. (It should be noted that the Army currently offers two-year enlistments for all of these jobs, as well as for the infantry.) They would be deployed as needed for peacekeeping or nation-building missions. They would serve for 12-months to two years, with modest follow-on reserve obligations.
"Whichever option they choose, all who serve would receive modest stipends and GI Bill-type college grants. Those who sign up for lengthier and riskier duty, however, would receive higher pay and larger college grants. Most would no doubt pick the less dangerous options. But some would certainly select the military—out of patriotism, a sense of adventure, or to test their mettle. Even if only 10 percent of the one-million young people who annually start at four-year colleges and universities were to choose the military option, the armed forces would receive 100,000 fresh recruits every year. These would be motivated recruits, having chosen the military over other, less demanding forms of service. And because they would all be college-grade and college-bound, they would have—to a greater extent than your average volunteer recruit—the savvy and inclination to pick up foreign languages and other skills that are often the key to effective peacekeeping work.
"A 21st-century draft like this would create a cascading series of benefits for society. It would instill a new ethic of service in that sector of society, the college-bound, most likely to reap the fruits of American prosperity. It would mobilize an army of young people for vital domestic missions, such as helping a growing population of seniors who want to avoid nursing homes but need help with simple daily tasks like grocery shopping. It would give more of America's elite an experience of the military. Above all, it would provide the all-important surge capacity now missing from our force structure, insuring that the military would never again lack for manpower. And it would do all this without requiring any American to carry a gun who did not choose to do so.
"If America wishes to retain its mantle of global leadership, it must develop a military force structure capable of persevering under these circumstances. Fortunately, we know how to build such a force. We have done it many times in the past. The question is: Do we have the will to do so again?"
March 20, 2005
Generals Suggest Draft May Be Needed
The all-volunteer Army might not last if the current conflicts continue for another two years. That's the view of Army vice chief of staff General Richard Cody, according to an article in Stars and Stripes. Retired Maj. Gen. Edward Atkeson believes “the all-volunteer force is close to breaking right now.” [See "By the Numbers: Our Decomposing Military"]
“When it does break," Atkeson says, "that’s when you’ll see the draft come back.”
The all-volunteer force is barely 30 years old and this is the first time it has been taken into an extended fight, the article notes. The difficulties of wartime recruiting suggest a protracted campaign simply may not be possible without a draft or some other radical shift in how bodies are supplied to the military.
Cody also admitted, "What keeps me awake at night is: What will this all-volunteer force look like in 2007?"
One interesting note is Cody's talk about “influencers." “We’re seeing right now mothers and fathers and school teachers and other influencers that maybe are not talking about service to this nation,” Cody said. “So, when you say, ‘Army, you have a recruiting problem,’ I say, ‘America, you have a recruiting problem.’”
This echoes the analysis put forward in a recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch article. In other words, if you can convince moms and clergy and (maybe a little tougher) coaches that joining the military is a bad option, you can keep a lot of kids out. Probably more than if you tried to convince the kids directly.