Jay Reding.com

Is It Getting Drafty In Here?

Rep. Charlie Rangel is trying to bring back the draft again. It seems like Rangel, having voted against his own idea once, just can’t let it go.

Joe Gandelman of The Moderate Voice wonders why Rangel would shoot himself in the foot like that. The military has no interest in a draft — the US military has already made the transition to an all-volunteer military and the costs of changing back would be incredibly high.

As Mitch Berg points out conscription doesn’t match the doctrine of the US military. You can’t take some 18-year-old who doesn’t have any interest in serving, plop him down on the streets of Baghdad and expect him to do the job our soldiers are doing. Far from being uneducated killbots, our troops are frequently called on to be diplomats, civil engineers and arbitrators as well as highly-trained and effective shock troops. This isn’t World War II, and the idea that a draft will do anything to alleviate our current problems is simply untrue.

The idea of some kind of national service isn’t a bad one, but Rangel’s proposal is a political bludgeon rather than a serious policy proposal. The reality is that our military is already a cross-section of American society, and our military isn’t about diversity, it’s about finding people who can become effective soldiers. We leave the swarms of cannon fodder for our enemies, our military doctrine has focused around highly-trained shock troops backed up with overwhelming airpower and artillery. Having a bunch of conscripts doesn’t fit in with that doctrine, and if the goal is to have an Army where everybody serves, that Army won’t be as effective as it could be. (Even the much-vaunted Israeli military had severe problems in Lebanon the last time around, partially due to their heavy use of reservists.)

Bringing back the draft is unnecessarily provocative. Yes, we need a larger military, but throughout the 1980s we had a military that was substantially larger than it is today, and we didn’t require a draft back then. If we could support another 10 Army divisions back then, the only thing stopping us from doing so now is the political will to make it happen. Rangel’s proposal is ill-considered and unnecessarily provocative. Our military doesn’t need conscripts, what it needs is a political class that treats it with respect. As General Abizaid pointed out in his testimony before Congress last week, the culture in Washington doesn’t exactly make members of our military feel supported.

If we’re going to send anyone into battle, it should be Congress. Perhaps if they spend some time with our troops in the field, they’d have more respect for what they’re doing and more understanding of how they operate.

18 responses to “Is It Getting Drafty In Here?”

  1. Mark says:

    “It seems like Rangel, having voted against his own idea once, just can’t let it go.”

    It’s all symbollic, which should be painfully obvious even to you. Rangel doesn’t support the idea. He is pushing it to put the fear of God into the country club chickenhawks (sound familiar) that war is more than just something poor people have to do when the factory in their hometown moves to China.

    “Our military doesn’t need conscripts, what it needs is a political class that treats it with respect.”

    Yes, that’s our biggest problem. There simply aren’t enough politicians insufficiently terrified of being demagouged for “not supporting the troops” who don’t ask the necessary questions about our foreign policy.

  2. Jay Reding says:

    It’s all symbollic, which should be painfully obvious even to you. Rangel doesn’t support the idea. He is pushing it to put the fear of God into the country club chickenhawks (sound familiar) that war is more than just something poor people have to do when the factory in their hometown moves to China.

    Which would make Rangel an idiot. For one, the military represents a cross-section of society, the idea that only poor people fight has never been true in American society. Secondly, if that’s the point, why bother? Such a bill will never pass. It’s an empty threat.

    Yes, that’s our biggest problem. There simply aren’t enough politicians insufficiently terrified of being demagouged for “not supporting the troops” who don’t ask the necessary questions about our foreign policy.

    No, we have a political class who is stuck in the Vietnam-era who have no conception about what Iraq is really like. As General Abizaid said last week, the political culture in Washington is light-years away from the reality on the ground in Iraq, and that’s why Washington keeps wanting to cut and run while our troops want to finish the job and keep Iraq from falling into anarchy.

  3. Mark says:

    “the military represents a cross-section of society, the idea that only poor people fight has never been true in American society”

    Very few upper middle-class and upper-class individuals are serving in the military. The membership of our armed services is disproportionately from working class backgrounds, and all indicators suggest the growing affluence gap in our postglobalization economy will only further that trend.

    “our troops want to finish the job and keep Iraq from falling into anarchy.”

    The only poll I’ve seen on this matter shows that nearly two-thirds of American troops want to either “cut and run” immediately or set a withdrawal timeline. If you have data of your own that can discount that, now is the time is to provide it.

  4. Jay Reding says:

    Very few upper middle-class and upper-class individuals are serving in the military. The membership of our armed services is disproportionately from working class backgrounds, and all indicators suggest the growing affluence gap in our postglobalization economy will only further that trend.

    That’s not what the data shows. The military is pretty close to American society as a whole in terms of income and ethnicity.

    The only poll I’ve seen on this matter shows that nearly two-thirds of American troops want to either “cut and run” immediately or set a withdrawal timeline. If you have data of your own that can discount that, now is the time is to provide it.

    Because the only poll conducted was run by John Zogby and paid for by an anti-war group. Zogby has a long history of manipulating polls, and it’s likely based on the evidence I’ve seen that Zogby did the same in this instance.

  5. zzx375 says:

    So the answer, before the factory moves to China is ….? Why doesn’t the US just end all foreign troop deployments now?

  6. Dave says:

    The best way to tell how the troops who have served in Iraq feel about the deployment(s) as well as the military in general is the re-enlistment rates. The re-enlistment rates are at historic highs and are highest amongst units that have most recently served in Iraq or Afganistan.

    Dave

  7. Eracus says:

    Look, Charlie Rangel knows exactly what he is doing and why. He’s got his marching orders.

    His pronouncements justifying the draft, which he knows are demonstrably false, nevertheless pour fuel on the fire that keeps the old anti-war leftists and the young anti-American leftists all hot and bothered together in the liberal mosh pit. Rangel is just sending up the rhetorical flare that agitates the smoked brain, burnt head division of the Democratic base because its leadership believes the anti-war mentality is what got them elected. Their argument, as Mark so effectively parrots above, is that bringing back the draft will cement the anti-war mentality already in hand and make it stronger and more vibrant, thereby making it nearly impossible for any more of those wretched, fascist, right-wing “chickenhawk” American citizens and their elected representatives to militarily defend American interests abroad, even if they should ever regain the majority.

    Meanwhile, this simple little bit of political theater, timed perfectly for American Thanksgiving holiday dinner discussions, provides the earliest, most convenient, and sincerest, heartfelt Mainstream Media Opportunity After the Election for the other Marxist-Leninists in the Democratic Party, from Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton to John Kerry and Harry Reid, to once again indignantly and vehemently, if however disingenuously, denounce the draft on national television, radio, and in print — thereby proving their, uh, “centrist” and, um, er… “moderate,” “reasonable,” and “independent” credentials to anyone too stupid to think themselves around a street corner. People who, in other words, are so gullible, naive, and uneducated as to believe Charlie Rangel is saying or doing anything different today from what he’s said or done over the last 36 years he’s been elected to Congress.

    He’s the waterboy. Always has been. And he’s dead serious:

    “I am making a statement against all wars that cannot gin up enough confidence that people would say, “My country’s in danger and I want to serve; my kids want to serve.” If it doesn’t reach that level, then you bet your life I don’t think that you should just recruit where people have little alternatives in their lifestyle.” –Charlie Rangel, 11/20/06, FOX News

    And if you think for one moment that Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Harry Reid and all the rest of the anti-war, anti-American crowd just elected to Congress won’t vote to bring “equality” back into the U.S. Armed Forces, you’ve much too long smoked your brain and burnt your head.

    It’s what you voted for, Mark. Or didn’t you know that?

  8. Seth says:

    Jay–
    The data run by people that don’t come from far right think tanks (the Department of Defense, for example) shows that the poor and minorities are disproportionately represented in the military and they show a near total lack of anyone in the upper class, particularly in the enlisted ranks. Ir doesn’t seem like plain statistics from the DoD would persuade you, so I don’t think I’ll even try.

  9. Eracus says:

    “… (the Department of Defense, for example) shows that the poor and minorities are disproportionately represented in the military and they show a near total lack of anyone in the upper class, particularly in the enlisted ranks.”

    You’ve made that fatuous and demonstrably false statement here before, Seth, and were unable or unwilling to provide us with the URL citing the Defense Department as your alleged source. You cited several other obscure, out-of-date wire service reports with the usual Andrew Young (or was it Julian Bond?) pablum quoted in a Miami newspaper, but nothing whatsoever citing “statistics” supposedly provided by the U.S. Department of Defense.

    Please provide the URL for the current, up-to-date U.S. Department of Defense data you are claiming as a source to support your statement above, Seth, or we will be forced to conclude (once again) that you have no idea at all what you are talking about and are merely lapping up and regurgitating Charlie Rangel’s latest anti-war, anti-military, anti-American spittle, drool, and mouthfoam.

    Please provide the URL from the U.S. Department of Defense supporting your statement.

  10. Mark says:

    Eracus, it was not only I who voted for Charlie Rangel and his ilk to control Congress, it was a clear majority of Americans. Now that we’re in the majority, it is WE who get to declare all dissent unpatriotic, so be warned. Much more of this lip and I’ll inform our black helicopters that you need more than to have your ice house burned down by Frank Moe, but to shipped to Guantanamo as a war criminal.

  11. Erica says:

    You’ve made that fatuous and demonstrably false statement here before, Seth, and were unable or unwilling to provide us with the URL citing the Defense Department as your alleged source.

    Hardly noteworthy, since it seems only Jay and his cronies are allowed to post anything containing URL’s.

  12. Eracus says:

    Can’t find the URL, ay? Of course not. There is none, because the assertion that “the poor and minorities are disproportionately represented in the military” is the same bald-faced lie Charlie Rangel has been peddling for the last 30 years to “the little guy” he presumes to represent. All of which should give you pause to consider the degree of disdain the liberal effete elite, like Charlie Rangel, really have for “the little guy.”

    The reality is, taken as a whole the American military is far more educated, better paid, and far more integrated than the general population. That’s why Charlie Rangel’s has to lie to keep the True Believers in “the poor and minorities are disproportionately represented in the military” anti-war crowd all hot and bothered. He knows they’re all too fanatically committed to ever check the facts for themselves and will, in the end, being exceptionally stupid, vote themselves into a conscripted military incapable of defending American interests in the global arena. He and the Democrat leadership are counting on it, which again, is the reason the waterboy, Charlie Rangel, keeps telling this same lie over and over. He knows eventually the little guy will believe it.

    I would presume then from your comments, Mark, that you favor bringing back the draft, higher taxes for the middle-class, an end to electronic international surveillance, and Congressional investigations criminalizing the foreign policy of the Executive Branch. Show-trials are so productive, afterall, as they really help the little guy, you know, who only wants his children conscripted into the military, more taxes taken out of his paycheck, a return to treating terrorism as just another ordinary crime, and the current POTUS and his cabinet frog-marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. Because he’s a real patriot, afterall, there’s a war on, and everybody knows Bush is the real terrorist and the American people who support the war are just stupid chickenhawks who don’t realize that if we just stop bothering the Islamofascists, they’ll leave us alone. Because at the end of the day, it’s really people like me who are the real enemy, right? Because this is the fantasy you most want to live in…….brilliant!! Meanwhile….

    Interesting, isn’t it? How election after election, at $17,000 per student and always the very last to report, Red Lake returns 100% turn-out with 98% for the DFL candidate. The GOP candidate –who has led all day and all night across the county– loses again by almost the exact same margin as last time. My, my. What a coincidence!! And all it goes to show is that the good people of Beltrami County most assuredly voted for more socialized medicine, free healthcare for the indians, and longer lines at the clinics; increased education levies for higher teacher and administrator salaries and bigger school parking lots for their cars; and of course more wind power, ethanol, and an end to Global Warming. And if you don’t believe that is the absolute Truth about Beltrami County, why, you’re just a traitor and a racist, that’s all!! And you don’t care about Mother Earth and her children………

    House 2B

    In the House 2B battle, most of the focus has been placed on the state’s role in funding programs on the Red Lake Reservation for members of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa — at least by Lindgren.

    Sailer has called the issue divisive, and has instead campaigned on issues she believes district voters care about, such as health care, uniform education funding that doesn’t include property tax referendums for operating funds and energy policy.

    Lindgren lost his seat in 2004 by 336 votes, and that after most of the Red Lake vote had been tallied and which came in last. This year’s vote will no doubt be the same.

    The same happened Tuesday, as the Red Lake vote boosted Sailer into a second term. After Lindgren led most of the night, the late-arriving Red Lake vote put Sailer on top.

    With all but Blackduck reporting, Sailer led Lindgren 9,099 votes to 7,734, or 54 percent to 46 percent. Helping Sailer were margins of 612-20 in Red Lake Agency, 336-15 in Ponemah, 485-17 in Redby and 286-13 in Little Rock.

    http://www.rlnn.com/ArtNov06/OlsonUnseatsRuud.html

  13. Eracus says:

    Can’t find the URL, ay? Of course not. There is none, because the assertion that “the poor and minorities are disproportionately represented in the military” is the same bald-faced lie Charlie Rangel has been peddling for the last 30 years to “the little guy” he presumes to represent. All of which should give you pause to consider the degree of disdain the liberal effete elite, like Charlie Rangel, really have for “the little guy.” The reality is, taken as a whole the American military is far more educated, better paid, and far more integrated than the general population. That’s why Charlie Rangel’s has to lie to keep the True Believers in “the poor and minorities are disproportionately represented in the military” anti-war crowd all hot and bothered. He knows they’re all too fanatically committed to ever check the facts for themselves and will, in the end, being exceptionally stupid, vote themselves into a conscripted military incapable of defending American interests in the global arena. He and the Democrats are counting on it, which again, is the reason Charlie Rangel keeps telling this same lie again and again.

    I would presume then from your comments, Mark, that you favor bringing back the draft, higher taxes for the middle-class, an end to electronic international surveillance, and Congressional investigations criminalizing the foreign policy of the Executive Branch. Show-trials are so productive, afterall, as they really help the little guy, you know, who only wants his children conscripted into the military, more taxes taken out of his paycheck, a return to treating terrorism as just another ordinary crime, and the current POTUS and his cabinet frog-marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. Because he’s a real patriot, afterall, there’s a war on, and everybody knows Bush is the real terrorist and the American people who support the war are just stupid chickenhawks who don’t realize that if we just stop bothering the Islamofascists, they’ll leave us alone. Because at the end of the day, it’s people like me who are your real enemy, right? Because this is the fantasy you most want to live in…….brilliant!! Meanwhile….

    Interesting, isn’t it? How election after election, at $17,000 per student and always the very last to report, Red Lake returns 100% turn-out with 98% for the DFL candidate. The GOP candidate –who has led all day and all night across the county– loses again by almost the exact same margin as last time. My, my. What a coincidence!! And all it goes to show is that the good people of Beltrami County most assuredly voted for more socialized medicine, free healthcare for the indians, and longer lines at the clinics; increased education levies for higher teacher and administrator salaries and bigger school parking lots for their cars; and of course more wind power, ethanol, and an end to Global Warming. And if you don’t believe that is the absolute Truth, why, you’re just a traitor and a racist, that’s all!! And you don’t care about the Earth and all its children………

    House 2B

    In the House 2B battle, most of the focus has been placed on the state’s role in funding programs on the Red Lake Reservation for members of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa — at least by Lindgren.

    Sailer has called the issue divisive, and has instead campaigned on issues she believes district voters care about, such as health care, uniform education funding that doesn’t include property tax referendums for operating funds and energy policy.

    Lindgren lost his seat in 2004 by 336 votes, and that after most of the Red Lake vote had been tallied and which came in last. This year’s vote will no doubt be the same.

    The same happened Tuesday, as the Red Lake vote boosted Sailer into a second term. After Lindgren led most of the night, the late-arriving Red Lake vote put Sailer on top.

    With all but Blackduck reporting, Sailer led Lindgren 9,099 votes to 7,734, or 54 percent to 46 percent. Helping Sailer were margins of 612-20 in Red Lake Agency, 336-15 in Ponemah, 485-17 in Redby and 286-13 in Little Rock.

    [I’d post the URL, but Jay and his cronies won’t let me.]

  14. Mark says:

    Eracus, your conspiracy theories about Red Lake being “the new Chicago circa 1960 are, as per your usual, unfounded. Since Secretary of State Kiffmeyer (for a few more weeks anyway) is deliberate in her methodology of providing DFL precincts with the most outdated and rudimentary voting equipment, it certainly is not surprising that their returns were the last to report in Beltrami County. Turnout has been high in the past two elections on the Red Lake Rez than it has been in the past, which is more likely to mean a concerted GOTV operation has been put in place than any sort of foul play. Considering the Red Lake Reservation has a population of more than 5,000, voter turnout of 1,784 is not unreasonable and certainly isn’t “100% turnout” as you sloppily suggest. And even if DFL margins were cut in half at the five Red Lake Nation precincts, both Brita Sailer and Rod Skoe would still have won. Try again, pal.

    As for your mindless strawman of what I “favor”, I won’t dignify them with a response.

  15. Eracus says:

    Well, golly, gee whiz, Mark, I’ve just provided you with the facts as reported in the Bemidji Pioneer newspaper and on the Red Lake News website, both of which are stalwart, progressive attendants to the DFL leadership. Brad Swenson wrote the story, not me. Take your problems with his reporting up with him. But then, perhaps I should’ve used quotation marks, being unable to post the URL, so your naive prejudices and preconceptions wouldn’t so befuddle your comprehension as to produce such a laughable rationalization of the way things are in Beltrami County, especially up here on Red Lake. Nevermind contradicting the DFL’s own press release about the matter. Didn’t you get the memo?

    Obviously, you know absolutely nothing about Red Lake. A “concerted GOTV operation” presumes a lot of conditions that just don’t exist up here, Mark, and comparing a transient population figure with a “100% turn-out” of registered Red Lake voters is pretty stupid too, don’t you think? Especially when there is no residency requirement to cast a vote on the rez and no outside supervision of the vote. Sovereign nation, y’know….

    So come on, dude, you’re all for the little guy, remember? You want him to at least have an honest and fair election, don’t you? Of course, you do. So then you don’t seriously expect the average Beltrami County voter to be satisfied with such an utterly ridiculous partisan line-of-crap that it’s all because of the GOP’s having provided “the most outdated and rudimentary voting equipment” to Red Lake voters, do you?? –especially since we’ve all been pouring tens of millions of Federal, State, and County taxpayer dollars a year into Red Lake to correct just this very sort of inequality. That’s what Brita, Ronnie, and Frank have been all about, Mark, didn’t they tell you? Or are you suggesting that they have failed??

    If you, or the DFL representatives above, had any integrity at all, Mark, you’d be asking why, after years and years of sending tens of millions of our taxpayer dollars to the entirely corrupt and malignant “sovereign leadership” of Red Lake, there is nothing but school shootings, bone-crushing poverty, epidemic drug and alcohol abuse, murder and mayhem to show for it. I mean, other than, of course, the ever reliable 1700-1800 unqualified and uncontestable votes every election almost exclusively for the DFL candidate. Amazing vote totals, wouldn’t you say?

    But, as Brita, Ronnie, and Frank like to say, “Methamphetamine?? What methamphetamine?”

  16. Mark says:

    Eracus, if there were easy solutions to the endemic problems on Minnesota’s Indian reservations, there has been ample time for both parties to enact them and turn the reservations into the utopias that you fancy them as capable of being. Clearly what has been done on the reservations for generations has not been working, but you have to be able to provide workable solutions if you want to be taken seriously.

    So far, all I’m hearing from the Republican side of the aisle is, “Hey, you guys got a pretty profitable gambling racket going on up there. We want a piece of that action…or else.”

  17. Eracus says:

    Why, thanks for the platitudes, Mark. You obviously know absolutely nothing about Red Lake. If you did, you would realize that after generations of DFL giveaways and political chicanery, the system is working just fine, exactly as designed. That’s why nothing ever changes. The pay-offs are made, the votes are counted, and the tribal elite and their DFL attendants decide what’s best for the people of Beltrami County and how much it will cost. Nevermind that no one knows where the money goes…

  18. Eracus says:

    Red Lake’s missing two little boys, so we just bought them 10 more police cars. The grant went right from the State to the Tribe and then straight to the car dealer in town, who makes sure every DFL candidate and pet project receives his continued financial support. This is the DFL utopia, Mark. The indians get some token gesture, the car dealer gets some DFL celebrity treatment in the local media, and the money never leaves the Party. Neat, huh? It’s all about the little guy……