Thursday, October 28, 2004
Now that I've got your attention, make sure you read this.....
By RALPH PETERS
October 26, 2004 -- THERE is not going to be a military draft. No matter who is elected. No draft. None. Period.
The shameless lies told for political advantage, the immoral scare tactics behind the warnings that President Bush has a "secret plan" to bring back the draft, have reached a new low point in recent American politics.
Sen. John Kerry knows there isn't going to be a draft.
Sen. John Edwards, who doesn't know much else, knows there isn't going to be a draft.
The Democratic National Committee knows there isn't going to be a draft.
And they're all warning us that a draft is on the way — unless, of course, young people vote for the Democratic ticket.
Apart from assuming that all young Americans are cowards with no sense of patriotism, the naked dishonesty of the "draft scare" tactic is stunning even to someone who's watched politicians misbehave for decades.
There isn't going to be a draft.
1) The military doesn't want a draft. The generals and admirals would fight tooth-and-nail to prevent the resurrection of the draft. We've built the best military in the world through the all-volunteer force. At this point in our history, draftees would do more harm than good.
The magnificently skilled forces that have turned in such remarkable performances in Afghanistan and Iraq rely on soldiers who want to be there. Morale is crucial, and morale is high among those proud professionals. Herding in a crop of smug undergraduates who think they're too good to get their hands dirty would hurt both morale and combat effectiveness.
Postmodern war is a job for long-term soldiers. This isn't Sgt. York's Army anymore, in which courage and a Springfield rifle get you through.
The youngest Infantryman in a Bradley Infantry Combat Vehicle-equipped platoon has to master approximately two dozen complex skill sets. That takes lengthy training and a positive attitude. Even a motivated draftee would just be reaching a basic competence level by the time his or her term of service ended.
Our casualties remain so low by historical standards because our soldiers and Marines know what they're doing. We win so impressively because our troops believe in what they're doing. Forget the Hollywood lies — the average infantry soldier or Marine loves his profession. The last thing our military leaders want to do is to return to the "when do I get on the freedom bird for home" mentality of Vietnam.
If you want to break the finest military in the world, bring back the draft.
2) A draft is entirely unnecessary.
Short of a protracted ground war with China, North Korea and the Cayman Islands simultaneously, there's no need for a draft. Our ground forces are too small, but that can be fixed if Congress allocates the funds. The Army needs about 50,000 to 60,000 more troops — not Christmas help, but permanent positions — and the Marines could use another 20,000. We can recruit that many soldiers and Marines, if the end-strength increase is authorized.
Why on earth would we need or want to bring back the draft when we have sufficient volunteers? With the personnel turnover and lowered effectiveness it brings, a draft no longer even saves money.
The outrageous lie that, if our president is re-elected, millions of young Americans will be dragged off to basic training is so shameless that printable language doesn't suffice to describe it.
No president is going to ask for a draft that the military doesn't want and the country doesn't need. And if he did, Congress wouldn't give it to him. End of issue.
Ralph Peters is a retired military officer who maintains close contact with our troops.
Update: Check out great insight by Jen Martinez.