Let’s see if I can explain this in a way that even a wingnut can understand.
If you have ten apples and eat nine of them, don’t plan on baking a pie with what’s left. Your choices are to get more apples or do without the pie.
Let’s make it a little more complicated: If you start with two dozen place settings of china but break twice as many dishes as you replace, eventually you won’t have enough for a formal dinner party. Your choices are to replace the dishes or forget fine dining.
As math-impaired as I am, I figure that if I understand how subtraction works, anyone bright enough to use a fork ought to catch on. With that in mind, let’s look at a recent news story. Jerome L. Sherman wrote in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
A solid majority of American soldiers returning from the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan say that U.S. armed forces are stretched too thin, according to a poll released yesterday by a veterans group.
VoteVets.org , a group headed by an Army reservist based near Pittsburgh, found that 63 percent of veterans of both conflicts describe the Army and Marine Corps as “overextended,” while many soldiers also complained about encountering emotional and physical problems when they came back from active duty.
“We hope that this poll is a wake-up call for Congress,” said Jon Soltz , who served in Iraq in 2003 and is now a captain with a reserve unit at the Charles E. Kelly Support Facility in Oakdale and chairman of VoteVets.
Let’s look at some old news stores. This is a report by Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News, March 9, 2004:
Todayâ€™s Army is under enormous stress. With ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and dozens of other military missions worldwide, there are more than 320,000 Army troops alone deployed in 120 countries overseas. Thatâ€™s more than 60 percent of the entire Army.
Former Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who commanded U.S. troops in the first Gulf War, says the Army is being pushed to the breaking point. â€œWeâ€™re running these people ragged,â€ he said. â€œMany of them are being deployed three out of four years. Theyâ€™re not going to stay.â€
With the military stretched thin fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has lowered some academic recruitment standards and even granted waivers to permit the enlistment of people with criminal records that otherwise would disqualify them.
Last year, the Army fell short of its recruiting goals for the first time in years. While this year the Army is making its quota, it’s how they’re doing it that’s being called into question because of what we found undercover.
What he found was that recruiters are lying to the potential recruits, telling them there was little chance they’d go to Iraq. One recruiter told a student (secretly taping the conversation) that the war was over.
I bring this up because Rep. Charles Rangel, who in January will be chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, plans to introduce a bill to reinstate the draft.
“There’s no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded
Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm’s way,” Rangel said.
Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War who has unsuccessfully sponsored legislation on conscription in the past, has said the all-volunteer military disproportionately puts the burden of war on minorities and lower-income families.
This is a way to call the GOP’s bluff.
Rangel has two recruiting stations in his district [which includes parts of Harlem and the Bronx], the neighboring ones have none. When you look at who gets killed in Iraq, no one from Dalton and the Upper East Side is included. But immigrants from Queens, firefighters, and a bunch of working people
He knows it’s shitting the punch bowl, both for the GOP and liberal advocates of national service. People seem the draft is good for other people, but a draft of people 16-42 would take people older than the WW II draft, which ended at 36. Let’s see what they do when a bill is on the floor, vote it down of course. So we need to stop talking about wars as if we’re willing to fight them.
Righties — by definition, people who are too stupid to figure out that if you eat all the apples you can’t make the pie — are hootin’ about it.
But itâ€™s only because of Mr. Rangelâ€™s concern for the troops of course. It has nothing to do with trying to foment an anti-war movement like we had for Vietnam.
â€œDays Of Rageâ€ here we come!
Say, where is the “Rock The Vote” crowd? Werenâ€™t they and the rest of George Sorosâ€™ stooges spreading the lie that the Republicans intended to restore the draft if they won in 2004?
The “youth vote” turned out in record numbers on election day and apparently voted very heavily for the Democrats. (Remember, Rangel was going to retire if the Democrats didnâ€™t win control of the House.)
Do you think theyâ€™ll ever notice they were lied to?
For a lot of reasons there won’t be an antiwar movement like the one during the Vietnam era. The biggest reason is that the antiwar movement is working online and within the political system this time, and not on the streets. And it’s not the young people who need to think about what they’re willing to sacrifice, but the politicians who support the war and are running the Army into the ground, yet lack the moral courage to make the hard choices between their wars and the draft.
I don’t know what “George Soros’ stooges” were saying in 2004, but this is what I was saying:
Jonathan Alter writes in Newsweek that the Bush Administration has no plans for a draft. “He knows that a draft would vaporize any remaining support for his Iraq policy,” Alter writes. “This would be of concern to him even as a second-term, lame-duck president. One thing we’ve learned about Bush is that he has never taken a position that he knew beforehand would be politically unpopular, including invading Iraq.”
One thing we know about Bush is that he’s all about winning elections. The governing thing is just a prop. And if he wins in November, why would he care what we think?
And another thing we know about Bush is that he’s not being honest about Iraq. His statements on Iraq are hallucinatory.
But I suspect Alter is right. Bush has no plans for a draft. Of course, he didn’t plan for escalating violence in Iraq, either. He didn’t plan for the car bombs that injured soldiers near Fallujah today, for example.
We can’t be sure what Bush is planning, or even if Bush is planning. There is speculation that he plans a major offensive at the end of the year to pacify the insurgents. Bob Novak says there are plans to cut and run after the January elections. Whatever. Clearly, Iraq is spinning out of his control.
So there’s no point asking if Bush has plans for a draft. The question is, what if he realizes he needs soldiers to actually defend America, and there aren’t enough to go around?
I had forgotten that the Reptile had predicted Bush would get out of Iraq after January 2005. Here’s the quote, from September 2004:
Inside the Bush administration policymaking apparatus, there is strong feeling that U.S. troops must leave Iraq next year. This determination is not predicated on success in implanting Iraqi democracy and internal stability. Rather, the officials are saying: Ready or not, here we go. …
Well-placed sources in the administration are confident Bush’s decision will be to get out. They believe that is the recommendation of his national security team and would be the recommendation of second-term officials. An informed guess might have Condoleezza Rice as secretary of state, Paul Wolfowitz as defense secretary and Stephen Hadley as national security adviser. According to my sources, all would opt for a withdrawal.
I guess the Reptile was wrong. Anyway, back in 2004 righties shoved their fingers into their ears and refused to listen to our warnings that, someday, somebody was going to have to make the tough decision between waging war without end and risking a political firestorm by reinstating the draft. And I personally didn’t think Bush would do it, because Bush is a moral weenie who lacks the courage to make decisions that he knows will hurt him politically.
Now, I don’t think the draft will be reinstated — yet — and I don’t want it to be reinstated. But the nation, and Congress, have to make the tough choice that the President won’t make — either end the war, or restart the draft. The obvious, sensible answer is end the war. Whichever way we go, however, the troops deserve an answer. They deserved an answer two years ago.
And do you think the wingnuts will ever notice they were lied to? I’m not holding my breath.