I keep trying to beat Mark Thompson to the gate with a Battleland post, but just can’t seem to do it. What time does he get up in the morning, anyway? Mark has already commented on Congressman McKeon’s
absurd interesting comment that defense reductions might bring back the draft. But I still want to join the bloody fray.
Last week, Congressman McKeon failed one of the most basic military personnel comprehension tests, uttering this gem at an AEI event: “What is tooth-to-tail?” Thompson summarizes the Congressman’s latest suggestion, that defense reductions would shrink pay and benefits sufficiently to cause potential recruits to think again, and calls it a double bank shot. It’s actually more like Vizzini’s logic. The point is that the services are enjoying a boon in recruitment due to: the execrable economic conditions; the generally high regard of our population towards the services; the long list of benefits now offered to recruits and for veterans; and finally patriotism in a time of war. In fact, there is actually a waiting list to get into the Marines right now. And that situation seems unlikely to perform a volte-face in the next couple of years.
For the record, I would probably get behind a draft if it included a civilian service option. Not everyone is cut out for military service and although I missed the joys of serving in a draftee army, I’ve heard all the nightmare scenarios.
But the military would benefit from having as broad a representation of Americans as possible serving. Some of us believe that there is a burgeoning warrior class in the United States from which our services draw generation after generation. Despite the veneer drawn by this report, a Government Accountability Office report covering roughly the same period of time notes that the military isn’t representative of America.
The population more broadly would benefit from a draft as well. A population with significantly more combat veterans might look upon a war like that we’re ending in Iraq quite differently than America did in 2002 and 2003. A veteran population would be better suited to determine guns or butter priorities come election and budget time.
But a draft is quite unlikely. Can anyone imagine Congress voting to enact a draft as two wars are winding down? Nope. If we didn’t have draft at the beginning of two wars, we’re unlikely to get one at their end.
It’s time Congress and the Super-Committee found the promised and prescribed balance of revenue and cuts to move the nation towards fiscal solvency rather than rolling out fallacious straw man arguments like this. That’s likely the only way we’ll avoid the mandated cuts that Mr. McKeon and so many other of us fear.