- 1 "Locked on Course to Wider War"
- 2 Recommendations
- 3 Refusal to discharge is an involuntary draft
- 4 Resources and articles
"Locked on Course to Wider War"
Paul Craig Roberts wrote April 22, 2004, for antiwar.com that the U.S. is locked on course to a wider war: "The American public has been deceived and locked on a course toward conscription and a wider war."
Roberts pointed directly at senior Republican Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel who said on April 20, 2004, that "deteriorating security in Iraq may force the United States to reintroduce the military draft." 
Hagel told "a Senate Foreign Relations Committee [that] 'There's not an American ... that doesn't understand what we are engaged in today and what the prospects are for the future ... [Adding, if] that's the case, why shouldn't we ask all of our citizens to bear some responsibility and pay some price?' Hagel said, arguing that restoring compulsory military service would force 'our citizens to understand the intensity and depth of challenges we face.'" 
Hagel added "that a draft, which was ended in the early 1970s, would spread the burden of military service in Iraq more equitably among various social strata. ... 'Those who are serving today and dying today are the middle class and lower middle class,' he observed."
The Agence France Presse pointed out that the "call to consider a imposing a draft comes just days after the Pentagon moved to extend the missions of some 20,000 US troops in Iraq."  See Iraqi sovereignty: June 30, 2004 and Operation Iraqi Freedom: Year Two for context.
There is no general support for a draft. While Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY) and Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-SC) introduced proposals to restore the draft in 2003, it enjoys no support in Congress. As Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) observed, "I think I'm the only member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who would reinstate the draft." There is no support from the military for a draft. Robert Scales, Jr., Retired general, former commandant of the Army War College and historian, observed,
A return to the draft is a very bad idea whose time passed with the world wars, Korea and Vietnam. These wars were tragically wasteful because in large measure they were fought with drafted soldiers.
Drafted soldiers are far more likely to die in combat than long-service professionals. Military leaders know from painful experience that it takes years to produce a fully competent combat soldier. They also know that older soldiers live longer in combat. Drafting teenagers and committing them to combat within only a year of enlistment will create an Army of amateurs. Our Army in particular has a sad history of committing to battle men who are too young and inexperienced to have much hope of surviving against a hardened and skillful enemy.
Drafted units can be kept together for only a short time and invariably march to war as random collections of strangers. Our soldiers performed so superbly in Iraq because they were seasoned. Good soldiers, like good wine, can be produced only with careful cultivation and patient aging. Unfortunately, amateur armies learn to fight only by fighting. Inevitably, the cost of that education is too horrific for the American people to bear. 
Because of Sen. Kerry's (D-MA) recurring claims that a draft under President Bush was imminent--based on a bill introduced by two Democrats--the House voted on that bill, defeating it 402-2. Democrats, such as Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), who voted against the Iraq War, "criticized this week's draft-killing vote as a Republican effort to manipulate public opinion in favor of President Bush just weeks before voters head to the polls." 
The May 3, 2004, Toronto Star reported that Lewis Brodsky, acting director of the U.S. Selective Service System, "proposed registering women for the military draft and requiring that young Americans regularly inform the government about whether they have training in niche specialties needed in the armed services.
"The proposal[, which was] presented to senior Pentagon officials just before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, also seeks to extend the age of draft registration to 34, up from 25."
"....Some of the skill areas where the armed forces are facing 'critical shortages' include linguists and computer specialists, the agency said. Americans would then be required to regularly update the agency on their skills until they reach age 35." 
Also see Eric Rosenberg's May 1, 2004, "Selective Service eyes women's draft. The proposal would also require registration of critical skills," Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
Writing on March 31, 2003, the Federal Citizen Information's National Contact Center stated: "Although there is currently no military draft, men who are American citizens (regardless of country of residence) or aliens who are permanent residents of the United States are required to register within 30 days of their 18th birthday. Within the U.S., registration forms should be available at any Post Office. On-line registration is also available. To find out more about registration and related issues, you may visit the Selective Service System's web site." accessed 8 December 2003.
Refusal to discharge is an involuntary draft
"The Army's refusal to release tens of thousands of soldiers who have completed their terms of service amounts to drafting them on the very day they fulfill their obligations. These men and women have already risked their lives. They should not have to risk them a second time through involuntary service, through being forced to stay in Iraq. This is a draft. A draft forces people to serve involuntarily."—Dennis Kucinich, December 31, 2003.
Resources and articles
Related SourceWatch articles
- Coalition Provisional Authority
- Conscientious Objector
- draft evasion
- Exit Strategy from Iraq
- Homeland defense
- Iraq Coalition Casualty Statistics
- Military-industrial complex
- Operation Iraqi Freedom: Year Five
- Post-war Iraq/U.S. military readiness
- Selective Service System
- stop-loss order
- The Long War
- troop surge in Iraq
- U.S. Central Command
- violence in the Middle East
- War on terrorism
- War Powers Act
- "White House rules out new military draft in anti-terror campaign", Associated Press, September 20, 2001.
- "Opposing Rangel's Military Draft Proposal", talkleft, January 1, 2003.
- "Hollings Sponsors Bill to Reinstate Military Draft. Senator cites current heavy use of reserves and national guard, need for shared sacrifice," from the Office of U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings (R-SC), January 8, 2003.
- James S. Robbins, "Neo-Conscription. Military by lottery," National Review Online, January 9, 2003.
- Sen. Chuck Grassley, "The Word On: Military Draft," from the Office of Chuck Grassley, January 10, 2003.
- Joel Miller, "Rangling the draft," WorldNetDaily, January 21, 2003.
- "Hollings and Rangel to Launch Bicameral Effort to Reinstate Military Draft," (U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings and U.S. Representative Charles B. Rangel (D-NY)); from the Online Office of Fritz Hollings, January 24, 2003.
- "Hollings, Rangel Launch. Bi-Cameral Effort to Reinstate Draft. Both cite need for shared sacrifice, current heavy use of reserves and national guard", from the Online Office of Fritz Hollings, January 27, 2003.
- "Secretary of State (Colin L. Powell) opposes military draft," USA TODAY, January 31, 2003.
- Carl Hulse, "A New Tactic Against War: Renew Talk About Draft," New York Times (Common Dreams), February 9, 2003.
- Doug Gavel, "Rangel argues for military draft at Kennedy School appearance: Congressman says Americans 'must think seriously' about 'who will be doing the fighting and who will be doing the dying'," Harvard Gazette, February 13, 2003.
- Nicoletta Ratto, "Military Draft Question Just Won't Go Away," Pioneer News, February 20, 2003: "The contemporary military requires a high level of technical skill that cannot be met by short-term personnel." (Also see Bush's Rangers for context on Pioneers.)
- Rep. Phil English, "Opposes Military Draft. Conscription Unnecessary, Threatens Military's Readiness," from the Office of Phil English, March 12, 2003.
- Jon Dougherty, "Medical workers face military draft. Pentagon plan calls up medics, nurses, doctors in national emergencies," WorldNetDaily, July 21, 2003.
- Carter M. Yang, "Over There? Military Draft Unlikely for 'War' On Terrorism," ABCNews, September 18, 2003.
- Doug Bandow, "Draft Would Cast a Chill Over the Military," Cato Institute, October 21, 2003.
- "Feeling a Draft? Military can't meet obligations without one," from the Online Office of Fritz Hollings, published in the Dallas Morning News, October 22, 2003.
- Rick Jahnkow, "Will a Draft Be on the Government's Agenda in 2004?" Draft NOtices, November/December 2003.
- Dave Lindorff, "Oiling up the draft machine? The Pentagon is quietly moving to fill draft board vacancies nationwide. While officials say there's no cause to worry, some experts aren't so sure," Salon, November 4, 2003. Preview or subscription required.
- Tim Harper, "Will U.S. Bring Back the Draft? Defense Web Site Seeks Volunteers. Conscription Abolished in '73," Toronto Star (Common Dreams), November 4, 2003.
- "US raises spectre of conscription. The American defence department has begun a recruitment drive for local draft boards, raising questions about a possible revival of conscription," BBC, November 4, 2003.
- Charles Pope, "Talk of a Draft Grows Despite Denials by White House," Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Common Dreams), November 8, 2003.
- Charles Pope, "Talk of military draft heats up. Idea slowly gains steam as questions persist about Iraq operations," Seattle Post-Intelligencer (The State), November 9, 2003.
- "We need this and we are going to get it." Paul Dundes Wolfowitz "on Reinstating Draft", propagandamatrix, November 9, 2003. Frequently quoted online.
- Maureen Farrell, "Would a Second Bush Term Mean a Return to Conscription? Why Dodging the Draft Would Be Trickier Than You Think," Buzzflash, November 11, 2003.
- Before the House of Representatives, November 21, 2003: Hon. Ron Paul of Texas: "...plans are being made to drastically expand the human cost by forcing conscription on the young men (and maybe women) who have no ax to grind with the Iraqi people and want no part of this fight. ... the draft will likely be reinstated."
- Sabrina Kippur, "Military considers reinstating conscription," The Stanford Daily (Stanford University), November 26, 2003.
- Marianne Means, "Hint of Draft Blowing in the Wind," Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Common Dreams), December 4, 2003.
- Mitch Mosvick, "Draft Me Not. At the University of Minnesota, the D word is slipping into anxious conversations about Iraq," Newsweek, April 16, 2004.
- Eric Schmitt, "General Says He May Ask for More Troops," New York Times, April 24, 2004.
- Rhonda Schwartz, "Is the Next Step a Draft?" The Blotter/ABC News, August 22, 2006.
- Joe Sudbay, "Bush's War Czar thinks 'it makes sense to certainly consider' a draft," AMERICAblog, August 10, 2007.
- Joe Sudbay, "Yet another new strategy for Bush's endless war in Iraq: The Draft," AMERICAblog, August 11, 2007.
- Universal National Service Act of 2003, introduced to the 108th Congress on January 7, 2003, as H.R.163 to reinstate the draft.