It’s the same ignorance that allows people to believe a draft is imminent as that same ignorance allows those 41% to believe that Saddam was behind September 11th to this day, that you should delete that file on your computer that has a teddy bear icon because it’s a virus, that Bill Gates will send you tickets to Disneyland if you forward this email to a hundred people or that Crypt and Koontz aren’t the same person.
If George Bush is reelected, will he reinstate the draft? Merely asking the question has raised such howls of indignation from conservatives that it’s pretty clear this question is hitting pretty close to the warblogger bone.
And why shouldn’t it? After all, Bush has made his military stance clear: he will take the fight to the terrorists. Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. Iran will not be allowed to build nuclear weapons.
But everyone knows this is meaningless rhetoric given our current military strength. In Iraq alone, there’s virtually unanimous agreement that we’re too undermanned to successfully fight the growing insurgency there, which means there are only two realistic options: pull out or increase troop levels. “Staying the course” is a recipe for defeat.
So what’s going to happen? Bush says he won’t pull out, and it’s also clear that as long as he’s in the White House (and maybe even if he isn’t) we won’t get any serious assistance from other countries. What’s more, as this Defense Science Board report makes clear, there are no more Army troops available right now, and Donald Rumsfeld knows perfectly well that his “modularity” initiative won’t change that. So where will the additional troops come from? Not from the National Guard, that’s for sure.
Basically, then, the troop strength question boils down to this:
Bush will not pull out of Iraq, but he also cannot afford to lose there. And while he doesn't have the political courage to say this before the election, there's clearly only one way to turn things around: more troops. More American troops. All the fatuous Rumsfeldian "by gollys" in the world won't change that simple reality.
There's no reason to think that Bush will change his philosophy of preventive war in a second term. Neither the neocons nor the garden variety hawks that control his administration will allow that. Unless you're an incurable optimist, this means more wars in the Middle East.
Iran is building a nuclear bomb. Does anyone truly doubt this? There are only two ways to prevent this: serious negotiations, including concessions from the United States, or military action. But Bush has refused to negotiate with Iran, and there's no reason to think this will change in a second term. That means it's either military action or a nuclear Iran. And if it's military action, that means more troops. A lot more troops.
The conclusion to all this is pretty obvious: either George Bush dramatically changes his military policy in a second term or else we’re going to need a lot more teenage boots in the Middle East. A suprising number of moderates seem to be desperately pinning their hopes on the former — based on some wishful thinking that I have a hard time grasping — while conservatives are loudly blustering that the latter is just laughable — although they don’t present any particular evidence for this. In the end, they like sounding tough, but as long as an election is on the line they aren’t prepared to level with the country about the logical consequences of that toughness.
The long term success of the Bush plan involves more Iraqi troops in Iraq, not more American troops. (Actual properly trained and led troops, not like the Fallujah Brigade.) If he can’t get them trained and deployed, there’s not much hope that American troops can keep control. The plan (which seems on track last I checked) involved 300,000 Iraqi soldiers within a year, I think.
Military action to prevent a nuclear armed Iran doesn’t take army troops, it would likely take place without a single boot on the ground. Destroying buildings is easy.
Um, everyone does realize that the president can’t unilaterally reinstate the draft, right? Congress has to do this. And it would never pass - if nothing else it would never get the votes to overcome a filibuster. It’s a pure scare tactic.
The same way Congress would never get us bogged down in a pointless third-world war with no end in sight? What are they going to do, tell the Bush administration “no”?
They’re providing no check at all on the crazy idiots in the White House. If Bush gets re-elected, it’s Congress develops a spine, Bush stops being crazy, or a draft.
From Bush’s closing tonight:
Thank you very much tonight, Jim. Thank you, senator. If America shows uncertainly or weakness in this decade, the world will drift toward tragedy. That’s not going to happen so long as I’m your president. In the next four years, we will continue to strengthen our homeland defenses, we will strengthen our intelligence gathering services, we will reform our military - military will be an all-volunteer army. We will continue to stay on the offense. We will fight the terrorists around the world so we do not have to face them here at home. We’ll continue to build our alliances. I’ll never turn over America’s national security needs to leaders of other countries as we continue to build those alliances.
No way that was accidental; they must be seeing some vulnerability.