Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas, You're Drafted


Perfectly timed to coincide with the news cycle downturn at Christmas comes this stealth announcment from the Bush Administration. I've been saying this for years: we don't have enough troops to keep 130-150,000 combat troops in Iraq full-time for the 10-20 years that it's going to take to pacify the country. It appears that someone in the Bush Administration understands this finally and is seeking an "alternative" to the current system... OR you can choose to believe their protestations that they don't want a draft and would never accept a draft and blah blah blah. Considering their record on other important topics of the day (WMDs, War is Final Option, Saddam = Osama, etc.), I'm going with a new draft.

Military Draft System To Be Tested
Friday 22 December 2006

Washington - The Selective Service System is making plans to test its draft machinery in case Congress and President Bush need it, even though the White House says it doesn't want to bring back the draft.

The agency is planning a comprehensive test - not run since 1998 - of its military draft systems, a Selective Service official said. The test itself would not likely occur until 2009.

At the direction of the White House, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson is making it clear he is not advocating the reinstatement of a military draft. He told a news conference that society would benefit from a return to the draft, but a few hours later, after the White House disavowed the remark, Nicholson issued a statement in line with administration policy. He said he strongly supports the all-volunteer military and does not support returning to a draft.

President Bush has repeatedly stated that the all-volunteer army would remain all-volunteer. The administration has for years forcefully opposed bringing back the draft, and the White House said Thursday that policy has not changed and no proposal to reinstate the draft is being considered.

The "readiness exercise" would test the system that randomly chooses draftees by birth date and its network of appeal boards that decide how to deal with conscientious objectors and others who want to delay reporting for duty, Campbell said. The Selective Service will start planning for the 2009 tests next June or July, although budget cuts could force the agency to cancel them, Campbell said.

President Bush said this week he is considering sending more troops to Iraq and has asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to look into adding more troops to the nearly 1.4 million uniformed personnel on active duty.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, increasing the Army by 40,000 troops would cost as much as $2.6 billion the first year and $4 billion after that. Military officials have said the Army and Marine Corps want to add as many as 35,000 more troops.

Recruiting new forces and retaining current troops is more complicated because of the unpopular war in Iraq. In recent years, the Army has accepted recruits with lower aptitude test scores.

In remarks to reporters, Nicholson recalled his own experience as a company commander in an infantry unit that brought together soldiers of different backgrounds and education levels "in the common purpose of serving."
Ohhh, it's Okay... it's ONLY a "Readiness Test." Go back to sleep, America...