Hidden Agenda: A National Draft in the Future?

A key issue for young Americans and their families to consider as they
prepare to cast their votes in the upcoming presidential election is the
real likelihood of a military draft being reinstated if President Bush is
re-elected.

2004.09.21

A key issue for young Americans and their families to consider as they
prepare to cast their votes in the upcoming presidential election is the
real likelihood of a military draft being reinstated if President Bush is
re-elected. President Bush should tell us now whether he supports a military
draft.

Here is the evidence that makes a draft likely:

  • The U.S. Army has acknowledged that they are stretched thin and that finding
    new recruits is challenging. They recently placed 300 new recruiters in the
    field. Bonuses for new recruits to the Army have risen by 67 percent to a
    maximum of $10,000 and $15,000 for hard-to-fill specialties.

  • The extended tours of duty have made service less attractive for both the
    regular armed forces, and particularly for the National Guard and Reserves.
    To meet this year’s quota for enlistees, the Army has sped up the induction
    of “delayed entry” recruits, meaning they are already borrowing from next
    year’s quotas in order to meet this year’s numbers.

  • Reservists are now being called away for longer periods. In 2003, President
    Bush dramatically extended the length of time for the Guard and Reserves
    deployment in Iraq. Extended tours of up to a year have become common.

  • In a further sign of a lack of adequate staffing, the armed forces are now
    in the process of calling up members of the Individual Ready Reserves. These
    are often older reservists usually waiting retirement. They are typically in
    their mid-to-late forties, and have not been on active duty and have not
    trained for some time. Traditionally, they are only supposed to be called up
    during a time of national emergency. In 2001, President Bush authorized
    their call up but never rescinded this order even after he declared “Mission
    Accomplished” in Iraq in May of 2003.

  • The Armed Forces are already chronically understaffed. In 2003, General Eric
    Shinseki testified before Congress that an additional 50,000 troops would be
    needed beyond what the Bush administration said would be necessary to
    stabilize Iraq after the invasion. The President ignored him. We do not have
    enough troops in Afghanistan to be able to stabilize the country, as shown
    by the continual putting off of elections well past their announced date. In
    an effort to free up yet more troops in the coming years, we are moving
    troops away from the Demilitarized Zone in Korea and reducing the number of
    troops on the Korean Peninsula at a time when North Korea poses more of a
    danger to the U.S. – not less. Because of the President’s military
    adventurism, our Armed Forces are under enormous pressure. The only place to
    go for more troops is a draft.

  • Selective service boards have already been notified that 20-year-olds and
    medical personnel will be called up first.
    President Bush will be forced to decide whether we can continue the current
    course in Iraq, which will clearly require the reinstatement of the draft.
    The Pentagon has objected to a draft but, the President has ignored other
    Pentagon recommendations in the past.

American families and young people are owed an explanation about the
President’s plans. Will the President withdraw from some of our military
commitments or will he reinstate the draft? We need to know that before we
vote, not afterwards.

Author: Howard Dean

News Service: Democracy for America

URL: http://www.democracyforamerica.com/features/2004/09/20/hidden_agenda_a_national_draft_in_the_future.php