21 July 2004

The latest from Delusion Central

It's crap like this that really frosts my cookies.  Front page of yesterday's Moscow on the Huron edition of Pravda, above the fold, in a large font is this:  Talk of military draft persists despite denials; Some fear mandatory service is on the horizon.  Of course, for the aging hippies at the AnnArbor News, it's always 1968. 

Rumors about a possible draft have been circulating for months, fueled in part by Web sites such as StopTheDraft.com, which claims the draft is just "five minutes" away.

Fueled entirely by the left.  There's no substance here, just wild-eyed speculation in smoke filled rooms after the bong has been refilled with the last of the "good stuff"

Lawmakers say it is unlikely Congress would call for compulsory service in an election year, and that the Bush administration has taken steps in the short term to shore up gaps in troop strength.

"I don't think we're going to need to reinstate the draft," said U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, Michigan's senior senator and the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee. "The combination of recruitment and retention is doing fairly well. Some of the measures that have been taken will give us temporary respite from the draft possibility."

I don't often find myself in even partial agreement with carl levin, but he seems to be on the level here.  He does, however, leave the hanging doubt with the "temporary respite" comment.
How temporary is a question that keeps coming up on Capitol Hill.

A series of recent moves by the Pentagon - talk of shifting forces out of Germany and South Korea into Iraq and Afghanistan and a plan to recall 5,600 U.S. soldiers whose tours of duty recently ended - have left many wondering if a more permanent solution is needed.

It only makes good sense to 1.) move troops out of germany, where there hasn't been any issues since the Cold War ended (again, Thank You, President Ronald Reagan) and BTW europe should take care of their own defense; and 2.) move troops out of the Korean pennisula, 'cause we're probably going to have to nuke that poofty-haired N.Korean bastard eventually and we should have our people well outside the "minimum safe distance" when the balloon goes up.  Relax; the ChiComs, Taiwan, Japan, Asia et al. will stand up and applaud when we do it.  Only france (who?) will be indignant about it, like we give a syphilic rat's ass about what they think.

Democratic U.S. Reps. Charles Rangel of New York and John Conyers of Michigan think they have the solution: Mandatory service, which they consider a mainstay of good citizenship.

Yes, I'm sure they were just thinking about good citizenship when they drafted this POS.

The Rangel-Conyers bill would require everyone between the ages of 18 and 26 to serve in the military or in an alternate civilian national service, such as AmeriCorps, for two years. A version of the bill has been introduced in both the House and Senate. It is pending in committee.

Let me see if I've got this straight: two liberal democraps float a bill calling for mandatory service (in an election year) and all of a sudden it's The Administration who's coming for the sons and daughters to shed their "blood for oil" on the altar of Halliburton?  Here's how it plays with the MTV generation:

MTV Generation Guy 1:   "Dude, they're bringing back the draft, dude"
MTV Generation Guy 2:   "Dude, no way"
MTV Generation Guy 1:   "Dude, it's true.  There's a bill in Congress right now to bring back the draft"
MTV Generation Guy 2:   "Dude, that's harsh.  We gotta vote for that guy who's not Bush"

"With the over 30 million youngsters that would be eligible ... only 1 million of them could possibly be selected for the military," Rangel said. "But how proud all of them should be during the time of national emergency that they will be able to serve our great country."

Under the bill, the White House would determine how to select draftees, but there would be no deferments for those in college or with families. The only deferments would be awarded due to disability or for those completing a high school education.

Oh, yes, the (evil) "White House would determine".....further proof that they should vote for that guy who's not Bush.  Good to see that they've taken out the student deferment, so that the children of the "rich" are at risk, too.

While raising the specter of a draft is good politics for Democrats because it embarrasses Bush, Republicans say trading a voluntary system for conscription will do more harm than good.

"An all-volunteer Army has been successful and has met our military and defense needs," said U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Midland, MI. "What we have now is a rotation issue mostly. I think the interest in military service is pretty intense. We don't need a draft."

Go spend an afternoon reading milblogs; the folks in the foxholes don't want a conscript covering their six. 

The idea behind the Rangel-Conyers bill has gotten some traction in Washington, especially among African-American members of Congress who feel that the weight of military service falls disproportionately on minority communities.

Blacks make up 28.9 percent of the Army's ranks, while they represent 12.7 percent of the U.S. population, according to Army data. There are fewer Hispanics in the Army (9.7 percent) than in the general population (13.4 percent).

The Bush administration recognizes that there is a disparity, but argues that the Army doesn't control who volunteers for service. And White House officials aren't interested in the mandatory service bill. 

Of course, the "journalist" doesn't take the next logical step of looking into just how many of these minorities go on to higher education as a part of their benefits of having served, no it's just another example of how the Man is keeping the People down.  Dude, just look at the disparity in the numbers.

"The administration does not support resumption of the draft," David Chu, undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Defense for personnel and readiness, told a House committee on July 7. "There is no secret plan on this front."

There.  Enough.Said. 

The United States has nearly 700,000 service members on active duty, and about 138,000 of them are in Iraq. Of those in Iraq, about 40 percent are reservists or members of state National Guard units.

Recently Congress appropriated an additional $28 million for the Selective Service System. Currently the system is used to register 18-year-olds in cases of emergency, but some fear the new money may be used to start up draft boards, local panels that decide who gets drafted.

Why do I keep seeing images of Dean Wormer shaking his fist and saying "I've notified your local Draft Boards"?

Republicans in Congress say the voluntary system in place since the last draft was halted in July 1973 at the end of the Vietnam War is working well.

"It's not necessary to go to a draft," said U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, MI, who sits on the House Armed Services Committee. "I do think an all-volunteer Army is better. Our recruitment numbers are surpassing our goals."

Republicans concede that there is a shortage of trained soldiers available for active duty, and that's why temporary measures such as delaying retirements have been adopted. Also, Congress recently gave the Pentagon the go-ahead to bring its overall force up by another 30,000 troops.

While these short-term measures are expected to work, the military has argued that the draft itself is not a legitimate solution because it would require so much money and time to train soldiers. There are not nearly enough bases, training facilities, officers and equipment to accommodate a wave of draftees.

In the first nine months of the 2004 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, the U.S. Army recruited 56,165 soldiers - 873 enlistments above the goal. The Army Reserve recruited 15,388 soldiers, exceeding its goal by 313 soldiers.

"The U.S. Army Recruiting Command has achieved active and Reserve mission success for four continuous years," said S. Douglas Smith, a spokesman for the command. "That success continues in fiscal year 2004."

So far in fiscal 2004, the Army has written 1,656 active Army enlistment contracts in Michigan and another 405 Army Reserve contracts compared with 2,687 active Army contracts and 607 Army Reserve contracts in fiscal 2003. Smith couldn't say why the pace of recruitment has slowed in Michigan.

Democrats say the recruitment numbers look good, but they wonder whether they're strong enough to counter the impression that the military needs more bodies.

Oh, so very subtle.  "Bodies" as in what one would put in a "body bag".

"Our military is stretched to the hilt," said U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan. "We are putting very unfair burdens on the (National) Guard and Reserves and their families.

Damn, I've had to agree with carl levin and now lil'debbie stabenow in the same post.  Those who personally bear the burden should not have to suffer for defending us all.  Why don't you vote to raise their pay and expand their benefits, lil'debbie?

"Given the president's approach to foreign policy and the possible desire to look at other military actions, this could be a discussion next year," she said.

Given our President's approach to foreign policy, I sleep a lot better at night.  And oh, yes, there are other "military actions" in the works, and as an ultimate result our children and their children will sleep more soundly as well.


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