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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Feeling the Draft

posted by Jazz at 10/19/2004 02:51:00 PM


Yes, that's the title of today's editorial in the nyt by Paul Krugman. Obviously, he read my recent post, "Do you feel a draft in here?" on this subject and the debate that took place on Dean's World and stole the title concept. (Note: That was humor.) I don't normally give a lot of attention to Krugman when he's not talking about economics, (and let's face it... the man is a master of matters concerning the economy) because he's about as far to the left as O'Reilly is to the right, but on this one he hits some salient points. An example:

"There were two reasons some of us never believed Mr. Bush's budget promises. First, his claims that his tax cuts were affordable rested on patently unrealistic budget projections. Second, his broader policy goals, including the partial privatization of Social Security - which is clearly on his agenda for a second term - would involve large costs that were not included even in those unrealistic projections. This led to the justified suspicion that his election-year promises notwithstanding, Mr. Bush would preside over a return to budget deficits. It's exactly the same when it comes to the draft."

Bush has claimed a lot of things during his tenure which would or wouldn't happen, which then turned out to be the opposite during his term. A flat statement that there "won't be a draft" coming from Bush isn't very hard currency at this point. Also, his statements that there is "no need" for a draft because of how well we are doing seems to fit nicely into his consistent denial of reality and insistence on seeing the world through Bush colored glasses. Krugman gives a pointed example of how things on the military staffing front might not be as rosy as the White House would have you believe.

Commanders in Iraq have asked for more troops (ignore the administration's denials) - but there are no more troops to send. The manpower shortage is so severe that training units like the famous Black Horse Regiment, which specializes in teaching other units the ways of battle, are being sent into combat. As the military expert Phillip Carter says, "This is like eating your seed corn."

As I pointed out in the previously linked post, no politician with a single atom of self preservation instinct would admit to considering the slightest hint of a notion about reinstating the draft this close to an election. It is, simply put, political hara-kiri. If, however, the country continues on into 2005 under the "Bush Doctrine" of preemptive war on a widening number of fronts, those troops will have to come from someplace. If not the draft, then where?

EDIT: I had no sooner finished this post than I saw this report from CNN. Apparently the White House has had the selective service updating its contingency plans for a draft of doctors, nurses and other medical workers in the event of military emergency. No draft indeed, eh?