RANGEL AND THE DRAFTCongressman Charles Rangel
(D-NY) this week renewed his call for a reinstitution of conscription
. Despite Rangel's intent to tweak the admnistration on Iraq, and perhaps engage in a bit of personal nostalgia (Rangel is a Korean war vet), his legislation was immediately disavowed by Democratic Party leaders, including Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi
I'm reproducing some of my remarks here from a thread at The Small Wars Council
. In 2003, prior to the invasion of Iraq, I took a look at the manpower needs of the U.S. military in an article for HNN
"Why we should consider bringing back the draft
Despite the headline ( which are selected by HNN editors, not authors), I'm ambivalent about conscription, as it will not be a magic bullet for our military and strategic problems but it is something that should be considered in combination with other approaches ( like simply raising new divisions of volunteers in the ground forces). The problem is that few solutions of any kind are being seriously considered at all by our politicians, despite urgent pleas from the military leadership
like we saw yesterday. Washington is whistling in the dark.
Aside from the question of utility, as a serious infringement upon personal liberty, the American public will only accept a draft if they see a clear and direct need for one. I'm highly skeptical that there is sufficient trust in the government or a sense of urgency in the public mind today, to make conscription politically acceptable. Frankly, I do not trust the current administration to make wise strategic decisions regarding such a use of manpower that a draft would provide and I trust the Democrats even less. Only a military disaster of epic proportions will change the current dynamic.
Finally, many of the advantages to our current situation that would have accrued from a draft required implementation circa 2002, not in 2007. To an extent, the draft question is a debate among politicians about who can close the barn door with the most flourish. They need to move beyond cheap grandstanding and go to work on providing real support to our soldiers in the field.