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Back Door Draft Proposed

We warned it was coming, and so it begins - the back door draft:

Army leaders are considering seeking a change in Pentagon policy that would allow for longer and more frequent call-ups of some reservists to meet the demands of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior Army official said yesterday.

Reservists are being used heavily to fill key military support jobs, particularly in specialty areas, but Army authorities are having increasing difficulty limiting the active-duty time of some normally part-time soldiers to a set maximum of two years, the official said. He described the National Guard's 15 main combat units as close to being "tapped out."

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McCain Criticizes Bush on Iraq: Says Planned Troop Increase is Insufficient

Sen. John McCain refused to give President Bush his vote of confidence on the Iraq war today, saying that his recent plan to increase troops will not be enough:

McCain told "Fox News Sunday" that more troops probably will be required to protect polling places during next month's elections, prosecute the fight against the insurgency and help reconstruct Falluja, the volatile city where U.S. forces have been conducting an operation.

And the problem, when you react, you have to extend people on duty there, which is terrible for morale. There's a terrific strain on Guard and reservists. If you plan ahead, then you don't have to do some of these things.

"The military," he said, "is too small."

So what are the options? Put your head in the sand if you want, but here's how it looks to us:

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More Troops Needed in Iraq...Where Will We Get Them?

The New York Times today makes the case that Fallujah demonstrates we will need substantial troop reinforcements in Iraq. Pentagon officials seem to concur. They say it's possible that the 82nd airborne may pick up the slack:

But a third option -- drawing all or part of a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division on emergency standby in the United States -- has emerged as increasingly likely.

Sounds like a bandaid to us--a real short-term solution. The reality is that Army recruiters are having a tough time fulfilling their quotas.

With troops stretched thin, with rumors swirling about a return to the draft, the nation's volunteer Army must reinforce itself — and demonstrate its capacity to reinforce itself, quickly and robustly, come what may. If the Army can't make do with volunteers, as it's done for all but roughly 35 years of its 229-year existence, then it will need to conscript.

It seems like common sense. If we need more troops and they aren't available, how else but through use of the draft will we get them?

Update: Check out this post I wrote over at 5280-on recruiters and recruitees--the hunters and the hunted.

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Louisiana: Young Drivers Must Register With Selective Service

16 may be too young to serve in the military, and there may be no draft coming (according to Bush, at least) but that hasn't stopped Louisiana from thinking ahead to when there may be a draft: In order to get a driver's license, those as young as 16 must register with the Selective Service

There may be no "plans" for a national military draft, but that hasn't kept Louisiana from registering teenagers too young to serve in case conditions change. During the recently concluded presidential campaigns, the major candidates repeatedly said they had no plans to resume compulsory military service.

Their promises were not reassuring, however, to Larry Chevalier of Glenmora who was alarmed when his 16-year-old son Nathan had to register with the Selective Service System in order to get a driver's license.

When was this law enacted? In 2003:

the Legislature passed Act 373 in the 2003 session dictating that all males aged 15 up to 18 seeking a first-time driver's license or an OMV identification card must register with Selective Service.

[link via What Really Happened.]

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Minn. Citizen Gets Draft Board Training Notice

I received this e-mail today from someone in Minnesota who provided his name and telephone number:

About a year ago, the reality-based blogs started noticing how the Selective Service System was looking for volunteers to fill up county draft boards, nationwide. I signed up, and was accepted to the Hennepin County Draft Board. And just got a call Sunday, telling me to set aside January 8 for a day's training.

Is this happening elsewhere?

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Sen. Tom Harkin on the Draft

Iowa Senator Tom Harkin weighs in on the potential for a military draft:

President George W. Bush may or may not have a secret plan to reinstate the draft. But this is besides the point. The deteriorating facts on the ground in Iraq, plus the Bush doctrine of acting pre-emptively and unilaterally against hostile regimes, will soon leave him no choice. If Bush is re-elected, he will have to restart the draft.

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The Freeway Blogger to Strike Again

Monday, October 25, you can join the Freeway Blogger in promoting "Can You Feel a Draft?" Day.

On October 25th people across the United States will post hand-painted signs on freeway overpasses opposing the reinstatement of the military draft. This nationwide action will occur just ten days after National Freeway Free Speech Day: Driving America to Think, in which more than 700 people posted banners critical of the Iraq War along the nation's highway system.

To see pictures, visit Free Speech Day

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Daily Draft Update

Is the fear of a draft affecting the election?

Bush's conviction that preemption and unilateralism are the only way to ensure U.S. security in the 21st century could well provoke a strong turnout by younger voters to preempt a military draft and turn him out of office.

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Military Falls Short of Recruiting Goals

We already knew that the Army National Guard fell short of its recruitment goals this year by 5,000. The Wall Street Journal now adds that the Reserves fell 45% Short of their goal while the gap in regular signups was 30% of the military's target: (available free to AOL members here):

this year, the Army entered fiscal 2005 with an unusually low number of recruits in the bank, about 16,000, or 21% of its overall goal for the year. By contrast, a year ago, it began fiscal 2004 with 33,000 prospective soldiers.

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Enjoy the Draft! Spread the Word and Pictures

Say hello to Enjoy the Draft, by Blogpac. You can take the graphics and put them on your own site. E-mail the page to your friends.

Love this picture of GW with Jenna and Barbara...

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Military Contingency Plan to Draft Medical Workers

Finally, a little publicized secret document from the Selective Service calling for a contingency plan to draft medical personnel is getting attention - in the New York Times, no less:

The Selective Service has been updating its contingency plans for a draft of doctors, nurses and other health care workers in case of a national emergency that overwhelms the military's medical corps.

In a confidential report this summer, a contractor hired by the agency described how such a draft might work, how to secure compliance and how to mold public opinion and communicate with health care professionals, whose lives could be disrupted.

The Selective Service acknowledged the plan to the Times:

Richard S. Flahavan, a spokesman for the Selective Service System "We have been routinely updating the entire plan for a health care draft. The plan is on the shelf and will remain there unless Congress and the president decide that it's needed and direct us to carry it out."

The Selective Service System plans on delivering about 36,000 health care specialists to the Defense Department if and when a special skills draft were activated," Mr. Flahavan said.

The Selective Service went so far as to conduct focus groups on the draft issue:

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Hackworth: Uncle Sam Will Want Your Kids

No Republican draft? Not according to Colonel David Hackworth:

Although Pentagon puff artists insist they’re making quota, recruiters are already saying it would be easier to find $100 bills on the sidewalk outside a homeless shelter than fill their enlistment quotas, even with the huge bonuses now being paid.

So the draft – which will include both boys and girls this time around – is a no-brainer in ‘05 and ‘06.

[link via America Blog]

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Rangel's Military Draft Bill Defeated

Republicans killed Charlie Rangel's draft bill today. Not that it had a snowball's chance in h*ll of passing, but they wanted to try and prove to voters that Bush will do no such thing.

Apples and oranges. No one suggested Bush would support Rangel's bill. Killing Rangel's bill has zero effect on whether Bush will decide, if reelected, to introduce a new draft bill. As Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) said today:

Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, countered that Bush's Iraq policies have so strained U.S. forces, that a draft was possible no matter how unpopular it would be. "Guess what, we're running out of troops ... Let's not be astounded that what follows is a draft. The only problem is that you can't announce it until after the election," Conyers said."

The notion that Republicans oppose a draft while Democrats support it is false. It's not a Democrat/Republican issue. After 9/11, Republicans Nick Smith (MI) and Curt Weldon (PA) introduced the "Universal Military Training and Service Act of 2001", H.R. 3598, in the House of Representatives. Like Rangel's bill (H.R. 183)and its Senate counterpart (S. 89) which were introduced on January 7, 2003, it was referred to the Committee on Armed Services.

As we reported here, the bill called for a re-activation of the draft and was covered by the media.

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Kids: Watch Out for Bush and the Draft

Buzzflash has an editorial today warning Republican college kids that by backing Bush, they are likely to get the draft reinstated.

We are very, very, anti-draft here at TalkLeft. Always have been. And, like Buzz and Salon and others, we too have been warning readers about Bush's search to fill draft board vacancies.

Where's Country Joe when we need him?

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A Thanksgiving Ritual for 60's Activists

And we thought we were the only ones who have, every Thanksgiving at noon for the past three decades, turned on our local radio station knowing that it would be playing our favorite 25 minute version of Arlo Guthrie's version of Alice's Restaurant.

Today it was on at 1pm and the station said demand was so great from people that no longer had the record, that they would replay it at 7 pm. We sang along with every word.

Now we read a Common Dreams op-ed by Ira Chernus saying that the playing of the song is A Thanksgiving Ritual for '60s-Style Activists:

Out here on the left fringe of '60s-style activism, we don't go in much for ritual. We lefties are about freedom, innovation, always finding a new and better way to do things.

Still, there is something to be said for ritual. It creates an illusion that things never change, that we can turn back the clock for a moment and pretend things are still the way they used to be. Maybe it's having dinner with the same folks every Thanksgiving, or fixing the trimmings in the same way each year. In my house, it's turning on our local public radio station and waiting for that magic moment when we can start singing along with Arlo.

Ira, it's a ritual in our house too. Ira continues:

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