Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Eligible for the Draft? And I don't mean Maurice Clarett. (Well, given the news, maybe I do.) Professional contrarian Chuck Hagel is coming around to the idea of conscription:
"Why shouldn't we ask all of our citizens to bear some responsibility and pay some price?" Hagel said, arguing that restoring compulsory military service would force "our citizens to understand the intensity and depth of challenges we face."
I'm not interested in the draft as a tool of social or educational policy. Our armed forces should staff and equip to win wars, not to help our citizens understand this or that.

There's the other issue, that of troop levels in Iraq, to address. I think that our needs there can be met quickly and maintained well though some simple steps:

1. Europe can defend itself. Our deployment there is a cold war relic that adds precisely dick-o to the security of this country. That frees up in the neighborhood of 120,000 troops.

2. South Korea is bolstered against another run across the DMZ. But why would the Norks be so dead set on nukes if they were willing to take the South conventionally? Alternatively, once they have the nukes, what's the point of having conventional forces next door anyway? Besides, South Korea is less and less friendly to us as it pursues its "sunshine" policy with the North. Why should we be more concerned than they? Screw 'em. That brings home another roughly 40,000.

3. All reports say that national guard recruiting numbers are way up, and regular military retention and re-enlistment looks strong. Why not consider expanding a bit? Take on another, say, 50,000 recruits.

A conscription call seems ridiculous at this point, when 200,000 new or redeployed troops seems a reasonable goal without the draft.

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