Monday, August 19, 2002

Edit: bloody spelling errors.

Well, this is new. In response to the (valid) questions about whether invading Iraq would dangerously tie down the U.S. military and whether or not the United States truly has the ability to go it alone, Stanley Kurtz has come up with an innovative solution:

Reinstate the Draft.

The first words that come to mind are, of course, "are you daft"? Careful control of the media aside, one of the biggest differences that seperate the wars following Vietnam from those that preceded them was an all-volunteer military- that way the United States avoids the embarrassing spectacle of forcing teenagers and young adults to fight against their will in countries they've never heard of against a cause that they're not particularly unsympathetic towards. All those body bags coming home from Vietnam tugged on the heartstrings precisely because the vast majority of them had absolutely no choice, and because pretty much everybody knew that compulsory service was only for those without parental resources to keep them out of Vietnam and either in college or in the National Guard. (Hi, Dubya!)

Ending the draft was also the first step towards turning the current military into a professional one- into the "elite force" that the advertisements on TV are constantly hyping and which that new "America's Army" video game is supposed to be simulating. I was under the impression that the military had been turning people away before the attacks on 9/11, so why reinstate the draft?

Why indeed? Well, it comes back to the question of unilateralism vs. multilateralism. See, the U.S. military does have a source of other manpower- the militaries of its allies. That's the whole reason you start an alliance in the first place- so that you can rely on the other guy to help you out if necessary. One for all, all for one- collective security. For Afghanistan, it had that kind of support, which is why the U.S. had the luxury of turning away most of its allies as unnecessary, and why most of the civilized world has said that they're more than willing to help against Al Qaeda (except in cases where it would be dangerous to the regime itself, which is valid- a failed state is a terrorist's paradise.) The United States suffers from a embarrassing wealth of options when it comes to fighting the war on terrorism. Iraq, though...

Well, let's be honest- the reason why the United States is having so much trouble generating internal support for the war on Iraq is because it's having so much trouble generating external support. The arguments and reasons against it are similar, but there's an important difference- Bush can do it without internal support without that much difficulty, but fighting a war without allies in a faraway land and maintaining readiness for some other conflict is difficult at best (which is part of the reason for that "two wars" doctrine). The United States could invade and then occupy Iraq, but that would take enough time and manpower that it would be in serious trouble were some other conflict to start with a real power (like, say, China). If the United States could count on the support of its allies like it could with Afghanistan, then it wouldn't be an issue, but as it is, the U.S. would need to go it alone. Which means more soldiers, much faster. Which means a draft. Which means... well, I think you already know what that means.

It's funny.. if Stanley Kurtz weren't hell bent on arguing to a conclusion, he'd be this close to arguing against the invasion and occupation of Iraq. As it is, though, he's got to go to the unpopular extent of arguing for a draft. Gotta say one thing- that'd be a gift to the Democrats. Pity that they'd then be tied down in a Nixonian war they didn't want. Maybe that's a gift they'd be better off without.

No comments:

Post a Comment