Monday, October 11, 2004


Via Brian Leiter, I note that Col. David Hackworth has written a column in which he anticipates a post-election draft. Talk of the draft has been dismissed as "scaremongering" and pushed to the margins of discourse, but it's quite plain the number of troops in Iraq is probably no more than half what is needed, and we do not have enough additional troops to make up the shortfall. Maintaining present levels is difficult as it is, and it seems like Gen. Eric Shinseki's assessment of the requirements of the occupation (300,000 troops) was quite correct. I promote internationalization that might come of a Kerry administration, but with the insurgency mounting, international cooperation certainly isn't guaranteed. Would that Bush have assembled a genuine coalition, but apparently the threat from Saddam was so pressing that the few months it would have taken to make the case would have meant a "smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud." Or not. Hackworth, I note, is highly decorated and apparently well regarded within the military rank-and-file.

"Accordingly, we need to bring our ground-fighting and support units to about the strength they were before the Soviet Union imploded, especially since the proper ratio of counterinsurgent-to-insurgent in places like the Middle East should be around 15 to 1. You don’t have to be a Ph.D. in military personnel to conclude we need more boots on the ground."

So if Kerry isn't withdrawing, but is "finishing the job" (as I support, at least for now) and Bush certainly is staying the (disastrous) course, where are we getting these troops? Bueller?

ADDENDUM: It's quite revealing what the hacks and political partisans actually choose to be sneeringly dismissive of; it shows what issues genuinely concern them as potentially losing. On that note I link to King Hack, the Post-Gazette's platitudinous Jack Kelly, who assures us that "the draft is not coming back." A few remarks:

"There are bills in the House and Senate calling for reinstitution of conscription. They have attracted a handful of sponsors and cosponsors, all of whom are Democrats." Oooooo, scandalous -- if you haven't been paying attention at all. Effective italicization, Jack! He reminds me of a magician whose act is transparent and predictable. Tell us something we don't know.

"In the Vietnam era, morale in the Army was poor. Morale in today's Army is high, and it is out of sight in the Marine Corps." I like how Kelly substantiates his claims -- that is, with nothing.

Anyway, I've despised Kelly ever since I read a column freshman (?) year where he asserted that Schroeder's razor-thin margin of victory was due to his opposition to the Iraq war. It was, but not for the reasons Kelly suggested. Apparently he was unaware that the war was unpopular in Germany. I should certainly hope he's aware now; otherwise, I think I'm also qualified to be the Post-Gazette's "national security specialist."


Blogger PenguinCookies said...

Of course they're bringing the draft back. Interestingly, I wasn't actually convinced until I saw a front-page article in our local paper denying it. I have to question if it is truly going to be a male/female draft. It will be highly ironic if the only right the Bush administration allows women is that of dying for their country for a cause they don't believe in.
Would the women only get 70% of the pay of the male army members, as well, I wonder?

October 13, 2004 at 8:42 PM  

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