Guest blogged by Stephen Heller...
"A very small segment of the American population are fighting this war! If the president thinks we should continue the war he ought to call for a draft and spread it out and let everybody serve in this war, not this small segment who are making such a sacrifice!"
-- Rep. John Murtha (D-PA), 4/19/07
America needs a military draft. Admittedly, this idea is anathema to many progressives. Nevertheless, it would be good for this nation. It would boost our national security, but it would also be an invaluable part of preventing our so-called "leaders" from taking us into another unnecessary war.
There's no doubt we need more troops. As recently reported in the Los Angeles Times, Air Force personnel are now being used to fill out the Army ranks in Iraq. Military.com reports that in 2005 recruiters missed their target numbers by the widest margin since 1979. While the Department of Defense has said that it met or exceeded its recruitment goals for 2006, they are still having so much trouble getting warm bodies that recruitment of foreigners is being considered, including a proposal to expedite the citizenship process as an added incentive.
According to The Boston Globe, Bush and Defense Secretary Gates "have acknowledged that the total size of the military must be expanded to help alleviate the strain on ground troops, many of whom have been deployed repeatedly in combat theaters." And the Democratic congress has "promise[d] to make increasing the size of the military one of their top legislative priorities in 2007."
In December of 2006, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson "told a news conference that society would benefit from a return to the draft." Of course, a few hours later he backpedaled faster than Rush Limbaugh can say "OxyContin" when the White House disavowed the remark. But he was right when he said our society would benefit from the draft, even if, like a good little soldier, he quickly changed his tune to please his boss.
More recently, in an April 18th article from the Marine Corp Times, Lawrence Korb --- a former senior Pentagon official and now a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and a Senior Advisor to the Center for Defense Information --- said, "The current use of ground forces in Iraq represents a complete misuse of the all-volunteer military." He went on to add that in his view the all-volunteer force is not meant to be used for a protracted ground war, yet that is what they are facing.
Korb then went a step further...