Tuesday, November 21, 2006

No to the Draft

The editors of the NY Times reject Rep. Charles Rangel's proposal to reinstitute the draft. What do they propose we do about the shortfall in recruits?

But the urgency of the Army’s current needs requires a different solution. There are many ways for the armed services to meet their recruitment goals outside of general conscription. After all, the Army’s annual quota of 80,000 recruits is barely a drop in the ocean of some 60 million Americans between 18 and 35. Forcing the issue, with a draft, is no solution.

Well okay, they don't really propose anything. So what should we be doing to get people to enlist? Any ideas?


copy editor said...

But it sounds like they proposed something!

The Army, Army Reserves and National Guard (I think) all met their targets for this fiscal year, which just concluded. So, then there should be a higher recruiting target, no?

Then, how to get more recruits? You're risking your life for about $1500 or $1600 a month in the Army, if you enlist. And the war policy is next to senseless.

Nat-Wu said...

The services did meet or exceed their goals of recruitment and retention (except the Army Reserve fell short in October), but I point out to you that the Army has been lowering standards and offering bigger and bigger incentives since the first year of the war. They take more recruits now who would have been disqualified previously, as well as raising the age limit (you can enlist in the army until you're 45, I believe). While that's meeting the numbers, strictly speaking, it's not the same quality.

How do we increase enlistment? Well, the best way is to convince people of the value of what we're doing. That aint gonna happen. The next best way is to tempt them with money and the prospect that the vast majority of them won't go to war. Psychological seduction is always best.

Also, NYT presents those numbers as if there really are 60 million people we could put under arms. There are many, many objections to that number. For one, that's the aggregate number. That's every single living person in that age group, regardless of physical disability, mental fitness, literacy, extreme debt load (which disqualifies you from service), etc, etc. Plus which, psychologically, the recruiters know that those 18-year olds are the absolute best target, but that's a fraction of that figure. Never mind that it also includes immigrants who may just barely be able to say "I pledge allegiance". The more vague figure would be, how many of that population group can afford to leave their families? I'm not saying that we shouldn't sacrifice something to do our patriotic duties, but man, once you have a wife and children, your priorities change, especially when you know that if you die in the service, they'll be left between a rock and a hard place. Furthermore, what would the cost to the nation be of pulling all of these productive workers out of the economy? To put it crudely, some of these guys are computer programmers and some are lettuce-picking Mexicans (legal or not). You may be able to get a programmer to pick lettuce, but you can't just expect the lettuce-picker to pick up C# or VB.Net overnight.

Of course, if you accepted all of those reasons as valid for so many not to enlist, you do have to ask why anyone else should pick up an unequal burden of being sent to the desert where they might die.

So anyway, to sum it up, you have to get the people to want to, and you have to get them to feel that they can without being a burden on their families.

Fan Boy said...

Ladies, we are in a full scale war in which we have failed to identify the size and scope of the enemy. Strategically the enemy has won thus far the right to dictate the agenda.

The troops in Iraq are on the defense. The goal of any war is to be on the offense and if found on the defense get back to offense ASAp.

Because things are titlted you have third rate dictators who hide under a facade of theological hegemony running amuck.

I am against this war, I am against the reasons why we went to war, i am also against the consequences of loosing this war now we are engaged.

Freedom of expression, ideology and belief do not out weigh the need to defeat evil, even if we created it.

If we are to face this enemy and win decisively now is the best time to act, and to do so with overwhelming force.

We have created a system in which the most ridiculous thugs have gained control, we must fix this problem and pulling the troops without victory will embolden our enemy.

The battlefield is the Middle east. Do a draft and lets clean up the mess. The other option is to face these denzians in a time and place of their choosing which again puts us on the defense.

You also must clearly recognize that our Enemies being strenghtened by our defeat lie waiting in much more dangerous territory.

I am not a fear monger, I don't believe in a policy of fear. This conflict has allowed the greater enemies to florish to our freedom, to crush them we must show we have the ability to do what they don't believe we can; win.

This is for the hearts and minds of our enemies not our friends, if we loose our effectiveness now, we will not be a Superpower for long.

Nat-Wu said...

I don't think a draft would ever be reinstated, but it would be a path to victory. If we could field 400,000 troops in Iraq, I'm sure we could do much better at quelling the violence. Never mind that we can't even pay for a military that large.