Thursday, May 5, 2011

"Do We Need A Military Draft?"

Today, I offer a conundrum for which I have no easy answer or satisfactory solution.  Specifically, in a time when we are fighting two and a half wars, is it now time to consider a return to the military draft?  I also wish to preface all of this by urging you to read my earlier blogs arguing against our occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.  I am not advocating for a larger defense force; I'm simply saying that, if the U.S. intends to continue to pursue these adventurous wars, they are simply not equipped to do it!

During the later stages of my military career I served as a war planner at a major command headquarters.  At that time, our foreign policy planners formulated the "maximum capability" level of our military forces which was a 'two and a half war' scenario.  I'm not giving anything away here; this was a well publicized strategy and known to anyone who wished to study American foreign policy.  Note:  Keep in mind these were two "major wars and one regional war"!  (Both Iraq and Afghanistan would, historically, be considered "regional" wars.

Without going into detail I will say that, as of the late 1980's our forces were "strained" at best to meet that kind of multi-war potential.  Shortly after that the Clinton administration and Congress affected huge defense level reductions which made the "two and a half war" scenario obsolete.  Huge troop reductions and base closures and the implementation of an "All Volunteer Force" forced Defense planners to implement strategy that would call for highly mobile troop contingents and an expansion of equipment staging areas in "areas of concern". 

When President George Herbert Walker Bush provided an armed response to Sadaam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait, he was forced to wait for an international contingent of international forces to form in order to assure a successful campaign.  This should have been both the State and Defense Departments first "wake-up" call that our forces were not sufficient to meet both department's foreign policy objectives.

The first breakdown came as George W. Bush began waging wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.  While Senators like McCain argued that insufficient forces were being brought to bear against Iraqi oppostion, it should be noted that the truth is Bush simply did not have sufficient forces available to meet those needs.  That's why such heavy participation of National Guard forces were used to meet the war time needs.  Even these forces proved insufficent as the Bush adminstration wore out our forces in multiple war time deployments for many units.  These shortages also took away our ability to wage full scale efforts against terrorists in Afghanistan. 

Contrast our present force stucture with that which existed during the Vietnam War era, a time when the military draft was in force.  When I deployed to Vietnam the U.S. Air Force had over 800,000 active duty troops in the force.  Today, the Air Force is barely one quarter of that number!   With the exception of the Marine Corp, most of our other military services experienced similar drastic reductions in force.  

It's obvious that we cannot continue to expect to wage any war succesfully with current troop levels.  While it is true that the quality of the active duty force is superior to that during the draft era, there is simply not enough to go around. 

I expect the current budget problems are going to cause a serious re-examination of our capability to fight any further sustained wars as we have been doing in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Hopefully, some one will wise up and bring our troops home and let those in the Middle East sort it out for themselves.  We could more reasonably protect our nation by bring our troops home and beefing up our harbor and border security.  Barring that option, the U.S. is going to have to seriously consider a military draft.  Our troops have been abused enough, as evidenced by the high suicide rates and frequent social problems associated with too much time spent in an intense combat environment.


grenadavet said...

Military conscription is symptom of imperialistic tyranny. Our Dept. of Defense should be concerned with just that,defense of our nation. We have been involved in absolute no-win scenarios in Afghanistan and Iraq,while ignoring a larger threat to our nation. An enemy who has infilitrated our country illegally, is here in the millions, is causing subversion through socialogical and criminal warfare that results in economic and human casualties that make the losses of 9/11 pale in comparision. This enemy has outright stated that their agenda is to take this country. Meanwhile, our government is wasting military and economic resources on an enemy that has no means of large scale attack of our homeland. I absolutely agree, bring our boys home and truly defend our nation!!! If our young people knew that their primary military tour woould be served right here, and that being sent overseas to be used as fodder in conflicts of dubious national threat, we wouldn't need a draft. r

A Modest Scribler said...

Two vets in agreement that we need to quit wasting our military and our treasure in a Middle East incapable of either democracy or peace. Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

A draft?! HAHAHAHAHA. You could not pay me enough money to fight in these manufactured wars for these sick power hungry war mongering freaks. Listen, I know your grand daughter reads this and you are heavily into censorship/nazism but any and every foul word you can think of is exactly how I feel about the federal government and I would rather kill myself than be forced to go and fight for the power, money and oil that they desperately want. America sucks. Now run along, american idol is coming on and you don't want to miss out on your daily dose of brainwashing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

We enjoy our high standard of living here in the US. It had been built on the back of affordable gasoline. From there came American Graffiti" and Disney world and "See the USA in your Chevrolet." All creating the post war economic boom.
Our domestic oil production is politically compromised and as a result, we are in the mid east to assure the flow of Mideast oil. And rightfully so!
The fix is, open the US oil spigots and drill our way out of this economic doomsday. Then we can leave the mid east. We can't leave if the mid east oil spigot is turned any price.

Saddam invaded Kuwait for his expansion of control of the mid east oil. Saudi Arabia was next in Saddam's gun sights. That is why Bush invaded Iraq. Saddam, controlling mid east oil while the US environmental lobbies controlled the Democrats has strangled our oil independence and damaged our economies. And our standard of living will be sinking like a lead brick if we don't get rid of ethanol, open up the Gulf and offshore drilling up and down the coasts. Not doing so will drive us into the 3rd world lifestyle. It will take fifty years for the green revolution to make a dent in our energy needs.

May 8, 2011 9:03 AM

A Modest Scribler said...

I don't agree as to the justification for occupying Iraq and Afghanistan for ten years...this may very well be a "secret why" we are in the mid-east...I never got that high in the government decision level...but, except for short-term supply interruptions, we had no problem getting oil from the Middle East even when we weren't occupying the region anywhere. In fact, from a world view, our occupaton of the middle east has been a negative factor as so many in the region believe we are intent on controlling them. Secondly, we fought the first Gulf war without exteneded occuption and could mount military operations in the region without having a permament force in the region.
With respect to producing oil here, while I agree partly with you, I'm damn tired of BP and other oil company taking the 'cheap' route on drilling, when safer and more advanced technology that was available to prevent oil spills.
Finally, I don't believe that if would take 50 years to develop significant alternative energy if we were to mount a "Manhattan Project" level effort to do so. Solar, Wind, Natural Gas, Clean Coal and even Nuclear could clearly augment our energy needs and significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Thanks for your comments.