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Commentary: Military Draft or Latte Cafe?

By Stewart Nusbuamer
August 9, 2005

The military is desperate because there are not enough recruits. Will the Bush Administration be forced to bring back the draft? You've got to be joking.

This is the first protracted war of the all-volunteer military. Of course much of our all-volunteer military is prohibited from leaving the military, but they’re still volunteers. Others are being thrown huge wads of money not to leave, but we detest mercenary armies. Still others are civilians, but they are in our military. Anyway, how is our all-volunteer military doing?

On the battlefield, it appears to be doing. Not winning, but that’s not its fault. In Iraq the mission is, we're told, “complicated.” It is so complicated no one knows what the mission is, except to kill whoever and protect the oil where ever -- but not necessarily in that order. With that mission, to win the war would require a budget-breaking and economy-destroying amount of humongous resources. Considering we’re already broke and our economy is teetering, this would put an ugly crimp in U.S. corporate profits. Like, why fight the war then?

In Afghanistan, after an initial phase of timidity, the military was making progress and then nearly all of its in-country resources were yanked away for deployment to Iraq. They were never told why, actually neither were we. It is very difficult for a military to do much when they don’t have anything to do much with -- even the best all-volunteer military in the world.

On the home front, the situation makes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan look rosy. Soon the U.S. Army won’t be able to beg a potential recruit to join the “adventure,” which might really make it an army-of-one. In the last eight months, the Army was 14 percent below its enlistment goal, the Army National Guard was 23 percent short, and the Army Reserve was 21 percent. If we have another serious national security threat, say a Texaco oil rig in the Bay of Bengali needs a case of Bud, we’re in deep trouble.

The optimists (or head-in-the-sand fools) say we just have to hold out until next year when the bloody chaos in Iraq will be transformed into a sweet bed of blissful peace, thanks to the tiger ferociousness and high morality of the newly retrained Iraqi Army. The realists -- who Republicans were before they embraced the Democrat’s enlightened idea of people killing before nation building -- say they can’t see any light at the end of this tunnel either. Meaning, the idiot in the White House has done it to us again!

More and more Americans seem to be taking their head out of the beach sand and understanding that we are in a nasty gridlock: we have a war and no one wants to fight it. In fact, some Americans are whispering this war could get out of hand and raise the price of next year's vacation at the Jersey shore.

All of this talk about not enough cannon fodder is shooting hysteria through the liberal and peace communities. These people understand logic: if a trapped U.S. military runs low on working-class cannon fodder, because the half-wits are not enlisting for their college money, then there must be a return of the ugly “D.” Nothing is scarier to progressive Americans than, well, let me just say the word, the draft. Even boring Canada is better than their Johnny and Jane forced to wear those horrible looking desert brown clothes. And the whole idea of antiwar is to keep your kids out of war, right? This vicious turn of existential reality -- no recruits, do we need a draft? -- could actually propel liberals to crawl out of their Volvos and waddle along in an antiwar demonstration -- if it’s not raining.

But let me bring down all the towering pulse rates, there will not be a draft. I’ll wager my Vietnam M-14 rifle with 20 notches on the stock that there will not be a draft. Not because a draft would push millions of loafer-wearing Americans into the streets with functional families foaming and screaming, “Kill George Bush,” but because the Bush Administration is more petrified of a draft than even they are.

Our Chickenhawk leaders remember clearly what happened during the Vietnam War; the war they strongly supported from inside a beer can -- some from under their pregnant wives. (To turn a Republican into a roaring sex rabbit: put on a Barry Manilow tape and pin his draft notice on your nightie.) To have a draft today, college campuses would explode. Compare that with today’s deep stupor. Mom and Dad would go on a hunger strike -- which they severely need. Young women would again scream, “We say no (for sex) to guys who say yes (to war).” Now, that’s sexual politics with a real meaning. They remember a broken, whinny Lyndon Johnson, who two years prior ran Washington with his iron boot up every Senator’s you know what. They remember that pathetic, ugly Richard Nixon got elected president -- which means that even a Democrat could slip into the White House on the heels of a draft.

In the Pentagon, in the good old days what used to send our crackpot generals scurrying like rats to the toilets was a thrashing stomach fear that some deranged weirdoes would nuke the Potomac River, not understanding nukes were only for show. (Well, excluding Japan.) Since Vietnam, what has our big boys high-tailing it to the potty is all this enemy chatter about a draft. They remember all those smart-alecky, irrelevant college drop-outs treated the professional military like pigeon crap. They remember those overeducated retards preferred to smoke pot to wholesome killing. They remember those soft slime balls couldn’t even learn how to make a bed the military way, actually any way.

Our generals know a professional military can’t be run with these screw-ups sticking their dope pipes into the spokes of our fine tuned U.S. Army machine. In fact, right now the Pentagon is drawing up a contingency plan to give emergency visas to Chinese males between the age of 18 and 25, if they agree to the normal U.S. Army enlistment of 10 years, without college benefits of course. Disabled Chinese vets don’t need college to wash dishes in Chinatown.

So middle class America, put away your blood pressure medicine, stop grabbing for those potato chips, there won’t be a draft. Johnny and Jane are safe. Now that you are again feeling like a relaxed beached whale, maybe you could think about those Americans who are losing their limbs and their lives in the claws of the Iraqi quagmire, what you call the Muslim Vietnam. Maybe you can plan, possibly with Johnny and Jane, to demonstrate next month against this brutal, immoral war. Think about it. By the way, we’ll be serving latte.

Stewart Nusbaumer

Stewart Nusbaumer is editor of Intervention Magazine. You can email Stewart at

Posted Tuesday, August 9, 2005

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