#rsrh Time for another ‘Bring back the draft! Who cares if more of them die!’ article.

(Via Hot Air Headlines) The hysterical part of all of this is that when I saw the title of this WaPo article – “Toss out the all-volunteer military” – I immediately said to myself  …because this suckweasel thinks that the problem with our military is that it is far too good at killing people and breaking stuff.  And, lo!

Since the end of the military draft in 1973, every person joining the U.S. armed forces has done so because he or she asked to be there. Over the past decade, this all-volunteer force has been put to the test and has succeeded, fighting two sustained foreign wars with troops standing up to multiple combat deployments and extreme stress.

This is precisely the reason it is time to get rid of the all-volunteer force. It has been too successful. Our relatively small and highly adept military has made it all too easy for our nation to go to war — and to ignore the consequences.

“Ignoring the consequences,” by the way, is Center for a New American Security suckweasel-speak for “doesn’t fight wars according to the diktats of the Center for a New American Security.”  Its author (Tom Ricks) is also probably smarting just a touch from a certain embarrassment: which is to say, he had the misfortune to write a book published in 2006 called Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq just before the Surge came along and un-Fiascoed everything.  Doubling down with his 2009 work The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 probably didn’t help his digestion, either, given that (according to Wikipedia, at least*) Ricks apparently doubled down on the gloom and doom.  Weird how the WaPo didn’t mention that in his bio… oh, I just slay me, sometimes.

As to his argument, well, here’s the question: in what universe am I expected to be anything except revolted at the thought that we might want to coerce American citizens and expose them to injury or death explicitly because otherwise we might enter into a war that meets with the disapproval of a Center for a New American Security suckweasel? – Because I would very much like for Tom Ricks to go to that universe, and leave the rest of us in peace in this one.

Thanks in advance!

Moe Lane

*What, you think that I’m going to read two pieces of agitprop past their sell-by dates?  I have better things to do with my time… but if somebody wants to pay me to read and review said pieces of agitprop, well, that’s another story.  $300 for either one; $500 for the pair; and I’ll even buy the books myself.

Cash in advance, and in full, please. No payment plan.  I take PayPal.


  • Rob Crawford says:

    So he thinks we should institute a draft because too few Americans die in war?
    Anyone remember when the left thought the draft was immoral? When they thought forced service of any type was immoral?
    Was that all just a pose?

  • Catseye says:


  • HeartbreakRidge says:

    Maybe you should try a Kickstarter. 🙂

  • DaveP. says:

    It’s never about improving military efficiency so we can have a more powerful, more effective military.
    It’s always about using the nation’s defense as a political club to injure the other side.
    And it’s always about instituting an unneeded, peacetime draft for social and for propaganda reasons.
    And it’s always about Bush.
    Can we question their patriotism now? Because I certainly do.

  • Bill James says:

    Questions? Their patriotism? I am a FREE AMERICAN CITIZEN and I can say almost ANYTHING I WANT. So yeah– I DO question their patriotism even if my so-called representatives don’t have the nerve to do so. God bless Allen West!

  • JEM says:

    Y’know, I’m gonna have to agree with Ricks on this one, on a few points.

    First off, ‘Fiasco’ was an entirely valid critique of the US approach to Iraq at the time it was written. And, even in hindsight, it’s ridiculous that this little war of convenience should have dragged out into a decade-long exercise in lawfare.

    And yes, Afghanistan may have been a necessary war of retribution (though one could argue it should have been two years and out, here’s your broom and your dustpan, don’t make us come back or next time we won’t leave you enough to sweep up) but Iraq was certainly a war of convenience.

    I’m not saying all wars of convenience are bad, some work out well (hi, Texans) and some don’t. But they have to be fought on a pretty strict basis of national interest and with a close eye on the cost in blood, treasure, and public opinion.

    As for his points regarding the volunteer military, I agree with him there as well, with a few additional points:

    Firstly, our current force has been ‘optimized’ down to a spear-point. We have a professional combat force, and everything else is contracted out. I remain unconvinced that this is a good thing.

    Secondly, and perhaps related to the first point, our current force is ruinously expensive to operate. We have not learned from our Vietnam experience.

    I’ll leave the discussion of the social impacts of national service for now as I don’t have time to type any more.

    Perhaps the biggest downside to a universal-service force would be that thanks to LBJ certain elements of our society are, as they come off the street, probably incapable of serving as anything more than sandbags, and the discipline structures necessary to make these people useful might be beyond what our modern sensitive culture would accept.

  • jeffV says:

    Jem, while you might point out real issues, a peacetime draft is not going to solve any of them. The goal of Mr. Ricks is to take any existing problems and exacerbate them by filling the ranks with people who really do not want to be there. The goal is two-fold. First, the US forces need much higher body counts in any engagement. Next, whoever we are fighting (Al Qaeda, Somali pirates, Nazis) need a lower body count and a freer hand to operate. This is because to Mr. Ricks, the US are the bad guys, so whoever we are fighting must be the good guys. Bad is good, down is up, white is black, this is the Bizarro world he lives in.

  • JEM says:

    jeffV – I think that’s an unfair characterization.

    His point is that the public needs to have skin in the game, that if the costs of a conflict were more immediate and more evenly distributed we would not only pay more attention to what our leaders try to do with our forces, but also the quality of our military leadership once we are involved.

    By any sort of historical standard the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were little ones – geographically isolated, of regional import but with no superpower-contention overtones, and against military forces somewhere between nonexistent and nugatory.

    Yet in both cases we bogged down, spending billions of dollars month after month, and at least in Iraq it was entirely the fault of American leadership.

    At the civilian level we sent in far too few boots, and at the military level paranoia about taking casualties created a strategy hinged around ‘force protection’ – which is really just a nice way of saying ‘losing slowly’.

    “Much higher body counts in any engagement” is not necessarily a bad thing if in so doing you really, truly kill off the enemy and finish the war in two years instead of dragging it out for a decade.

    His argument is just a variant of that many make about our current system of income taxation that lets nearly 50% of the country off the hook.

    I believe there’s a flip-side to his point, and to the Iraq experience, though – while the American public may be less interested in marching off to war, I’d hope that if we are faced with a truly necessary war we’re more willing to use overwhelming force – up to and including Our Friend The Atom – rather than condemn ourself to a decade-long spillage of American blood and treasure.

    I believe the term of art is ‘make the rubble bounce’.

  • JeffV says:

    I still disagree and history proves me out. We had the draft during the Vietnam era, yet many of the same issues were present. One of the things that did result from the public having more skin in the game (being drafted) was further unrest at home that ultimately resulted in pullout and needless defeat. I don’t think an army of conscripts would have caused us to handle early going in Iraq any differently. The military is basically just a ginormous bureaucracy and changing the mix of the lowest level of the pyramid doesn’t change hole the whole thing operates.

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