Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Good for the Goose, Good for the Gander

I wonder: Will all the people who blamed Fox News and the Bush administration for the widespread belief that Saddam Hussein had a role in 9/11 also blame MTV and the Kerry campaign for the widespread belief that George Bush wants to revive the draft?

5 Comments:

Blogger Thad said...

I believe Fafnir answers your question, Mr. Tu Quoque. [grin]

Also...

SOOOOOOOOXXXXXXXXXXXX!!!!

Thursday, October 21, 2004 12:04:00 AM  
Blogger Moon God said...

Actually, that's not terribly persuasive. I will go on the record here - if a 2nd Bush administration champions a draft, I will eat my left shoe. And it's a quasi-Doc Martin boot, so I'd have a lot of eating to do.

You could claim, as some Kerry supporters have, that while it may not stictly be true that Bush will revive the draft, there's at least some good reason to think that there is a problem with keeping up manpower in Iraq and elsewhere, and that unless something is done, Bush will have to revive the draft. But that's about as different from the original claim as the Saddam-caused-9/11 meme was from the more modest claim Bush and his people actually made which was that there were ideological ties. Which is the main point I wanted to make here. Two false memes circulating on both sides of the aisle, with the other side blaming the other for its widespread circulation.

As to the specifics of Fanfir's posting, he misses many structural reasons why the draft couldn't happen. First off, the Pentagon opposes it and claims it would be too impractical to implement. (Historically, drafts often demand more manpower to enforce than they actually provide for militaries.) Second, the military requires less manpower, and more highly educated and trained forces. You don't get that with underqualified, low-morale conscriptees fresh out of high school. Third, should Bush push Congress to implement a draft (which is the only way he can legally get one), not only would Congress reject it, it would be a political apocalypse dwarfing "Read My Lips" by exponential orders of magnitude. Fourth, as to the real issues of troop deployment that exist, this is probably in large part the motivation behind Bush's plan to withdraw troops from Cold War-era bases in Europe and redeploy them elsewhere in the Middle East and back home.

Anyway. Look, it's a false meme. I don't know if you, like so many others, blame Bush or Fox News for the belief that Saddam caused 9/11, but if you do, you'd also have to blame MTV's Rock the Vote and John Kerry's campaign for the draft scare.

Thursday, October 21, 2004 8:18:00 AM  
Blogger Thad said...

Actually, that's not terribly persuasive. 

Well, I dunno about "persuasive," but I think Fafblog is pretty funny.

For more "persuasive" arguments, you could check out Steve Gilliard (who, until very recently, did not believe that there would be a draft) or Juan Cole or your favorite New York Times columnist.I will go on the record here - if a 2nd Bush administration champions a draft, I will eat my left shoe. 

I'd be careful if I were you -- the last person to pledge to eat his shoe if improbable event X occurred lived to regret it.You could claim, as some Kerry supporters have, that while it may not stictly be true that Bush will revive the draft, there's at least some good reason to think that there is a problem with keeping up manpower in Iraq and elsewhere, and that unless something is done, Bush will have to revive the draft. But that's about as different from the original claim as the Saddam-caused-9/11 meme was from the more modest claim Bush and his people actually made which was that there were ideological ties. 

Leaving aside the point that there were no ideological ties between Saddam's regime and al-Qaeda, I don't see the importance of the distinction you make here. Bush says he's opposed to the draft -- fine. Based on his record of deception and broken promises, there's no good reason to believe a single thing he says, but fine -- let's give him the benefit of the doubt here and grant that he's sincere when he says: "I made it very plain, we will not have an all-volunteer army. And yet, this week -- we will have an all-volunteer army. Let me restate that. We will not have a draft."

The point is that Bush is pursuing a foreign policy that isn't sustainable without reinstating the draft. Even if we believe he's sincerely opposed to the draft, we can also believe -- with reason -- that he will not change the direction of his foreign policy purely to avoid the draft. So he may have no choice.

[I might also point out that if you want to persuade people that there's no way you'd ever bring back the draft, that you're not even considering it, well... then you probably shouldn't go around abusing stop-loss policies, reactivating the selective service boards, drawing up contingency plans for a draft of medical workers, and having your Canadian ambassador insist that Canada promise to deport all US draft-dodgers this time around. If you do, people will talk.]

As to the specifics of Fanfir's posting, he misses many structural reasons why the draft couldn't happen. 

None of the structural reasons you mention are insurmountable hurdles. The Pentagon will support the draft if troop levels drop to a level where they are insufficient to get the job done. And I'm not aware of any evidence that the US draft ever resulted in a net loss of manpower. (Especially during an unpopular war, like this one. What do you think troop levels would have been like in Vietnam without the draft?)

Steve Gilliard actually addresses your second point -- it's one of the reasons why he used to believe that think the draft wouldn't happen. But again, troop levels trump everything -- obviously, you always want the best-educated, best-trained, best-motivated troops you can get, but at a certain point, you just need boots on the ground. I think the use of the National Guard etc. in Iraq proves that point -- these are clearly not the best-trained troops we have, but we're sending them anyway.

I don't think you want to use "Read my lips" as an example -- after all, did Bush Sr. introduce new taxes or not? And if GWB gets to serve a second term, he doesn't have to face a reelection battle (and his VP has no presidential ambitions), so all bets resting on "catastrophic political consequences" are off. Plus, we already know that this is an administration which will not hesitate to threaten the children of legislators in order to ensure their votes.

As for your final point, I'm unaware of any credible source who has claimed that Bush's realignment plan is sufficient to solve the troop level problems in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and it will certainly not be sufficient if we get involved in a new war in Iran, Syria, or (god forbid) North Korea.

The fact is that Bush's foreign/military policy is just not sustainable without a massive new influx of troops. It's perfectly legitimate to wonder where those troops are going to come from.

And it's also perfectly legitimate for Rock the Vote to talk about the possibility of a draft as an election-year issue, for crissakes. Ed Gillespie is way out of line, and his hysterical response is not exactly helping Bush's case, here. Methinks he doth protest too much.

Friday, October 22, 2004 5:30:00 AM  
Blogger tristero said...

"if a 2nd Bush administration champions a draft, I will eat my left shoe. "

I will hold you to that, Werner.

Of course, there are drafts and then there are drafts. There is no doubt in my mind that when the draft comes, it will probably not be called a draft. Probably, it will also have the word "voluntary" attached (or some synonym) but be all but compulsory.

One more point: there is one helluva huge moral difference between a government deliberately lying through one's teeth in order to start an unnecessary war (and the Saddam connection was merely one such lie - excuse me, I meant to write "misrepresentation" perpetrated by the Bushites) and extrapolating from a clearly deteriorating situation to predict reasonable future actions by a desperate Bush administration.

Friday, December 10, 2004 8:41:00 AM  
Blogger The Blah Brain said...

Hey, nice blog you've got here. :)

Thursday, November 03, 2005 3:55:00 PM  

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