Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Congratulations!! You've Been Drafted

I was watching the Simpsons the other day when the commercials start in. One caught my attention, it was one of those special reports from the local news station. You know the ones with the ominous music and the voice over: "Stress kills more Americans every year. Job related stress is a leading cause of heart attacks. Could your job be killing you? Tune in at 6 tomorrow to see if your job is killing you and what you can do to prevent it." Of course, if you happen to tune in, the segment is like 3 minutes long and their tips to prevent stress are so lame: "take a walk after work; get up and get away from your desk for a few minutes; try to meditate at your desk", and other bits of "help". Anyways, this station breaks in with "Some critics say that America's armed forces are being stretched too thin. Could a national draft be next? And what do local kids say about the possibility of a draft?" (Cut to a couple of black teenagers sitting in a classroom with a voiceover of one saying that it would be better to volunteer than to get drafted).

Does anyone see what I see in that commercial? To me, it seems like showing a couple of black teenagers and the possibility of getting drafted won't create any controversy (of course, this is a Sinclair broadcasting channel, which did everything it could save air a homemade porno of John Kerry to get Bush, the Anti-Christ, re-elected). Anyways, I was curious as to why this commercial would only show black teenagers; if they wanted to increase viewership, all they had to do was interview some white kids from the suburbs. Of course, this station might view this as not supporting the Bush, the Anti-Christ (hereinafter the A/C) and his little war; and we can't have that, can we?

So, how likely is a draft? Everytime I see "experts" on TV, they keep saying either we have the manpower and there is no crisis (i.e. Pentagon staff memebers or generals) or we have someone saying the forces are stretched thin to the breaking point (i.e. think-tank guy).

I think the truth lies somewhere between. For one, I know that recruiters are desperate. The fact is, no one wants this war except big-business because they're the only ones that stand to profit from this.

So why is the average Joe going to send his kids to fight for a war that everyone knows was premised on a lie? Eventually the military is going to have the problems that were rampant following Vietnam up until Desert Storm, which is poor quality troops. The qualifications for enlistment will fall, therefore, the quality of soldiers/sailors will drop. It used to be "go to jail, or go to the Marines." Watch the movie Buffalo Soldiers to get an idea of how the Army was before Desert Storm. It won't be long before we hit that again; if it isn't already happening.

Plus troop morale is low; very low. The worst thing you can do to a soldier is to send to a combat zone or to some shitty assignment and tell him "you'll be here for one year". Then near the end of the tour, tell him you're going to extend his tour. Imagine being told after one year of bombings, shootings, firefights with civilians getting killed that you're being extended involuntarily. Who is going to reenlist if Uncle Sam can't even keep his promise that your tour is one year?

Ultimately, unless we pull our troops very soon, there will be either a severe loosening of recruitment standards or a draft. Something has to give and soon. Unfortunately, if there is a draft, the rich will find a way around it by going to college and then Congress will simultaneously cut student financial aid in the same breath.

The only good thing about a draft is the severity of the action. A draft will no doubt prompt protests, unrest, civil disobedience, and public pressure on an administration that gets very unfavorable marks in foreign policy by the American public. This country is going down the wrong path right now and most people sense bad times are ahead (unless you are one of those for whom tax breaks "really" help; i.e. the upper 5%). It is unfortunate that something as extreme as a draft would have to take place to facilitate genuine change in society; but it would do just that. It takes a tragedy and outrage and sadly in the case of the war, probably more deaths to effectuate positive change.


JHD said...

Have you seen Fahrenheit 9/11 yet? I may not agree with everything Michael Moore said in the movie, but I think the part where he showed Marine recruiters is pretty much on target with what you're saying.

You do also get the impression of low troop morale in it, but I will say that it's not everyone. My ex is supposed to be deployed to Iraq for 4 months this summer as part of a medical rotation. He's looking forward to it, he feels it's his duty to go. Whether that has something to do with the fact that he's not expected to actually fight or because he's career military, I'm not sure. But I do wonder how he'll feel when he comes back.

mariposatomica said...

Yes troops are stretched thin and moral is decreasing. I definately see a draft coming in the near future. Aside from our problems in Iraq and Afghanistan the U.S. likes to stir up problems in Iran, Syria, and North Korea. I wonder what will happen when China in 2012 surpasses U.S. economy? Fun times on this planet. Didn't the Roman empire fall because their armies were stretched so thin?