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09/19/2004 Entry: "The Draft! Oh Lord! The Draft! Episode 1"

"When asked this week on CNN how long the U.S. military is likely to remain in Iraq, Senator John McCain replied "probably" 10 or 20 years."

We're running out of soldiers! How will we maintain this occupation? The Draft! Oh Lord! The Draft!

"That's not so bad," he said, adding, "We've been in Korea for 50 years. We've been in West Germany for 50 years."
Heads in the Sand, by Bob Herbert, NYT Op Ed, September 3, 2004

Well, in South Korea (I presume he means) and what used to be West Germany they sort of want us there or are at least used to us. In Iraq, on there other hand, they don't want us there and are never going to get used to us. In fact they're shooting our guys because, well, they're our guys and they're outsiders and sitting ducks and... oh y'all know why more than one thousand of our soliders have and continue to die in Iraq, it's not a secret.

Dave Johnson at See the Forest (See the Blogroll) suggests we all blog about the draft because that is a major issue for able-bodied voters. The ideas I've heard is that it would be for ages 18-34 and EVERYONE, sorry, no deferments. bushco is sure good at pulling the ladder up after themselves, I'll say that.

Anyway, I've blogged about The Draft! Oh Lord! The Draft:

No More War Planners
Congressman Rangel's Point*
The Universal Military Training and Service Act of 2001^

But I think it's a good idea, I'll do it, and I encourage other bloggers to do it, too.

* and ^ (If, for some annoying reason, those links don't work, please click HERE and scroll down to entries on 2002.12.31 and 2002.11.24. Thanks!)

Heads in the Sand

September 3, 2004
By BOB HERBERT


When asked this week on CNN how long the U.S. military
is
likely to remain in Iraq, Senator John McCain replied
"probably" 10 or 20 years. "That's not so bad," he
said,
adding, "We've been in Korea for 50 years. We've been
in
West Germany for 50 years."

Reporters have come to expect candor from Senator
McCain,
and in this case he didn't disappoint. But there
weren't
any speakers mounting the podium at the Republican
National
Convention to hammer home the message that G.I.'s
would be
in Iraq for a decade or two.

That's not the understanding most Americans had when
this
wretched war was sold to them, and it's not the view
most
Americans hold now.

If Senator McCain is correct (and the belief in
official
Washington is that he is), then boys and girls who are
5 or
10 years old now will get their chance in 2015 or 2020
to
strap on the Kevlar and engage the Iraqi "insurgents"
who,
like the indigenous forces we fought in Vietnam, will
never
accept the occupation of their country by America.

Marcina Hale, a protester who came to New York this
week
from suburban Westport, Conn., said she has two
teenage
boys and that Iraq "is not a war that I'm willing to
send
my sons to." As the years pass and the casualties
mount,
that sentiment will only grow.

The truth is always the first casualty of politics.
But
there was a bigger disconnect than usual between the
bizarre, hermetically sealed perspective that was on
display in Madison Square Garden this week and the
daunting
events unfolding without respite in the real world.

Iraq is a mess. While the cartoonish Arnold
Schwarzenegger
was drawing huge laughs in the Garden and making
cracks
about economic "girlie men," reports were emerging
about
the gruesome murder of 12 Nepalese hostages who had
traveled to Iraq less than two weeks earlier in search
of
work.

At the same time, an effort to disarm insurgents in
the
militant Baghdad slum of Sadr City collapsed, and the
death
toll among American forces in Iraq continued its
relentless
climb toward 1,000.

The Los Angeles Times noted yesterday that a report by
the
respected Royal Institute of International Affairs in
London has concluded that Iraq will be lucky if it
avoids a
breakup and civil war. The often-stated U.S. goal of a
full-fledged Iraqi democracy is beyond unlikely.

In Afghanistan, a legitimate front in the so-called
war
against terror, much of the country remains in the
hands of
warlords, and the opium trade is flourishing. Experts
believe substantial amounts of money from that trade
is
flowing to terrorist groups.

In Israel, 16 people were killed by suicide bombers
who
blew themselves up on a pair of crowded buses on
Tuesday.
In Russia, a series of horrific terror attacks, in the
air
and on the ground, have cast a pall across the
country.

Despite all the macho posturing and
self-congratulating at
the Republican convention, the wave of terror that's
been
unleashed on the world is only growing. The
American-led
war in Iraq is feeding that wave, causing it to swell
rather than ebb.

Any serious person who looked around the world this
week
would have to wonder what the delegates at the G.O.P.
convention were so happy about.

The Republican conventioneers spent the entire week
reminding America that we were attacked on Sept. 11,
2001.
But interestingly, there was hardly a mention by name
of
those actually responsible for the attacks - Osama bin
Laden and Al Qaeda.

Discussions about the nation's real enemies were
taboo. We
don't know where they are or what they're up to. The
over-the-top venom of some of the speakers and
delegates
was reserved not for Osama, but for a couple of
mild-mannered guys named John.

What Americans desperately need is a serious, honest
discussion of where we go from here. If we're going to
be
in Iraq for 10 or 20 more years, the policy makers
should
say so, and tell us what that will cost in money and
human
treasure. The violence associated with such a
long-term
occupation is guaranteed to be appalling.

Vietnam tore this nation apart. As we've seen in this
campaign, the wounds have yet to heal. Incredibly,
we're
now traveling a similarly tragic road in Iraq.

 

 

 

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