Thursday, March 23, 2006

What George & Dick understand

Jacob Weisberg, over at Slate, gets it right about U.S. military conscription:
President Bush and Vice President Cheney react angrily to any suggestion that a draft might be needed, because they know that the prospect of conscription would make their decision to invade Iraq even more unpopular. Having lived through Vietnam and [having] shirked the draft themselves, they understand that if people anywhere near their own station in life were forced to fight, any remaining support for wars of arguable necessity would dry up and blow away.
If the U.S. population on the whole isn't willing to put up it ought to shut up where our intervention in Iraq is concerned.

It isn't well-known that draftees go AWOL at one-fifth  the rate of volunteers. Draftees have far fewer criminal problems while enlisted than volunteers and perform better overall. That's a little counter-intuitive, but the fact is that military service often looks most attractive to those who have no other options. Young men with enough competence and ambition to have other options (like skilled-trade jobs or higher education) aren't nearly as likely to choose to be yelled at, take craps in public, and run a high risk of death, paralysis, or having hooks for hands or a freak show for a face.

Draftees cost less money and give better service. If George is really doing all he can to protect us, isn't he obligated to get the best people he can for the armed forces?


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