Monday, August 15, 2005

Pushing for the draft

The Kathe Kollwitz thread seems to have engendered a heated discussion, sparked by another "anonymous," once again (or perhaps the same "anonymous" once again), who said that those who are for the Iraq war and consider it so "noble" would feel quite differently if a draft were instituted, and their own children or relatives were forced to serve.

I've stayed out of the discussion so far because so many commenters have been so eloquent and logical in their arguments that there really seemed no need for me to jump in.

But I do have an observation or two (just can't shut up, I guess). The first is that it's interesting that "anonymous" somehow found it necessary to post this challenge (or, rather, "simple question" /sarcasm off) on a post that was devoted to honoring the grief of parents who lose children in war. My post contained no discussion of the "nobility" of this, or any other war. It was really an exploration of what war poet Wilfred Owen called, "the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity." My take on the Cindy Sheehan aspect of it was going to be saved for Part II.

So one thing the ensuing commentary illustrates is the deep and pressing need for the "anonymii" of the world to make such statements of challenge whenever possible, whether relevant to the discussion or not, and no matter how many times such questions have been asked and answered before. It is a repetitive exercise on their part, and lets me know they must think this particular argument is a ripping good one. The answers given--which were many, varied, and excellent--don't really seem to matter to "anonymous." It's the question that counts. I don't know the political slant of this particular "anonymous," but most of those mounting such arguments tend to be on the liberal/left side of things.

I have noticed for quite some time now how intent many on the left/liberal seem to be on instituting a draft (or at least on pretending to, for argument's sake). Such a draft, if instituted, appears to be a "backdoor" way of getting what they want, which is to amplify antiwar sentiment to a fever pitch and have us pull out of Iraq--in other words, to recreate Vietnam and the scene of the left's greatest triumph, the fall of Saigon and the Communist takeover of South Vietnam (I have explored the origins of such sentiments at great length, and why the left clings to them so tenaciously, in this post in my "A mind is a difficult thing to change" series).

There is no doubt whatsoever that part of the impetus for the antiwar protests during Vietnam was the existence of the draft. In fact, when the draft was ended, the protests virtually ended, and yet the war dragged on. So, "anonymous" is referring, I think, to a historical truth, at least as far as Vietnam goes: the draft and antiwar sentiment were linked.

I believe that fact is a major motivation underlying the left's insistence on ending the volunteer military and reinstituting the draft. As long as the military is volunteer, it's much harder to mobilize the type of demonstrations of their old glory days of the 60s.

We can debate (and have, on many of the Vietnam-related threads here) how necessary the Vietnam War was, both morally, and strategically in terms of the Cold War. We can debate the same for the Iraq War; I happen to think that it was morally justified and that strategically it was the best choice at the time among crazinesses (see this post for what I mean by "choice among crazinesses.") How it will turn out is still unknown, but if the left has its way and we pull out, I have little doubt that the consequences will be far worse than the already very sad consequences of the fall of South Vietnam.

As for "anonymous's" actual arguments themselves, I think the best answer is that most people are reluctant to have their children put themselves in harm's way. Any type of harm's way. It's just the nature of the parenthood beast.

Parents are usually proud when their children sign up for dangerous service--whether it be military or police or firefighter or rescue squad--and parents usually support the choice. But it's not necessarily one the parent would choose. At any rate, it is the grown child's choice, not the parents', and all the parent actually can do is support or not support, and fervently hope that the child survives intact.

"Anonymous" would seem to want us all to be like those Spartan mothers who required their sons to "come back with your shield or on it" (if you click on the previous link, you'll find a host of other interesting Spartan tales, such as the following, "Another Spartan woman killed her son, who had deserted his post because he was unworthy of Sparta. She declared: 'He was not my offspring for I did not bear one unworthy of Sparta.'") Well, most of us are not Spartan mothers, which is probably a fortunate thing.

But because parents would not necessarily choose that a child be a firefighter or police officer (or join the military) does not preclude them from honoring those who do choose to put themselves in harm's way for the sake of us all, or from wanting the benefit of the protection they offer and supporting the establishment of both a fire and a police department and a military. Nor does it stop them from honoring and supporting a child who does make such choices.

41 Comments:

At 2:31 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger VietPundit said...

What can I say, neo. Another classic from you.

 
At 2:55 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger BeckyJ said...

Yes, another classic.

I've noticed that from Charlie Rangel on down, the calls for reinstating the draft come from the left. It appears that many of them believe (hope?) a draft would get mostly "rich kids" as opposed to the mostly non-white, poor kids they argue were caught in the Vietnam draft.

I agree with you that the anti-war sentiment and the draft were inextricably linked during the Vietnam war. After all, if a government is forcing people to fight an unpopular war, then it's very difficult to find support for that war. It is harder to have such a strong anti-war movement for a more widely supported war with an all volunteer military.

My dad was in the military (and went to Vietnam early in that war). He never pushed it as a career choice for us, but I know he would have been proud of us, and worried incessantly about us, had either my brother or I chosen the military.

 
At 3:00 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous terryt said...

Thank you, neo. Brilliant as always!

 
At 3:15 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger BeckyJ said...

As I was re-reading the comments from the previous post on this topic, I realized something. Those presenting the so-called "chickenhawk" argument (you can't support the war if you or your children don't join the military) like Anonymous in the previous post, appear to believe that volunteering for a war and volunteering for the military are two entirely separate issues. When a person joins the military s/he is agreeing to fight to protect the national interest in the way deemed necessary by the Commander-in-Chief. When one is in the military one cannot pick and choose which wars (conflicts, police actions, peacekeeping operations) to fight in. The argument that soldiers didn't/don't want to fight in Iraq starts with the assumption that they didn't realize they might have to fight in a war when they enlisted. Believe it or not, military recruits, for the most part, aren't that stupid no matter what their background.

 
At 3:23 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous Jim said...

This question of a draft subsumes a lot of other questions.

One question that never gets mentioned, perhaps because it never occurs to those insisting on a draft, is the extent to which a raft would debase the service of those who choose to serve voluntarily.

Another question, and the really valid core of the bigger question, is about the way that military service is one of the most dramatic proofs of citizenship, and of how avoidance of service is often assumed to be proof of disloyalty. one of the eabling moral factors in the Civil Rights movement was that for the first time blacks had served along with other Americans. This really hit an nerve at the time. The flip side of the question is how to respect the citizenship of "shirker" who may in fact be spaeking with the most patriotic motives?

Another aspect of this question is the assumed over-protectiveness of parents. The question assumes parents who might readily allow their kids to do any number of hare-brained extreme sports would never allow the same kids to arm up and go fight.

One especially nasty question lur=king in this question is what about kids coming from homes where the family culture is entrepreneurial and individualistic? How do you make decent soldiers out of such people, who will not endanger their comrades more than they help, without complete cultural reprogramming? In other words, are rich kids good enough for the military?

 
At 3:42 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous The Unknown Blogger said...

Excuse me. Am I reading this right?

Neo-neocon said:

"Such a draft, if instituted, appears to be a "backdoor" way of getting what they want, which is to amplify antiwar sentiment to a fever pitch and have us pull out of Iraq--in other words, to recreate Vietnam and the scene of the left's greatest triumph, the fall of Saigon and the Communist takeover of South Vietnam."

"The left's greatest triumph, the fall of Saigon and the Communist takeover of South Vietnam?" This seems to me to say that, like you often, no always, do with dissenters of the Iraq war, to be against the Vietnam War was to be on the side of the enemy. Am I reading that right?

 
At 4:36 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger Huan said...

Firstly, the military does not want a draft at this time. As a field commander, which would you rather have, a group of soldiers who wanted to be part of the force, or a group who were forced to be part soldier? It is a silly argument devoid of seriousness among the left.

And speaking of the left, their moment of triumph was the American withdrawal from Vietnam leading to the fall of Saigon. It is only slightly and a single step away from being correct to suggest that it was the actual fall of South Vietnam as their glory in the sun as by then, the left had largely stopped caring about the vietnamese. Or rather, let that "altruistic/humanitarian" argument against the war be reveal as just a hypocritical lie.

 
At 4:47 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger corbusier said...

"Such a draft, if instituted, appears to be a "backdoor" way of getting what they want, which is to amplify antiwar sentiment to a fever pitch and have us pull out of Iraq--in other words, to recreate Vietnam and the scene of the left's greatest triumph, the fall of Saigon and the Communist takeover of South Vietnam."


How tragic that the scene of the left’s greatest triumph was the decimation and destruction of thousands of innocent people in South Vietnam. All that the anti-war protest really won was for the soldiers to come back home, removed from harm’s way. But what was lost was even greater, both in the absolute numbers of lives lost and irreparable psychological damage to Americans’ pride in their foreign policy goals as well as the veterans who would be forgotten and spat at for simply serving their country with honor. As a child of the relatively cheerful eighties and nineties, it’s difficult to see how so many middle-aged people see what was practically a national low point in American history as a time worthy to revived for the present day. It may be the Gen-X in me that cause me to wonder whether many baby-boomers are abnormally self-centered in the role they played in their past, claiming credit for events they didn’t entirely control.

Check out my brand new blog at www.architectureandmorality.blogspot.com

 
At 5:38 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger neo-neocon said...

To the unknown blogger: If you want to understand my statement about the fall of Saigon being the scene of the left's greatest triumph, I'm afraid you're going to have to read my Vietnam posts in the "A mind is a difficult thing to change" series. In them I discuss at great length all the differing motives of the left, and the different positions that were taken both during the Vietnam War and after, and why. Far too much to neatly summarize here--but suffice to say that some were merely self-interested, some were naive idealists, and some were indeed on the side of the enemy, unfortunately.

If you are interested in reading a shorter piece I wrote that ties into this topic, try this

 
At 5:54 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous bob said...

I'm for seeing one of the Bush twins volunteer. Wouldn't it do something incredible for morale? Even if they sit behind a desk tucked safely in the Green Zone, it would say a lot about a shared burden.

 
At 6:31 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All President's children are high targets and by nature of such position will most likely live the rest of their lives under the burden possible assassination.

That said, I would imagine that to place such a high target amongst soldiers would increase the danger to the soldiers.

Susan

 
At 7:49 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous The Unknown Blogger said...

On those Americans who were against the Vietnam War, Neo-neocon said:

"...suffice to say that some were merely self-interested, some were naive idealists, and some were indeed on the side of the enemy, unfortunately."

I've asked this before here but I didn't get an answer (from you): Under what circumstances would you consider it legitimate to publicly voice dissent to US involvement in a war? Is there any conceivable use of American military power that you can see yourself being oppposed to?

If you are interested in reading a shorter piece I wrote that ties into this topic, try this...

I read that Jane Fonda piece, and the Tom Hayden piece and the kook in Australia piece and the Che Guevara T-Shirts piece and the piece by the Orgonomics guy (Orgonomics? Hoo boy)) forgive me but I thought they were all a big waste of time. You tend to write about all these ultra-liberal kooks and then try to draw conclusions about all liberals from them. It's really insulting and if that's the way you think it's no wonder all your old friends got sick of you (<--I'm kidding here.)

It's OK by me if you think this war is the right thing to do, but I don't see why you find it so hard to see that if there was *ever* a war that merited a healthy dissent in this country, this one is it. I mean, 50,000,000+ Americans can't ALL be "self-interested, naive, or on the side of the enemy", can they?

And ( I hesitate to make more than one point in a comment, but this one's actually more on topic, so here goes:) I think the call for a draft is a reflection of the real lack of a call to civilian sacrifice, which people feel. As far as I can tell, only 30% of congress has served in the military, only 7 of the 535 members of congress have kids in the military, and how many of them are actually in Iraq I don't know. Only a few of the principal architects and cheerleaders for this war have served. I know, I know, what difference does it make? Good policy is good policy, right?

But look, right after 9/11, apparently the phones were ringing of fthe hook and peopple were trying to sign up right and left. Now, The National Guard and Reserves are over-extended, the army's having a hard time recruiting. I think some could see that as a sign of some deep-seated reservations about the war in Iraq as the right thing to be doing. It's like, come on, step up people, if you are really into it, if this is the "highest calling" as Bush puts it, let's see some lines outside of those recruiting offices. Let's see Bush or Rumsfeld or somebody make a speech at a university calling for more people to enlist.

And what is everyone so afraid of about a draft anyway? It wasn't too long ago that conservatives were saying we should have 2 years of mandatory service for everyone. Now we find ourselves in the most important struggle in our lifetime and suddenly it's a bad idea?

 
At 7:57 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Unknown.

Precisely.

 
At 7:57 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous The Unknown Blogger said...

Great backflip there Susan: the Bush twins are doing their duty to America by staying OUT of the military.
Ok, so by my count there are about 5 other eligible male members of the immediate Bush clan (Jeb's son George P. for one), I'd like to know how they are all meeting the challenge of our age.

 
At 8:54 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger howardml71xetheobold said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 9:33 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger Goesh said...

Unknown blogger, where would all these draftees go to fight? We have 130,000 in Iraq and in 29 months, 1400+ have been killed and 400+ have died from non-hostile deaths. You are reading too much MSW nonsense and pretending to have military expertise. This is not a meat grinder, never was and never will be, but you seem to need it to be. You refuse to see anything positive or constructive in Iraq, you are willfully blind and oblivious to progress and the number of jihadi terrorists being killed and captured. It's been over a month ago that Army Corps of Engineers completed its 1200th project, the renovation of a school. How many Iraqi battalions are armed and on duty? What areas are totally peaceful? Of course you don't know the answer to any of these questions - how could you? You quote a figure of 50 million Americans opposed to the war (whatever the hell that exactly is supposed to mean - talk about a broad brush stroke), yet the last poll I saw, showed only 12% of the people surveyed felt the troops should come home, and Bush's approval rating is way way down to around 40%. You seem ill at ease with the notion of people volunteering for the military because I believe you are very uncomfortable with the idea that the US is acting without world approval. You're one of those UN type of guys/gals, aren't you? The world is supposed to be turning into one big village, right? I wonder if much of your ideology is based on a need for the US to fail? It seems that way to me.

So what if few people in Congress served in the military? What is your point? why would Bush go to a university to persuade people to enlist for about 1/4th of the pay they could make by not enlisting? You really do think he is dumb, don't you? You act as if the sky is falling because Guard and reserve numbers are down. There is a war on for heaven's sake! I don't have a problem with the numbers being down. I didn't have a problem with guys going off to Canada during Viet Nam. My older brother's blood pressure shot up so high when he got his draft notice that medication couldn't control it for about 2 years and he was exempted. He got some control after 2-3 years but still had to be on medication. Chicken Little, the damn sky is not falling, not by a long shot, so tell me, where would you send the draftees? To sit by the thousands in the relative safety of the green zone? The safety of the Kurdish areas? I would be more interested in your views on profiling for instance. Do you view wahabbism as an aberation or something more entrenched, widespread and intrinsic with islam? Are there any conceivable circumstances where torture could or should be employed? Should wounded enemy combatatants be given state of the art medical care? Why or why not? What is your concept of total war? Should air space be violated with cruise missles to take out known terrorist commanders? What would an acceptable number of civlian deaths be in order to kill such a known terrorist commander? If bin laden was using an orphange would you kill 50-60 of them to take him out? How would you condition and train men to kill at close range without first dehumanizing the enemy? Do you believe the bin ladens of the world are trying to get a nuclear weapon into the US?

You asked Neo under what circumstances would it be legitimate to voice dissent over the use of military force. You have that right, which you are exercising here. For me it was propping up S. American dictators, and using covert ops people and mercenaries and considerable military resources to sustain them. This is quasi involvment, granted, but abu ghraib was like a boyscout camp compared to S. American detention centers/death squads, but hey! they were hell on communists, right, and therefore friends of the US. You think we should be better than the rest of the world, but we are not, we are just stronger and wealthier and harder working. I think that really bothers you because maybe you think we cannot learn from mistakes.

 
At 9:54 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger corbusier said...

Unknown Blogger,

If you find it so difficult to support a war in which we eliminated one of the most murderous tyrants in the world and one of the most reactionary misogynist regimes in history, then your standard on what constitutes a justifiable war is so high as to make it impossible for the U.S. to successfully defend itself. Has there ever been a war in the last 50 years that had such broad support that it mustered the long lines at military recruitment offices? Were there people desperate to join the armed forces during the relatively peaceful 1990s? Of course not and as I remember it, recruitment then was actually in worse shape than today for the simple fact that the economic boom nullified much of the financial incentives to join. Is military action only justified by you as long as it's done with jet planes at high altitude, like in Bosnia?. I'm afraid that for people of your persuasion, it would require a devastating offensive act on American soil far more destructive than 9-11 to justify a military response. What Bush and the "neo-cons" seem to realize that his detractors don't is that the next attack on American soil will be in the context of widely nuclearized world, in which an offensive attack will likely be the fatal blow.

Recalling my first post above, I am struck as a young adult how some older people can truly be proud of having condemned so many people (South Vietnamese, Cambodians) to hellish conditions and permanent betrayal (most Vietnam Vets) for the selfish goal of bringing a few thousand boys back home, many of whom would rather have seen the mission through than to be prevented from doing so.

Bush in a way is fortunate. He has an all-volunteer force at his command, which allows him more flexibility in dealing with national threats than he would have with conscripts. He has made it clear that the draft is counterproductive to his strategy, and has never made an issue of it since the War on Terror began. It has been liberals who have tried to push the idea of the draft, for the sole reason that such a draft would prevent any military action whatsoever by a Republican president. But as anybody with an inkling of military knowledge could tell you, Unknown Blogger, having a conscripted army would hamper our military's effectiveness to such a degree that it could only mean that those who want the draft want American military efforts to fail.

www.architectureandmorality.blogspot.com

 
At 9:59 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger Promethea said...

A lot of words on this subject, but the bottom line is that those who want to see the U.S. pull out of Iraq are the ones calling for the draft.

The chickenhawk argument is nonsensical. Not everyone is suited to be a soldier any more than everyone is suited for any other dangerous profession.

If the U.S.needs a draft, there will be a draft.

 
At 10:19 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous neo-neocon said...

To the Unknown Blogger:

I try to be polite to everyone who comments here, whether they are polite to me or not. I don't have the time to respond to more than a fraction of the people who comment here, but I appreciate the great majority of the comments, even though I don't necessarily acknowledge them individually.

Every now and then, though, I try to answer a question (such as your original one) that seems sincere albeit somewhat challenging and/or hostile. And every now and then that person resonds in such a way that I realize I'm wasting my time, and that they've neither heard what I've been saying, nor want to even try to listen. What they want is to have some fun watching people jump through a series of hoops that the commenter has set up.

So, I'll just say this to you at this point: If you can read this blog and think my support of this war or any other war is some sort of kneejerk and automatic reaction, then you don't really seem to be paying attention to what I've been saying and are indeed wasting your time here, as you yourself have said.

 
At 10:36 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous The Unknown Blogger said...

Thanks for your reply Goesh, but I was sort of talking to neo-neocon. But since she's not around at the moment, and you took so much trouble...

I'm sorry if I wasn't clear, but I never called for a draft. I merely tried to explain why I think others are. To summarize: I think calling for a draft is just shorthand for saying "let's see all those who believe in the war step up and join the fight."

I know you don't care if we have a Congress, a President, a Vice President, and other very influential policy makers who never fought in a war, and don't have any kids fighting in the war either, all the while advocating for an as-yet-unproven doctrine which relies on pretty much perpetual war as it's central premise, but I can see how it would kind of gnaw at some people. You can think they're all idiots if you want, but hey, what can you do?

Of course I have no military expertise, but I do know that some people in the military have suggested that we could use a few more troops over there, and I guess if we had more, even if there aren't any other places we could put them, we could be relieving the ones that are there more often, right? I hear they've been having their tours of duty extended and stuff like that. Would the military really turn down a significant influx of new recruits? Just say, "thanks, but we're doing just fine now, call us back when China invades Taiwan"?

The rest of your comment...*whew*

Well let's see, I addressed profiling back in the profiling article. As for all that other stuff...

1. It's a fundamentalist Islamic sect
2. no
3. If it's available, I don't see why not
4. Because it's just the right thing to do
5. um... I don't understand the question
6. I guess it would depend
7. I guess equal to whatever was the number of Aghanis we killed by mistake at that wedding party a while back..20 something?
8. Probably not, he's got to come out at some point
9. You're asking me how? I think it's being done already, no? Do they need suggestions from me?
10. Absolutely, and I fail to see how having 130,000 troops in Iraq building schools is helping to prevent that one little bit.

Sorry I might have missed something, but it's kind of late...

 
At 10:44 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous The Unknown Blogger said...

Oh, there you are! Hey, I said I was kidding!

I'm sorry you were offended. I'm not sure where I implied that you were having a knee-jerk reaction.

Dang, and I really wanted to know the answer to that dissent question...

Me and my rhetoric!

 
At 10:50 PM, August 15, 2005, Blogger Judith said...

"As far as I can tell, only 30% of congress has served in the military, only 7 of the 535 members of congress have kids in the military, and how many of them are actually in Iraq I don't know"

Actually the percentage of members of congress with close relatives serving in Iraq is about twice that of the general population.

 
At 11:30 PM, August 15, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

Since about the Civil War, half the male population has been unfit to serve for moral, mental, or physical reasons.
There are about fifteen million vets in this country--dropping as the WW II guys go--and so we have these people drawn from a minimum of thirty million mostly men.
But there are one hundred and forty million men.
Say that twenty-five million are boys.
That leaves 115 million men.
About one ninth, or a little less, have served. Or, to put it another way, consider that half are unfit, then fifteen million served of 57.5 million of the fit.
So "only" thirty percent is a misleading stat. That's a pretty high number, considering the average.

BTW. Do you want to go the whole way and restrict the franchise and public office to veterans?

Or is this crap argument only hauled out on occasion and you don't actually mean it?

 
At 12:06 AM, August 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 12:10 AM, August 16, 2005, Anonymous john moulder said...

Question: Under what circumstances would you consider it legitimate to publicly voice dissent to US involvement in a war?

Answer: For me just about any circumstance would be legitimate. I don’t argue with the right to have an opinion – pro or con. That goes for any policy of government. I am hard pressed to think of any circumstance that dissent would not be legitimate. But of course I will criticize if the dissent is based on crap. And publicly, too. That’s another legitimate right we all have.

Question: Is there any conceivable use of American military power that you can see yourself being opposed to?

Answer: Yes, at the moment I can think of no good reason to use American military power against Canada or Mexico, or most any country you could name. Now, if they start harboring terrorists or aiding terrorists or attacking the US or attacking allies or invading allies or if I even if I think there’s a very good chance they will attack then I’m gonna get a little peeved & want our leaders to do something about it.

Here’s a question for you, Unknown Blogger: Is there any conceivable use of American military power that you can see yourself being in favor of?

 
At 2:51 AM, August 16, 2005, Anonymous strcpy said...

"I've asked this before here but I didn't get an answer (from you): Under what circumstances would you consider it legitimate to publicly voice dissent to US involvement in a war? Is there any conceivable use of American military power that you can see yourself being oppposed to?"

I think her comment on this is because this has been covered if you read the blog (which you seem to claim to do). It is similar to my own thoughts - there is a difference between opposed to a conflict and dissent. I didn't like most of the conflicts Clinton took us into, however once there (unless it was something like someone else mentioned - Canada or Mexico) then that ends and I try my best to see us win. I know of a few anti-Iraq war people who have done thusly, but I can count them on one hand (and they all pretty much hate the anti-war left).

Do the anti-war want the enemy to win? Probably not (some do), but even though my goal might not be to kill someone randomly firing guns into houses will still eventually kill somsone. Better is that most of the anti-war doesn't really think through thier ideas, they just stop at "I don't like it" and go from there.

"You tend to write about all these ultra-liberal kooks and then try to draw conclusions about all liberals from them. It's really insulting and if that's the way you think it's no wonder all your old friends got sick of you (<--I'm kidding here.)"

Well, when nearly all of the candidates you support quit quoting them and doing the same thing, I'll assume it's not so much of an insult. I'm betting that neo-neocons sentiments run something along those lines also, though maybe not as strong. Note that the Republican party pretty much shunned Buchannen (though the liberal press love him as a "Conservative" - to note he doesn't go on many conservative shows and when he does he is generally made fun of) and the Democrats picked his liberal equivilent for a presidential candidate and gave Moore a seat of honor.

"It's OK by me if you think this war is the right thing to do, but I don't see why you find it so hard to see that if there was *ever* a war that merited a healthy dissent in this country, this one is it. I mean, 50,000,000+ Americans can't ALL be "self-interested, naive, or on the side of the enemy", can they?"

Yep, they sure can. Pol Pot and Castro were put into power by a majority of thier country - even though they have done *exactly* as they promised (people either simply did not believe the bad parts or quite after "Workers Paradise").

Not to mention if 50 million plus thinking something makes it "true or possible" then you get a paradox, because the other side voted so (which side wins?).

So, does having 50 million plus still give an argument wieght (we have the majority so you are now pro-war) or is this simply a talking point?

"I think the call for a draft is a reflection of the real lack of a call to civilian sacrifice, which people feel. As far as I can tell, only 30% of congress has served in the military, only 7 of the 535 members of congress have kids in the military, and how many of them are actually in Iraq I don't know. Only a few of the principal architects and cheerleaders for this war have served. I know, I know, what difference does it make? Good policy is good policy, right?"

Well, you got it. Nor does military service ensure, or even necessarily predict, that what you are wanting will occur. They are still humans. Heck, even the strongest model I;ve seen (Heinlien or however it is spelled) knew that just simply military service wasn't enough. Nor do I think his vision is anywhere close to enough either.

And, as I have pointed out numerous times, if that is your gripe then you should be supporting the war. Those that you are making out to be the truthful ones are overwhelmingly in support of this war. So, why are you not - or is this only a talking point? I never understood this one - you loose if this isn't there, loose even bigger if it is, yet is somehow a refutation of what we say (and is why I say that people using this are not critically thinking, just issuing a talking point that is meaningless to them).

"But look, right after 9/11, apparently the phones were ringing of fthe hook and peopple were trying to sign up right and left."

Except that this was about like the Canadian immigration website after the election - it lasted all of a few days and didn't produce any volunteers.

"Now, The National Guard and Reserves are over-extended,"

Says who - retired generals and the news media? The same ones who predicted 500k dead to overrun Iraq? Or the one truthful current military general (despite every other one declaring that wrong)?

"the army's having a hard time recruiting."

They hit thier last recruiting goals and thier retention rate is much higher than normal. They are doing fine. We still have troops all over in peaceful places that can be used if needed, and we will for a long time.

"I think some could see that as a sign of some deep-seated reservations about the war in Iraq as the right thing to be doing. "

Even were it true it could also be seen as a dominate media culture being spoon fed this idea. Especially given that the people actually in Iraq - who know first hand - are signing on for multiple tours in record numbers.

"It's like, come on, step up people, if you are really into it, if this is the "highest calling" as Bush puts it, let's see some lines outside of those recruiting offices."

Ah, back to the chicken hawk thing - support the war yet since those that you think thier opinions count support it?

"Let's see Bush or Rumsfeld or somebody make a speech at a university calling for more people to enlist."

You may not be aware of this, but universities restrict what thier talkers can and can not say - even with thier free speech thing. Universities are mostly leftist and don't really ask too many conservtives to give talks. Even so, at the one I went to (East Tennessee State University) they allow military recruiters, though it's kinda small for the president to give a speech at. Now, that this gripe is settled (I'm going to assume you aren't advocating getting rid of the First Amendment so they can force it), support the war yet? Or is this simply another talking point?

"And what is everyone so afraid of about a draft anyway? It wasn't too long ago that conservatives were saying we should have 2 years of mandatory service for everyone."

Really? I've been active in politics for a little over a decade now - and always as a conservative - and I never saw that. I saw a few kooks from both sides (again, countable on one hand) call for it, but not "conservatives" (and aren't you the fellow ripping others for over generalisation - I guess that's only a talking point too since you seem quite capable and willing to do it). At worst I knew some people who liked Heinliens idea as a concept, but that was much more expansive than military service and nothing more than a concept (in fact he makes it plain that military service is one of the worst ways and not used much in the world of "Startship Troopers" even though the main character is in the infantry). The few serious ones were shunned. I would be interested to see where you got this was a conservative movement a few years ago.

"Now we find ourselves in the most important struggle in our lifetime and suddenly it's a bad idea?"

No, it is only a good idea as a near last resort. Since Vietnam virtually no one has wanted one.

 
At 7:48 AM, August 16, 2005, Anonymous Larry said...

UB: Under what circumstances would you consider it legitimate to publicly voice dissent to US involvement in a war? Is there any conceivable use of American military power that you can see yourself being oppposed to?

As neo implies, the questions presume an automatic or kneejerk support of war under any circumstances, which isn't supported by anything neo has written. So I think she's entirely right to treat them as merely rhetorical and ignore them. But suppose, just as an exercise, we extract the questions from their context and take them seriously. It's always "legitimate", as others have pointed out, in a legal or constituional sense, to publicly voice dissent to any war, including wars against fascism, wars to end slavery, wars for national and cultural survival. But, as those examples make clear, it certainly isn't always legitimate in a moral sense. So when is it morally legitimate to oppose the use of military force? Answer: when that force is not being used to a moral end; when that end is not large or important enough to offset the harm done by the use of force; or when that end could be achieved without the use of force. Any one of those conditions would be sufficient to make opposition to force legitimate; all three must be overcome to make the use of force legitimate.

To apply that to the Iraq situation, however, requires an important understanding: the invasion and occupation of Iraq was and is simply one campaign in a much larger struggle, a struggle that began in ernest, and for the West as a whole, on September 11, 2001. This in fact is the crux of a debate which, in itself, is entirely legitimate -- is in fact Iraq a part of this larger struggle (or was it), or not. If so, then the issues surrounding it come down to matters of tactics, not matters of moral legitimacy; if not, then Iraq was a mistake at best, an immoral adventure at worst.

Unfortunately, as UB illustrates, most of the actual debate around the issue gets lost in the bogs of leftist or merely partisan politics -- such as going on about the draft, sacrifice, "chicken hawks", etc. This has to do simply with the left's own game-plan, which, as neo pointed out, is to try to build up enough public frustration with the war that the US will be forced to give up and pull out. The reasons for wanting this have more to do with the left's long-term anti-Western agenda, however confused, than with any principled opposition to military force. Fortunately, so far, the frustration has mostly been on the part of the left, over the failure of that plan.

 
At 3:06 PM, August 16, 2005, Blogger yochanan said...

the hate america crowd only cares about genicide when they can blame america for it. Note the silence during pol pots, rwanda and saddams genicide against the kurds.


In my foolish youth I took part in the anti war movement during the viet nam war but as soon as the Pol Pot genocide and the 1/2 million + viet nam boat people dieing tring to leave the workers paradise of viet nam. I knew I had been wrong. The left is making the same mistake now in Iraq if we cut an run now the Kurdish people whould have a second round of genocide.

 
At 3:30 PM, August 16, 2005, Anonymous john moulder said...

Have you ever noticed the anti-warriors’ reaction to a certain type of question? Whenever they are asked under just what circumstances they would favor going to war they get positively tongue-tied. It’s as if they are being asked to explain Einstein’s Theory of Relativity or the Third Law of Thermodynamics. It’s a pretty simple little question & shouldn’t require a hell of a lot of exposition but when confronted with this innocent enough interrogatory they start scratching their heads & hemming & hawing like they were at a Mensa spelling bee.

 
At 6:29 PM, August 16, 2005, Anonymous The Unknown Blogger said...

Oh my god! The attack of the Lilliputians!

OK, since neo-neocon went all sensitive on me and refused to directly answer my question (as, if I may point out, I directly answered Goesh's 10), I will try my best to satisfy the rest of you:

Corbusier: I'm not at all in favor of the draft, but I think it's only human to want to see the people who are cheerleading this fight trying a bit harder to get in the game. For example, I'm sure the Army Corps of Engineers would be very happy to have an 29 year-old architect like yourself helping out over there. According to Goesh there are lots of totally peaceful areas.

As for Vietnam, the Communists are still in power, so I guess we could go back and start kicking their asses too if Bush wasn't so busy rewarding them for $6 billion in trade annually by trying to get them admitted into the WTO. Some "domino effect".

[ I'm really curious what the Vets think about all the disparaging comments about a conscription army around here. Didn't we win WWII with a conscription army? Is US military training really so bad that draftees would actually be a liability? ]

Promethea and others who claim the "draft argument is nonsensical": it's just the opposite side of the "America: Love it or Leave it" coin. No big deal. I don't think anyone really takes it seriously.
(Note that callling for a draft is different than calling for those who support the war to enlist.)

Richard Aubrey: The lack of congressional military participation (and their family members) is admittedly a peripheral issue. Just something to consider when a war seems to be undertaken under dubious circumstances, as they might be more inclined to fight since they know less about what they are getting into. Now I know you believe the war is legitimate, but there are many who don't, and you can think they're all idiots if you want, but what can you do


strcpy: *whew* a very long post, and you make a lot of excellent points. But I think it's most interesting that you use Pol Pot and Castro as examples of leaders who were put in power by a "majority". I think if you look into the recent histories of Cambodia and Cuba a bit further you'll see... that's right, the destabilizing hand of the United States government! Which led to the rise of totalitarian dictatorships! Whoops! ( I know, I know, stop reading right now, I'm obviously from the "blame America first" crowd...)

Oh, BTW, re the overextended national guard:

“If we continue at this level of missions, in 18 to 24 months we’re going to be hurting very badly,” said Maj. Gen. Martin Umbarger, adjutant general of Indiana. “Things could break.”

Source: "Overextended National Guard Undergoing Sweeping Changes" - Nationaldefensemagazine.org; Sept 2004

Which brings me to... yochanan: The Hate America Crowd regrets to inform you that Pol Pot came to power at least partially as a result of the US bombings in Cambodia, and Hussein gassed the Kurds while he was being supported by the US in his war against Iran, (yet another country we helped destabilize).

John Moulder: Thank you for asking. If the 9/11 hijackers had been Iraqis, or trained in Iraq, or were financed by Iraqis, or even if they were inspired by the teachings of a violent fundamentalist movement which was popular and widespread in Iraq, I would be supporting the war in Iraq, just as I (and most everyone else) supported the war in Afghanistan. If we'd found WMD in Iraq, my opposition would be mitigated somewhat, but I doubt I would "support" it. I'm more concerned about loose nukes in the former Soviet Republics, which I understand we have a 10-year plan to recover at a mere $2 billion a year. I would like to see that moved up a few years.


I'm sorry if I had a tendency to be glib at some parts above, but that was a long hard slog and I was jut trying to lighten things up a bit. Honestly, I really am not a part of the "Hate America" crowd, but I do think that sometimes despite our best intentions there are unintended and quite negative outcomes to our use of power, and it doesn't hurt to acknowledge that.

Best regards to all...

UB

 
At 7:02 PM, August 16, 2005, Blogger knoxgirl said...

I found it revealing that "anonymous" in his comments (in the original post) dismissed another commenter's response with these words:

"Please spare me your WMD, terrorist link, imminent threat arguments for why we had to go after Iraq."

As if these issues are irrelevant! These are just about the *only* relevant issues if you're going to start questioning people's belief in the justification of the war.

 
At 8:28 PM, August 16, 2005, Anonymous john moulder said...

Earlier I posed a question for UB:

Here’s a question for you, Unknown Blogger: Is there any conceivable use of American military power that you can see yourself being in favor of?

This is UB’s reply: Thank you for asking. If the 9/11 hijackers had been Iraqis, or trained in Iraq, or were financed by Iraqis, or even if they were inspired by the teachings of a violent fundamentalist movement which was popular and widespread in Iraq, I would be supporting the war in Iraq, just as I (and most everyone else) supported the war in Afghanistan. If we'd found WMD in Iraq, my opposition would be mitigated somewhat, but I doubt I would "support" it. I'm more concerned about loose nukes in the former Soviet Republics, which I understand we have a 10-year plan to recover at a mere $2 billion a year. I would like to see that moved up a few years.

This is pretty standard for the BAC(Blame America Club). Notice that it’s not really a direct answer to my question, which wanted guidelines instead of historical specifics. But it will suffice. I smile when I read of UB’s worries about “loose nukes.” In a brawl UB would be more worried about the bottles lining the shelves behind the bar than those actually bashing in his skull.

UB should read a book entitled The Bomb in My Garden: The Secrets of Saddam's Nuclear Mastermind by Mahdi Obeidi. The garden of this fellow is where Saddam buried his nuclear centrifuge. Mostly the BAC likes to conveniently forget about Chemical Ali & the Kurds. Or if they do acknowledge that atrocity it’s only to claim that America is to blame for it. No despot is ever held accountable. Why? Because America creates them, of course. The BAC holds America responsible for all the world’s ills.

There is growing evidence that Saddam had connections to 9/11 & the BAC howls every time they get wind of such heresy – that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11 is the linchpin of the anti-war argument. If that pin slips out the wheels come off the anti-war wagon. And as time goes by it keeps working a little further out. Even back in November 11, 2001, Guardian Unlimited ran a Special Report entitled “The Iraqi Connection.” Here’s an excerpt:

“This is the man, Colonel Muhammed Khalil Ibrahim al-Ani, whom Mohamed Atta flew halfway across the world to meet in Prague last April, five months before piloting his hijacked aircraft into the World Trade Center. Evidence is mounting that this meeting was not an isolated event. The Observer has learnt that Atta's talks with al-Ani were only one of several apparent links between Iraq, the 11 September hijackers and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.”

Various intelligence agencies also know that Ahmed Hikmat Shakir attended a Kuala Lampur pre-9/11 strategy session with 2 of the hijackers. Shakir was an Iraqi Intelligence agent. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone since it is common knowledge that for 10 years Saddam harbored Abdul Rahman Yasin, who was part of the plot to bring down the World Trade Center in 1993. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Saddam/bin Laden/Al Qaeda connections are almost too numerous to list. Everything from training to funding. And finally there was Saddam’s plot to assassinate the elder Bush in Kuwait. For me, that alone is almost enough grounds for war.

 
At 9:03 PM, August 16, 2005, Blogger Kalroy said...

"This seems to me to say that, like you often, no always, do with dissenters of the Iraq war, to be against the Vietnam War was to be on the side of the enemy. Am I reading that right?"

I think there is some truth to this. During the Vietnam war you didn't hear anti-war protestors calling for an end to the war through victory or through a mutually beneficial cease-fire and peace treaty. Same for today's anti-war protestors. They would rather have the United States lose than for the United States to win. If they were rooting for the US they would be calling for an end to the war in ways that didn't mean defeat for the US.

They have the option, as ineffectual as it may be, to use all of their protests and anti-war motivation on the enemy and target the enemy for defeat as a means to end the war, but they don't. They choose to have the United States be defeated as a means to end the war.

Does that mean they are on the side of the enemy? I think that it is more of the case that the anti-war movement and America's enemies have a common goal and are quite willing to help the enemy in pursuit of that common goal.

Are there ways that they could work to end this war without aiding and abetting America's enemies? Certainly, but they are far less attention-grabbing than "No Blood for Oil."

Perhaps it's not so much that they want to side with America's enemies, as they are willing to side with America's enemies in the pursuit of their own agenda. History has examples of both, though I think current events show more of the latter today than the former.

Kalroy

 
At 9:09 PM, August 16, 2005, Blogger Kalroy said...

"I mean, 50,000,000+ Americans can't ALL be "self-interested, naive, or on the side of the enemy", can they?"

Your facts are skewed. You're projecting polls onto the totality of the American population when the polls don't actually poll every American. It's likely that there are demographics that are rarely, if ever, polled.

Ask your veteran friends how often they were polled during their entire military career. I'm betting never.

Also, I'd point out that those most informed about the situation in Iraq have "voted with their feet," and re-enlisted at an unheard of rate.

Kalroy

 
At 9:17 PM, August 16, 2005, Blogger Kalroy said...

"Now, The National Guard and Reserves are over-extended, the army's having a hard time recruiting. I think some could see that as a sign of some deep-seated reservations about the war in Iraq as the right thing to be doing."

The military is over extended due to the "peace dividend cuts." Recruitment is back on target after being low for the Army (but not the AF, USN, or Marines) for a few months. The more telling number is the rate of re-enlistment. The problem with the enlistment rate is affected by anti-war propaganda, anti-enlistment forces, and the media's negative portrayel of the war and the military (historically).

The re-enlistment rate in Iraq is affected by being deployed to Iraq. I see this as being a far better barometer of "... the war in Iraq as the right thing to be doing."

"It's like, come on, step up people, if you are really into it, if this is the "highest calling" as Bush puts it, let's see some lines outside of those recruiting offices."

Again, recruiting was a problem, for only a few months, for the ARMY, not for the military, and re-enlistment rates were astronomic.

"Let's see Bush or Rumsfeld or somebody make a speech at a university calling for more people to enlist."

They'd be booed off the stage. Though I agree with the underlying sentiment of your sentence and commend you on your support of allowing military recruiters equal access to Universities as they give to other groups/organizations/businesses.

Kalroy

 
At 11:09 PM, August 16, 2005, Anonymous Larry said...

UB says he's sorry if he "had a tendency to be glib" -- he shouldn't be, because glibness isn't his problem. Shallowness is, and maybe simplemindedness. All that he can come up with, for example, at the end, is the breathtaking insight that "... sometimes despite our best intentions there are unintended and quite negative outcomes to our use of power, and it doesn't hurt to acknowledge that." How long do you suppose it took him to come up with that?

But notice that, as he's "lightening things up", he informs us that Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein's gassing of the Kurds were really America's fault. Don't know why he didn't throw in the Holocaust, Nazi Germany, and the Russian Revolution as well, though perhaps he just hadn't heard of them. But don't get him wrong -- he'll deny he's part of any "Hate America" crowd, honestly. And there he might finally be right -- he just seems too confused to know the difference between love and hate, respect and contempt. Another proud member of the "reality-based community", no doubt.

Best regards back atcha, UB.

 
At 9:55 AM, August 17, 2005, Anonymous Richard Aubrey said...

The Holocaust? Sure, that was America's fault.
There is or was a movement called non-violent national defense. Let the bad guys come and then defeat them with civil disobedience.
They claim that the Holocaust really didn't get going until the US attacked Germany. A twofer there.

You will have noted a recent report of a post-invasion--probably--chem warfare production facility. It was in somebody's basement and was kind of crude, so the presumption is that it is recent. Unfettered, Saddaam would have been neater and produced more.
If the bad guys can build some crude chem weapons under current conditions, the assertion that SH had gotten rid of the means of creating WMD and thus could never, ever start up again is a howler.
In fact, the problem with chem weapons is that you really can make them in the basement with materials easily available at the corner store, and materials which are necessary to running a modern society (hence the term "dual use").
And you could make bioweapons in a microbrewery. Since most microbreweries are making good money, they probably wouldn't take the job, but the point is, the plumbing necessary is easily available, too.
So sanctions, even if they worked, and inspections, even if they were not hindered, are and were meaningless.
Commanders who look at their enemy's capability are losers. Those who look at their intent have a better chance.

 
At 10:53 AM, August 17, 2005, Anonymous The Unknown Blogger said...

Kalroy:

Re recruitment:

UPI June 3, 2005:

"Defense Department figures at the end of April showed that 35,926 recruits had signed up this fiscal year, which began last Oct. 1. This gives recruiters four months to sign up another 44,000 to meet their goal. Even worse is the number of reserves. Statistics show that 7,283 reserves have signed up. The goal is for 22,175 by the end of the year."


Re reinlistment: I'm not sure, but I think the reinlistment rate could also reflect the fact that guys see how bad it is over there, that there aren't many new recruits coming in, and they want to go back and help their buddies. I wouldn't expect anything less from our troops in any war.

On polling, you said:

You're projecting polls onto the totality of the American population when the polls don't actually poll every American. It's likely that there are demographics that are rarely, if ever, polled.

Um, that's the whole point of polls, Kalroy. BTW, the "50,000,000" figure wasn't meant to be an accurate number but reference was to the "50,000,000 Elvis fans can't be wrong". But given that about that many voted against Bush, some others who didn't vote were probably agains tthe war, and then some who voted for Bush have turned against the war, I figure it's in the ball park.

John Moulder: You asked for any conceivable use of military power I would be in favor of. I listed many. Where do you ask for guidelines rather than specifics? Who is moving the goalposts here?

But can you do me a favor and list here a few of what you consider to be the most important Iraq/bin Laden/9-11 links, with references? Be sure to include all those that were found *before* the invasion began, and Rumsfeld's statement that "Iraq has better targets" doesn't count.

Larry: I brought up Pol Pot because someone here brought him up, and Saddam is sort of on topic anyway. I notice you didn't try to refute any US responsibility (notice I said partial responsibility) for Pol Pot's rise to power or the gassing of the Kurds. You just started calling me names.

Richard Aubrey: I responded to you forthrightly, but you ignore my reply and now suggest that I must think the Holocaust was all the US's fault. I never mentioned the Holocaust.

Moving goalposts, ad hominem attacks, purely imaginary charges, who are the real trolls around here?

 
At 11:14 AM, August 17, 2005, Anonymous terryt said...

...and what about the factory discovered in Iraq where Saddam was manufacturing atomizer perfume bottles to be filled with some sort of chemicals. nice.

I remember endlessly hearing the phrase "we failed to connect the dots" after 911. as john moulder points out, some of those dots are now being discovered and connected. (see Stephen Hayes's book, "The Connection" & his reports in The Weekly Standard) It's murky but also quite clear: Saddam hosted terrorists.

Current intel assessments of the various aspects of Saddam Hussain's past actions and his future intentions is "connecting the dots".

From what we learn about Saddam and his cronies's treatment of their fellow Iraqis alone, many of them muslims, what sort of lovely things would he have been seeking to perpetrate on those infidels in the west he really hates.

 
At 2:12 PM, August 17, 2005, Anonymous Aubrey said...

Unknown. I didn't mention you.

The point was that even the Holocaust is, in some quarters, blamed on the US.

 
At 2:25 AM, August 18, 2005, Anonymous john moulder said...

UB asks: John Moulder: You asked for any conceivable use of military power I would be in favor of. I listed many. Where do you ask for guidelines rather than specifics? Who is moving the goalposts here?

No, you wrote specifically of 9/11. That was one, specific terrorist act, not “many.” In my answer to you when you had asked the opposite question I listed 6 general circumstances in which I could conceive of using American military power. I will list them again:

[1]harboring terrorists or [2]aiding terrorists or [3]attacking the US or [4]attacking allies or [5]invading allies or if I even think there’s [6]a very good chance they will attack …

Naturally I expected you to respond in kind. The goalposts remain firmly where they were.

UB also requests: But can you do me a favor and list here a few of what you consider to be the most important Iraq/bin Laden/9-11 links, with references? Be sure to include all those that were found *before* the invasion began, and Rumsfeld's statement that "Iraq has better targets" doesn't count.

Rather than do all that why don’t you & the readers read the post on my blog, “Copious connections: Saddam, WMD & 9/11,” which goes into the subject in detail, providing links to the specific articles along with excepts to highlight specific points.

http://spareeye.blogspot.com/2005/08/copious-connections-saddam-wmd-911.html

 

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