"I have a mind like a steel... uh... thingy." Patrick Logan's weblog.

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Saturday, July 29, 2006

Responding to James

James Robertson left a long comment to my previous entry on the conflict(s) in the Middle East. I already rambled on in that entry, so I'm pulling his comment and response out here.

I think you misunderstand the nature of modern war if you think a draft would be useful, much less desirable. It takes a long time to create useful soldiers out of raw recruits. Additionally, a mass army is nothing so much as a huge target given nuclear weapons. There's a reason that the military is in the midst of reorganizing itself from large organic divisions into smaller, more easily configurable battalions. A mass draft army would run completely counter to that, and isn't something anyone wants.

I seriously doubt that any US troops will be sent into Lebanon, period. Also, it's telling that you think Israel is losing. Riddle me this: why are Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah desperately calling for a cease fire? Does the winning side ever ask for that?

I don't think a draft would be useful for anything except alerting people in the US that there are wars going on in Iraq and Lebanon (and Afghanistan -- are most people aware conditions are rapidly deteriorating there as well?). Other than a slight increase in gas prices, most people just don't seem to care that much. A draft would at least cause most of us to call for an end to our involvement there.

I never intended to imply Israel is losing. I don't know how to determine winners and losers in conflicts like this, I can barely comprehend their motivations. Disarming Hezbollah seems impossible, though. Someone will always be willing to rearm them eventually. These problems will not go away any time soon.


Ian Bicking said...

I think the draft could be helpful militarily. In Vietnam, draftees were often been better and more stable soldiers than volunteers. Volunteering for war often implies something is wrong in your life, that you aren't able to maintain your relationships or are not capable of maintaining a civilian life, and seek an escape. Volunteering for a couple years of non-war service in return for (illusive, but oft promised) rewards is sane, but volunteering when you know you will go to war is a lot different.

Recruiting volunteers is becoming very hard, and they've lowered their standards drastically while still not being able to fulfill quotas. They've managed for a while to hold on to the more sensible recruits that signed up before the wars or very early on, but that can't last forever.

Troy said...

There are three main reasons people join the military: genuine patriotism, a desire to break things and kill people, and no where else to go/not sure what else to do. I'm not sure what the proportions are, but an even distribution wouldn't surprise me. Some immigrants also use military service as a leg up into society.

I think the all volunteer force is a good thing, but I would prefer 100% compulsory service to any sort of draft approach. Drafts can be dodged. The rich and powerful will always look out for their own, but full compulsory service is less abusable than a draft and deferrments.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.