The Draft Returns?

Pentagon calls for draft board volunteers

| November 13, 2003

As U.S. casualties mount in Iraq, a Defense Department web site, 'Defend America,' has posted a notice calling for draft board volunteers, reviving comparisons to Vietnam-era conscription and fears that the national draft may be reinstated. Suzanne Goldenberg, writing for The Guardian, reports that the Pentagon is likely exploring all options 'in response to concerns that the U.S. military has been stretched too thin in its occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.'

Congress ended the draft in 1973 and 80 percent of the 11,000 draft board spots are currently vacant. There was no clear statement from the Pentagon regarding why this period in time was chosen for filling positions that have had no function since the early 1980s. Goldenberg reports that the Defense Department may be responding to concern about heavy reliance on the Army reserve and National Guard -- some 60,000 of the 130,000 soldiers in Iraq --and furthermore, a recent opinion poll by Stars and Stripes showed 49 percent threatening not to re-enlist. As families of soldiers, and often soldiers themselves, are becoming increasingly vocal about 15-month tours of duty, low pay, and the increasing danger of service, the draft may be looking more necessary for the Pentagon. However, as Goldenberg points out, 'Bringing back conscription would be catastrophic for George Bush in an election year.' Still, as Iraq is beginning to look more and more like a dreaded quagmire, Bush just may resort to the even more dreaded draft.
-- Joel Stonington

Go there>> Appeal for Draft Board Volunteers Revives Memories of Vietnam Era

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