U.S. Preparing For Military Draft in Spring of 2005

Legislation in the works: Selective Service System already mobilizing

| May 6, 2004

After the champagne popping from Washington to Crawford, Texas subsides, a re-elected President George W. Bush would reinstate the military draft sometime next spring. Legislation is already on the table in both the House and the Senate, in the form of twin bills S 89 and HR 163, 'in order to staff up for a protracted war on terrorism,' writes Adam Stutz, from Project Censored. Meanwhile, the Selective Service System has received an extra $28 million in funds for this year's budget to fill all 10,350 draft board positions and 11,070 appeals board slots nationwide and put 'troops on the ground in 85% of all American high schools to make sure no one between 18-25 years old slips through the cracks. Schools cannot very easily claim conscientious objector status, by the way. 'Buried deep in the 670 pages of the No Child Left Behind Act there is a provision which requires that public high schools give military recruiters access to facilities and also contact information for every student -- or else face a cutoff of federal aid,' writes Connor Freff Cochran of AlterNet.

More than 30 years after the last young man was sent off to Vietnam to be slaughtered in a war ultimately so unpopular that many Americans believe the selective service will never again rear its ugly head, the Bush administration's motives for reinstating the draft are clear (especially if the Pentagon unilaterally attacks a third country this fall before the election). Cochran writes: 'Twenty-one of the US Army's 33 regular combat brigades are now on active duty in the 'hot' zones of Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, and the Balkans. That's 63 percent of the Army's fighting force. This is a huge overextension. History has proven that long-term military operations can only be sustained if you have twice as many soldiers waiting in the pipeline as are stationed out in the field. By that rule of thumb, the regular military is now 125,000 soldiers short.'

And 'draft dodging' would not be as easy as it was during the Vietnam Conflict, since attending college, being female, or fleeing to Canada could not be used as shelters this time around. Stutz writes, 'underclassmen would only be able to postpone service until the end of their current semester. Seniors would have until the end of the academic year.' Meanwhile, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 'Canada and the U.S. signed a 'Smart Border Declaration,' which could be used to keep would-be draft dodgers in [the United States].' Hold your boys close, mommas. If Bush wins in November, they could be trading their high school diplomas in for dog tags.
-- Jacob Wheeler

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