“…The U.S. Army now begins its 10th continuous year in combat, the first time in its history the United States has excused the vast majority of its citizens from service and engaged in a major, decade-long conflict instead with an Army manned entirely by professional warriors.
… This is an Army that, under the pressure of combat, has turned inward, leaving civilian America behind, reduced to the role of a well-wishing but impatient spectator.
.. None of this was foreseen in 1968 when presidential candidate Richard Nixon, desperate for a foothold against the rising tide of anti-war anger sweeping the country, proposed doing away with the draft. The Pentagon was horrified; so was much of Congress. Their fear: Who would volunteer in wartime?
…When Nixon finally made good on his idea in 1974, the Pentagon was certain the all-volunteer Army was a good idea — for peacetime. But a draft would be needed in case of "mobilization for war,‘’ insisted Gen. David C. Jones, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a memo cited by Beth Bailey in her history of the volunteer Army, "America’s Army.’’
…But the all-volunteer Army has performed so well that civilian manpower has become superfluous. Today, demands for a return to the draft are taken seriously only by a few. Among them is the New York Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel, who is making his fifth attempt to restore the military draft. The reason, he said this summer, is America’s "total indifference to the suffering and loss of life’’ of soldiers. "So few families have a stake in the war,‘’ he said, "which is being fought by other people’s children.’’ Previous attempts failed in 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2007…"
2010-09-12 12:38:11 UTC