Jacob Weisburg from Slate.com comes out in favor of a draft. He spouts the usual media bias that the military is unfair because it doesn't represent a perfect cross section of the population. The usual "mostly poor with no other opportunities" tripe. It's tired, it's old, it's wrong. It's such an old bias, I've been hearing it since I enlisted a decade ago. And I keep serving with smart, talented people who could have done so many other things, yet chose the Army and keep choosing it, not out of necessity but out of desire, passion, motivation, obligation. I wonder if it's ever been true that the Army was made of "mostly poor people"? Maybe it's one of those tired old wive's tales like how it takes gum 7 years to be digested, or if you masturbate too much you'll go blind.
A while ago I'd talked about my instinctive reaction to people who call for a draft. I stand by that. Only the painfully naive would want to conscript people as some form of "social obligation". One of the nice things about the volunteer Army is you get people who want to be in. Granted, sometimes you'll get people who change their minds, but it's part of the "volunteer" thing. It's not as easy to quit the Army as it is to quit McDonalds or Intel. But it can be done, you just need to be willing to accept some consquences (other than honorable discharge, etc). It's my opinion that the volunteer Army is going to, naturally, recruit more from the middle class of society. The upper classes would have no need to serve, beyond the ideals of LDRSHIP. And lower classes will have a hard time meeting procurement standards for any number of reasons (health, education, moral, [poverty is a killer]). The middle classes are where you'll find the people who are qualified, and can benefit enough from the service that it's is something they're willing to do. As we say in recruiting "you recruit in your own image" (that doesn't bode well for you and your 2 QTs there SGT Web). The Army is decidedly middle class, so it stands to reason that's where the recruits will come from. Plus, most of the country falls into that "middle class" category, so, again, most of the recruits will come from there. How is it the fault of the volunteer Army that some NYC writer doesn't think it's "fair" that the middle class volunteers the most?
If he's so distraught that there aren't enough "upper class" types in the service, why doesn't he pen a well-written piece about how the service is a noble calling? Maybe talk about how we're making a difference? Maybe not assume that the War of Terror is being waged to line the pockets of Halliburton? Maybe investigate some of the communist connections in the anti-war crowd? Maybe point out that Northern Iraq is a pretty stable, secure territory with a strong government and something vaguely resembling a politcal process? Myabe point out it took 10 years for them to get to that point, and were only able to make the big steps lately because the threat of Saddam has been destroyed.
If the media as it is existed in WWII we'd have never established a foothold at Normandy. The reporting would have labeled it a fantastic failure, and the question of "do Europeans deserve democracy?" would have been answered in the negative in the Op-Ed section every day.
The draft is a strawman. It's an argument made by people who want to seem like they're supporting the troops by saying that they think it should be more "fair". Because the Army doesn't have enough rich people getting hurt it's not fair to the troops. Well, not enough rich people are morbidly obese, maybe we should shove chilled fryer fat down their throats. I suppose some people are greatly disturbed by people who make personal choices in their own interests. Whether it's to join the Army, or to not treat Buger King as it's own block on the food pyramid.
I'll be spending my time out of the office today. Hope everyone has a good one.