October 30, 2004

Kerry more likely to reinstate draft

Bruce Chapman on who is more likely to reinstate a draft:

Of all the upside-down, misreported issues of 2004, the phoniest is the Kerry camp's assertion that a re-elected George W. Bush will bring back the draft. The case is much stronger that John Kerry himself would do so.

(...)

The volunteer military was a political victory by libertarian conservatives against social-engineering liberals, and its success, as nearly all military leaders acknowledge, has been a significant factor in improving the quality and motivation of America's armed forces in the years following the draft-driven (and protested) Vietnam War.

But liberals have never given up the idea of national service. Funded by fat grants from major foundations, a long parade of studies and schemes to introduce the idea has marched forth in a seemingly endless column from think tanks and academia. In the face of the military's own desire never again to rely on coerced recruits, such organizations as the Brookings Institution have proposed instead an ever-expanding realm of paid voluntarism in the social service sector.

(...)

If anyone doubts what is going on here, he might simply examine who backs Kerry, and he will find that almost all the longtime advocates of national service (including many who wish to resume a draft) are among them. On the other stand nearly all of us who worked to introduce a volunteer military in the first place and have worked ever since to preserve it.

Polls show that military families will vote for Bush over Kerry by ratios of up to 3 to 1. Among other things, they know who wants a competent professional fighting force and who would allow it to degrade to the point that a draft became necessary.

It is demagogic, therefore, for Kerry to claim that it is Bush who would like to bring back the draft, not him. It is even more reprehensible that Kerry's friends in the media have refused to explain the background on this issue to a generation of voters who are too young not to be gulled by campaign propaganda.