Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Chupacabra Report

A little serendipity this week. First, today’s Chronicle ran the Don Wright cartoon above.

And I just read Andrew Bacevich in “The Limits of Power” advocating a return to the military draft, although he adds that it will never happen with today’s Congress.

Charley Rangel is all over the news because the House Ethics Committee is shocked, shocked to think he has his hands in the cookie jar. That may be, but I’ve been pleased to see him introduce legislation every year to return reinstate the draft. I think he’s trying to end the present volunteer army because it is in effect an “economic draft,” with today’s volunteers, guard, and reserves serving multiple tours of duty to make up for lack of numbers. (BTW, do you find it funny that a House investigation of Rangel gets more news play than an FBI investigation of Senator John Ensign?)

And tonight on CSPAN2, I see Edward Renehan with his book “The Lions Pride –Theodore Roosevelt and his Family in War and Peace” talking about Roosevelt’s call for universal military training.

T. R. wrote that “There is no more thoroughly democratizing agent than the dog tent. Under such a system of universal training all the young men of the nation would for several months do the same hard, healthy work, and live together on the same terms. The son of the railroad president, and the son of the brakeman, the son of the farmer and the son of the lawyer, the son of the bricklayer and the son of the banker, would all have the same training, the same chance; and the officers would be chosen squarely on their merits from the boys best fit for the jobs.”

Now, T.R. was a warmonger who never doubted himself until he had one son killed and another maimed in “The Great War.” But I like this idea for other reasons. As U.S. service members overseas are disproportionately Southern and rural Americans, many of us don’t even know anybody who is serving. This contributes to a military/civilian divide that cuts against the American tradition of citizen soldiers.

For example, only a handful of the 535 Members of Congress have children fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. In past wars, politicians would give up their seats and enlist. Think they might vote differently if they were hearing from more than Pentagon liaisons and defense contractors? I think that this would make for hard sledding for the next president calling for war to stop the latest “Hitler.”

If we were drafting people into the army, I expect that the streets would be full of young people, and their parents too; protesting. Voter turnout would double. This would encourage Congress to take back their power to declare war, and to fund or de-fund it. With these checks on overseas adventures, we should see less “blowback” from disgruntled foreigners.


At 6:25 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on honey, some sound thoughts on the happenings in this crazy world we live in. You always strive to make us think, to make a difference. Makes me proud.

At 6:46 PM , Blogger judge chief charly hoarse said...

Thanks Mom.


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