Closing Thoughts–27Sep18

I have been writing for years about the Draft or if you will conscription……..

As an antiwar person I would not support the draft….but on the other hand it would make the media focus on our numerous wars and American deaths….and in return help create a vibrant antiwar movement.

But recent news has it that the Army is not meeting their goaals in recruitment…..

For the first time since 2005, the US Army missed its recruiting goal this year, falling short by about 6,500 soldiers, despite pouring an extra $200 million into bonuses and approving some additional waivers for bad conduct or health issues, the AP reports. Army leaders said they signed up about 70,000 new active-duty recruits in the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30—well short of the 76,500 they needed. The Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps all met their recruiting goals for 2018. The Army’s shortfall, says Maj. Gen. Joe Calloway, was fueled by the strong American economy and increased competition from private sector employers who can pay more. But the failure has triggered an overhaul in Army recruiting, including an increase in recruiters, expanded marketing, and a new effort to reach out to young, potential recruits through popular online gaming.

Calloway says there were several thousand permanent legal residents seeking to enlist, but they did not get through the screening process in time. The recruiting struggles come at the end of a tumultuous year for the Army, which faced questions from Congress over its expanded use of waivers for recruits with previous marijuana use, bad conduct, and some health problems. In addition to the Army competing with the private sector, there just aren’t that many potential recruits: Only about 30 percent of 17- to 24-year-olds meet the physical, mental and moral requirements for the military, and only one in eight are interested in serving.

Like I said I am starting to re-think my stand on conscription……

When I started working for War Resisters’ International in 2012, we were beginning to rethink our strategy as a group supporting conscientious objectors: a central concern since our foundation in 1921. According to international standards, the right to conscientious objection should be available not just to conscripts but also to professional soldiers who join up voluntarily. In reality however, most of WRI’s work up to that point had been in supporting conscripted soldiers – those who had to sign up without making an active choice to do so. But in the twenty years leading up to 2012, conscription had been suspended or abolished in at least twenty two states[1]. What did this mean for those supporting draft evaders, if there was not much of the draft left?

I have been an antiwar activist and protester since 1973 when I returned to civilian life after 2 and half years in Vietnam…..but the only way to keep from fighting endless wars (like we have now) is a strong antiwar movement and if conscription can deliver then I am going to support it.

7 thoughts on “Closing Thoughts–27Sep18

  1. As we have discussed before, the public would be far less inclined to support these ‘pointless’ wars if their own children were being drafted to fight them. Maybe it’s time to bring it back?
    Best wishes, Pete.

      1. Has this worked for countries that have forced conscription? Do they have socialized healthcare including mental health? If not, what are the rates of poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, PTSD, homelessness, and suicide in the general population?

      2. Good questions but right now the countries with forced conscription are mostly closed societies…..Israel is the only one I can think of off hand….but their reporting is one sided and cannot be trusted….chuq

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