We may need to conscript - US War Adviser

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#1
From CNN just now:

Frequent tours for U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan have stressed the all-volunteer force and made it worth considering a return to a military draft, President Bush's new war adviser said Friday. Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute is the president's war adviser. Several retired generals turned down the post.
"I think it makes sense to certainly consider it," Army Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute said in an interview with National Public Radio's "All Things Considered."

Full story:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/08/10/war.adviser.draft.ap/index.html

Well, even I have to admit it, the Vietnam echoes are starting to become louder.

Should we consider that sort of thing here? Or should we just start mobilising more of the TA?
 
#3
Is this a sign of the US intending to escalate its operations in the Middle East and Persian Gulf? If the Neo-Cons do plan to, say, attack Iran or Syria then it would make sense to initiate a draft prior to attacks taking place. Would a draft be practicable either in the USA or the UK? Looking demographically at the States, there are many different cultures with different languages and different values. How could Washington hope to forcibly draft men whose roots are in the Middle East or Pakistan or Somalia?
 
#4
hong_kong_fuey said:
Is this a sign of the US intending to escalate its operations in the Middle East and Persian Gulf? If the Neo-Cons do plan to, say, attack Iran or Syria then it would make sense to initiate a draft prior to attacks taking place. Would a draft be practicable either in the USA or the UK? Looking demographically at the States, there are many different cultures with different languages and different values. How could Washington hope to forcibly draft men whose roots are in the Middle East or Pakistan or Somalia?
To add to this, would the present-day US citizen accept being drafted, I think on balance not, especially for what is widely seen as a lost cause.
Once a country abandons a national service and relies exclusively on volounteers then it is politically and socially very difficult to re-impose except in times of national emergency.
In the UK I see it as impossible in present circumstances especially with Gordon's aversion to spending money on the rough soldiery. Futhermore would you like to trust your and your mates' lives to some chav with three months basic and a chip on his shoulder?
In the US it could be possible by imitating Vietnam and making a selective draft full of loopholes and then going for the truck-drivers and miners. In other words the middle-class politically active would have more chance of wriggling out of it and therefore less likely to work against it.
But even there I see it as being very difficult politically, and militarily would mean a further drop in standards.

Should we consider that sort of thing here? Or should we just start mobilising more of the TA?

How do you envisage this? As complete units or more individuals/sub-units attached to regular.
As a unit their length of tour would have to be strictly limited and would have to include work-up training which would reduce time in theatre. Also the TA has always responded when called, but in times of emergency, which this is not.
It would be politically difficult to implement, and businesses would be unhappy to lose men in non-emergency situations, and therefore not keen to employ TA men. The result would be a drop-off in recruitment, and the loss of experienced men as wives and families pressured them into leaving. One might even end up with the TA's ranks being largely filled by the unemployed, making it a semi-regular force.
Also if the unit got tasked to do more than one tour in a short length of time then the employer problem I think would be particularly acute, if the country were widely seen as being in danger or the war in Iraq a just cause and winnable then maybe it would be different

Should more men be sent, or say a platoon/troop be sent as a group, to bolster numbers with regular forces, then to all the above points one must add the fact that the parent TA unit will be in danger of simply becoming re-inforcement training units for the Regulars.
As individuals the TA are generally happy to respond and volounteer, and the temporary attachment of men can only benefit the TA as well as helping the Regular Army. But the fact that the question is being raised simply highlights the point that the Army has not got enough men to do the tasks it is being required to do and that more money needs to be spent and the politicians told to pick up a rifle if they want the job done.
 
#5
Conscription in the US is a complete nonstarter (save, potentially, for a popular war: they could possibly have done it in 2001).

Floating the idea is symbolic.
 
#6
Dwarf says>>>>>Futhermore would you like to trust your and your mates' lives to some chav with three months basic and a chip on his shoulder?

This is an insult to all the Conscripts/National servicemen who gave their lives in two worl wars, Korea, Malaya ,Aden, Cyprus and Suez. I do wish people would stop equating all civvies with Chavs there are no doubt Chavs in Khaki as there are blokes in civvy street who don't want to join the forces but if push came to shove would , as generations before them did, toe the line and make excellent soldiers.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#7
Increased mobilisation of the TA is certainly possible. Compared to the other Reserves, like the RMR and RAuxAF, TA colunterring levels have been pretty low, I'm afraid. That's not to say many wouldn't go, but possibly that they don't want to have to "volunteer twice". Increased compulsion is quite a possibility, as it would sort out that problem.

As to employers not being keen to employ the TA - well, the evidence simply isn't there. The facts are that everyone joining the TA in the last five years has done so in the expectation of being mobilised. The problems aren't with those people, but with their bosses, many of whom are stuck in a cold-war mindset.
 
#8
Conscription?

All that says to me is that nobody wants to play soldiers anymore. Everybody is getting sick of the sandpit. Even those that havent yet been. Its a no-win stale war.
 
#9
Noose said:
Conscription in the US is a complete nonstarter (save, potentially, for a popular war: they could possibly have done it in 2001).
While I agree it's not likely, I'm wondering if they are looking for some way to justify calling for this themselves bypassing congress. I was under the impression that only the US Congress could institute or abolish a draft under article one, section eight. What I find in articles about the draft is references to Nixon abolishing the draft in 1973 that Roosevelt instituted in 1940. I think they just signed the bills that congress passed but I have not researched it deeply. But with the current executive branch, that being Bush and Cheney, claiming all sorts for powers as of late under the guise of anti-terrorism, I can see them claiming they can impose a draft themselves. I think they would have loved to years ago when they got the first indication the war was not going as rosy as they predicted but feared the congressional uproar, constitution battle in the supreme court, and the likely mass resignations and mutiny in the armed forces wouldn't go over too well come election time.
 
#10
I cant see it, even so, it would never happen here in Britain.

The us government changes next year anyway...is anyone else a bit worried about who takes over and what they could have planned for US forces?
 
#12
I think you need to look beyond the plain meaning for the esoteric in this statement. Talking about a draft in The States is just a coded way of saying things are really really bad.

A draft in dreadfully PC America would involve the ladies and politically that's still a very hard sell. It would also be jarring at a time when the top 3% are being allowed to shirk their taxes. But then we've seen Veterans benefits cut at the same time as no bid contracts get handed to cronies.

Not that a draft is impossible. The US really doesn't have a viable force structure for a big man intensive operation, say guarding the Empty Quarter. A draft is the traditional recourse in the US.

Put oil up at $200/barrel, set the hedge funds crashing and the elite will be emptying the jails and whipping the Septic lower orders towards basic training while the always helpful US media provides a snowstorm of hysteria.

It's the next POTUS Hills or BO that might end up doing this. The people it would affect don't vote. What are those of them that have a vote going to do - vote GOP?
 
#13
Under the Selective Service System, women do not register for the draft.

It's not going to happen for thereasons already stated. If it does you will be able to see me singing two-part harmonies with the Naked Cowboy in Times Square.

You can listen to the interview here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12688693

What I'm wondering where he is/ they are going with this.
 
#14
craftsmanx said:
Dwarf says>>>>>Futhermore would you like to trust your and your mates' lives to some chav with three months basic and a chip on his shoulder?

This is an insult to all the Conscripts/National servicemen who gave their lives in two worl wars, Korea, Malaya ,Aden, Cyprus and Suez. I do wish people would stop equating all civvies with Chavs there are no doubt Chavs in Khaki as there are blokes in civvy street who don't want to join the forces but if push came to shove would , as generations before them did, toe the line and make excellent soldiers.
Definately agree. I would expect that a great deal of young British lads who would not necessarily volunteer as a career, would be patriotic enough if conscripted and would get stuck in. Objectors could be weeded out but plenty would still have the basic British qualities to be turned into decent soldiers. If the cause was worthy people would step up if called.
However obviously Labour have kinda shot their load on that one and lost the PR war that Iraq is a just cause. Conscription would be a political disaster for them unless the enemy was truly at the gates. They havent got the balls.
Also 21st century soldiers are pretty expensive beasts to equip. Its not just handing out tin hats and lee enfields anymore. The draft would bankrupt the USA and UK too. Its nuts. Better to give more incentives to entice more voluteers to make up the numbers i would think.
 
#15
as with many above i agree the draft isnt going too float .... if nothing else would be an admission of mission accomplished (NOT)
 
#16
While we could conceivably make up numbers with some kind of conscription, it's hard to imagine us going back to wholesale officer selection boards (which would be required), dumping the manouevrist approach (which would likely be required), fast-track full-screws (which would be required) and rapidly getting used to an army that was far from the best.

The Israelis do wonders with conscripts, but the French professional army worked hard to dump conscription because they just couldn't be bothered with all that undeployable baggage.
 
#17
jockass said:
craftsmanx said:
Dwarf says>>>>>Futhermore would you like to trust your and your mates' lives to some chav with three months basic and a chip on his shoulder?

This is an insult to all the Conscripts/National servicemen who gave their lives in two worl wars, Korea, Malaya ,Aden, Cyprus and Suez. I do wish people would stop equating all civvies with Chavs there are no doubt Chavs in Khaki as there are blokes in civvy street who don't want to join the forces but if push came to shove would , as generations before them did, toe the line and make excellent soldiers.
Definately agree. I would expect that a great deal of young British lads who would not necessarily volunteer as a career, would be patriotic enough if conscripted and would get stuck in. Objectors could be weeded out but plenty would still have the basic British qualities to be turned into decent soldiers. If the cause was worthy people would step up if called.
However obviously Labour have kinda shot their load on that one and lost the PR war that Iraq is a just cause. Conscription would be a political disaster for them unless the enemy was truly at the gates. They havent got the balls.
Also 21st century soldiers are pretty expensive beasts to equip. Its not just handing out tin hats and lee enfields anymore. The draft would bankrupt the USA and UK too. Its nuts. Better to give more incentives to entice more voluteers to make up the numbers i would think.
I stand corrected and quite rightly, my Dad did National Service and went to Suez on active service. My intention was not to denigrate the National Servicemen, and I do think that your average Briton generally makes a fine soldier. In WW2 the young men seemed to fit into the regimental system well, as opposed to the Americans who always seemed to be an army of civilians doing a job.
However I do think it is different conscripting for what is seen as an unjust war and a lost cause, or for when there is a national emergency, which is really what I meant by chip on the shoulder. I also think that nowadays a larger proportion of youth would be less amenable to military discipline than in the past.
My apologies to all national Servicemen.
 
#19
Conscription will never happen in the UK again. It would be political suicide. And expensive, so that's two strikes against it in Broon's book.

One more time for the hard of thinking: It. Will. Never. Happen.
 
#20
Werewolf said:
Conscription will never happen in the UK again. It would be political suicide. And expensive, so that's two strikes against it in Broon's book.

One more time for the hard of thinking: It. Will. Never. Happen.
Never say never. And if, heaven forbid, a party like the BNP ever got into power? It couldn't happen then? Brown is irrelevant. What happens in ten to fifteen years will have little to do with Brown -- apart from the suffering caused by his mis-management of fiscal policy and, in particular, his raid on private sector pension plans.
 

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