Wednesday, June 30, 2004

No, Still No Draft

Much is being made of the Pentagon's call to bring in 5600 Individual Ready Reserve forces. Some, like the folks who think a draft is a certainty in a second Bush term, see this as yet more evidence they are right. It's not.

Mostly what you're seeing is a display of ignorance on the part of the print and news media. The IRR force is composed of people who signed up for an eight year hitch, but did active duty for only part of that. As part of the contract, they agree to remain available for call-up after their active duty. In the case of this call-up, the Army and other armed forces are mostly looking for people with prior Iraq experience who just completed service. They will need much less training to be mission-ready. And the folks being called back have specific skills in short supply. This isn't a general call.

You can read up on the details at BlackFive. He also talks about the appalling gaps in knowledge -- and lack of concern about it -- by the major media organisations. It turns out that very, very few people in the news have any military background at all! Couple this with an oppositional stance to any governmental organisation, fuel it with the generally Leftist views of the media which lead them to keep the military at arm's length, and you get where we are now.

I happened to catch FOX13's 9PM news for a bit last night. Jay Hermaczinksi (sorry for the spelling) was doing a story about this. He found a soldier in the IRR who had been told he was being recalled. Jay's story was pretty fair, as he did mention that the recall wasn't a surprise for the soldier; in fact, he had gone in on his own hoping to get an plum assignment and was happy to do it!

The major media so far are trying to paint this a bad thing. It's not, really. Yes, our armed forces are being pushed as never before. But if you read up, you'll see that re-enlistment rates are far above what the Pentagon expected, and what they presently need. If anything, what you'll see is an expansion of the Army by a few tens of thousands through recruitment and re-enlistment, which ought to do the job.

Changing from a volunteer Army to a drafted Army would be a major shift, a fundamental realignment of thinking and practice. I don't think it's going to happen any time soon. The present volunteer system, supplemented by the Reserves and the National Guard, is doing a spectacular job. As time goes on and Iraq cools down, the Pentagon will start drawing down forces there, and we'll be fine.

I'm not worrying yet, and I'm a worrywart.

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