Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Draft - its coming

by Dennis Kcinich

The United States is talking about sending in more troops to Iraq. We already know that our government has extended the tour of duty for members of the armed service. That they have sent people back for a second tour when they thought they were only going to be there for a first tour. That 40% of the people in Iraq today are either guardsmen or guardswomen or reservists. We never anticipated being in combat under those conditions.

We also know as the United States continues to get deeper and deeper into this conflict, there is no question that there will be a draft. There are bills sponsored by both parties in Congress to create a draft. In 2004 the selective service system put up on their website a call for people to staff local draft boards. There was a commotion about it immediately after that went up; they took it down. There's a substantial amount of money in the budget to be able to put into effect the structure to create a draft.
With high stakes at hand, America is getting deeper and deeper into this situation in Iraq. It's getting much worse every day.

Now we're being told by people in both parties, Democrats and Republicans alike, that we have to stay the course. We can't "cut and run." We have to go in and finish the job that we went in there to do. We're hearing all kinds of euphemisms that are frankly are vaguely reminiscent of the kinds of euphemisms that we heard in the sixties, which caused the United States to make a deeper and deeper commitment in a place called Vietnam.

There was a point in the early sixties where the casualty level of Americans was below 100. Then it went into the hundreds. Then it went into the thousands. Then it went into the tens of thousands. And all the time we kept wading into this war in Vietnam, people just kept talking as if it was just going to end. And there was almost this obliviousness to the fact that we kept getting in deeper and deeper. And the casualties kept piling up. And the more lives that were lost, the more people kept insisting, "Well, we've got to stay there."

Historian Barbara Tuchman wrote a book some of you may be familiar with called "The March of Folly," where she traced throughout human history how governments pursued what they fully knew to be the wrong course of action, but once it proved to be wrong, they kept doing it anyhow. She described it as a kind of "wooden-headedness."

"Wooden-headedness, the source of self-deception, is a factor that plays a remarkably large role in government. It consists in assessing a situation in terms of preconceived fixed notions while ignoring or rejecting any contrary signs. It is acting according to wish while not allowing oneself to be deflected by the facts. It is epitomized in a historian's statement about Phillip II of Spain, the surpassing wooden-head of all sovereigns: 'No experience of the failure of his policy could shake his belief in its essential excellence.'"

-- Barbara Tuchman, "The March of Folly"

This country surely knows that we've gone in the wrong direction in Iraq. But we're somehow committed to continuing it. We're putting in more troops, more resources, running the risk of precipitating a holy war in that region, and setting this country on a path of separating ourselves from the world community.

It's time for this nation, Democrats and Republicans alike, to come together and oppose all efforts to reinstate the draft. For the sake of our children and our future, we must end this wrongful war.

Never Forget

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