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Military Draft Needed For
War With Iran And Syria?

By Steve Hammons

27 September 2006

The American Chronicle

Will the U.S. soon need to activate Selective Service System plans for a military draft if open hostilities break out with Iran and Syria?

There are signs that for many possible reasons, there are people and groups in Washington and elsewhere who desire a wider war - war between the U.S. and Iran and Syria - World War III.

If they have their way, the necessity for a military draft would become a real possibility.

As has been widely reported, the U.S. Army, the Army Reserve and the National Guard have been stretched thin by the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Over 2,600 of these men and women have been killed. Thousands more have been wounded so severely they are unable to return to duty. U.S. Marines have also been killed and severely injured.

Accounts of re-enlistment statistics seem to be mixed. Many troops are re-enlisting. At the same time, some experienced officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and enlisted troops are reportedly choosing to leave the Army, Army Reserve and National Guard.

Reports have also surfaced about Army troops and Marines experiencing significant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychological and emotional difficulties being sent back to Iraq for repeated tours of combat duty.

Although the Army recently met its periodic recruiting target, there is no question that many young men and women do not wish to join the Army at this time.

Part of the reason may be because of controversies about the reasons for the Iraq invasion and occupation, as well as the manner in which the occupation has been carried out and mistrust of some in Washington.

Broken US Army an Opportunity

Many current and former senior military officers have pointed out that the Army, both active duty and reserve components, as well as the National Guard are at risk of being "broken."

As with many other aspects of recent developments such as the "intelligence failures" prior to the 9/11 attacks, the apparent tactical errors leading to the escape of Osama bin Laden from Tora Bora, the seemingly gross miscalculations during the occupation of Iraq, and other situations, some senior officers naturally view the "breaking" of the Army as another in an apparent long line of "mistakes."

But, as with these other circumstances, one man's mistake is another's discreet plan. After all, what if the 9/11 attacks were not just an intelligence failure but part of a covert plan for a "New Pearl Harbor" that actually provided many benefits, in the eyes of some?

What if the turmoil in Iraq provides a perfect opportunity to justify U.S. forces remaining there for years, decades? After all, a fairly strong case has been made that the invasion of Iraq was linked to acquiring oil supplies, providing a base of operations for further military actions in the region and other reasons not openly stated.

What if the breaking of the Army, Army Reserve and National Guard in Iraq, and war with Iran and Syria provides the perfect opportunity to convince the public and Congress that the military draft is needed?

The breaking of the Army in Iraq and the vast increase in troops from a military draft also provide rich business opportunities for the makers of military equipment, supplies and services. Private defense contractors are finding the extended Iraq War operations very profitable. Imagine the profits from war with Iran and Syria and an expanded U.S. Army from a draft.

Selling the Draft

As with the Iraq War, dire circumstances would need to be present for the American people and Congress to stand for the re-activation of the military draft. Something like 9/11, like another severe terrorist attack, like war with Iran and Syria, like World War III.

After all, for Americans who believe in limited government that minimally interferes with citizens' lives and liberty, the military draft is somewhat of a concern. It is a form of involuntary servitude.

The government comes to older teenagers and citizens in their early 20s, tells them and their parents that the government is taking them for a few years, and, by the way, they might end up dead or with horrible physical and/or psychological injuries.

Some have pointed out various positive aspects of a military draft versus an all-volunteer military. And some of these arguments seem valid. The draft would expose a wider range of young citizens to the military and this could have several kinds of benefits.

Military service can include many positive experiences: Fellowship, honor, respect, courage, new skills, teamwork, duty to country, learning about people from other backgrounds, sacrifice and many other very valuable aspects of military service are important. Many veterans can attest to this.

However, there is a dark side to military life. The killing and destroying. It can bring out the worst in people. It can be dehumanizing. It can lead to blind obedience to authority and the abuse of authority by those in power. It can be destructive in many ways.

And, sometimes it seems like those in Washington and the people and groups who have so enthusiastically pushed the Iraq War, and now expanded war, did not learn the former - only the latter.

Steve Hammons graduated from Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, with concentration areas in communications (journalism focus) and health education (psychology focus). Hammons is the author of two novels about a US government and military joint-service research team investigating unusual phenomena. Mission Into Light and the sequel Light's Hand introduce readers to the ten women and men of the "Joint Reconnaissance Study Group," their exciting adventures exploring the unknown, and their missions to help create a better world.

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