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Draft Redux: Betting On the Come

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Gene Marx     Permalink
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"Betting and raising with an incomplete hand is called "betting on the come."

-Henry Stephenson in his book Real Poker Night

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Draft Redux: Betting on the Come


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OK. I've had it.

I'm up to here with toxic town hall rants, Tea Bag activists advocating revolution, and raucous protests from both sides of the health care issue, grassroots activists and Astroturf pawns all demanding their country back. I have never seen so many outraged Right and Left wing populists galvanized in opposition to a single Administration policy. Well, it's been a few decades anyway.

And demanding their country back! Who gave it away in the first place? We all did, wittingly, piece by piece, from the time George Bush closed "My Pet Goat" until now. It's too late for histrionics. It's time to get truly hysterical.

While a submissive Democratic majority has been pummeled on so-called health insurance reform during the summer recess, the rest of the country's attention has been successfully diverted from real trouble - again - in Afghanistan and now Iraq. Breaking news of Michael Jackson's overdose and Sarah Palin's Facebook posts, along with the distortions of the birthers and deathers, have edged out sharp spikes in violence and casualty counts in both theaters of operation. These Schiavo-like deflections are starting to stink like red herrings.

The shell game has gone on long enough. US and NATO troops have been dropping like flies, with IEDs making a comeback as the weapons of choice. And still under the radar the numbers on desertions and Army suicides stateside are skyrocketing this year, underscored by PTSD-related mental illness and multiple deployments. Ninety-nine percent of us are still willing to sit back and hope - there's that word again - that the military will sort things out.

Well, this Progressive Vietnam veteran sorted things out long before my own son's first deployment to Iraq, and now I'll just go ahead and say it - the unthinkable. If we really want to live up to the shabby magnetic ribbon sentiment proudly displayed on the rear of many SUVs and family sedans, we need to redistribute a shared responsibility for this country's misadventures in the Middle East. Put simply, bring back the draft. There, I feel so much better.

Hear me out choir. This is a win-win.

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At last count the US military is deployed in more than 150 countries, over 750 bases. America the Beautiful has moved beyond mere hegemony to empire, that cannot be denied, and it could be argued that two US occupations are in big trouble. Clearly, Pax Americana does not have enough boots on the ground to remain sustainable. And while a failing economy has resulted in a modest boost to recruitment efforts, there still are no where near enough video gamers in the training pipeline to meet the long term troop commitments established during the 43's Long War.

To make matters worse, according to Gold Star father Andrew J. Bacevich in The Limits of Power, the events of 9/11 "reaffirmed a widespread popular preference for hiring someone else's kid to chase terrorists, spread democracy, and ensure access to the world's energy reserves." Supporting the troops is one thing, just let us know how it turns out.

The solution: Bulk mail those induction notices. Revisiting the Selective Service System, or the more egalitarian 21st Century version National Service, could be the answer. You know, The Draft. It feels so good not to mutter it to myself anymore.

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The author of this piece is Vietnam Veteran and former Naval Aviator Gene Marx. He currently serves as a member of the Veterans For Peace Membership Committee and was the past Secretary of the VFP National Board of Directors. He lives in (more...)

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