of Americans had finally gotten over the fearmongering
that convinced them to support the invasion of Iraq. The panic and bloodlust
produced by the Sept. 11 attacks had faded after nearly four years.
But after the July
7 bombings in London, it is likely that this brief period of widespread
realism will fade. That the
motive for the attack was the invasion and occupation
of Iraq is readily
apparent, but politicians rushed to proclaim their "resolve is only stronger."
Whether this attack will be enough to turn the U.S. military's recruiting problems
around, however, remains doubtful. The War Party faces a dilemma: the draft
can't be revived without a major upheaval, and they can't continue the missions
the Republicans want to give them (the push to invade Syria,
Iran, and North
Korea will almost surely be reinvigorated now) without expanding their force.
How will these two issues be squared?
The possibility that the War Party would dare to embark on a program of mass
kidnapping for foot soldiers again is the primary concern of my radio show guests of July 2: Debbie
Hopper of Mothers Against the
Draft and Scott Kohlhaas of DraftResistance.org. [stream]
mp3]. Both of them are committed opponents of the warfare state.
Hopper is a longtime advocate for limited government, and she sees the dangerous path this country is
headed down. She and her colleagues are not about to let their kids become mortar bait in the Empire's
next aggressive war. Scott Kohlhaas is the chair of the Libertarian Party of
Alaska and a fierce defender of individual liberty, picking up where his hero
Jacob left off. Scott encourages defiance of the laws mandating registration
with the Selective Service System. His advice: Don't sign up. If you already
did, move. Tell your kids not to sign up. Have free time? Join an anti-draft
group, build your own movement, or at least call up the Selective Service offices
and "leave 'em hangin.'"
At first glance, it seems unlikely that Americans would stand for a draft.
poll put the "Hell no!" factor at 85 percent. A quick scan of the Web reveals
organized opposition to conscription from all directions. Donald Rumsfeld and
George Bush insist
that they would never even think about it. Donald Rumsfeld says he prefers what
the job requires – a light, fast, high tech, all volunteer force – and that
a conscript army would be wholly undesirable and unnecessary. Rumsfeld says
a lot of things.
Our government's ability to recruit new soldiers has suffered
greatly from the catastrophe in Iraq, putting a major crimp in the
War Party's plans for future wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. Frida Berrigan
of the War Resisters League gives
a rundown of the recruitment problems in her article "Oh Baby, It's Drafty Out There":
"So far, more than one million U.S. military personnel have served in Iraq
and Afghanistan. An estimated 341,000 soldiers have done double deployments
(and many are now entering their third deployment). And they are not just serving,
they are dying. More than 1,700
have been killed, and an average of two more soldiers die each day. …
"Recruiters are hiding police records, mental illness, and physical ailments
to make their quotas. An Army investigation into recruitment improprieties found
1,118 incidents involving one in five recruiters. The Army substantiated 320
of these cases in 2004, up from 213 in 2002 and 199 in 1999. Recruiters and
some senior army officers admit that for every documented impropriety, there
are at least two more that are never discovered."
According to the Army, there were 1,432
deserters between October 2004 and May 2005. Perhaps that's why recruiters
are thinking ahead and starting to brainwash middle school kids
into one day signing up for "the highest calling."
Those kids would be wise to observe the thousands of victims of the stop-loss
program who thought they were done until the smiling officer pulled out the
magnifying glass to reveal the fine print.
story in USA Today reveals that the Army is offering $40,000 bonuses
and $50,000 toward home mortgages to those who enlist. This in itself doesn't
necessarily imply desperation; after all, it's not their money. Desperation
is, however, starting to show in the Army's new TV ads. Having completely milked
the idea of swimming and snowboarding as natural steps toward becoming a mercenary,
the Pentagon propagandists have dropped all pretense of subtlety in their new
line of ads featuring helicopter mechanics and firemen: If you are a brown man
in the United States, you'll never amount to anything unless you kill people
for the state first. Of course, being dead is no way to amount to anything either,
but the commercials never show soldiers getting shot to death.
The bombing of London proves the "War on Terror," and especially its subsidiary
invasion of Iraq, to be a complete failure
of an unjust war. As this reality dawns on America, folks are telling their
kids not to enlist. That is why Selective Service has been gearing up. But don't
worry. They say their plan is to enslave only specialists first. So if you know
how to fly a helicopter, diagnose software glitches, or stitch wounds, that
A new draft might not be limited to filling the military. The collectivist
fraud Americorps begun
by Bill Clinton continues under Bush. But now the "service" is called "Freedom Corps," and is a bit more militaristic
than before. If a draft comes, expect those who can't fight to be conscripted
into this Bush Freedom™ version of philanthropy.
After all, slavery isn't fair unless it's equal.
It goes without saying that if the current wars were justified, folks would
volunteer en masse. The War Party says
that those who are opposed have simply forgotten 9/11, as if that were possible.
A more likely explanation is that more Americans have figured out why
9/11 happened: Our government goes around earth acting,
as Fred Reed says,
"like a muscular drunk who comes into a bar looking for a fight," and it has
put us between itself and the enemies it has created. That also goes for the
citizens of the UK, the sidekick with the bloody nose.
But how long will the growing resistance to the War Party last? A reasonable
person might look at the London bombing as cause to distrust the government's
desire or ability to protect us, but people aren't reasonable after major catastrophes.
Opinion polls after 9/11 showed a greater trust in the state than ever before.
Sr. and William
Safire call it "The Big Mo." The administration was able to use that momentum
to get a whole extra war, completely unrelated
to the attack. If tradition
holds (and all indications
are that it will), the attacks in London will lead to a new acquiescence of
Brits and Americans to the will of the politicians and their goofball
[.pdf] academic advisors. Another major attack here in America could lead, in
the words of Tommy
Franks, to a military form of government and the final decimation of the
limitations placed upon the national government in the Bill of Rights. It would
mean more war against nations in the Middle East, and that would require a reintroduction
of the slavery that is conscription.
Could they get away with it? It all depends how we react to this attack and
the next one. Must we cower in the arms of politicians as happened after 9/11?
There are almost
300 million privately owned
firearms in this country. Why do we need a trillion-dollar-per-year warfare
state to protect us from stateless radicals? Surely we can protect ourselves
from the enemies they've
created for us. Will
we cling ever tighter to the leviathan
responsible for provoking and failing to stop these attacks, or will we finally
realize that liberty is the solution to our problem? Bring the troops home from
their 725 or so bases and stop propping up foreign dictators, and we may find that we don't
need anyone to protect us from terrorists anyway.