October 08, 2004


My mom got an email forward from a friend about The Impending Draft. The email is so laughable that it's not even worth fisking. It includes all the talking points -- Ready Reserves, North Korea, "I have a son in college" -- and is quite ridiculous. But the more I looked at it, the more I thought, heck, I'll sign a petition against the draft; I don't want any un-trained, un-motivated, spolied kids who don't want to be there having to back my husband up out on missions. I only want Soldiers and Marines who have volunteered to serve this great country of ours out there fighting, not immature brats (you know, like John Kerry was back when he was declined for a deferment in Vietnam and then went on to make home movies about his heroism.)

So I clicked on the link to the petition. Heh. It's not a petition against the draft; it's a petition to Demand Honesty. The aim?

I demand to know how George Bush plans to guard the homeland, protect against threats abroad, and stabilize and occupy Iraq -- without resorting to a draft.

Yes, we need troops to fight in Iraq. We need lots of them. Many of my students are leaving in January for their second year in Iraq, and of course that sucks. But I've listened to John Kerry -- god help me -- and I don't see how his plan is going to require any less boots on the ground.

Kerry said in the debate last week:

That's why, in my plan, I add two active duty divisions to the United States Army, not for Iraq, but for our general demands across the globe. I also intend to double the number of special forces so that we can do the job we need to do with respect fighting the terrorists around the world. And if we do that, then we have the ability to be able to respond more rapidly.

Two active duty divisions is an addition of roughly 40,000 people. Where are they going to come from? More active recruitment? Tell that to Michael Moore, Kerry; since you parrot him on other issues, you might want to review his segment on the recruiting Marines. (Oh, and the money will come from cutting crucial defense systems and weapons programs. Way to go, Kerry.)

Kerry has also disingenuously suggested that he would start pulling troops out of Iraq in January. What he specified in the debate last week though was

I didn‘t say I would bring troops out in six months. I said, if we do the things that I‘ve set out and we are successful, we could begin to draw the troops down in six months.

And the thing he's "set out" is to bring more allies to the table to share the load in Iraq. The problem is that he keeps repeating that, knowing full well that Allies Not in Formation on Kerry's Troops Plan: Nations have a hard time supporting his proposal to use their soldiers to fill out the force in Iraq:

"Some Europeans are rather concerned that Mr. Kerry might have expectations for relief [from abroad] that are going to be hard to meet," said one senior European diplomat in a statement echoed in several capitals.
The French and German governments have made clear that sending troops is out of the question. British officials have made no such categorical statement, but they have expressed concern that their troops are overstretched.
Although Japan has supplied a 550-member noncombat force as a symbol of its international commitment, analysts there see little chance the nation would agree to send more.
Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Andrei Denisov, ruled out a commitment of troops. "We are not going to send anybody there, and that's all there is to say," Denisov said.

So Kerry is simply smoking crack if he thinks that he's going to get allied forces to replace our troops on the ground. There won't be anyone replacing the troops already there, so his plan won't work. It's all bogus. (And I think he knows it too, but that's a story for another day.)

Kerry also said during the debate that he would support sending troops to Darfur, Sudan if needed:

Right now all the president is providing is humanitarian support. We need to do more than that. They‘ve got to have the logistical capacity to go in and stop the killing. And that‘s going to require more than is on the table today.
But I‘ll tell you this, as president, if it took American forces to some degree to coalesce the African Union, I‘d be prepared to do it because we could never allow another Rwanda.

So our troops do not seem to be more likely to be in garrison (that means staying at their home bases) if Kerry is elected. That's a misrepresentation on his party's side. Kerry's plan -- only leaving Iraq if we're replaced by other allies, deploying to Sudan if necessary -- is not a benefit for our troops. It will not reduce the number of deployments or make extra soldiers or Marines any less necessary.

Maybe we should also be worrying that Kerry might need a draft. After all, it was two Democrats who initiated the draft legislation in the first place...the same legislation, I might add, that was voted down 402-2.

There's not going to be a draft. The last thing anyone who cares at all about the American military wants are ungrateful punks ending up in the ranks. Let the adults handle the job of defending America; the frat boys and hippies can stay at home.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

And so here's my problem. I find myself in an enormous conflict between Roark and CavX.

Roark's philosophy was not that he was going to try to get others to see architecture the way he did. He just kinda thought you were born with it. If you saw things his way, you had common ground. If not, he didn't want to have anything to do with you. Not in a rude way, but in a matter-of-fact, we-have-nothing-to-discuss way.

On the other hand, CavX, through patient perseverance, has managed to covert many lefties that he works with. He lays out the facts, over and over, until the people admit that there can just be no other way of looking at things. And they're won over; CavX has created right-wingers.

So which way is right?

Lots of people thought that President Bush lost the debate last week. They say he's a horrible debater (whereas Kerry appears to be a Master Debater. Sorry, couldn't resist.) But I understand completely where President Bush is coming from: he's Roarkian. I imagine that Pres. Bush was wondering why on earth he had to debate Kerry -- a man who spends most of his time debating himself on the issues -- to prove that he'd be a good President. I imagine he thinks that if his track record doesn't speak for itself, then what else can he say? If you have no common ground at all, where do you begin? The Bush Doctrine has liberated two countries, forced Libya to disarm, unraveled the enormous Oil-For-Food scam, and brought the hope of democracy to millions of people; if he has to sit down and explain to you why that's good, then what's the point? That's why he looked like he was "smirking" during the debate; it pains him, just as it pains me, to hear the string of nonsense that comes of of Kerry's mouth. He tries, but he just can't understand the way Kerry looks at the world. I completely understand that, for that's the reason I have spent a year trying to grok. These things are self-evident to me and to President Bush; if a majority of Americans and voters can't see that, then maybe they don't deserve to have him as their president.

I admire CavX's style, because it's so unlike the way I think. He's methodical and patient; I fly off the handle and want to either rip heads off or end the conversation. I wish I had his skills of persuasion; then maybe my co-workers would stop trying to convince me that Bush is bad.

Which brings us full circle to The Draft. When we get emails like this, or when our co-workers praise Fahrencrap 9/11, what is the proper response? I can't help but think of a passage from The Demon-Haunted World:

Imagine that you enter a big-city taxicab and the moment you get settled in, the driver begins a harangue about the supposed inequities and inferiorities of another ethnic group. Is your best course to keep quiet, bearing in mind that silence conveys assent? Or is it your moral responsibility to argue with him, to express outrage, even to leave the cab -- because you know that every silent assent will encourage him next time, and every vigorous dissent will cause him next time to think twice?

Sagan ends this section with "Figuring out a prudent balance takes wisdom." I just don't know what to think anymore. On the one hand, I think that some people will never see what I see, no matter how articulately I might lay it out, and it's not worth my sanity to try to beat them over the head with Truth. On the other hand, people are going to be voting next month based on bullcrap like this email forward on the draft, and unless we make a serious effort to counter the media and the junk science, we run the risk of losing President Bush.

If that happened, he would likely go home shaking his head, wondering why people just couldn't see what he saw. He shouldn't have to sugarcoat two toppled regimes and almost the whole deck of cards out of the picture.

My ballot is already in the mail; it's a bit late to be thinking about this topic. But who are we going to be over the next three weeks, Roark or CavX?

Posted by Sarah at October 8, 2004 07:42 AM

The more I see and here of Kerry the more I like him. Most of the military families I talk to are thinking the same way. It seems when people finally get to see and hear Kerry themselves they like him.

I guess it just proves we cannot believe all the negative stuff said about someone by their political opponents. These debates are helping Kerry and hurting Bush in my opinion.

Posted by: Manny at October 8, 2004 07:50 AM

Yeah, I'm especially impressed with how Kerry has brought the French and Germans on board. His plan to involve more allies than we already have is gaining so much momentum in the rest of the world that I know as soon as he is elected we can pull all of our troops out and replace them with gendarmes.


Posted by: John at October 8, 2004 09:20 AM

Manny, I get just the opposite.

Posted by: Mike at October 8, 2004 12:50 PM

Mike, Really?

Most of the military families I talk to who have now had a chance to actually see Kerry for themselves don't think he is the orge that his political opponents tried to make him out to be.

Are you saying that Kerry/Bush debates have shown you that the political stereotypes of either side have been shown out?

I think the debates show that negative attack ads are totally or mostly misleading. I would rather make my decision on the what I can see about a person myself, not what someone with an ax to grind tells me about someone.

The first debate between Bush and Kerry gave us our first opportunity to see these men side by side. Kerry clearly came out better than Bush.

If Kerry wins I think he will make a pretty good president.

Posted by: manny at October 8, 2004 08:22 PM

I will never vote for anyone who will not actually USE preemptive action when neccessary.
Based on the debate, Bush seems like he will, as a matter of fact, based on his record I KNOW he will.
Based on the debate, Kerry seems like he won't, and based on his record I'm not willing to bet the future on the fact that he would when neccessary.

Posted by: John at October 8, 2004 08:43 PM

John, good point.

However it is clear now that preemptive action in Iraq was NOT needed. It seems many people thought so at the time as well but Bush wasn't listening to them. Why, I don't know. This is not a point in Bushes favor.

But now that we are in the mess the question is what do we do about it. With Bush it seems that we will get just more of the same. If you like that then I imagine you will vote for him. But with Kerry we may get something better. There are no guarantees but Kerry is certainly not the ogre of the negative campaign.

Like I said neither Bush nor Kerry are as bad as the opposition makes them out to be and Kerry actually looks better the more I see him. Bush just keeps looking worse though as more news comes out about the way he took us into Iraq.

Posted by: manny at October 8, 2004 09:28 PM

More compliments; I'm going to get a swelled head. I do get frustrated with the absolutely intractable. We all know people so totally hardcore they'll never listen to reason; they start spouting improbable conspiracy theories like they're hoping to work on the next Michael Moore movie. Not much you can do with that.

Posted by: CavalierX at October 9, 2004 06:36 AM

>However it is clear now that preemptive action
>in Iraq was NOT needed.

Yes, it most certainly was, precisely because we didn't know his full capabilities, even after 12 years of sanctions and resolutions and inspections. The fact that the estimates were wrong proves that we could have UNDERESTIMATED him just as badly. If we had waited until Saddam was passing out anthrax and botulinum like Halloween candy, it would have been too late, wouldn't it? If he'd only cooperated with the inspections as he should have, there would have been no need to remove him from power... though it still would have been right for humanitarian reasons alone, just as it was right to remove Slobodan Milosevic from power for humanitarian reasons.

Posted by: CavalierX at October 9, 2004 06:42 AM