[Previous entry: ""] [Main Index] [Next entry: "Jennifer Roback Morse"]

10/23/2004 Archived Entry: "Soldiers are not reporting"

The Sun Herald reports, "More than 800 former soldiers have failed to comply with Army orders to get back in uniform and report for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, the Army said Friday. That is more than one-third of the total who were told to report to a mobilization station by Oct. 17." The article jumped out at me for two reasons...

First, the news of non-compliance Statesidecame on the heels of the refusal by 18 soldiers in a U.S. Army Reserve unit to obey their orders to deliver fuel along a dangerous route. News coverage carefully and repeatedly called the refusal "an isolated incident"...and, perhaps, it was. But the only reason we know of this incident is because several of the soldiers phoned home and urged family members, especially wives to raise PR hell on their behalf. How many other rebellions in the ranks have simply gone unreported? I find both new stories encouraging. If the average soldier or reservist begins to say "no" to orders that make no sense, to commands that are cruelly immoral or arbitrary...then the war in Iraq will be over soon. It doesn't take a large percentage of soldiers saying "no" to bring the machinery to a halt. The article on the 800 non-reporting soldiers goes to great lengths to report that the military is trying to "resolve" problems with the dissidents rather than throw them in jail. They *have* to take a resolution approach. The 800 men constitute over 30% of those who were ordered to report. The military cannot arrest that high a percentage of its recruits. If they tried, the families and friends of those arrested would create a PR nightmare. I don't know the level at which non-compliance, which is a classic non-violent resistance strategy, utterly stops the machinery at which it is directed. I've heard the figure 10% several times but I don't know what that estimate is based upon or how you'd go about verifying it. One thing is clear: the military thinks the percentage of resisters is high enough that it doesn't *want* to prosecute and make examples of the men. That alone should tell you something.

Second, the article states several times in various ways, "That the Army has had to reach so deeply into its store of reserve soldiers is a measure of the strain the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns have put on the active-duty Army. " I do not believe the "strain" can be sustained without a draft, whether or not it is labelled as such. All the signs are there. The deployment of 850 additional British troops to Iraq to free up freeing up "US soldiers to (allegedly) launch a new offensive against Fallujah." The fact that the US military now wants to put women into combat areas. A report that the National Guard fell some 10 percent short of it 2004 recruitment goal. The continuing stop-loss policy, which prevents soldiers whose term has expired but whose units are being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan from leaving until after they serve there.

The rumors of a draft seem to have more substance every day.

Over a year ago Jack Duggan wrote on LewRockwell.com, The Health Care Personnel Delivery System (HCPDS) was approved by Congress in 1987. All it needs is a signature from the US President and a war. Probably any "war" will do, such as that with Iraq or declaring a "terrorist attack" an act of war, even by an unknown individual or group....At an unknown future date (soon?) the Selective Service System will "...begin a mass registration of male and female health care workers between the ages of 20 and 45. They would register at local post offices. HCPDS would provide medical personnel from a pool of 3.4 million doctors, nurses, specialists and allied health professionals in more than 60 fields of medicine." Right now the SS claims it's in a "standby mode," at least until after the next election.

The New York Times reported on October 19th that the HCPDS was being updated. [Excerpts from New York Times follow]. "In a confidential report this summer, a contractor hired by the agency described how such a draft might work, how to secure compliance and how to mold public opinion and communicate with health care professionals, whose lives could be disrupted. On the one hand, the report said, the Selective Service System should establish contacts in advance with medical societies, hospitals, schools of medicine and nursing, managed care organizations, rural health care providers and the editors of medical journals and trade publications. On the other hand, it said, such contacts must be limited, low key and discreet because 'overtures from Selective Service to the medical community will be seen as precursors to a draft,' and that could alarm the public." In short, the Bush administration wants to lull all talk of a draft before the election.

Nevertheless, I'm seeing more and more local newspapers discussing the potential impact of a draft on their areas. Consider the Hope Star out of Arizona. It writes, "The pool of draft age men and women in Hempstead County comprises 22.4 percent of the total population, according to the U. S. Census Bureau. Among a total of 2,272 men and women ages 18-24 in the county, 1,148 are men and 1,124 are women, while among the 3,012 men and women ages 25-34 in the county, 1,531 are men and 1,481 are women." People are worried. And rightfully so.

Powered By Greymatter