A closer look at the Bush record -- from
the war in Iraq to the war on the environment
take the exit ramp off the Bush presidency in November?
Colin Powell's Legend
Colin Powell's sterling reputation in Washington hides his life-long role
as water-carrier for conservative ideologues.
Recounting the controversial presidential campaign
Is the national media a danger to democracy?
The Clinton Scandals
The story behind President Clinton's impeachment
Pinochet & Other Characters
The Dark Side of Rev. Moon
Rev. Sun Myung Moon and American politics
Contra drug stories uncovered
How the American historical record has been tainted by lies and cover-ups
The October Surprise
The 1980 October Surprise scandal exposed
From free trade to the Kosovo crisis
Other Investigative Stories
Editor's Note: In this guest essay, political
analyst Brent Budowsky says policymakers and pundits favoring a wider
war in the Middle East must be asked about ominous signs that the Bush
administration's proclivity for war means some form of military draft is
in America's future:
involuntary recall of 3,500 Marines to active duty, required by
personnel shortages for the war in Iraq, on top of previous extensions
of deployment schedules for active-duty troops and reserves, demands an
answer to this question: Is America headed for a return to the draft,
either by that traditional name or in some other form?
The problem is simple: the United States went to war in Iraq without
sufficient numbers of troops leading to inevitable problems. My view has
always been that it would have been better for the President to have
finished the job of killing bin Laden in Afghanistan, rather than
cutting and running on that job, and helping bin Laden escape, to charge
into an unwise war in Iraq.
Once the decision to wage war in Iraq was made, the manner with which it
was conducted created inevitable and catastrophic results that have
caused major, long-term damage to American force structures, recruitment
restocking of equipment that will cost many billions of dollars to
Many thoughtful Republicans, such as Sen. Chuck Hagel, have raised these
issues from the beginning. Even Sen. John McCain, one of the strongest
supporters of the war, has always understood the implications of
troop strength and force structure, and now criticizes the President for
not leveling with the American people on the consequences and cost of
From the beginning, there have been unfair burdens imposed on our
troops; there have been unfair deployment practices that have imposed
major hardship on Reserves and their families; there have been
supplies for our forces including insufficient armor, bandages and even
helmets; there has been major erosion of equipment in the desert sands
that will impose shocking new costs to replace; and there has been a
and dangerous disruption of American military force structures around
the world, and major damage done to recruitment at home.
My view -- expressed here, elsewhere and privately to officials, once
this war was unwisely begun -- has long been to seek a cease-fire with
internal Iraqi insurgents, laying down their arms in return for a seat
at the table of the
governing of Iraq. This cease-fire would NOT include external
terrorists, who are in much smaller numbers and would have been isolated
and defeated with American casualties being dramatically decreased years
Similarly, I have urged for several years, and urge again here, that
America regain its traditional role of Middle East diplomacy deploying
internationally known figures in both parties -- former President
Clinton and former Sens. Sam Nunn and George Mitchell, working with
former Secretaries of State Jim Baker, Colin Powell or others. The last
six years represent the first time since 1948 that there has been no
American diplomatic leadership at least attempting to address the
fundamental issues that divide the Middle East. This re-engagement
should have been initiated six years ago; it must be initiated now.
The President has been trapped in a narrow, provincial, war-obsessed
mentality that has only increased instability, radically strained
American force structures, given tactical advantages to our terrorist
enemies and to Iran. This, too, must change immediately before the
damage and dangers become even worse at a time of escalating chaos in
the region, deteriorating conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and
further destabilized American military force structures.
The forced recall of 3,500 Marines is a clarion call warning to all
Americans, and along with other distortions of deployment practices, is
now, in effect, a form of reviving the draft.
Listening to the President, Vice President Cheney, the various
neoconservative policy pushers, their vision appears to be a vision of
endless and permanent world war, with expanding and ever more dangerous
of combat, when we do not even have the troops strength to meet our
Having been involved in intelligence and military matters for more than
two decades, this much is clear: we cannot sustain our commitments
today; with any additional wars to fight, we will be left with only two
choices: either inadequate forces creating more Iraqs, or adequate
forces that can only be maintained through a revival of the draft, no
matter what it is called. That is the fact.
When these neoconservative voices rush to the airwaves to proclaim the
wars they would like (others) to fight, Democrats, Republicans and all
in the media should ask:
If you want war with Iran, where will you get the troops, and will you
bring back the draft?
If you want war with Syria, where will you get the troops, and will you
bring back the draft?
If you want war with North Korea, where will you get the troops, and
will you bring back the draft?
It is high time and long overdue that the United States resumes its role
of world diplomatic and political leadership and brings in people of
world-wide credibility and stature to at least test the waters for
For those who prefer the course of war, we must all ask, on every
occasion: for the wars you would like to fight, where will you get the
troops, and are you prepared to bring back the draft?
Brent Budowsky was an aide to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen on intelligence
issues, and served as Legislative Director to Rep. Bill Alexander when
he was Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Leadership. Budowsky
can be reached at email@example.com..
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