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  #21  
Old 20 June 2016, 08:42 PM
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Did thorny say "non-emergency purpose". I guess definitions of emergency vary but I don't recall a time without an emergency.
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  #22  
Old 20 June 2016, 09:25 PM
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Well, I was positing an imaginary society on another world in which this is matter of course behavior; it's just how they run the place. When you're old enough to be let loose on your own, you don't go to college, at least not immediately; you go travelling instead, and while at it serve as part of a mobile workforce. It's not really equivalent to our world's draft conscription, in large part because the history of the society is a lot different.

But I was wondering whether it would be useful, in this world, to try to accomplish an equivalent of that by something like a universal draft, although with military service as only one of the possible ways to fulfill it. Whether one considers collapsing bridges and so on as an emergency, let alone what seems to be (though I'm not entirely sure whether it is) an increasing tendency for the society to fracture so that people only get information from those they already agree with, is another question. I expect different people will answer that differently.
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  #23  
Old 20 June 2016, 10:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Did thorny say "non-emergency purpose". I guess definitions of emergency vary but I don't recall a time without an emergency.
Yes she did. Not in so many words, but it is clear to anyone that isn't intent on engaging in a pedantic debate.
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  #24  
Old 21 June 2016, 05:29 AM
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Hooray! A cold war dinosaur program can process double the forms now! And now tens of thousands of women can be punished because they weren't privileged enough to know that they had to send a form to an obsolete cold war bureaucracy! Yes we can! USA! USA! I bet Brezhnev is quaking in his boots. He'll never get a warm-weather port in Karachi now.

Next up, solving racial disparities in the justice system by putting more white people in prison.

Last edited by lord_feldon; 21 June 2016 at 05:36 AM.
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  #25  
Old 21 June 2016, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by GenYus234 View Post
Yes she did. Not in so many words, but it is clear to anyone that isn't intent on engaging in a pedantic debate.
Not me and, believe it or not, I'm not intent on pedantic debate. So, nope, not anyone. The only thing I got is that it was non-war. That hardly means non-emergency. Even for the non-pedantic.

I have friends down in Kyushu now working to help people rebuild their lives after a devastating earthquake this year, for example. I have a family member who is just returning and a few friends who've previously worked for the peace corps. Some of these kinds of service would be emergency and some not. Not everyone who's drafted in war time goes to the front for "emergency service" either. That doesn't mean it's not used because of emergency.

We have community service where I live. We all have to pitch in and it is mandatory, even if there may be no legally binding penalty. (I know people who've been fined but I don't know if that's legally binding either.) We haven't had a bad emergency here yet but if we have one, I'm confident we can get it up and running in a matter of hours, if not minutes. We aren't paid (actually, we all pay for expenses) so I guess from some American's point of view that's indentured servitude. We just call it a community. It's there especially for emergencies but that's only possible because we all work on non-emergencies. (And I mean it's there for real emergencies, not what conscripts are usually used for - political crises.) ETA - Also, thanks for reminding me; I have a weekend morning coming up. One able body from each household.

Last edited by ganzfeld; 21 June 2016 at 06:07 AM.
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  #26  
Old 22 June 2016, 01:26 AM
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I came of age when the draft lottery system started, and depending on your number, you either lucked out (As I did, #278) or were doomed to be inducted, with little chance of getting a deferment, eventually getting sent off to the Vietnam war. (Except for the rich, and those running the government, of course. Throughout history, they've always managed to find a way to keep their kids out of it.) A huge number of people were against the draft at the time. Hence, the large number of anti-war demonstrations and political actions against it. Hell, there were riots in the streets. People killed at college demonstrations. Political conventions of the time turned into near anarchy. (Most notably, the Democratic convention in Chicago.)

I've often wondered, since the first gulf war, why there hasn't been the amount of anti-war activism against the subsequent mid-east military actions into which this country has poured untold amounts of lives, and money. Why, I keep wondering, this incredible apathy? Oh sure, there's been some anti-war activisism. But not much, and with little effect.

The one difference I keep coming back to is the lack of a compulsory draft. Simply put, the vast majority of American families have no skin in the game. A total of about 2.5 million Americans, roughly three-quarters of 1 percent, served in Iraq or Afghanistan at any point in the post-9/11 years, many of them more than once. Simply put, the average American doesn't give a @#$&. "Just lower my taxes, kick those freeloaders off of the dole, and keep gas prices low so I can afford to drive my new SUV."

Makes me think that IF, (Not advocating it, mind you, I was against the draft then, am now.) IF, there were a compulsory draft, and the chances were pretty good that Johnny/Joanie might get sent off to battle the enemy de jour, the American public just might take a different stance against military action abroad.
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  #27  
Old 22 June 2016, 01:52 AM
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Many countries have mandatory (or selective) draft during peacetime and the US did as well during some of the time between 1940 and 1973. So even if one buys the notion that war is necessarily an emergency, not all conscription is for a specific "emergency".
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  #28  
Old 22 June 2016, 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ganzfeld View Post
Many countries have mandatory (or selective) draft during peacetime and the US did as well during some of the time between 1940 and 1973. So even if one buys the notion that war is necessarily an emergency, not all conscription is for a specific "emergency".
I completely agree with that. I also think, however, that the existence of a compulsory military draft dramatically changes the dynamics of any debate regarding a proposed military adventure.
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  #29  
Old 22 June 2016, 02:51 AM
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Probably true. Not disagreeing with that.
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  #30  
Old 22 June 2016, 04:19 AM
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Originally Posted by DrRocket View Post
Makes me think that IF, (Not advocating it, mind you, I was against the draft then, am now.) IF, there were a compulsory draft, and the chances were pretty good that Johnny/Joanie might get sent off to battle the enemy de jour, the American public just might take a different stance against military action abroad.
I'm glad you made it clear that you aren't advocating for a draft on those grounds, because I've heard/read people make that argument before and it is by far the weakest. Exhibit A is the very war you cite: Vietnam. While the GWOT may have surpassed Vietnam in length by a couple years to date, Vietnam saw ~10 times as many American dead and that was in spite of all the protests. If a draft is a cure all for unjust/unnecessary wars, why didn't it keep us out of Vietnam? Or at least have us cut our losses much sooner?

The idea of exposing a teenager just starting out on life to the sort of life-altering environment that military service poses for anything short of a true national emergency seems abhorrent to me. I wonder how the nation managed to go as long as it did (30 years following WWII) without imploding at the injustice of forced conscription for anything SHORT of WWII. I don’t see mandatory service in exchange for other basic freedoms as much better, especially if one of those options is military service and people are effectively manipulated or even the slightest bit influenced to serve on the grounds that they’ve ‘gotta do something, so why not?’.
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  #31  
Old 22 June 2016, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
[...] why didn't it keep us out of Vietnam? Or at least have us cut our losses much sooner? [...]
The counter-argument is maybe it did keep us out of other wars of that era and region and maybe it did prevent things from going on much longer. Maybe US would have managed to stay in much longer or maintained a large presence nearby and continued after 1975 in the same region much more if there had been no draft and fewer protests. Maybe that seems far-fetched. I don't know. But it's a historical what-if so no one knows. (Other points I agree with. This one too. Just saying there's no way to really know.)
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  #32  
Old 22 June 2016, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
I'm glad you made it clear that you aren't advocating for a draft on those grounds, because I've heard/read people make that argument before and it is by far the weakest. Exhibit A is the very war you cite: Vietnam. While the GWOT may have surpassed Vietnam in length by a couple years to date, Vietnam saw ~10 times as many American dead and that was in spite of all the protests. If a draft is a cure all for unjust/unnecessary wars, why didn't it keep us out of Vietnam? Or at least have us cut our losses much sooner?
I don't think anybody's claiming that a universal draft is a cure all for unnecessary/unjust wars; only that it may be a discouragement.

I think what happened during the Vietnam war is a further progress in the change of attitudes from 'that's this generation's war, of course the young men ought to go, that's what proper young men do' to 'we shouldn't be risking young peoples' lives unless we're sure that it's worth it.' I think that change may have started in the trenches of WWI; or possibly earlier, when heroic charges began to be met with walls of gunfire. But the attitude shifted much further during the Vietnam war. The very idea of objecting to military service, on any grounds, was considered shocking to many.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ASL View Post
The idea of exposing a teenager just starting out on life to the sort of life-altering environment that military service poses for anything short of a true national emergency seems abhorrent to me.
Believe it or not, this used to be thought to be good for you -- not just the peacetime service part, but the battlefield part. Sure, it was acknowledged that it wasn't great for the ones who died or lost major body parts; but serving under fire was thought to be an important life experience for men. (Women weren't supposed to have important life experiences; other than having children.) And yes, rich people's kids went too; at least, many of them did. Yes, rich people have been buying themselves out of military service for a very long time -- in some times and places it was entirely legal -- but having a son in the service was also very common. We're a long ways from when the king used to lead the army into battle, and was thought a coward if he didn't; but we're just about far enough away from when going into battle was thought to improve character for people, in this society anyway, to be beginning to forget that this was assumed by many.

-- in any case, I wasn't positing forced military service; though, as we need a military, I was positing it as an option. I was to some extent after "life-altering" experience, however. Isn't that in part what growing up is for?
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  #33  
Old 22 June 2016, 01:58 PM
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I honestly have trouble seeing the draft reinstated without a major military conflict that spans multiple countries and/or directly threatens the US. There is always talk about bringing it back in peacetime but it would be very had to pass.
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  #34  
Old 22 June 2016, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ASL View Post
I'm glad you made it clear that you aren't advocating for a draft on those grounds, because I've heard/read people make that argument before and it is by far the weakest. Exhibit A is the very war you cite: Vietnam. While the GWOT may have surpassed Vietnam in length by a couple years to date, Vietnam saw ~10 times as many American dead and that was in spite of all the protests.
It is hard to judge the effectiveness given that, at the time, many of the soldiers who were drafted were not guaranteed the right to vote.
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  #35  
Old 23 June 2016, 06:21 AM
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The counter-argument is maybe it did keep us out of other wars of that era and region and maybe it did prevent things from going on much longer.
In a hypothetical case of a hypothetical war, sure, but it's not so hard to judge IMHO when the comparison is with the current wars. The current wars have been objectively less costly in American lives than Vietnam: if a draft didn't keep us out of Vietnam or get us out any sooner, then why would we expect it to have a dramatic impact on the current wars?

I think all a draft does is make it easier to replace soldiers and harder to train them (nowadays just about the worst thing you can do to someone is kick them out: that's a powerful incentive to meet minimum standards that would likely be lost on a draftee unless significant post-military consequences were imposed like disenfranchisement or some kind of metaphorical or literal branding). A more interesting historical what-if would be how Vietnam might have been fought if the military had actually had to incentivize people to join through less deadly working conditions and better pay. So maybe Vietnam would have gone on longer absent a draft: maybe it wouldn't have bled us quite as much.

Or maybe we'd have found the price of recruiting volunteers for Vietnam-era service, while also maintaining a deterrent to the USSR, to be so costly that we'd have stayed out of Vietnam altogether without a draft. Wars cost human lives and human lives are cheaper, in military terms, when you have a draft to replace them.
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  #36  
Old 24 June 2016, 12:30 AM
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I honestly have trouble seeing the draft reinstated without a major military conflict that spans multiple countries and/or directly threatens the US. There is always talk about bringing it back in peacetime but it would be very had to pass.
Uh, have you been paying attention? Because the War on Terror currently is a major military conflict that spans multiple countries. Okay, that was a little mean. I'll fish-slap myself before continuing.

But seriously, read Dirty Wars by Jeremy Scahill. There's also a documentary for those not into reading. Both do a good job of driving the point home that while people think of the War on Terror as encompassing Afghanistan and Iraq, in reality we are currently fighting several undeclared wars just about in nearly every country in the Middle East.

I keep wondering what we'll do when we inevitably stretch ourselves too thin. Because like I keep saying, reinstating the draft would be political suicide for either party, so they're doing everything they can to avoid resorting to it.
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  #37  
Old 24 June 2016, 02:46 PM
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Ah yes the War on Terror is such a major military conflict that between 2000-2015 we had to massively raise the size of our entire military from 1,384,388 personnel in 2000 to it highest levels in 2003 at 1,434,377 personnel to it's 2015 level of 1,302,941. For a grand total increase of 49,989 personnel at it's peak and a total decrease of 81,448 from 2000 to 2015. Keep in mind that is total personnel not just combat troops.

Maybe I should explain that my idea of a major military conflict involves increasing the size of our military more than the population of a town like Corvallis, Oregon. So while the War on Terror does involve US force in many countries, either alone or assisting locals, it has not necessitated increasing the size of our military by more than 3.6% (if my math is correct) at it's highest total.

To put that into perspective - 16 million people served in the US military worldwide during WW2.

2,594,000 Personnel served within the borders of South Vietnam. Jan. 1, 1965 - Mar. 28, 1973 That does not include the personnel serving in countries and the waters bordering Vietnam.

Number of Americans who served in Iraq
throughout the course of the war
1.5 million. That was over a period of 8yrs and 9 months. (that doesn't count Afghanistan since having trouble finding accurate numbers)
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  #38  
Old 24 June 2016, 02:59 PM
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Was the minimal increase in troops because we didn't need more soldiers or because we couldn't recruit more soldiers? It could be that many more soldiers were needed, but without a draft and without great incentives and/or great patriotic fervor, no new soldiers could be found.

Saying that the WoT wasn't a great conflict that needed the draft because it didn't have the increased personnel that a draft would have provided is a bit of circular logic.
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  #39  
Old 29 June 2016, 06:09 AM
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Was the minimal increase in troops because we didn't need more soldiers or because we couldn't recruit more soldiers? It could be that many more soldiers were needed, but without a draft and without great incentives and/or great patriotic fervor, no new soldiers could be found.
You can always recruit more troops if you lower the standards enough. And we did. For all the moaning and hand-wringing over how transgender or openly homosexual servicemembers might affect morale or how awful it would be to put women in combat, not many people complained about putting thugs like this and this into the armed forces. Until they graduated to murder, that is. And by then it was too late.

All a draft will do is take us back to the dark ages of jail or the military, and it got close enough to that without a draft as it is. Service with the bare minimum of compulsion is the best service.
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  #40  
Old 29 June 2016, 07:08 AM
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Service with the bare minimum of compulsion is the best service.
This is so true. I see Israeli Defence Forces soldiers every day. Almost all are conscripts. Very few want to be there. And it shows.

However, the soldiers that volunteer for the IDF, they are far more capable and motivated than any of the conscripts.
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