Paul Krugman draws an interesting parallel between Bush’s assurances that we won’t need a draft in the future to replenish our severely strained Armed Forces and his promises four years ago that his tax cuts would not lead to a return of big budget deficits.
Bush’s refusal to consider a military draft is not unlike his refusal to consider a tax increase (or at least a rollback of some of his tax cuts) to address the budget deficit.
Ignoring the deficit puts a strain on our economy and is one of the chief reasons why this current “economic recovery” has been so weak. But Bush can get away with weakening our government by allowing deficits to pile up unheeded longer than he can ignore military manpower shortages in the middle of a war. Our military can’t operate on IOUs like our government can. They need people on the ground in sufficient numbers to accomplish their missions.
Unless we are willing to commit the number of troops necessary to finish the job, we need to consider alternatives such as scaling back our current goals and/or working harder to bring in support troops from our allies.
A military draft is like paying higher taxes. It is a method by which the government acquires the resources it needs to function effectively. It may be unpopular, but when you have a president who insists on running up record deficits and starting unnecessary wars there eventually comes a time when everyone is forced to pay the piper.
By the way, if Bush is so certain that we won’t ever need a military draft, why are we continuing to fund a Selective Service System to the tune of $26 million a year?