MEMORIAL DAY IDEA: Conscription/The Draft & Iraq-Afghanistan Wars

Dante

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Here we are on Memorial Day 2010.

What we remember on Memorial Day
In addition to fallen soldiers, the holiday is a day to remember all loved ones who are no longer with us. Five writers share their memories of fathers, husbands, friends and fellow soldiers.


Decoration Day, the predecessor of Memorial Day, was established in the years after the Civil War to honor Union soldiers who died in combat. Since then, the holiday has become a time to commemorate all those who died in military service to the country. It is also, more broadly, a day to remember all loved ones who are no longer with us. Here are some remembrances in honor of the holiday.

What we remember on Memorial Day - Los Angeles Times

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I'M NOT SELLING A CAR OR ASKING PEOPLE TO BARBECUE AND GET DRUNK. I want to take a little while to commemorate those who are not here. then...Later I want to discuss conscription and the volunteer military. I link to and quote a few wiki articles because perspective is needed. I'd hate to start a thread on this subject, on this day and get bogged down in the bullshit that normally passes for debate on most message boards.

A PRIMER

Here is a quote I think most people can fully agree with: "Between 1965 and 1975, the United States spent $111 billion on the war ($686 billion in FY2008 dollars).[213] This resulted in a large federal budget deficit. The war demonstrated that no power, not even a superpower, has unlimited strength and resources." "But perhaps most significantly, the Vietnam War illustrated that political will, as much as material might, is a decisive factor in the outcome of conflicts." -Vietnam War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Vietnam War

Involvement peaked in 1968 at the time of the Tet Offensive. After this, U.S. ground forces were withdrawn as part of a policy called Vietnamization. Despite the Paris Peace Accords, signed by all parties in January 1973, fighting continued.

The Case-Church Amendment passed by the U.S. Congress prohibited use of American military after August 15, 1973 unless the president secured congressional approval in advance.[20] The capture of Saigon by the North Vietnamese army in April 1975 marked the end of the Vietnam War. North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year.

1972 election and Paris Peace Accords

On 15 January 1973, Nixon announced the suspension of offensive action against North Vietnam. The Paris Peace Accords on "Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam" were signed on 27 January 1973, officially ending direct U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War. A cease-fire was declared across North and South Vietnam. U.S. POWs were released. The agreement guaranteed the territorial integrity of Vietnam and, like the Geneva Conference of 1954, called for national elections in the North and South. The Paris Peace Accords stipulated a sixty-day period for the total withdrawal of U.S. forces. "This article," noted Peter Church, "proved... to be the only one of the Paris Agreements which was fully carried out."[172]

Fall of Saigon

In the U.S., South Vietnam was perceived as doomed. President Gerald Ford had given a televised speech on 23 April, declaring an end to the Vietnam War and all U.S. aidSchlesinger announced early in the morning of 29 April 1975 the evacuation from Saigon by helicopter of the last U.S. diplomatic, military, and civilian personnel.

In the early morning hours of 30 April, the last U.S. Marines evacuated the embassy by helicopter, as civilians swamped the perimeter and poured into the grounds. Many of them had been employed by the Americans and were left to their fate.

On 30 April 1975, VPA troops overcame all resistance, quickly capturing key buildings and installations. A tank crashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace, and at 11:30 a.m. local time the NLF flag was raised above it. President Duong Van Minh, who had succeeded Huong two days earlier, surrendered.

Vietnam War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Draft lottery (1969)

On December 1, 1969, the Selective Service System of the United States held a lottery to determine the order of draft (induction) into the Army for the Vietnam War.

The Selective Service System commonly uses the label 1970 or says "Issued 1969 - Applied 1970". These lottery numbers were used during calendar year 1970 both to call for induction and to call for physical examination, a preliminary call covering more men.

History and consequences

The 1960s were a time of turmoil in the United States, beginning with the Civil Rights Movement which set the standards for practices by the anti-war movement.

The 1969 draft lottery only encouraged resentment of the Vietnam war and the draft. It strengthened the anti-war movement[verification needed] all over America as people decried discrimination by the draft system "against low-education, low-income, underprivileged members of society"[1]

People soon noticed that the lottery numbers were not distributed uniformly over the year. In particular, December birthdates generally had higher draft numbers representing later calls to serve (see figure). This led to complaints that the lottery was not random as the legislation required.

Modification

Lottery procedure was improved next year although public discontent continued to grow[citation needed] until "authority to induct expired on June 30, 1973." (SSS Selective Service System: History and Records)

Draft lottery (1969) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
End of conscription

During the 1968 presidential election, Richard Nixon campaigned on a promise to end the draft.[33] He had first become interested in the idea of an all-volunteer army during his time out of office, based upon a paper by Professor Martin Anderson of Columbia University.[34] Nixon also saw ending the draft as an effective way to undermine the anti-Vietnam war movement, since he believed affluent youths would stop protesting the war once their own possibility of having to fight in it was gone.[35] There was opposition to the all-volunteer notion from both the Department of Defense and Congress, so Nixon took no immediate action towards ending the draft early in his presidency.[34]

Instead, the Gates Commission was formed, headed by Thomas S. Gates, Jr., a former Secretary of Defense in the Eisenhower administration.[34] Gates initially opposed the all-volunteer army idea, but changed his mind during the course of the 15-member commission's work.[34] The Gates Commission issued its report in February 1970, describing how adequate military strength could be maintained without having conscription.[33][36] ...

Meanwhile, military pay was increased as an incentive to attract volunteers, and television advertising for the U.S. Army began.[33] With the end of active U.S. ground participation in Vietnam, December 1972 saw the last men conscripted, who were born in 1953, and reported for duty in June 1973.[33]In 1973, the Selective Service randomly selected 25 numbers or birthdays in case the draft was extended.

Conscription in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have highlighted the weaknesses of an all voluntary military. One need only look at the condition of the military over the time frame of these wars, and the restrictions we put on how the Pentagon could fight the wars, numbers dictated by low voluntarism on the part of the AMerican public, dictating particulars strategy & tactics.

Yes, for varying reasons Americans did not step up to the plate and volunteer in sufficient numbers on these wars.

I'll be back.

dD
:cool:
 
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Dante

Dante

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Getting rid of the draft was like letting all the mental patients go free. A bad idea with good intentions.

Time to revisit reinstalling a draft and using it when wars demand we need more bodies than volunteerism will provide.

The all volunteer military is coming apart at the seems. I wonder what the percentage of veterans needing aftercare will be compared to the numbers from other wars? We all know about the back to back tours many military were forced to do. We all know about the stories of the stress and strain military returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered.

Time to rethink the idea of all volunteer military.
 

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