John McCain may not advocate re-instituting the military draft but when given an opportunity he didn’t disagree with the idea either:
At a town-hall event in New Mexico today…a woman in the audience told the presumptive Republican nominee, “Senator McCain I truly hope you get the opportunity to chase Bin Laden right to the gates of hell and push him in as you stated on your forum. I do have a question though. Disabled veterans, especially in this state, have horrible conditions…. I think it is a sad state of affairs when we have illegal aliens having a Medicaid card that can access specialist top physicians, the best of medical and our vets can’t even get to a doctor. These are the people that we tied yellow ribbons for and Bush patted on the back. If we don’t reenact the draft I don’t think we will have anyone to chase Bin Laden to the gates of hell.”
McCain, without hesitation, responded, “Ma’am, let me say that I don’t disagree with anything you said and thank you and I am grateful for your support of all of our veterans.”
In my mind a military draft is obscene. I’ve advocated staying in Iraq and Afghanistan until those countries are secured and the troops there are getting a raw deal in terms of extended tours, low pay, and poor conditions at the VA back home. But would a draft resolve any of those issues?
The military doesn’t think so. One big reason:
With a conscripted force comes higher personnel turnover, which results in substantial costs. Shorter enlistment terms, characteristic of a draft, result in high personnel turnover and a degradation in unit stability and performance. Also, high turnover means more recruits, and more recruits mean more supervision and training; and more training means more trainers. As a result, an increasing proportion of military resources are diverted from core readiness missions to support for military training. Thus, training costs would be higher under conscription.
If we’re unable to get enough volunteers, two causes are, in my view, primarily responsible:
- The compensation package, inclusive of pay, leave, training, and medical care, is not sufficient
- The mission(s) that predominate are not judged to be sufficiently important
Both of these reasons indicate failed policies on the part of the government, the former demonstrating that the true cost of the War on Terror is not being paid and the latter indicating that perhaps it is not desirable to fight it, at least in the form it’s being prosecuted now.
This is off the wall, but one way to get more volunteers would be to make public service compulsory – no exceptions – for 1 or 2 years at age 18. Given that a young person must serve, he/she might volunteer for the military over a domestic assignment if the inducements were adequate.