Patterico's Pontifications

11/21/2006

Is Conscription Slavery?

Filed under: Civil Liberties,Constitutional Law,Court Decisions,General,War — Patterico @ 6:53 am



Charlie Rangel is trying to reinstate the draft. But is the draft constitutional? A Second Hand Conjecture argues that it isn’t.

It’s not a frivolous argument. The Thirteenth Amendment says:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

As the linked blog post notes, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected the application of the Thirteenth Amendment to the draft — but the reasoning is less than stellar:

Finally, as we are unable to conceive upon what theory the exaction by government from the citizen of the performance of his supreme and noble duty of contributing to the defense of the rights and honor of the nation as the result of a war declared by the great representative body of the people can be said to be the imposition of involuntary servitude in violation of the prohibitions of the Thirteenth Amendment, we are constrained to the conclusion that the contention to that effect is refuted by its mere statement.

Translation: come on! The draft has gotta be constitutional!

It’s an interesting question. Is it reasonable to construe the language of the Thirteenth Amendment to prohibit other mandatory acts such as jury service or testimony in court? I think not.

On the other hand, those are fairly limited requirements. Military conscription imposes a much lengthier and more onerous obligation.

And I’m not one who believes in answering legal questions with non-arguments like “Come on! It has to be that way!” If you think the draft is necessary, but it’s unconstitutional, then pass an Amendment.

Ayn Rand thought the Thirteenth Amendment prohibited the draft. Was she right?

Is Charlie Rangel seeking to impose an unconstitutional form of slavery on the citizenry?

148 Responses to “Is Conscription Slavery?”

  1. My but you’re cute, Patterico! Imagine — a black man trying to reinstate slavery.

    Pull my other leg, it’s got bells on.

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  2. See my comments. I think think “c’mon, it has to be that way” is a lousy argument, but “c’mon, we know damned well that the framers of the Thirteenth Amendment agreed it has to be that way” is not. To argue that the Thirteenth Amendment prohibits the draft is a bit like arguing that the Eighteenth Amendment prohibits all punishments that the ACLU thinks are cruel and unusual.

    That said, I am comforted to know that after all these years, the Democrats are still the pro-slavery party.

    Xrlq (f52b4f)

  3. There is a plain-language issue you’re glossing over a bit. But maybe it’s in the other comment.

    Patterico (de0616)

  4. It’s pretty obvious to this non-lawyer that, taken at their plain meaning, the words of the Thirteenth Amendment prohibit a draft. It’s also pretty obvious to me that, conscription having been an accepted practice from at least the Civil War, if the people who drafted and passed the Thirteenth Amendment had thought that it prohibited the draft, that would have come up sometime in the last 130 years.

    In that respect, it’s sort of like marriage: Just as no one until recently has thought it necessary to specify that marriage needed to be defined legally as a union of a man and a woman because it was self-evident, so the draft has been excluded from the reach of the Thirteenth Amendment because it was obvious to everyone that it was.

    But, in a legal system where dancing in a titty bar is protected speech but criticizing government officials is a criminal offense, where penumbrae emanate from texts, only nine lawyers wearing black robes can say for sure what the Thirteenth Amendment means.

    Diffus (ead439)

  5. I wonder just hats wrong with CHUCKY RANGLE i mean it sounds like he is in need of having his head examened

    krazy kagu (aef0eb)

  6. If the draft is “involuntary servitude”, what about jury duty?

    Marshall (5a1ad7)

  7. I’ve thought about this a lot. My grandmother was ready to drive my uncle from New Mexico to Canada during Vietnam, but…

    I’m not sure I could do that. Which isn’t to say that I *want* to be a soldier, only that, in such a situation, I couldn’t live with letting the sons and daughters of other families suffer without making my own sacrifice.

    I think that raising the issue of the draft is perfectly timed. No more deferments this time. We would be out of Iraq faster than you could say “Conflict of Interest”, and we would be a hell of a lot more careful about what we got involved in in the future.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  8. What about the second amendment and U.S. Code : Title 10 : Section 311? We do have the unoffical militia, and all. I mean, not that the courts ever interpret either to mean what they say but I’d say those who can be drafted qualify as the unorganized militia.

    Just askin’.

    SayUncle (df1c8d)

  9. Rangel is a buffoon and a cheap demagogue seeking to recreate the turmoil of the ’60s and ’70s. Strictly speaking it can be argued that the draft is unconstitutional. It can be further argued that the Constitution is not a suicide pact. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. FDR used the Constitution for toilet paper. The constitution is regularly superceded in time of emergency.

    Mark (206a30)

  10. […] Some idiot wants to reinstate the draft. This prompted a discussion of whether or not the draft is constitutional based on the 13th amendment’s prohibition of involuntary servitude. […]

    SayUncle » Drafting legislation (9b413a)

  11. Seconding Marshall’s comment, I’d like to see a principled argument that treated jury duty differently than a military draft. See also “National Service.”

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  12. Hmm .. SayUncle, are you saying that those that “keep and bear arms” have already volunteered?

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  13. I’ve long been of the opinion that the thirteenth amendment prohibits the draft, but the idea seems to get no political traction. (Although it’s worth saying that I am not familiar with the legislative history, and so I don’t know if the authors said anything about the subject during the debates — which would be interesting, as it would shed some light on whether or not the language was intended to apply to a practice with which they were all familiar and which was highly topical at the time).

    I also think that straight men should challenge the selective service act on the grounds that the (effective) exemption for openly gay men constitutes unconstitutional discrimination against straight men. This is another idea which seems to get no political traction.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  14. “I also think that straight men should challenge the selective service act on the grounds that the (effective) exemption for openly gay men constitutes unconstitutional discrimination against straight men.”

    Now I find this absolutely fascinating. Could you elaborate please?

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  15. I don’t think Rangel is trying to institute the draft – he’s just being a smart ass. Having many friends in the various branches of the military I resent people like Rangel who speak of them as if they’re all a bunch of unwitting fools who didn’t know better. Having seen him on TV last night explaing his “reasoning” it runs along the lines of our military is comprised of men and women who are so destitute that the military was their only option – so let’s have a draft to get all of the rich kids involved.

    Let the Dems run on this platform in ’08.

    Larry (c7359c)

  16. No, I’m saying congress can call forth the militia and raise armies. Seems that pool would come from the militia, which is defined as able-bodies males between 17 and 45 who are citizens.

    SayUncle (c9f2d2)

  17. I know it is a different legal theory, but on average, Federal, State and Local govenments take about 8-12 years of your life via taxes.

    Perfectsense (1887e4)

  18. Oh God, I hope that isn’t a serious comment.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  19. I also think that straight men should challenge the selective service act on the grounds that the (effective) exemption for openly gay men constitutes unconstitutional discrimination against straight men. This is another idea which seems to get no political traction.

    Nor should it, as the only explicit constitutional bar to discrimination against anybody appears in the Fourteenth Amendment, which by its terms applies only to the states. But ever since Bolling v. Sharpe, the idea that anything in the Constitution means what it says hasn’t got much traction.

    Xrlq (f52b4f)

  20. If conscription can be defined as slavery, then compulsory public education is child slavery.

    mokus (c9b6a9)

  21. David: under current rules, an openly gay man cannot serve in the Army. Therefore, if selective service is ever activated, openly gay men will be exempt from the resultant draft. Which, if you are a straight man who doesn’t want to go to war, is unfair discrimination in favor of gay men who don’t want to go to war.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  22. Read Rumsfeld v. Fair (link, http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=000&invol=04-1152) for how the power of the Congress to raise armies trumps even that sacredest of the sacred, the First Amendment. Also the Sedition Cases from World War I. (Just google “sedition cases”).

    Xrlq, Comment #19:

    Why only the Fourteenth Amendment? If the question is whether we have one class of able-bodied, free, citizens who are entitled to bear arms on behalf of their country and one class which is not, I would first go to the Second Amendment but I can see how others might first go to the Privileges and Immunities Clause. (That’s a “come on” question, too, in my view. We got rid of the distinction between “gentlemen” who were entitled to bear arms and the rabble who were not sometime around 1776-1789. I think that’s one of the penumbras of the Second Amendment.)

    nk (bfc26a)

  23. That’s the way its always been aphrael, but pretty funny you’re considering it discrimination against straights.

    It’s the reason why I didn’t go to Vietnam, you know. The form they gave me at the draft board included the following question “Do you have homosexual tendencies?”

    In first grade I had “tendencies” By the mid-sixties they were a lot more than that. So I checked “yes.” I was supposed to go to the shrink next but they were backed up that day so they stamped me 4F and Voila! — I wasn’t sent halfway around the world to kill perfect strangers for no good reason.

    The desire of some gays and lesbians to join the military has always puzzled me. Yes it’s the “principle of the thing.” But so what? It’s not a “principle” I care to respect.

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  24. There are defenses for the draft vs the 13th amendment, but not for Rangel’s non-military service in his proposals. However, it is not slavery, but involuntary servitude.

    It’s also political theater, and that is the real reason Rangel keeps it up. That and it gets him the attention his ego craves.

    larry (336e87)

  25. And we all know how ego-free politicians are.

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  26. On topic: Patterico, Ayn Rand is for sophomores. For spoiled princesses who expect nurture and protection as a right and recognize no affirmative duty to the state, to society or to other individuals. Nietzsche for girls.

    nk (bfc26a)

  27. Larry, Comment #23:

    “Involuntary servitude” is a term of art for indenture and apprenticeship as it was practiced in America at the time of the Civil War and in England and its colonies before and after. Was it the “Slaughterhouse Cases”? There’s no traction there.

    nk (bfc26a)

  28. I agree with nk. Ayn Rand’s philosophy is a tool for denying human accountability to any higher power, be it God, Justice, the State, etc. Objectivism is the epitome of self-centeredness, a philosophy for those who desire an academic phrase for their own immaturity.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  29. nk is also right, I think, that the apparent inconsistency is due to conflating the words “servitude” and “service”, which sound similar, but mean quite different things.

    LagunaDave (4b029b)

  30. If we only read things at face value I feel we need to end women’s suffrage. They are suffering, we really need to stop that.
    Seriously though, this country allows people to have freedom to do almost anything. There should not be a need to draft because more people should be signing up to preserve all our rights.

    Paul Jones (cfee12)

  31. Aphrael, #12, I also think that straight men should challenge the selective service act on the grounds that the (effective) exemption for openly gay men constitutes unconstitutional discrimination against straight men. This is another idea which seems to get no political traction.

    I would argue that the case is even stronger if men, gay or straight, argued discrimination based on the fact that women are not drafted. After all, I believe there’s an “equal protection” clause in there somewhere, isn’t there?

    I would also argue that gay men are not discriminated in the draft unless they “tell”.

    Harry Arthur (5af33b)

  32. “There should not be a need to draft because more people should be signing up to preserve all our rights.”

    -Paul Jones

    We’re not “preserving” anything in this fight, Paul. I support a draft because it will wake people up, not because I think the government needs more troops in the “war on terror”.

    Leviticus (b987b0)

  33. There is a philosophical question of whether there is a need for a draft (citizen’s duties and responsibilities versus involuntary servitude, etc.).

    But from a practical perspective, the reality is that we do not need a draft. People seem to think the size of the military is set in stone, when it’s but a function of budgets and authorizations.

    In 1991, at the time of the invasion of Kuwait to boot out the Iraqis (the other “war for oil,” if you will), there were 18 divisions in the US Army, compared with 10 today.

    And, for those who don’t remember, there was no draft at the time, and hadn’t been one for nearly 15 years.

    Rangel and company know this—they’re just being asses. So, lessee if they vote to expand the Army, improve pay, and increase the budget. Odds, anyone?

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  34. Yes, Leviticus, there’s a need to “wake people up,” no doubt because of the “rush to war.”

    Funny, but at the same time, the Dems touted this recent election as being “about Iraq,” and argue that they took a majority of both Houses for that reason (although apparently not enough to unseat Lieberman).

    Just how much more waking is needed? Or by “wake people up” do you mean “get them to agree with me“?

    Lurking Observer (ea88e8)

  35. Harry: You are probably right that women not being drafted is a stronger case.

    And you are sort of right that it only matters if you “tell” … but there are a lot of eighteen year olds now who are openly gay.

    Besides which, my argument was that the law discriminates *in favor* of gay men who effectively cannot be drafted. :)

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  36. Wake up call for what?? And I did not say War on Terror. For people to understand what freedom of speach means they need to get their ass in the Army and find out what it means not to have it.

    Paul Jones (cfee12)

  37. Conscription wasn’t common during the original drafting of the Constitution. It came later wit Napoleon. Professionals supported by volunteers were the order of the day.

    The Fathers weren’t all seeing. They didn’t see other nations more or less doing forced conscription and the need to reply with force conscription as well in order to survive. Also, who wouldn’t rise to the defense of their country? “Dissent” was called cowardice in those days too. So it absence wasn’t necessary an intentional repudiation of the concept. They just had little to no concept of it or its need period.

    jpm100 (851d24)

  38. “Just how much more waking is needed? Or by “wake people up” do you mean “get them to agree with me“?”

    -Lurking Observer

    There’s a difference between voting for a Democrat and marching in the streets (which you *know* will happen if a draft is instated).

    People will tolerate an unjust war until its consequences affect them directly. You think its bad now? Wait until parents start getting their conscripted sons back in body bags. This is Rangel’s intention, and you know it. Why do you decry it? Because it will get us out of a war?

    Were the protests in the ’60s and ’70s wrong?

    Leviticus (b987b0)

  39. “…I did not say War on Terror. For people to understand what freedom of speach means they need to get their ass in the Army and find out what it means not to have it.”

    -Paul Jones

    I know you didn’t say “war on terror”. I wasn’t quoting you; I was quoting the government.

    Insofar as “what freedom of speach [sic]” means, I thought the phrase was fairly self-explanatory: the freedom to say what you think. Do you have some magic military definition that I don’t know about? Or, more politely (my apologies), could you elaborate?

    Leviticus (b987b0)

  40. Make love not war!

    Even if you have to hold the electorate hostage to do it!

    OHNOES (22a999)

  41. I cannot seem to post.

    OHNOES (22a999)

  42. My opinion has been expressed by others but I’ll add it anyway: It is revisionist to construe the Constitution’s ban on “involuntary servitude” to apply to the draft when that’s not what involuntary servitude meant at the time the Constitution was drafted. There may be similarities between conscription and involuntary servitude but there are also meaningful differences, not the least of which is the state’s interest in having the draft option available in time of war.

    Involuntary servitude did little if anything to benefit the state – it was primarily a contractual or debtor’s mechanism between patron and servant for economic reasons. The draft has a national security component that places it in a different category.

    DRJ (8c00f0)

  43. Moral of Leviticus’s posts: Make love not war, even if you have to hold the electorate hostage to do it!

    hwo do u psot (22a999)

  44. Yeah. Do you think members of the military can say what they think? Do did you know the government can enter their homes whenever they want? Did you know the military regulates the right to own guns? What about due process? Third amendment? What the members of the military are sworn to defend does not even apply to them. You know little things like the Bill of Rights and Constitution.

    Paul Jones (cfee12)

  45. Charley Rangel is using the Draft as a Boogeyman to the Rich in order to gain support for ‘cut and run.’ He is also trying to hold the children of the rich hostage with the a figurative gun (draft proposal) pointed at their heads.
    He is a thug.
    I can’t believe that anyone takes his notions seriously.
    He has claimed that African-Americans are ‘cannon fodder’ even in the volunteer Army. Regardless of the fact that 5-6% of total forces are African American while the population on the whole is 15-17%.
    The guy is a whack-job. File him with Jesse Jackson and move on!

    paul from fl (001f65)

  46. Most amusing that you should let a “wack job” get under your skin this way, paul.

    Yes he’s “trying to hold the children of the rich hostage”

    ROTFALMAO!!!!!

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  47. David Ehrenstein — can you explain further?

    Paul Jones (cfee12)

  48. Rangel’s proposal includes women, so there’s no exceptions for anyone anywhere. The reasoning is obvious: this isn’t about “providing for the common defense” or to build a better military; it’s to make war uncomfortable for the people Rangel thinks are getting away without pulling their “fair share.”

    Unfortunately for Rangel, that’s about 90% of Americans, since it’s only about 10% who join the services these days. And they are neither poor nor minority if you look at the figures. They are better educated and more diverse.

    The draft proposal will go nowhere because 70% of Americans oppose a draft. It’s just that simple. But I hope Rangel gets his law passed because it will be really simple to revoke it in 2008 when Republicans regain Congress because of this complete stupidity.

    So, go ahead! Plan a draft! But prepare for the wilderness while you do it.

    sharon (dfeb10)

  49. Yes one must never do anything to disturb the children of the rich. After all they’re the Chosen of God, aren’t they? Just look at George W. Bush and what a splendid job he’s doing. Why it was downright impertinent to even ask him to serve in the National Guard! He was born with Leadership Skills, was he not?

    The Rich are better than the rest of us.

    The proof?

    Why they’ve got all the money, haven’t they?

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  50. Little Boy Levi writes:

    People will tolerate an unjust war until its consequences affect them directly.

    “Unjust” according to whom? You? Saddam Hussein? And besides, what makes you think that tactics to intentional bugger up an “unjust” war won’t go just as far to erode public support for a “just” one?

    You think its [sic] bad now? Wait until parents start getting their conscripted sons back in body bags. This is Rangel’s intention, and you know it. Why do you decry it?

    For the same reason every decent human being does: because it is a despicable tactic, as you’ll figure out yourself some day, if/when you grow up.

    Because it will get us out of a war?

    “Will” implies that this asinine proposal will become policy, which of course it won’t. But if you really think biting off one’s nose to spite one’s face is a sound government policy, why stop with a draft? Why not require our soldiers to make do with daggers, spears or pea-shooters? That’ll get a lot more of ’em killed in a hurry, which in turn should make the war even less popular and get us out of there faster than any mere draft ever could. By your logic, that must be a good thing, right?

    Were the protests in the ’60s and ’70s wrong?

    I don’t know. Why don’t you ask the millions in Southeast Asia who got murdered shortly after the protesters finally got what they wanted?

    Xrlq (f52b4f)

  51. Oh sure you do, Xrlq.

    The protests of the 60’s and 70’s disturbed the powers that be and as we all know that’s just wrong.

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  52. Sharon: I think there’s a reasonable argument which can be made that the relationship between a democratic society and the military which serves it is fundamentally altered when only part of the society participates in the military, and that it becomes easier for a democratic society to go to war when the distance between it and the military is greater. There are two vivid forks to the argument: one has to do with the way universal service alters the society itself, and one is an economic argument about how it is easier to make decisions that impose costs on other people than it is to make decisions which impose costs on yourself or on members of your tribe.

    That said, it is one thing to make those arguments in an academic, theoretical setting. It is quite another to attempt to enact policy based upon those arguments, without taking into account the havoc that the draft wreaks on the lives of those drafted, and without understanding the difference between universal public service and selected at random public service.

    The fact that Rangel is pushing this means he has completely lost touch with why the draft was abolished in the first place: the public no longer wanted it. It no longer wanted it because it made the direct cost to members of the public of state policy too high — ironically, precisely the reason he wishes it to be reinstated.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  53. Aphrael,

    There was an interesting book on the subject of America and the military discussed on some talk show about a year ago (is that vague enough? :P) & I think the authors were making a similar point (I agree with a lot what you say, btw). Their point was that before Vietnam, most Americans either served in the military for some period of time or had relatives who did. This changed the way Americans tended to look at war and how much they would support it. I wish I could google up the book, but I can’t find it. :(

    I think there’s another big difference, though. Before the 20th century, we fought the wars on our own soil mostly, so I think people were more cautious anyway.

    sharon (dfeb10)

  54. MAKE LOVE NOT WAR… even if you have to hold the electorate hostage to do so.

    OHNOES (f5790e)

  55. “Why don’t you ask the millions in Southeast Asia who got murdered shortly after the protesters finally got what they wanted?”

    -Xrlq

    Why don’t you ask the 3-5 million who were killed as a result of US carpet-bombing, jackass.

    Leviticus (68eff1)

  56. Why don’t you ask your mom?

    Paul Jones (cfee12)

  57. Patterico, are you blocking one of my comments?

    Leviticus (68eff1)

  58. “…they are neither poor nor minority if you look at the figures”

    -sharon

    You are full of shit.

    I don’t care what the Heritage Foundation says.

    Leviticus (68eff1)

  59. Wow. Third time I’ve tried to post something that could be perceived as offensive and it hasn’t worked. What’s the deal? My other comments are going through…

    Leviticus (68eff1)

  60. The fact that Rangel is pushing this means he has completely lost touch with why the draft was abolished in the first place: the public no longer wanted it. It no longer wanted it because it made the direct cost to members of the public of state policy too high — ironically, precisely the reason he wishes it to be reinstated.

    Aphrael,

    I’m not sure I completely agree with your statement. I agree that Rangel has lost touch and that the public no longer wants a draft, but I don’t agree that American leaders oppose the draft because it was too costly on a personal/family level. I think it’s more accurate to say that they realized it was too costly on a political level to support the draft.

    In other words, I don’t think the draft went away because rich people feared losing their sons to the draft. I think it went away because the leaders thought they would lose elections because voters feared losing their sons to the draft. Perhaps this is what you meant but I don’t think so, and I think there is a difference.

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  61. “…they are neither poor nor minority if you look at the figures”

    -sharon

    You are full of shit.

    I don’t care what the Heritage Foundation says.

    Leviticus (68eff1)

  62. It should be obvious to all by now that Rangel wasn’t being serious. He did this to yank y’all’s chain. Nothing more. He knows there are no votes for such a thing. But he also knows that our volunteer military is stretched to the breaking point.

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  63. Hmmm. Maybe the thing wouldn’t post because I had three links in a row (“full”, “of”, and “shit”…it loses a little in the translation).

    Anyway… the other links are here and here.

    Weird.

    Leviticus (68eff1)

  64. Hmmm. Maybe there was something wrong with one of the links I tried to post. There were three, originally, and since I excluded two of them, this thing has worked fine.

    My apologies, P.

    Anyway, here are URLs for the other two:

    http://www.truthout.org/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi/37/10130

    http://www.isteve.com/2003_Soldiers_Poor_Minority.htm

    Leviticus (68eff1)

  65. You can hear what rangel has to say about all of this by going to http://www.wegoted.com

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  66. It’s a volunteer military, Leviticus you jackass. And considering the variety of dumbass comments you’ve left, I wouldn’t be surprised that some of them have gotten hung up in the filter.

    sharon (dfeb10)

  67. “In 2002 (the most recent year for which official data have been compiled), 182,000 people enlisted in the U.S. military. Of these recruits, 16 percent were African-American. By comparison, blacks constituted 14 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds in the U.S. population overall. In other words, black young men and women are only slightly over-represented among new enlistees. Hispanics, for their part, are under-represented, comprising just 11 percent of recruits, compared with 16 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds.

    “Looking at the military as a whole, not just at those who signed up in a single year, blacks do represent a disproportionate share—22 percent of all U.S. armed forces. By comparison, they make up 13 percent of 18-to-44-year-old civilians. The difference is that blacks re-enlist at a higher rate than whites. (Hispanics remain under-represented: 10 percent of all armed forces, as opposed to 14 percent of 18-to-44-year-old civilians.)

    “Still, the military’s racial mix is more diverse than it used to be. In 1981, African-Americans made up 33 percent of the armed forces. So, over the past two decades, their share has diminished by one-third. This decline began in the mid-’80s, when the military decided no longer to accept re-enlistments from soldiers who scored low on the aptitude test.

    “As a result, the scores have risen since the ’80s. More than that, the aptitude of U.S. military personnel now exceeds that of American civilians.”

    “Other indicators confirm this impression. The average recruit has an 11th-grade reading level; the average civilian can read at a 10th-grade level. Nearly all recruits—97 percent of female, 94 percent of male—graduated from high school; 79 percent of civilians have high-school diplomas. Officers are better-educated still: All are now required to have college degrees.

    “In short, today’s armed forces are not the downtrodden, ethnically lopsided social rejects that they tended to be after the Vietnam War, when the all-volunteer military came into being.”

    http://www.slate.com/id/2102858/

    sharon (dfeb10)

  68. Notice the fervent longing for the heady days of protest, when anti-war demonstrators took to the streets in designer bell bottoms and tie-dyed T shirts. We were young then, pot was cheap, the chicks were frisky, and best of all they thought we were really hot stuff.

    It was a great time, no wonder so many who missed it want a second chance. The desire to “Wake people up” is code for having another go at it. Notice the unconcealed yearning expressed in #39.

    They can’t get it out of their minds, either the young who were born too late, or the old fools who were around then but didn’t have the guts to tune in, turn on, and drop out.

    The latter, like Charlie Rangle, are by far the most pathetic. For today’s youth it’s just a case of the grass is greener, their professors are full of wondrous tales, but for Rangle’s lot it’s the remorse of a lifetime. They got to the front of the line, rubbed shoulders with the Zeitgeist, felt the electric jolt, experienced Tao, but were frightened away. They withdrew to sit out the great storm, but survived to pick up the pieces. But its not enough, not nearly enough.

    Now, young and old alike seek to recreate the preconditions which produced the cataclysm. They want another chance at the chicks and the brass ring, they want their life and time to have meaning, they want to be relevant. And the draft is their holy grail. That’s their ticket back to the future.

    This time, they tell themselves, this time they’ll step up to the plate. Make a difference, change the world. This time. Yeah, right on.

    mokus (c9b6a9)

  69. Aphrael wrote:

    (U)nder current rules, an openly gay man cannot serve in the Army. Therefore, if selective service is ever activated, openly gay men will be exempt from the resultant draft. Which, if you are a straight man who doesn’t want to go to war, is unfair discrimination in favor of gay men who don’t want to go to war.

    Having been pushing draft age during the Vietnam War, I remember all sorts of things we were told we could do to fail a military physical and “beat” the draft, but French kissing the sergeant was never mentioned! :)

    Dana (e7aa47)

  70. Aphrael wrote:

    You are probably right that women not being drafted is a stronger case.

    Doesn’t the fact that the Equal Rights Amendment was submitted to teh states for ratification, but was rejected, carry some weight? After all, when the proposal to eliminate all legal distinctions between the sexes was submitted to democratic action to add it to the Constitution, the people decided not to do so.

    Dana (e7aa47)

  71. You haven’t responded to “poor” and I never said “uneducated” (although I *could* argue that being able to read at an 11th grade level hardly indicates intellectual superiority [I could read at this level when I was about 10 years old]).

    Also, you’re overlooking the fact that this article is based off a report put out by the Department of Defense; not exactly an unbiased source.

    Finally, you are assuming that a high score on a military aptitude test (the AFQT) indicates something other than fitting the profile the military is looking for.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  72. Mr X wrote:

    Why don’t you ask the millions in Southeast Asia who got murdered shortly after the protesters finally got what they wanted?

    Why, Xrlq, I’m ashamed of you, asking such a hard question! It’s just unfair of you to point out things like that.

    Dana (e7aa47)

  73. Why don’t you ask the millions in Southeast Asia who got murdered shortly after the protesters finally got what they wanted?

    Don’t stop there either. Move on to the dead in central america too. Maybe there’s some other places in the world to visit on our ghoul tour?

    actus (10527e)

  74. As much as I hate to bring this up around sharon, mokus, I wasn’t even a concept in the ’60s and ’70s.
    But protest worked then, and I think that protest would work now. Is that such an offensive thing to believe, especially considering the EXTREME similarities between Iraq and Vietnam?

    Leviticus (43095b)

  75. Notice the fervent longing for the heady days of protest, when anti-war demonstrators took to the streets in designer bell bottoms and tie-dyed T shirts.

    Were they really designer bell bottoms?

    actus (10527e)

  76. There were only designer bellbottoms in his “conservative” fantasies.

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  77. There was a lot of ferevnt longing back then — but not for what you imagine.

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  78. Leviticus #58 …

    Minor problem with the article you cite … well, 2 problems, actually …

    1) It’s the WaPo – DC’s best equivalent to the LATimes …

    2) “Many of today’s recruits are financially strapped, with nearly half coming from lower-middle-class to poor households, according to new Pentagon data based on Zip codes and census estimates of mean household income.” {my emphasis} – in traditional English language usage, that says that more than half are from the richer households … sorta refutes one of your putative premises, now, don’t it just?

    Alasdair (0c1945)

  79. The rich have many options. The poor very few. Social inequality exists.

    Not that you care.

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  80. You haven’t responded to “poor” and I never said “uneducated” (although I *could* argue that being able to read at an 11th grade level hardly indicates intellectual superiority [I could read at this level when I was about 10 years old]).

    Also, you’re overlooking the fact that this article is based off a report put out by the Department of Defense; not exactly an unbiased source.

    Finally, you are assuming that a high score on a military aptitude test (the AFQT) indicates something other than fitting the profile the military is looking for.

    Leviticus, you’re an elitist ass. And a silly one to boot.
    What profile should we test our soldiers by? The “Mommas-Boys-who-had-their-college-playtime-paid-for.” Profile?
    And whose information should we look to when researching the demographic of the Armed Forces? The LAT?
    Yeeesh
    whadda putz

    paul from fl (967602)

  81. I just love it that the Dems have now shown their true colors quickly to the bozos who stupidly voted them into power. The young voters who stepped up to the voter’s booth in droves to vote Lefty now will pay the price. Ho-Ho-Ho.

    Craig C (56a46d)

  82. Would that I were able to claim the following words as my own. They were the words of Ayn Rand in her collection of essays entitled: “CAPITALISM; The Unknown Ideal, Pg. 226, “The Wreckage of the Consensus.”

    “Of all the statist violation of individual rights in a mixed economy, the military draft is the worst. It is an abrogation of rights. It negates man’s fundamental right–the right to life–and establishes the fundamental principle of statism: that a man’s life belongs to the state and the state may claim it by compelling him to sacrifice it in battle. Once that principle is accepted, the rest is only a matter of time.

    If the state may force a man to risk death or hideous maiming and crippling, in a war declared at the state’s discretion, for a cause he may neither approve of nor even understand, if his consent is not required to send him in! to unspeakable martyrdom–then, in principle, all rights are negated in that state, and its government is not man’s protector any longer. What else is there left to protect.

    The most immoral contradiction–in the chaos of today’s anti-ideological groups–is that of the so-called “conservatives,” who posture as defenders of individual rights, particularly property rights, but uphold and advocate the draft. By what infernal evasion can they hope to justify the proposition that creatures who have no right to life, have the right to a bank account? A slightly higher–though not much higher–rung of hell should be reserved for those “liberals” who claim that man has the “right” to economic security, public housing, medical care, education, recreation, but no right to life, or: that man has the right to livelihood but not life.

    One of the notions used by all sides to justify the draft, is that “rights impose obligations.” Obligations, to whom?-and imposed, by whom? Ideologically, that notion is worse than the evil it attempts to justify: it implies that rights are a gift from the state, and that a man has to buy them by offering something (his life) in return. Logically, that notion is a contradiction: since the only proper function of a government is to protect man’s rights, it cannot claim title to his life in exchange for that protection.

    The only “obligation” involved in individual rights is an obligation imposed, not by the state, but by the nature of reality (i.e., by the law of identity): consistency, which in this case, means the obligation to respect the rights of others, if one wishes one’s own rights to be recognized and protected.

    Politically, the draft is clearly unconstitutional. No amount of rationalization, neither by the Supreme Court nor by individuals, can alter the fact that it represents “involuntary servitude.”

    A volunteer army is the only proper, moral–and practical–way to defend a free country. Should a man volunteer to fight, if his country is attacked?! Yes–if he values his own rights and freedom. A free (or even semi-free) country has never lacked volunteers in the face of foreign aggression. Many military authorities have testified that a volunteer army–an army of men who know what they are fighting for and why–is the best, most effective army, and that a drafted one is the least effective.

    It is often asked; “But what if a country cannot find a sufficient number of volunteers?” Even so, this would not give the rest of the population a right to the lives of the country’s young men. But, in fact, the lack of volunteers occurs for one of two reasons; (1) If a country is demoralized by a corrupt, authoritarian government, it’s citizens will not volunteer to defend it. But neither will they fight for long, if drafted. For example, observe the literal disintegration of the Czarist Russian army in world War 1. (2) If a country’s government undertakes to fight a war for some reason other than self-defense, for a purpose which the citizens neither share not understand, it will not find many volunteers. Thus a volunteer army is one of the best protectors of peace, not only against foreign aggression, but also against any warlike ideologies or projects on the part of a country’s own government.

    Not many men would volunteer for such wars as Korea or Vietnam. Without the power to draft, the maker of our foreign policy would not be able to embark on adventures of that kind. This is one of the best practical reasons for the abolition (or not for the re-institution) of the draft.”

    Jim Galloway (835ba0)

  83. The Third Book of Moses wrote:

    As much as I hate to bring this up around sharon, mokus, I wasn’t even a concept in the ’60s and ’70s. But protest worked then, and I think that protest would work now. Is that such an offensive thing to believe, especially considering the EXTREME similarities between Iraq and Vietnam?

    Worked to do what, Levi? Yes, it worked to get us to cut and run seek “Peace with Honor,” and to negotiate a peace treaty with the oh-so-honorable Communists, who we just knew had every intention of keeping it.

    Well, I’ve had Vietnamese and Cambodian friends, Levi, and they all had one thing in common: they risked their lives to get away from the Communists in Vietnam and Cambodia, which wasn’t such a bad idea, given that remaining in those workers’ paradises was also a risking of one’s life.

    The best thing that can be said about the Vietnamese Communists is that they didn’t kill as many people as the Khmer Rouge.

    Getting out of vietnam was a good deal for us; it wasn’t nearly as good a deal for the people who couldn’t leave.

    Dana (e7aa47)

  84. actus, early on you had to get surplus US Navy bells with the 13 button front flap, which could be inconvenient, or else find a hippy chick to sew inserts and bottom bands on regular Levis: 4 bucks a pop plus labor.

    Not all were designer bell bottoms, but by 1968 you could pick up a nifty pair at Sears for well under 7 bucks. Colored T shirts, with a pocket, ran about 3 for 5 dollars, and tie-dye was still a diy job.

    I had a studio apartment in Pasadena for $65/mo. A gourmet hamburger (1/4 pounder with blue cheese and pepperoncini on a sesame seed bun) was $1.25 and gas was about 42 cents/gal although on holiday weekends it jumped up close to 50 cents.

    The first time gas went over 50 cents, Thanksgiving ’68, it was almost as big a shock as the Kennedy assassination. Well, yes, I’m overstating it to make the point. It was a very big deal and a harbinger of things to come. The world had changed, and not for the better.

    Leviticus, thanks pal, there are a few old dogs breathing a sigh of relief about now. As to your question about similarities, I just don’t see it.

    BTW, a word to the wise, tone it down a bit, especially with the women, and remember you’ll never go wrong being polite. You’re a smart kid and if you don’t disqualify yourself, you can run with the big dogs. It’s up to you.

    mokus (c9b6a9)

  85. You just gotta love Randroids. They remind you so much of four-year olds.

    nk (d7a872)

  86. Mokus remembered:

    Not all were designer bell bottoms, but by 1968 you could pick up a nifty pair at Sears for well under 7 bucks. Colored T shirts, with a pocket, ran about 3 for 5 dollars, and tie-dye was still a diy job.

    Man, Levi’s boot cut flares worked just fine. Of course, being in Kentucky, I might not have been cool enough for the West Coasters.

    Dana (e7aa47)

  87. Since the Congress has the power to raise armies, and to provide for their organization and rules, its limitations on who can serve are completely separate from the Draft question. Since gays cannot serve, their exclusion from the draft is meaningless.

    Women, however, would probably be eligible for any modern draft. They might, however, be less frequently selected for service, due to the current limitations on how they can serve. These limitations could also change, of course. But do not need to — Congress’ call.

    I think we need to remember that the ERA did *not* pass, and judicial ratification of a failed amendment is the height of activism.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  88. Since gays cannot serve, their exclusion from the draft is meaningless.

    Hunh? Are we to take it that the gays and lesbians who served in the military were meaningless?

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  89. I was cybering with this girl one time, and she wouldn’t let me go all the way, so I raped her.

    [If there’s a point to that comment, I missed it. Please explain it or stop making comments. — P]

    David Moon (8896c0)

  90. We do not need to have a 13th Amendment fight over a possible draft re-instatement, when we can go down to our local city-hall (in a lot of cases) and find everything we need for that fight.
    Most local codes require home-owners to install and maintain at their expense, landscaping on city land (the dreaded parking strip between the sidewalk and curb). Underlying that requirement, is the stick of possible misdemeaner charges/penalties for failure to do so.
    As the proverbial non-lawyer, I find these requirements to be, if not over-the-line, then right up against it as to involuntary servitude, and the question of due-process.
    As a small-L libertarian, I find that Ayn Rand was often over-the-top; but, like a blind pig, she often found a truffle.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  91. David — Yeah, I been there man

    Paul (8896c0)

  92. Dana, in those days no one much cared where someone was from, almost everyone was from somewhere else, and everyone was cool.

    The guys who got respect were the ones who could carry their own weight, hold their mud, and were kind to women, children, and old folks.

    The bar was set high, the prize was everything a young man might want, and opportunity was blowin’ in the wind.
    As for boot cut flares, they didn’t show up on my radar until about the same time camel stomppers replaced square toe cowboy boots.

    mokus (c9b6a9)

  93. What a fantastic post Patterico. It’s a hilarious predicament.

    But remember: if you build in even one exception to a moral absolute, i.e., “apart from conscription,” then you’ve fallen head-first into that malevolent pit called “moral relativism.”

    Psyberian (21f2f0)

  94. You haven’t responded to “poor” and I never said “uneducated” (although I *could* argue that being able to read at an 11th grade level hardly indicates intellectual superiority [I could read at this level when I was about 10 years old]).

    Someone else addressed this already. If nearly half come from poor and lower middle class households, that means more than half come from wealthier homes. The next time you’re reading something with statistics like this, you might like to look at the flip side, as we used to say, before you go spouting the numbers.

    Also, I can read at much higher than the average American’s ability, as can (most likely) most posters here. But it’s what one does with that ability that counts. Like reading the stats and figuring out what they aren’t saying in a story.

    Also, you’re overlooking the fact that this article is based off a report put out by the Department of Defense; not exactly an unbiased source.

    Please. You must be one of the 5 people who still think the NYT and WaPo are unbiased sources. Yes, I will take the numbers from the Defense Dept. when they tell us what sorts of recruits they are getting.

    Finally, you are assuming that a high score on a military aptitude test (the AFQT) indicates something other than fitting the profile the military is looking for.

    And exactly what profile are military recruits supposed to fit?

    sharon (dfeb10)

  95. Well, actually, Psyberian … could you tell me one thing about human beings that is absolute?

    nk (8214ee)

  96. Patterico,

    Let’s compare your Thirteenth Amendmnet/conscription question to the Second Amendment/gun control argument. The Second Amendment guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Assuming that this an individual right, how can there be any restrictions on gun ownership under the Second Amendment? Yet there are – in general you can’t carry a gun in specific public places; the right to a gun is restricted if you are a felon; and some types of guns are prohibited altogether. Of course, some argue that we shouldn’t have individual Second Amendment rights or that all guns should be prohibited, but if you believe in the Second Amendment as an individual right, how can you tolerate any restriction on gun ownership?

    I think the law applies a compelling state interest analysis to decide that some restrictions on gun ownership can limit the Second Amendment. Perhaps the same analysis applies here: The draft is permissible because the state has a compelling interest in compulsory service to provide for national security.

    DRJ (8c00f0)

  97. Levit, my “MAKE LOVE NOT WAR” post was being blocked for the longest time, too.

    Why don’t you ask the 3-5 million who were killed as a result of US carpet-bombing, jackass.

    3-5 million… NO BILLION… TRILLION! TRY US FOR GENOCIDE! THEY’VE KILLED MORE PEOPLE THAN EXIST ON PLANET EARTH!

    OHNOES (f5790e)

  98. NK, that’s actually my point. I’m not being sarcastic.

    Moral relativism isn’t chosen, it just presents itself when two competing morals contradict each other.

    Psyberian (21f2f0)

  99. If it seems to you folks that David Ehrenstein is being uncharacteristically polite, that’s because all his posts are going into moderation. Most are getting approved, but some arent (e.g. comments that call another commenter “creep” or suggest I’m a racist or the like).

    You can see that I’m not censoring them for political content, just offensiveness.

    Patterico (de0616)

  100. Psyberian,

    Basically, I just don’t like the term “moral relavitism” at all. I have not seen it as anything other than a catch-phrase by moralizing, authoritarian demagogues who want to replace thought with slogans. Present company excepted. The people I am talking about seem to me to want to incite, if not hatred, at least extreme anger at people who do not follow their code of conduct. And as far as I’m concerned, they can shove it. Picking and choosing whom I hate and whom I am angry at is something I am perfectly capable of doing by myself. I suppose the “picking and choosing” is what would make me a “moral relativist” in their eyes.

    nk (06f5d0)

  101. What a fantastic post Patterico. It’s a hilarious predicament.

    Not really, because Rangel doesn’t really want to enact the draft.

    actus (10527e)

  102. Actus, #102:

    We already know that. Hastert handed Rangel his head in 2004 when he brought up his bill for a vote and Rangel himself voted against it. We are just sitting around the campfire talking.

    nk (57e995)

  103. Patterico #100.

    Thank you.

    DRJ (8c00f0)

  104. Why don’t you ask the 3-5 million who were killed as a result of US carpet-bombing, jackass.

    Two reasons. For one thing, all the protesting in the world didn’t do a f’ing thing to save them. For another, most of them don’t even exist. The entire war claimed about 2.5 million Southeast Asian lives, if that, and no, not everybody who died in ‘Nam died as a result of US carpet-bombing or US anything-else. Contrary to popular opinion, the VC killed some people in that war, too. Of course, I don’t expect you to know that, seeing as you are the same guy who thought it was a smart idea to link to a white supremacist and the site that reported Karl Rove’s indictment as proof that someone else was “full of shit.”

    Xrlq (58820f)

  105. Laws requiring child support and laws prohibiting child neglect violate the Thirteenth Amendment. Involuntarily serving children is unconstitutional, I tell you!

    And so is requiring kids to mow the lawn and take out the trash. It works both ways, you see.

    Andrew (54ec03)

  106. We are just sitting around the campfire talking.

    Exactly. Thats what rangel wants.

    actus (10527e)

  107. for those who have made comments about “founder’s original intent” this wasnt the founders. this amendment (13th) was passed after the Civil War, in which there was conscription. so surely during the debate on this amendment whether or not it would outlaw the draft came up. shouldnt be too hard for someone ambitious or bored to look up the floor speeches and see what the drafter of the amendment and the legislators that passed it meant by involuntary servitude.

    chas (dd81e5)

  108. Actus,

    Please. Do you truly believe that Charles Rangel should introduce legislation simply because he wants the American people to think about a serious issue? Not only would that be unlikely – about as likely as asking a football coach to try a play his team never practiced, just to see what would happen. Congress isn’t supposed to be a theoretical debate. Legislators should introduce legislation because they want it to pass, not because they want it to fail.

    DRJ (8c00f0)

  109. Legislators should introduce legislation because they want it to pass, not because they want it to fail.

    I never read that rule anywhere. Seems kind of dumb to me.

    actus (10527e)

  110. No dumber than reinstituting the draft as a conversation starter.

    sharon (dfeb10)

  111. “I never read that rule anywhere. Seems kind of dumb to me. ”

    Actus apparently believes that wasting the taxpayers’ dollars crafting legislation that is deliberately meant to go nowhere is a good thing.

    Rangel should focus his efforts on introducing legislation that can be seriously considered, not practicing for the high school debate club.

    Chris (926a19)

  112. Mr. Rangel may be on the national stage but at election time he needs only to appeal to a very small group in Harlem to be reelected. Not to be too unkind, his constituents are disproportionately poor, disadvantaged and uneducated, and also disproportionately disqualified for service in the armed forces due to felony convictions, drug addictions and inability to read the written test. And it’s all rich, white America’s fault. When he tells them that he wants to interrupt the education of rich white kids and maybe even send them off to war, his constituents applaud and don’t wonder why their lives have remained just as miserable in the thirty-plus years that they have been sending him to Washington.

    nk (d5dd10)

  113. No dumber than reinstituting the draft as a conversation starter.

    But its not going to be reinstituted, thats not what he’s trying to do, nor what is being done. Havent you noticed that?

    Actus apparently believes that wasting the taxpayers’ dollars crafting legislation that is deliberately meant to go nowhere is a good thing.

    Sure, congress deliberates. They do oversight, they hold hearings. Could that be wasteful at times? Sure. But in the overall sense of how much government costs, I think its pretty cheap.

    Rangel should focus his efforts on introducing legislation that can be seriously considered, not practicing for the high school debate club.

    You’ll notice its not just him thats debating. we’ve done some serious consideration here on the issue of how military burdens are spread and how to meet the needs of our armed forces. Another way to do so is to have hearings and get testimony. All part of congress legislating.

    actus (10527e)

  114. Our esteemed host wrote:

    If it seems to you folks that David Ehrenstein is being uncharacteristically polite, that’s because all his posts are going into moderation. Most are getting approved, but some arent (e.g. comments that call another commenter “creep” or suggest I’m a racist or the like).

    You can see that I’m not censoring them for political content, just offensiveness.

    Well, it’s your site, sir, but I’m of the opinion that the type of posts from the honorable Mr Ehrenstein that you have withheld do his arguments more harm than good. The ad hominem attack has always been indicative of having few other weapons.

    Dana (3e4784)

  115. Finally, you are assuming that a high score on a military aptitude test (the AFQT) indicates something other than fitting the profile the military is looking for.

    The Armed Forces Qualifying Test covers Arithmetic Reasoning, Word Knowledge, Paragraph Comprehension and Mathematics Knowledge — it is as real and valid as the SAT, and primarily a test of IQ. It is not filled with questions about guns and killing people. It is not designed to make stupid or naive people look smart so the military can hire idiots, or deny that it is doing so.

    DWPittelli (87ad39)

  116. All I know is that I’m in it for the money.

    Oh yeah, gimme that sweet sweet $33K.

    Army Lawyer (498217)

  117. Well, it’s your site, sir, but I’m of the opinion that the type of posts from the honorable Mr Ehrenstein that you have withheld do his arguments more harm than good. The ad hominem attack has always been indicative of having few other weapons.

    “the honorable Mr Ehrenstein” . . .

    I used to be complimented when you called me the “esteemed” host. Now I’m wondering if you’re like the guy on Seinfeld who called the baby “breathtaking.”

    Patterico (de0616)

  118. “If nearly half come from poor and lower middle class households, that means more than half come from wealthier homes. The next time you’re reading something with statistics like this, you might like to look at the flip side, as we used to say, before you go spouting the numbers.”

    -sharon

    Okay, sharon. Since you seem so reluctant to believe that one of the most difficult jobs in the world is not readily volunteered for by those with other options, here’s an AVERAGE…

    “White enlistees tend to come from households somewhat lower in income than the general white population: $33,500 per year versus $44,400 for the average white”

    -An apparent white supremacist, according to Xrlq

    That’s an average. Therefore, that’s a fairly reasonable indicator, is it not?

    Thank you for pointing out that 44% is less than 50%, though. I am indebted to you. Now allow me to point out my own blindingly obvious truth: just because someone is richer than “poor” doesn’t make them “rich”.

    As for the “white supremacist” thing, that’s hilarious. I linked to this site because it was run by a conservative (you know, for balance) and it turns out he’s a racist. I’d never even heard of the guy. What did he do to deserve such a title?

    Truthout.org linked you to a story by the LA Times (which is probably worse in your eyes, but we can’t please everyone). Read the byline next time.

    I’ve gone through the ASVAB. It’s like the standardized tests they give in high school. It wasn’t my implication that the tests asked questions about “shooting people” or anything like that, only that the military is having a hard time meeting recruitment quotas and is going to be willing to relax standards accordingly.

    Xrlq:

    The Viet Minh disassociated themselves from Communist Cambodia in 1954. Also, the Khmer Rouge’s killing spree was STOPPED by the invasion of the Vietnamese in 1979, not by the U.S. We did nothing.

    While around 4 million Vietnamese were killed outright (according to their figures), an additional 3 million were afflicted with Agent Orange (which, I must point out, violated the ban on chemical weapons [and wasn’t used by the NVA or the VC]). Taking into account 2.2 million Cambodians (during the war and under Pol Pot) and not even counting deaths inflicted by the Pathet Lao…well, that’s still a hell of a body count. Our generals must’ve thought we were winning handily.

    Leviticus (43095b)

  119. Testing, one two, “suggest.”

    David Ehrenstein (dea91c)

  120. Leviticus wrote:

    only that the military is having a hard time meeting recruitment quotas and is going to be willing to relax standards accordingly

    Army exceeds most recruiting, retention goals

    Sweetness. As for the yearly totals:

    DoD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for FY 2006

    As for the lower standards–a grand total of 3.2% of FY 2006 recruits were admitted under those lower standards. And the standards weren’t lowered, the cap for the numbers allowed in were increased. From 2% previously to 4% max.

    Truly we are scraping the barrel here.

    Army Lawyer (498217)

  121. just in time for your laffing pleasure: objectivist pickup lines!
    http://www.joketribe.com/bawdy/96/April/Objectivist%20Pickup%20Lines.html
    are we gonna do the 1960’s all over again? that would be cool, that was the decade i discovered sex and drugs. of course, i’m 50 pounds heavier now (down from 80 pounds heavier) but i’m a little smarter and appreciate more things. applications from comely young neocon lasses for benevolent retraining now being considered.
    true recent story: son-in-law of a close friend, along with his co-workers, got screwed out of their profit-sharing at his plant, so he looked into joining the marines. marine recruiter promised him air traffic control school and an assignment where he would be directing air traffic, not getting shot at. i expressed doubt: visualizing air traffic is a specialized knack over 90% of us do not possess. he got to local hq to sign up, papers didn’t include promise, guy in command forced to acknowledge he could be sent anywhere (most likely driving a humvee down baghdad boulevard past trash cans full of tnt), so now he’s looking at other options.
    volunteer army or draft? how about a foreign policy where we don’t need a large army? we wouldn’t even have to renounce unilateral foreign aggression (which can be done from the air) but we would have to renounce occupation. technology is running faster than infantry or cavalry, so let’s go to robots. this is not a liberal peacenik disarmament proposal; i’m still in favor of retaining the means to kill people in other countries, i just want to be able to kill more people for less money and casualties on our side.

    assistant devil's advocate (385f8e)

  122. The military IS having a hard time meeting recruitment quotas. They’re still meeting them, but they’re having a hard time doing it (which leads to questionable recruiting practices).

    But…

    You know what, Army Lawyer? You’re right. I think I’ll go out and join the military right now, as will all of my white, middle class friends, some of which are conservative. Heck, why go to college? Those military recruits are downright lucky compared to me!

    So, yes: The Military is the Way to Go. After all…It is a Good Deal.

    Checkmate.

    Leviticus (b987b0)

  123. “i’m still in favor of retaining the means to kill people in other countries, i just want to be able to kill more people for less money and casualties on our side.”

    -assistant devil’s advocate

    You pragmatic devil, you. The best part about using robots is that KBR can charge us whatever they want for them. Everybody wins!

    Except the soldiers… They get shafted out of their extremely desirable job.

    Well, sacrifices must be made. We can’t let the needs of the minority hinder the progress of the majority. Besides, this is America…I’m sure they’ll be able to Live the Dream in another field.

    Leviticus (b987b0)

  124. Patterico do you think that Abraham Lincoln’s argument as to why states are barred from seceding from the Union has similarly weak reasoning? Didn’t Lincoln basically just assert, “I think ‘a more perfect Union’ means ‘you can’t leave.'”

    Chaos (32ceb9)

  125. The military IS having a hard time meeting recruitment quotas. They’re still meeting them, but they’re having a hard time doing it (which leads to questionable recruiting practices).
    Well, since you say it, it must be true, or something. Your second point kind of nullifies the first. Not completely, but enough to render any future discussion of the topic absent specifics (which you have not and will not provide) moot.

    You know what, Army Lawyer? You’re right. I think I’ll go out and join the military right now,
    Because that’s what we need, whiny middle aged pudgy white guys with a perpetual sense of superiority and entitlement. Sure could use more of them.

    We don’t want you. Trust me.

    Heck, why go to college?
    I don’t know. Take a gander at some of the educational backgrounds of some of the senior military leadership–I’d venture to say they’re a sight more impressive than yours. Hell, most junior officers and senior NCOs could probably claim the same advantage.

    Those military recruits are downright lucky compared to me!
    Well, to a man they are certainly better than you.

    So, yes: The Military is the Way to Go. After all…It is a Good Deal.
    For some it’s a good deal. For others, it’s an obligation. For others, it’s a calling. But the days of Cold War era peacetime enlistments “just so I can pay for school” are pretty much over. Those that volunteer know what is expected of them.

    And thankfully, there are enough of them that we don’t have you call on the likes of you.

    Checkmate.
    Uhhh…game over? Strike three? Touchdown! GOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL!!!!!

    Army Lawyer (498217)

  126. The Third Book of Moses hath written:

    You know what, Army Lawyer? You’re right. I think I’ll go out and join the military right now, as will all of my white, middle class friends, some of which are conservative. Heck, why go to college? Those military recruits are downright lucky compared to me!

    Well, Levi, my eighteen year old daughter, a freshman in engineering at Penn State, has chosen, of her own volition, to speak to the military recruiters. A 96 on the AFVAB (or whatever that test is called) pretty much has them bending over backward.

    Dana (3e4784)

  127. “You know what, Army Lawyer? You’re right. I think I’ll go out and join the military right now,”
    -Leviticus
    “Because that’s what we need, whiny middle aged pudgy white guys with a perpetual sense of superiority and entitlement. Sure could use more of them.

    We don’t want you. Trust me.” – ArmyLawyer

    Leviticus isn’t a pudgy middle aged guy. He’s under 20 I believe, and I would think the military might want him, unless he plans on joining just to go AWOL.

    G (722480)

  128. Army Lawyer,

    Your comment responding to Leviticus was well done. In prior posts, I think Leviticus claimed to be a college student at the University of New Mexico but I agree he sounds like someone who is older and more cynical and disillusioned than someone his age should be. I join you in hoping that the military never requires the services of people who feel that negatively about others and America.

    DRJ (8c00f0)

  129. “You know what, Army Lawyer? You’re right. I think I’ll go out and join the military right now,
    Because that’s what we need, whiny middle aged pudgy white guys with a perpetual sense of superiority and entitlement. Sure could use more of them.

    We don’t want you. Trust me.

    Heck, why go to college?
    I don’t know. Take a gander at some of the educational backgrounds of some of the senior military leadership–I’d venture to say they’re a sight more impressive than yours. Hell, most junior officers and senior NCOs could probably claim the same advantage.

    Those military recruits are downright lucky compared to me!
    Well, to a man they are certainly better than you. ”

    -Army Lawyer

    Gee wiz, Army Lawyer. Now you’re just being mean.

    “Entitlement”? What made you think I have an entitled attitude? “Superior” I can see, but “entitled”? Try “lucky”, bud, that’s all I am.

    Someday you’ll pull your head out of your ass and realize that it isn’t people like me or my friends that are joining the military these days. We’re too privileged to view it as a necessity, and, like it or not, that’s pretty much ALL it’s viewed as. People don’t get off on serving a country that lies them into wars.

    “We don’t want you. Trust me.”

    -Army Lawyer

    Like I need your fucking approval in the first place, but you do. You do want me. You’ve seen my PACT scores, and you would love to incorporate me into your fold.

    Argue this all you want, pal. I’ve got the letters from Annapolis to prove it. The military doesn’t choose people for their personalities: they can get rid of those at basic. They choose people for their potential…and it must really bug you that they would love to have me.

    It’s like your wife cheating on you, in a way. Don’t you feel…betrayed?

    “I agree he sounds like someone who is older and more cynical and disillusioned than someone his age should be”

    -DRJ

    Who’s to decide how cynical I should or shouldn’t be, DRJ? You? The first election I comprehended was a farce. The only president I have known has been one of the worst presidents in the history of this country. I’ve grown up to realize that I can’t trust the information given to me by the media. I was harassed by corporate advertisement all through junior high because my school couldn’t afford to turn down the money offered by Channel 1.

    Now, I am grateful for the things I’ve been given and for the opportunities I’ve been provided. But wouldn’t you be cynical, in my shoes?

    Leviticus (43095b)

  130. I dunno, maybe Leviticus should serve. It might broaden his horizon (please note the singular)

    “Those who protect freedom have a flavor of freedom that the protected may never know.”

    Not my quote, but unattributable by me.

    paul from fl (967602)

  131. “Those who protect freedom have a flavor of freedom that the protected may never know.”

    -paul from fl’s quote

    There are all kinds of freedom, paul, and I doubt that you would apply this to the ACLU.

    But you’re right…my freedoms are really being protected in Iraq, and conventional warfare is going to save me from the Bomb.

    By the way…Have you ever seen a Communist drink a glass of water?

    Leviticus (43095b)

  132. Leviticus,

    As I said above, you sound cynical for your age. I hope you frequent forums like this to vent your disillusionment but that you bring a more positive attitude to your education and relationships – and I expect that you do.

    So since you asked me whether I would be cynical in your shoes, I can say with certainty that I would be disappointed but not cynical. I can say that because my first vote was for Richard Nixon so I really do know how you feel.

    DRJ (8c00f0)

  133. Gotta love people who hate the military.

    G (722480)

  134. “Entitlement”? What made you think I have an entitled attitude? “Superior” I can see, but “entitled”? Try “lucky”, bud, that’s all I am.
    Comes from your sense that so long as others are doing the heavy lifting, you can go along your merry way denigrating your betters.

    When you speak of privilege with no attendant notion of sacrifice–that’s entitlement. You have what you have, but you have not earned it. That you make no effort to do so confirms your sense of entitlement and superiority.

    Someday you’ll pull your head out of your ass and realize that it isn’t people like me or my friends that are joining the military these days.
    I realize that, and I’m thankful for it.

    We’re too privileged to view it as a necessity, and, like it or not, that’s pretty much ALL it’s viewed as.
    It’s viewed that way by those whom the military isn’t all that keen on having join up. It’s a win-win. See above.

    Like I need your fucking approval in the first place,
    Oh, but you DO want my approval. You need it. That’s why you’re getting so angry. You want to know that your mundane little existence has SOME importance. You want to think that you’ve contributed SOMETHING…but since you haven’t, and likely won’t: you’re stuck attempting to pull others down. I may not be a better man than you, but those I serve with certainly are. And it just eats you up inside. But it’s cute to watch the flailing.

    You do want me. You’ve seen my PACT scores, and you would love to incorporate me into your fold.
    Uhhh…no, we wouldn’t. What do you bring to the table that another, less douchebaggy, individual does not? Come to grips, you’re not special.

    Argue this all you want, pal. I’ve got the letters from Annapolis to prove it.
    *gasp* You mean…not the…no, wait…Annapolis?! The one they made a movie about?! Wow! Hell, you’re a Mahan in the making there. Or you could have been one of several midshipmen that don’t quite hack it and very quietly….go away…

    The military doesn’t choose people for their personalities: they can get rid of those at basic.
    It’s a part of it. You don’t see many officers with “dickbag” as a bullet point on their OER.

    They choose people for their potential…and it must really bug you that they would love to have me.
    Not really, no. Now run along and play, there are men at work elsewhere on your behalf.

    Army Lawyer (498217)

  135. ” I can say that because my first vote was for Richard Nixon so I really do know how you feel.”

    -DRJ

    Fair enough. I’m definitely more cynical here than I am in the rest of my life; in the real world I try to just laugh stuff off (which isn’t too hard; most of this stuff in funny in a doomsday sort of way).

    “*gasp* You mean…not the…no, wait…Annapolis?!”

    -Army Lawyer

    That’s right, Annapolis. The non-cannon fodder military school. The naval academy.

    I have no more (or less) love for the Navy than I have for any other branch of the military. However, I would hope that you aren’t insinuating that service in the Navy is any less of a sacrifice than service in the Army. And if this is your way of saying that the Navy is full of suit-shod pansies going to dinner parties, you would do well to remember the SEALs.

    “What do you bring to the table that another, less douchebaggy, individual does not?”

    -Army Lawyer

    Oh, so the military entrance exams are personality tests, now?

    You guys aren’t magicians. You can’t tell how “douchebaggy” I am from a math test. All you would see would be high scores, and who doesn’t like those?

    Hell, I could hypothetically outrank you someday with those scores! Isn’t that funny?

    Leviticus (43095b)

  136. Leviticus,

    Dude, you need to relax a little.
    Don’t take yourself so seriously, and ease up on the foul language.

    It’s wonderful that you’re a bright student with numerous academic accolades.
    We all appreciate that you have a higher measured IQ than the rest of us, but test scores are not a substitute for the widsom gained by life experience.

    When we’re young, we all think we know more than our elders.
    It’s not until we gain a little life experience, that we realize how much we DON’T know.

    Every year at summer camp, NFL coaches cut former All-Americans with “future star” stamped on their forehead in favor of sixth-round draft picks who nobody’s ever heard of.

    Desert Rat (ee9fe2)

  137. However, I would hope that you aren’t insinuating that service in the Navy is any less of a sacrifice than service in the Army.
    Nope. I include those that serve in the Navy as among your betters.

    And if this is your way of saying that the Navy is full of suit-shod pansies going to dinner parties, you would do well to remember the SEALs.
    Of which you are not one.

    Oh, so the military entrance exams are personality tests, now?
    Entrance exams? No. OERs? Different story.

    There’s no doubt you could get into the military. The question is what you would do. We need clerks, after all. Moreover, what would you bring to the table as an officer and a leader that an undickbag would not?

    You guys aren’t magicians. You can’t tell how “douchebaggy” I am from a math test.
    True. But as soon as your lips start moving…(hint: you serve WITH other people)

    All you would see would be high scores, and who doesn’t like those?
    Scores are not all there are. An officer could be brilliant on paper, and brilliantly get those under him killed. We have an officer school at my installation where I routinely see college-educated guys simply fail. Why? Myriad of reasons. Some realize they aren’t cut out for it. Some are so feckless and indecisive that they are more potted plants than leaders. Some are just dumb.

    But not you. You’re good at math.

    Hell, I could hypothetically outrank you someday with those scores! Isn’t that funny?
    Funnier if it were true.

    Army Lawyer (498217)

  138. Leviticus,

    It might surprise you to learn that I would vote for Richard Nixon again over George McGovern, even knowing his flaws. What I learned from Richard Nixon is that all people – even Presidents – are flawed.

    We all experience disappointments in our lives, many of which we can’t control. The only thing we can control in our lives is how we respond to adversity. At our best, we try to respond with fortitude and compassion instead of cynicism and the laughter of despair.

    I hope you will join me in thanking Army Lawyer for his service to our country.

    DRJ (8b9d41)

  139. DRJ, I’m in total agreement with you, and I have a story about that.

    See what happened was that she told me “that she didn’t want to go home alone tonight.”

    I replied, “I don’t either, but it looks like I’m going to.”

    How do you feel about that?

    David Moon (8896c0)

  140. A history of conscription in the US. Since the end of the Civil War, conscription was used in the Spanish-American War, World War 1, World War 2, the Korean War, as well as Vietnam.

    Note also this:

    … Once he becomes president, Washington tries to remedy the inadequacy of the nation’s military system by proposing legislation that men be registered for service and assigned to military units for training. Congress passes neither this nor similar such legislation later proposed by Presidents Adams, Jefferson, and Madison.

    There are people whose families have a long tradition of military service. And, having experienced losing a war, it’s not surprising that the South, in particular, has a particularly strong belief in having a strong military, and serving in it.

    But conscription has never been popular in this country, we’re fortunate that we haven’t needed it since after Vietnam.

    By the way, there are several countries which have more total troops than the US. Iran is one of them.

    The US spends only 3.7% of GDP on it’s military (low by US historical standards), we out spend everyone else by a huge amount only because our economy is huge compared to that any other country.

    larry (336e87)

  141. Larry,

    I, like Vin Diesel, am balding in a wierd spot. This leads me to wonder, does Vin Diesel have hair growing in the most unsual places too?

    Philip (8896c0)

  142. You know, Larry, your comment leads to thinking about Vin Diesel for some reason because I was just at the Liberal Avengers site when a pop up of a nude Vin Diesal photo showed up with the title “Ramming Speed” starring Vin Diesel as Speed.

    I have just one thought on that point, in the words of Howard Dean… “YEEEEEAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGH!”

    David Moon (8896c0)

  143. Larry,

    How dare you bring up Presidents Adams, Jefferson, and Madison [SIC]. What do they know of Nam? Further more draft dodger, what do you know of Nam. I can speak for my self when I say does any one know a killer recipe for grilled cheese?

    Philip (8896c0)

  144. Leviticus,

    They call me Colonel down at the DOD, and 4-star general Max Thurmond and I were having that same discussion and we both agree with you.

    No, we would not like seeing George Wendt eating beans nor would we like to see the beans eat George Wendt. Do you understand what I’m saying?

    David Moon (8896c0)

  145. According to an interview published in today’s Times (Fri., 11/24), Tom Hayden seems to be more concerned that President Bush will try to impose a draft. Not the Congress, and not his party. No wonder the students in his classes don’t respond to his “anti sweatshop” activism- this uninformed, ossified crusader doesn’t deserve their respect.

    David (10a51d)

  146. ArmyLawyer,
    Thanks for your service.
    V/R
    USN (Ret)

    Larry (d2e05d)


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