For those who pooh-poohed the idea in these columns that the draft was coming (20-year-olds first), the shoot-down of a loaded helicopter in Iraq and the bellow of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld for vengeance and stay-the-long-slog course should provide fair warning that the draft indeed is a-coming.
For one thing, the Defense Department is quietly issuing a call for draft boards. For another, the Bushies are quavering about what announcing a draft will do to their chances in tthe 2004 presidential election.
Doubters about the draft-board calls need only consult link to www.defendamerica.mil
Follow up this "call-up" for draft boards with Dave Lindorff's takeout on what's ahead in today's Salon ( http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2003/11/03/draft/index_np.html)
And then open the Selective Service website on its new rules for the draft. One is that 20 year olds will go first. Then, those from 21-15 before they reach back to draft those 18 and 19. The college-bound will be deferred only until the end of the term. And women may be drafted as well--though the rules say only if funds are available. But in an era of Title IX in sports and other equal-opportunity laws, women can expect that dozens of lawsuits will remove the funding aspect for this equal opportunity to serve in Iraq/Afghanistan--not for their country, but for the Bush administration.
The only way to stay this course is to vote for a Democratic candidate in 2004 who advocates cutting our losses NOW before they become McNamara's 54,000 from Vietnam. Whether we pull out now or in 15 years, upheaval in Iraq between warring factions is a certitude. Our choice does seem to be between saving face or expending blood and treasure so that the oil barons and war-profiteers and undertakers and the Bushies are the only beneficiaries.