portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reposts united states

government | imperialism & war

Army to Call Up Retired, Discharged Troops

Digging deeper for help in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army is preparing for an involuntary recall to active duty of about 5,600 civilians who have either retired or were discharged after previous service. "This was inevitable when it became clear that we would have to maintain significant combat forces in Iraq for a period of years," said Dan Goure, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute, a think tank.
Don't Go Daddy!
Don't Go Daddy!
Army to Call Up Retired, Discharged Troops


By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON - Digging deeper for help in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army is preparing for an involuntary recall to active duty of about 5,600 civilians who have either retired or were discharged after previous service.

In a new sign of the strain the insurgency in Iraq has put on the U.S. military, Army officials said Tuesday the move would be the first sizable activation of the Individual Ready Reserve since the 1991 Gulf War. Several hundred people had voluntarily returned to service since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Unlike members of the National Guard and Reserve, individual reservists do not perform regularly scheduled training and receive no pay unless they are called up.

"This was inevitable when it became clear that we would have to maintain significant combat forces in Iraq for a period of years," said Dan Goure, a military analyst at the Lexington Institute, a think tank.

The Army is pinpointing certain skills in short supply, like medical specialists and engineers. The intention is to give those selected for recall at least 30 days' notice, one official said.

The Army is so stretched for manpower that in April it broke a promise to some active-duty units, including the 1st Armored Division, that they would not have to serve more than 12 months in Iraq. It also has extended the tours of other units, including some in Afghanistan.

"It is a reflection of the fact that the (active-duty) military is too small for the breadth of challenges we are facing," Goure said.

The men and women recalled from the Individual Ready Reserve will be assigned to Army Reserve units that have been or soon will be mobilized for deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, unless they successfully petition for exemption based on medical or other limitations.

Army officials discussed some details of the recall Tuesday on condition that they not be identified because members of Congress still were being notified and a public announcement was planned for Wednesday.

Those in the Individual Ready Reserve are former enlisted soldiers and officers who have some nonactive-duty military service obligation remaining, under terms they signed when they signed on but who chose not to fulfill it in the Guard or Reserve.

The Pentagon had hoped to reduce its troop levels in Iraq to about 105,000 this spring, but because of increasingly effective and deadly resistance the level has risen to about 140,000.

Military officials have said they may need to stay at that level for at least another year or two, a commitment of forces that could not be maintained by the active force alone.

The Army frequently must integrate reservists with its active-duty forces, but it rarely has to reach into the Individual Ready Reserve. The Army has about 117,000 people in this category of reservist; the Navy has 64,000, the Marine Corps 58,000 and the Air Force 37,000.

The military has relied heavily on National Guard and Reserve soldiers in Iraq, in part because some essential specialties like military police are found mainly in the reserves rather than the active-duty force and partly because the mission has required more troops than planned.

Reserve troops make up at least one-third of the U.S. force in Iraq, and this month they have accounted for nearly half of all troops killed in combat.

In January, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld authorized the Army to activate as many as 6,500 people from the Individual Ready Reserve, drawing on presidential authority granted in 2001.

Not until May did the Army begin looking in detail at the available pool of people.

At that point some Army recruiters caused a controversy when they contacted members of the Individual Ready Reserve and suggested they would wind up in Iraq unless they joined a Reserve or Guard unit. Some complained that they were being coerced to transfer into a Reserve unit.

Even Conservatives find fault with Bush 29.Jun.2004 14:51

Will Dunham

U.S. Army Defends Plan for Involuntary Troop Call-Up

Jack Spencer, a defense analyst for the Heritage Foundation (conservative think tank), "It is certainly a sign of our military being stretched thin...these are guys who are retired. You would prefer not to have to call them up."

Rand Beers, national security adviser to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, said: "The fact is that this involuntary call-up is a direct result of the Bush administration's diplomatic failure to get real international help in Iraq."


Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute -- a think tank -- whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

I feel a Draft 29.Jun.2004 15:01


I feel a draft comming after the election.

Imperial wizards are taking there positions

Draft coming up? 29.Jun.2004 15:12


I'm 22 years old and I'm scared that the military will draft me next winter. If I want to avoid the military, will it be as simple as telling them I'm a homosexual? Do I just say "I'm gay" and then I can't serve in the military, or do I need to do something else, like cutting my pinky toe off?

I'm on a raw vegan diet, and I don't want to eat those crappy MRE meals the military serves it's soldiers.

dodge the draft... 29.Jun.2004 17:22


check out this page for draft resistance and other info:


Conscientious Objectors 29.Jun.2004 17:58


I trained as a draft counselor long ago. A lot has changed, and we're not sure what is going to happen.

It's not likely that claiming to be gay is going to help. You can, however, fast until you are below minimum weight standards. Some people gained weight. I don't know what the current standards are.

I learned in the early '80s that the draft was so riddled with loopholes after Vietnam that anyone can claim to be a conscientious objecter.

But here's the catch--and this is somewhat conjecture. They're going to make it **real** unpleasant to be a CO. You know those detention camps people sometimes talk about on this site? I learned that they were work camps for future conscientious objecters. I found it interesting that speculation about their intended uses is still going on. Of course, I learned about them when they were first being built. I don't know what their purpose is, but they may be for CO's.

Another option is to take a vacation to Canada (if they don't start extraditing CO's), Mexico, etc.

Too bad there's no good options, but I think the gov't makes it that way on purpose.

My 2 cents 29.Jun.2004 19:32

Teddy Ruxpin (the lousy typist)

Well my IRR obligation ended a year or so ago, so I for one am safe from recall. Few know all enlistments are originally for eight year terms (recruiters NEVER mention this), so even if you sign up for two years you are still obligated for the remaining six. You don't have to attend drill or anything, but they can yank you back really easy.

They can still draft me though, so I am not out of the woods yet.

As for beating the draft, the gay angle does not work well. Lots of people came out while I was in (including myself, but I only did once I knew I would not get booted for it). Frankly, most military units just don't care. It is a super uphill battle.

Other options that work, but I do NOT recommend them, include flunking the drug test before entry, claiming drug addiction, cutting off a toe, scoring super low on the ASVAB (the apptitude test you take before enlisting), collecting deferrments (this is what Dick Cheney did, just keep doing whatever it takes to get the latest deferrment, such as get knocked up, married, etc). Most of these will come back to haunt you later in life (such as the drugs), the rest are not reliable (such as ASVAB scores that might get waived and deferments that might get cancelled).

My belief (please read the whole belief before you pass judgement on me) is that when your country is at war, you have a duty to fight. Not necessarily fight as in "go to Iraq and shoot innocent people," but either fight IN the war, or fight AGAINST the war. Contribute TO the war, or try to undermine it. I have a ton of respect for people like Muhammed Ali, who did hard time for his antiwar beliefs. People who just dodge without trying to fight the system kind of sicken me.

I hope I do not get drafted, but if I do I plan to burn the draft card and get arrested, but I wil resist arrest for as long as possible in order to do as much against the war as I can. But then again, I am single, no wife or kids to take care of. If I had a family, I might cut off a toe or something.

My god people, get a freakin’ grip! 29.Jun.2004 20:16


First, there is not going to be a draft. It would be political suicide and congress knows it, hell that's why the last draft ended.

If they need troops that bad, they will open it up like they did when I was in the Marine Corps years ago. They would take men from the Philippines, Guam, Samoa, and any other US protectorate, and give them US citizenship if they serve 4 years and get an Honorable discharge.

Ten percent of my Platoon in boot-camp couldn't speak English (except for "Yes Sir", "No Sir", "Aye Aye Sir" , and "The Private doesn't know Sir", which is all you basically are allowed to say to anyone for 3 months anyway).

If that doesn't fill the ranks, then they will bribe foreign governments (i.e., Poland, Ukraine, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Honduras, etc.) with financial aid for putting their own troops into places where we are spread too thin.

The people they are pulling back in today are IRR. This means they served their time, but are still on Inactive Reserve status. When I was in, everybody committed themselves to 8 years. 3 years active, 5 inactive, or 4 years active, and 4 years inactive. I don't know what the limit is now, but I'm pretty sure its about the same.

The old rules of a draft are just that. They are history. If congress ever does decide to begin a draft (which is nowhere near insight), they will draw up totally new laws, and rules for who goes and who doesn't.

Ok, so lets pretend Congress starts a draft.

The first man drafted will file suit claiming sex discrimination because a perfectly qualified female wasn't drafted.

Homosexuals will more than likely be drafted, you can count on it. The reason Homosexuals were never permitted into the US military was because of Unit Cohesion. A ranking officer must at all times be able to control his men. 40 years ago men would have been scared to be in a fox-hole all night with a known homosexual because others in the unit would ridicule and disparage this person as also being homosexual. This is no longer the case with almost anyone who is draft age in the US. The roman army regularly accepted homosexuals into its ranks because the practice was not considered deviant at that time, and to that culture.

Canada and US signed an agreement after the Vietnam War to return or refuse entry of all US citizens during any future draft, so hiding in Canada is out.

Now, finally lets get to the issue of declaring yourself an C.O.(Contentious Objector)

There is an old saying in the US military that goes "It takes a brave man to be a C.O.". More on this in a minute.

As far back as World War II, and as recently as Vietnam, men with a C.O. status were drafted, went to boot camp, advanced training, and served their entire tour of duty just like regular troops. The difference was that by claiming C.O. Status, either for religious, or ethical reasons, only means you are not willing to killing another human being. There C.O. were given other jobs, but mainly were given the job of Medic or Corpsman. Which means they were attached to Infantry units and deployed in combat but with a medical kit and not a weapon.

The enemy, mostly after World War II. In Korea, and Vietnam, as well as in recent conflicts, routinely ignore the Geneva convention's rules regarding the targeting of "non-combatants" like Medics and Corpsman, and go out of their way to kill these people. The idea is that it breaks moral. So getting back to the old saying in the US military. If you get drafted you might windup as a truck driver, bulk fuel-man filling diesel into trucks, tanks, a cook, a radar repairman, etc. However If you are a C.O. you will almost guarantee yourself a position in combat, and with a BIG red cross on your helmet and become the target for every enemy sniper as you care for wounded soldiers, without any way to defend yourself. It doe take a brave man to be a C.O.

Once again, I don't believe a draft is coming anytime soon.

A few months ago someone here posted an article about draft boards springing up all over. I called and talked to the Lt. Col. In charge of the my local draft board for the whole region. He said they have been active since the early 1980s when the selective service system was brought back, however nobody paid any attention until this past year. So draft boards are nothing new.

One more note about the Selective Service system. This was dreamed up during a time when computers were not really used. Today the government has your name many hundreds of times over in various databases. The SSS is just a formality, if they want you, they'll get you..

Before you cut off your feet to spite your face, wait… 29.Jun.2004 20:39

one more thing..

My father who is 85 now, tried to enlist after the Japanese bombed Perl Harbor. They turned him down because he is legally blind in one eye, and can't see very good out of the other one. He entered college, but by 1944 the Army was scraping the bottom of the barrel, and my father got drafted, bad eye and all.

He was drafted along with near-idiots, and others who would never have been selected in to the service if it wasn't for such a desperate time.

During boot-camp they did basic close order drill with broomsticks because rifles were in short supply and were being sent to Europe and the Pacific at the time.

He finally got a rifle during his time of the rifle range in boot camp. However because of his eyesight, he couldn't see the target, so the other men in his platoon had to shoot at his target so he could qualify. They ended up shooting it too much, and he got a marksmanship award for high shooter. (a true story)

My point is that who the are willing to reject by today's standards doesn't mean they will reject you in a year our too. Just because you are missing a toe or two, or out too skinny, or tofat, to old, or too young, doesn't mean anything when the pinch is on.

Below is a photo of the Volksstrum, which is was part of Hitler's desperate measure to defend Germany during the final months of the WWII. It's a peoples guard. These "soldiers" who were basically children and old men, were drafted and given about a days worth of training, if that, and sent to the front to fight and die. My point is that when a government gets desperate for personnel, anything is possible.

about the draft 29.Jun.2004 22:49


I forwarded imformation about the possibiiity fo a draft to a friend who wrote to Peter DeFazio. The response they got back from him is printed below. I thought it was interesting.

Thanks for your recent message expressing concerns about young men and women being drafted into the U.S. military. It was good to hear from you.

I believe our all-volunteer military is more than adequate to protect our national security. We clearly have the strongest military in the world, even without conscription. I am opposed to compulsory military service, both because I believe it poses a threat to individual liberties, as well as due to my concern about the cost of maintaining the selective service system (SSS) infrastructure, including the requirement that 18-year old males register for the draft, in the unlikely event our volunteer force is not sufficient to protect our country. Taxpayers spend around $25 million a year to maintain the SSS. I believe this money could be better spent elsewhere. That is why I am a cosponsor of legislation, H.R. 487, to do away with the SSS.

Opposition to the draft is widespread in Congress, irrespective of party identification or ideology. Given the opposition in Congress, I think it is extremely unlikely a military draft would be reinstated any time in the foreseeable future. If the Bush Administration did decide it wanted to reinstate the draft, doing so would require and act of Congress. The President can't do it unilaterally. Legal authority for the involuntary induction of American citizens into the military expired on July 1, 1973.

Legislation has been introduced in Congress to reinstate the draft, however, it remains bottled up in committee. The bill, H.R. 163, was introduced by a liberal Democrat from Harlem, New York, Charlie Rangel. He introduced the bill to make the point that it is easy for Members of Congress to vote to go to war when their sons and daughters will not be on the front lines. The bill is intended to highlight the fact that the military is overwhelmingly made up of individuals from middle and lower-income families, not the children of the rich and powerful.

The bill was introduced in January 2003. It has NOT been the subject of any congressional hearings nor any other committee action in a year and a half. It has NOT been scheduled for a vote on the House floor either. Nor do I expect that it will be. As I mentioned, opposition to the draft is widespread in Congress. In addition, Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush have also indicated their opposition to the draft. There have been 5,000 bills introduced in the House alone during the 108th Congress, but only 234 of those have been enacted into law. I expect H.R. 163 to be one of the 4,800 bills that remains bottled up in committee, never to see the light of day on the House floor. I would vote against H.R. 163 in the unlikely event it was to reach the House floor.

Again, thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. Please keep in touch.

Rep.Peter DeFazio
Fourth District, OREGON

why worry. "just say no" 29.Jun.2004 23:36

army of none

I don't get why people are worried about the draft. Two reasons:
1) it probably won't happen (for reasons already mentioned by others)
2) if it did happen, you could just not go. (or go, and then shoot your so called "leaders").


Charles Mingus did it 30.Jun.2004 10:02


If they reinstitute the draft, and you get called in for your physical, do what jazz great Charles Mingus did: cram powdered sugar under your fingernails, and when you give a urine sample, piss your way down from 1-A to 4-F.

Army of None 30.Jun.2004 10:41


The problem with this draft proposal, there are currently several pieces of legislation for various universal involuntary service to the government already ciculating in the senate and the congress, is that the probable pool of recruits this measure will target have been deliberately dumbed down, through popular culture via the media and government schools, that they don't even understand the concept of saying no to slavery.

They should do a call-up 30.Jun.2004 12:44

just passing through

If the apathetic majority realize that it could be THEIR KIDS on the line, then they won't be so compliant and demand sound reasoning to go to war. When it's the poor and/or misguided people dying (and killing) for dubious reasons...well it's no big deal then.

TOO OLD 07.Nov.2004 14:59


i have been out 13 years drove a fuel truck luck was with me .im 35 now ive got ptsd and bad headaches and alot of other things wrong.i know they can do something to make me go back .i think once is enough war for anybody .