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Still no "period of peace"

Will the U.S.
Reinstate the Draft?

Recruitment is down. Demand for manpower is up. Recruiters employ slipshod methods. A Draft is proposed as the answer. The Draft includes both men and women!

By John Vennari

The March 2005 issue of The Washington Monthly featured a front-page story entitled "The Case for the Draft". The article’s authors, Phillip Carter, an attorney and retired Army Captain, and Paul Glastris, The Washington Monthly editor, claimed there is no way the United States can maintain its military presence in Iraq and elsewhere in the world, without a huge influx of additional soldiers. The only way to get these soldiers is through conscription.

The Fatima Crusader is aware that there exists sharp division among Catholics on the morality of the Iraq war. Passions run high on both sides of the argument. The purpose of this piece is not to exacerbate these divisions, nor to take a stand for or against the war. It is meant, rather, to focus on the fact that the machinery for war is growing, the need for more troops accelerating, and the only way out of this ever-worsening morass is the solution that Our Lady gave at Fatima, the Collegial Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Recruiters Resort to Desperate Measures

In April 2005, the U.S. Army missed its recruiting goals for the third consecutive month. "The problem is that no one wants to join", said an Ohio recruiter quoted by the New York Times, "we have to play fast and loose with the rules just to get by."

This playing "fast and loose" was the subject of the May 3, 2005 New York Times report, "Army Recruiters Say They Feel Pressure to Bend Rules". According to the Times, "Interviews with more than two dozen recruiters in 10 states hint at the extent of their concern, if not the exact scope of the transgressions. Several spoke of concealing mental-health histories or police records. They described falsified documents, wallet-size cheat sheets slipped to applicants before the military’s aptitude tests and commanding officers who look the other way."

The recruiters spoke to the New York Times on condition of anonymity to avoid being disciplined. "But their accounts", says the Times, "were consistent, and the specifics were verified in several cases by documents and interviews with military officials and applicants’ families."

Recruitment improprieties are on the rise. There were over 320 substantiated cases of these improprieties in 2004, by the Army’s own count. "The offenses varied from threats of coercion to false promises that applicants would not be sent to Iraq. Many incidents involved more than one recruiter, and the number of those investigated rose to 1,118 last year, or nearly one in five of all recruiters, up from 913 in 2002, or one in eight."

These are disturbing figures, since recruiters and some senior Army officials admit that for every impropriety that is found, at least two more are never discovered.

The reason for the upsurge in improprieties is obvious: recruiters are under pressure to meet their quotas, and recruitments are down. David Segal, a military sociologist at the University of Maryland, said, "The more pressure you put on recruiters, the more likely you’ll be to find people seeking ways to beat the system."

Recruiters are required to press applicants to disclose any police record or medical problems that could disqualify them, from asthma to knee injuries.

But applicants can lie, or choose to withhold damaging information. So recruiters are expected to check court, education and criminal records to confirm details and search for others that have not been disclosed. Some recruiters, in order to meet their quotas, have ignored their responsibility to do the required background checks on applicants. One case in point is particularly disturbing.

"A Danger to Himself"

This past fall (2004), reports the Times, recruiters in Ohio accepted into the Army a 21-year-old boy who had just left a psychiatric ward. According to the boy’s probate court records, late last summer a judge committed him, "finding him a danger to himself and others after he showed up at his parents’ door bloodied and disoriented". He was released in September under the guidance of a treatment program.

The boy’s parents, after learning their son had enlisted, went to the recruiters with probate court records, gave the court’s internet address, and even showed photos of their son. The recruiters acted sympathetic, but denied ever seeing the boy.

The recruiters continued to ignore the pleadings of the boy’s parents. It was only when a Congressman, at the request of the parents, looked into the case did the parents learn that the recruiters had indeed enlisted their son. The father told the commander of the regional processing station about his son’s illness and the boy was thus disqualified only days before he was scheduled to ship out.

The boy’s father became even more infuriated when Army officials told him that they "had found no wrong-doing" in the episode involving his son. The recruiters were never disciplined. "The fact that they would recruit someone straight out of psychiatric hospitalization — give me a break", said the father. "They were willing to put my son and other recruits at risk. It’s beyond my comprehension, it’s appalling."

Similar stories are told from recruiters in New York, Washington, Texas, and New England. They said that "as long as an offending recruiter met his enlistment quota of roughly two recruits a month, punishment was unlikely."

A northern Ohio recruiter said that last year (2004), he had seen recruiters falsify documents so that applicants would earn ranks they were not qualified to hold. He told of young men, after testing positive for marijuana, being coached by recruiters to drink gallons of water before visiting a military doctor. He also said he had been ordered to conceal police records and minor medical conditions which usually disqualify a candidate. When the recruiters and others resisted such orders "superiors threatened to ruin their careers."

Despite these illicit maneuvers, Army recruitment still fell short. The June 6, 2005 Seattle Times said that Army recruiters in the Seattle area have fallen far behind their goals since last October. They’ve enlisted only a third of the young men (and women, alas) they’d hoped for.

The situation is so drastic that at a Pentagon press conference in March 2005, Maj. Gen. Michael Rochelle, the Army’s recruiting commander, said "Today’s conditions represent the most challenging conditions we have seen in recruiting in my 33 years in this uniform."

Hopelessly Undermanned

In a revealing piece in his U.S. and World Early Warning Report for December 7, 2002 (republished without changes in September 2004), international and political commentator Richard Maybury concludes that the chances of the draft being revived are "greater than 90%".

As Maybury notes, before 9/11 the Pentagon had a "one and one-half war policy." That is, of course, the Pentagon was prepared to fight one "regional" war and undertake half of a similar war. A regional war, notes Maybury, "is generally regarded as something on the scale of the 1990-1991 war between Bush Senior and Saddam Hussein ..." In other words, a regional war is a small war. Thus, the Pentagon’s policy before 9/11 was to be prepared to fight 1½ small wars.

But the present war, Maybury notes, "is history’s first global guerrilla war. The U.S. armed forces are in no way prepared for a big guerrilla war, and they are already spread very thin." Maybury quotes a U.S. Army publication Inside The Army, November 11, 2002, "DOD (Department of Defense) is considering deploying Army GI’s to fulfill USAF security needs around the world, even though army brass have publicly stated that the service is stretched to the limit in meeting its own operational needs."

In other words, even before 9/11 and the beginning of the guerrilla global war, the United States Army was already spread too thin. As Maybury concludes: "With this global war spreading fast, Washington’s desire for more troops can only increase". Even worse, Maybury estimates a 75% probability for the drafting of women. And while we may receive assurances that women will not be sent into front-line combat units, as Maybury points out, "this is a war without any front lines; rear area units are almost as likely to be targets as those at the front. After all, what could be farther from the front than the World Trade Center." Nor, Maybury cautions, should we be misled by assurances that women soldiers will not be sent into combat zones. That is not true. In Afghanistan, for example, women of the 82nd airborne division are being sent into combat zones to search Muslim women for weapons, because under Islamic law, it is, "strictly taboo for a man to touch or even look at a woman to whom he is not related." The guerrillas know American male troops risk a spontaneous attack by onlookers if they search the women. The Afghan guerrillas, notes Maybury, take advantage of the taboo by having women smuggle rifles, explosives, and military equipment under their robes.

Thus, writes Maybury, "the promise not to send women on ground combat missions has already been broken". Maybury goes on to note that as the U.S. military machine’s insatiable demand for troops to fight the global guerrilla war increases, the age range of the prospective draft pool will expand. He notes, the draft may eventually reach age 50. During the fourth draft registration for World War II, men up to the age of 65 were required to register, even if none were actually drafted. The pressure to draft more and more Americans from older men and older women for potential draftees will rise as terrorists focus their attacks on "soft" facilities such as schools, night clubs, sports stadiums and churches, now that U.S. government facilities have been "hardened" against terrorist attack. Maybury observes that U.S. schools alone number 120,000 and churches exceed 350,000 so that "soft targets cannot be protected by present manpower."

Finally, Maybury notes, our increasingly bitter experience in Iraq makes it ever more obvious that the global guerrilla war is one that will never end. As Maybury writes: "It is the first war I have ever heard of in which the leaders have no plan for ending it, or intention of doing so. When Homeland Security Chief Tom Rich was asked when the war would end, he said the war would be a ‘permanent condition.’" Maybury reaches this frightening conclusion: "As far as I can tell, Washington simply plans to keep spending American blood and treasure until they are all gone."

Making the Case for the Draft

Retired Army Captain Phillip Carter and Editor Paul Glastris voice similar concerns in their March, 2005 Washington Monthly feature article "The Case for the Draft".

The essay laments: "[D]espite the heroic efforts by U.S. and coalition troops ... The newly-elected Iraqi government inherits a country in which assassinations, kidnappings, suicide bombings, pipeline sabotages, and beheadings of foreigners are daily occurrences. For the last eight months, the ranks of the insurgency have been growing faster than those of the security forces of the provisional Iraqi government — and an alarming number of those government forces are secretly working for the insurgency. American-led combat operations in Ramada and Tallulah killed large numbers of the enemy, but at a price of fanning the flames of anti-American hatred and dispersing the insurrection throughout Iraq. Despite nearly two years of effort, American troops and civilian administrators have failed to restore basic services to much of the central part of the country where a majority of Iraqis live. The U.S. military has not even been able to secure the 7-mile stretch of highway leading from the Baghdad airport to the Green Zone where America’s own embassy and the seat of Iraqi government are headquartered."

Carter and Glastris explain the reason for these failures as, "invading Iraq with too few troops" and then refusing to "augment troop numbers as the country descended into violent mayhem after the fall of Saddam".

But the Army does not have the manpower. Thus, say Carter and Glastris, "The only effective solution to the manpower crunch is the one America has turned to again and again in its history: the draft".

Since the Iraq war is primarily a land operation, there is a pressing need for Army and Marine troops. This means that the numbers of America’s Navy and Air Force personnel do not figure primarily in the count needed for Iraq.

The authors explain that the low-end need for the Iraq operation is numbered at 250,000 to 300,000 troops. But even that number is deceptive. The Pentagon must rotate its forces in and out of the theater every 12 months or so in order to maintain morale and re-enlistment. "Thus," says The Washington Monthly, "just as a civilian police force must hire three to four police officers for every one cop on the beat, so too must the U.S. military have three to four soldiers for every one serving in Iraq."

Along with this, there is the need for the U.S. to maintain its troops in other parts of the world, plus troops in reserve for other potential problems such as "the implosion of the North Korean regime, a Chinese attack on Taiwan", or some unforeseen nightmare.

"Already", says the Washington Monthly, "we have signaled to bad actors everywhere the limits of our powers. Military threats might never have convinced Iranians to give up their nuclear program. But it’s more than a little troubling that ruling Iranian mullahs can publicly and credibly dismiss recent administration 
saber-rattling by pointing to the fact that our forces are pinned down in Iraq."

The "21st Century" Draft

Having painted a grim picture of a U.S. Military running out of troops, Carter and Glastris conclude by offering what they see as the only answer: a new "21st Century draft".

Under this new system, "the federal government would impose a requirement that no four-year college or university be allowed to accept a student, male or female, unless and until that student had completed a 12-month to two-year term of service."

That mandatory service would comprise a choice of three options: national service programs such as AmeriCorps (tutoring disadvantaged children); homeland security assignments (guarding ports), or in the military. "Those who sign up for lengthier and riskier duty" say Carter/Glastris, "would receive higher pay and larger college grants".

William Norman Grigg, writing in The New American, warns: "In an early April forum, the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington think-tank with plentiful connections to the Council on Foreign Relations gave the Carter/Glastris proposal a favorable hearing. While the neo-conservative Project for a New American Century has not formally endorsed a return to conscription, it and the Center for American Progress agree that the U.S. military has an immediate need for at least 1,000,000 new soldiers — a present impossibility, given that voluntary enlistment has flat-lined, despite the hike in enlistment bonuses."

Grigg further warns that "the dials are being pre-set for policy makers to begin consideration of some version of the Carter/Glastris proposal — universal ‘national service’ for all 18-year-olds, including military conscription, as a condition for attending college."

Still No Period of Peace

On March 25, 1984, Pope John Paul II consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Fatima revisionists have said repeatedly that this consecration, in which Russia was nowhere mentioned and the world’s bishops did not take part, fulfilled the requests of Our Lady of Fatima, and that we are now living in the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart. There is no further need to request the Consecration of Russia, they insist.

The prospect of a draft of men and young girls into military and/or national service in order to handle the ongoing Iraq war and other hot spots on the globe, is yet more evidence that the Consecration of Russia has not been fulfilled. "Russia will be converted, and a period of peace will be given to mankind", promised Our Lady if the Consecration is completed.

But there is no peace. There is only the need for more troops to fight more wars.

The answer to the problem of our embattled world is not to supply more troops for war, but for the Pope finally and properly to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. She will then grant the conversion of Russia and a period of peace. There will be no more fear that American sons and daughters will be drafted into combat.

The Collegial Consecration of Russia, not the Draft, is the only true solution.

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