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The Call to Empire Act

As Rummy and the guys over at the Pentagon know, reinstituting the draft is a bad idea. Last time young people were forced into the military meat grinder (during the Vietnam War) many responded by fragging (either shooting or throwing grenades at) officers. Morale was dismal, as should have been expected considering the depravity and organized mass murder soldiers were forced to partake in. Not long ago Rumsfeld admitted the Pentagon is not interested in drafting kids from the traditional pool — the working class and poor of urban and rural America — when he said Vietnam era draftees added “no value, no advantage” to the military. No doubt, as well, the current crop of officers don’t relish the prospect of a return to fragging.

Enter the so-called “Call to Service Act,” billed as “the most important change in America’s military recruitment policy since the end of the draft.” It is designed to allow “patriotic” young Americans to join the military for 18 months of “active service” instead of the standard four years. “This would make enlisting in the military a decision upper middle-class youth could identify with,” opined Charles Moskos, a Northwestern University military sociologist who developed the scheme. “Today, they don’t even know anyone in the military.”

Well, Chuck, that’s because the average upper middle-class youth usually doesn’t hobnob with the working class and poor who comprise Rumsfeld’s and Dubya’s grunts.

It didn’t take John McCain, R-Ariz., and Evan Bayh, D- Ind., long to gush over this harebrained scheme to populate the sagging military as it gears up for endless wars of conquest in the name of transnational corporations and rich folks with a stake in Lockheed Martin and other death merchants. “No national endeavor requires as much unshakable resolve as war,” McCain said. “Before we enter one, we should know that most Americans share the commitment and are prepared to make the personal sacrifices it entails.” Translation: it’s probably a good idea to do a more effective job at brainwashing the middle class so they will donate (i.e., “sacrifice”) their kids to Bush’s envisioned future of perpetual war.

As for the required propaganda barrage required to sell what should be entitled the Call to Empire Act, consider the following:

“Disparities in military service can undermine the civic ethic of equal sacrifice, undercut public support for military campaigns, and weaken the effectiveness of civilian oversight,” a report issued by the Progressive Policy Institute, a think tank for “centrist” Democrats concludes.

Naturally, donating your children to wars devised by chicken hawks who never saw fit to join the military (like Cheney, they had “other priorities”) should be viewed by the public as a “civic ethic of equal sacrifice” instead of what it really is: a con game perpetuated by the ruling elite on those they view as expendable pawns. How many senators do you think will be urging their loved ones to join up for 18 months of “equal sacrifice?” None, nada, zip. As for “civilian oversight” of the military, one has to wonder what planet the “centrist” Democrats at the Progressive Policy Institute came from. There’s no such thing.

Hopefully, not many people will be fooled by this nonsense. Military recruiters already have unprecedented access to America’s youth as they attempt to coerce them into becoming cannon fodder for Bush’s New World Order of Shock and Awe Mass Murder on a global scale. If they have any doubt about what happens to far too many veterans, they may want to have a chat with the homeless Vietnam vet down on the corner or one of the hundreds of thousands of veterans suffering from Gulf War Syndrome.

Bush can’t run his all-war, all-the-time scheme if people refuse to join the military. As the Call to Empire Act demonstrates, the military is desperate to replenish its ranks with fresh meat. Rumsfeld likes to brag America can run multiple wars simultaneously, but if young people refuse to join up the war machine will eventually sputter and grind to a halt. The only alternative will be a return to the draft, which the Pentagon fears almost as much as it fears budget cuts and thumbs down to frivolous weapon systems.

If the draft returns, fragging may also return — and in a big way.

KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent online gallery. He can be reached at: nimmo@zianet.com

We highly recommend regular visits to Nimmo’s website, Another Day in the Empire

 

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KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Visit his excellent no holds barred blog at www.kurtnimmo.com/ . Nimmo is a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s, The Politics of Anti-Semitism. A collection of his essays for CounterPunch, Another Day in the Empire, is now available from Dandelion Books. He can be reached at: nimmo@zianet.com

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