Get Ready for the Draft, Boys!

Photograph Source: Universal News – Public Domain

A few years ago in a massive Portland (OR) anti-Iraq war demonstration, as we passed a group of college lads on one corner, they were chanting: “Hell, no!/ We won’t Go!/We’re Not Dying/ for Texaco!” They obviously feared that though the draft officially ended January 27, 1973 , it could be instantly resurrected for all males aged 18-25 if a president declares a national emergency . And they were smart enough to know the real cause was not 9/11, but for the Bush Administration to seize Iraq’s oil —and probably Iran’s, too, while they were at it.

Most of all, the Vietnam War was still a fresh memory (1964-1973) and those students didn’t want to be cannon-fodder casualties in any “rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight” as Civil War conscripts put it.

Fast forward to the NATO summit held a few days ago in Vilnius, Lithania where its 31 national members decided their next action would be global dominance despite “North Atlantic” in the organization’s name. It would increase its rapid-reaction troop numbers from today’s 40,000 to 300,000. Some 20,000 were dispatched to Europe when Russia attacked Ukraine. They backed the Ukraine war effort, but under pressure from U.S. and eight other nations postponed Ukraine’s membership until war’s end, possibly because Article 5 of the NATO treaty says:

“…if an armed attack occurs against one of the member states, it should be considered an attack against all members, and other members shall assist the attacked member, with armed forces if necessary.”

Too, Congress has to officially approve any wars to put American “boots on the ground” through its Constitutional powers. But it has often been circumvented by secret military provocations ordered by a president. When victims strike back finally, several presidents have used it to stampede Congress into declaring war principally either for seizing territories with vital raw materials, rich soil conditions or undermining market competitors. Administrations have been doing that for at least 237 years .

Ten thousand American troops are in Poland out of the 100,000 based in Europe, with 900 allegedly in Ukraine. Several Americans were reportedly killed or wounded in a March 31 Russian attack on Lvov , NATO’s command center in Ukraine to almost total silence from the Defense Department.

Any safeguards against draft call-ups can be set aside by a president declaring a national emergency, and rushing Congress (and mainstream media) into supporting “direct” action, say, against Russia, according to NATO’s Article 5. Or provoking China’s 4,015,000-member armed force . Biden proved that just a few days ago when he authorized mobilization of 3,000 reservists to “augment the active Armed Forces of the U.S. for the effective conduct of Operation Atlantic Resolve in and around the U.S. European Command.” Who’s to say he won’t use that same directive to draft thousands more in stand-bys for direct action against Russia?

Among the earliest known practitioners of provocations was President James Polk, determined to steal Mexico’s northwest. He used the Texas rangers to raid Mexican villages until its military finally retaliated on April 1846 against an American squatter settlement in Texas. Seventeen days later, feigning outrage, Polk and the Secretary of War rushed Congress into declaring war on Mexico (Senate: 40-2; House: 174-14 ) and gained what is now California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Colorado, Wyoming, and Texas.

Our secret military provocations supporting South Vietnam commandos against North Vietnam had been ongoing by presidential orders from 1955 to 1964. Some 16,000 U.S. service personnel , so-called “advisors,” were involved. On August 2, 1964, the USS Maddox destroyer fought off and fled three North Vietnamese torpedo boat attacks in the Gulf of Tonkin. The backstory of provocation was in the immediate telephoned report Defense Secretary Robert McNamara gave President Lyndon Johnson:

“SECRETARY McNAMARA: And we’re going to, and I think I should also, or we should also at that time, Mr. President, explain this Op Plan 34-A, these covert operations. There’s no question but what that had bearing on. And on Friday night, as you probably know, we had four TP [McNamara means PT] boats from Vietnam manned by Vietnamese or other nationals, attack two islands. And we expended, oh, a thousand rounds of ammunition of one kind or another against them. We probably shot up a radar station and a few other miscellaneous buildings. And following twenty-four hours after that, with this destroyer in that same area, undoubtedly led them to connect the two events.”

The public and Congress were given extensive misinformation so that five days later Johnson’s impassioned demand not for a declaration of war, but a Gulf of Tonkin Resolution of 1964 with war powers was granted (Senate: 48-2; House: unanimously ). That officially started the war—and the draft. Results: 58,220 combat deaths —of which 17,725 were draftees—and 303,704 wounded (some forever).

Not only that, but in the years administrations spent in plotting and executing those wars—Vietnam, 1955-1973 ; Iraq, 1997-2023 ; Afghanistan, 2001-2021 —consider those who did the fighting and dying to complete those plans.

Don’t think the Pentagon, its contractors, the State Department, and multi-national corporations looking for markets and raw resources have been idle. For FY2024 operations, the House version of the pending National Defense Authorization Act bill (NDAA) asks for $874.2 billion for men and materiel. Such post-action always has an option to add more by supplemental bills. This bill estimates a need for 1,295,700 active-duty “end strengths” for its five services (including 9,400 for former president Trump’s space force).

Who but the Selective Service could deliver such manpower? Today, it has an active database of over 92 million registrants. Interestingly, Selective Service is not a line item in the NDAA. It’s an independent agency , yet is the Pentagon’s vital handmaiden, perhaps designed that way so that peaceniks in Congress can’t strip it from NDAA bills. It just requested $31,300,000 for FY2024 operations and boasts that it:

“… stands poised to deliver personnel to the Department of Defense when directed by Congress and the President. In the event of a national emergency and call for conscription, the Agency would mobilize, conduct the lottery process, issue induction notices, and transport draftees to U.S. Military Entrance Processing Stations.”

So the Selective Service knows how to instantly notify every one of the 17 million men it’s fingered who’ll be forced by penalties of five years in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, to register. They’ve ensured every U.S. post office lobby has its blue brochure in its racks so ignorance of the law will be no excuse for failure to register.

If the draft is dead, young men rightly ask why must they register?

Some in Congress have recently asked the same question. In 2021, three bills—H.R. 2509 , S.1139 , H.R. 5868 —advocated the Service’s repeal. Sent to both houses’ Armed Service Committees, they never got to a floor vote. The same fate befell proposals advocating women register in 2017 and 2020 , as is in Israel ’s two-year hitches.

But there’s been a sizable problem these last few years: dismal recruitment records.

Indeed, in 2022 the final report of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service recommended the Pentagon hold regular national mobilization drills to prepare the nation’s youth for the draft’s resumption.

Also, for the last few years, the Army’s recruitment yield has almost always come up short with its volunteer force, not counting those ruled out by obesity, low grades, low mental acuity, and drug and alcohol abuse. Worse, 28,000 left the Army last year. Army leaders admitted its 2023 shortfall would be 20,000 for a projected 485,000 this despite offering bonuses ($50,000 over six-years ), high pay , family housing, choice of sites, and other privileges—which previous draftees have never known.

Volunteer prospects apparently have weighed all those benefits against multiple rotations and deployments leading to medical and emotional problems post-service —and said “no.” Too many seem to be aware of all the disadvantages, not counting lifetime injuries. Nor do they want to die for “Texaco” in the vast countrysides of Russia or China where cluster bombs, IEDs, and ambushes by hostile populations await them.

Some may have learned that in the Ukraine war, casualties are monumental. That out of 184,000 Russian troops dispatched for this “special” operation, some 50,000 have been killed, 180,000 wounded . But President Putin just signed a decree to expand its armed forces to over two million this year. And Ukraine, which allegedly has 200,000 remaining troops , has taken losses of 17,500 deaths and 113,500 wounded. Recruiters are desperately conscripting on the streets despite laws forbidding it.

The lessons of how to escape conscription have been taught in every war in every century, of course, beyond fleeing a native country as my key Norwegian ancestor did. Or in the Civil War , paying someone to serve for you, bribing a doctor for a bad exam, bribing draft officials, or living out the war in Europe. Or, more common in the last 106 years, fleeing to Canada, as did an estimated 30,000 draft resisters and deserters during the Vietnam war; half remained long after the war. Those who could afford it fled to Sweden, France, and Germany which then, like Canada had no bar against their emigration. A half-million are said to have avoided that draft.

Others dodged the draft by various methods : filing as a conscientious objector when registering, making up a health condition, getting married, having children, pretending to be homosexual, enrolling in college, holding an essential civilian job, forging military identifications as members of the National Guard or reserves, being the son of a wealthy or prominent citizen, and enlisting in one of the services with low casualties.

However, it is assured that war planners in both Pentagon and Selective Services have figured out by now how to stymie any or all of these anti-draft tactics, including a repeat of the five-day New York City draft riot over eligibility rules (ages 20-35, unmarrieds 35-45). Some 1,200 were killed and thousands injured. They ignore at their peril what happens after induction, especially with at least 800 officers “fragged” in Vietnam, chiefly by men “determined not to risk their lives going on patrol,” as one observer put it, either to protect Michelin’s rubber industry or the corporate powers directing the Administration.

If there are 92 million in the Selective Service database, surely a few million should be able to muster up and block a call-up by massing around their Congressional delegations’ home offices. To demand their corporate masters raise their own armies to plunder the Earth. That they’ll no longer die for the Texacos.