At the top of the Selective Service Agency's homepage there currently appears the following Notice:
NO DRAFT ON HORIZON!
As the Agency's Notice went on to explain:
Currently there is a flurry of newspaper articles about Selective Service planning to conduct an exercise of its field structure in 2009. However, the public should not be alarmed. No draft for the military is about to be reinstated. Rather, Selective Service is planning to test its policies, plans and procedures as it has done routinely over the years if resources are available. Given the decline in agency funding, this exercise may be postponed again as it has been in the past. As always, Selective Service continues to do its job of being ready to conduct a draft and to manage a program for civilian alternative service for men classified as conscientious objectors when directed by the Nation’s elected officials: the president and Congress.
Of course, horizons can be short or long or in-between.
To my mind, the nightmare scenario (purely conjectural at this time — though with ample precedent from American history) remains a Democratic – controlled White House and Congress some time after the November 2008 national elections, in which the party of the more pleasing rhetoric finesses a military draft under cover of some kind of "national service."
After all, the Human Rights Brigades have been honing this rhetoric for years. What other purpose do you suppose the highly selective focus on Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and more recently the Darfur states in the western Sudan has served, ultimately, if not as successive proving-grounds for this more pleasing rhetoric of military intervention?
Having been trained for generations to cast their votes for nothing more than one or the other rhetorical covers, the Americans could easily vote-out the more frankly aggressive Republicans, and vote-in the sweeter and lighter Democrats. (How about the team of Hillary and Barack? Now that might do the trick.)
By the year 2009, 2010, or 2011 (one can't be too exact about these things), the Democratic majority in the Congress could work with the Republican minority and Hillary and Barack over at the White House to re-institute a military draft to provide the people-power to the armed forces for the emergency "humanitarian" intervention required to save the Iraqis from the civil wars unleashed by the earlier invasion that was required to topple the regime whose "weapons of mass destruction" were a clear and present danger to us all.
In other words: Same basic policies. Different rhetorical covers.
Instead, how about an "irreconcilable animus against war" leaving the American military's ranks empty — without killers or cannon fodder?
An enlightened unwillingness to kill in the service of the state?
"Antiwar activists, youths, military agree: no draft," Adam Fifield, Philadelphia Inquirer, December 3, 2006
"U.S. doesn't need the draft," Bernard Rostker, United Press International, December 11, 2006 (as posted to the Rand Corporation website)
"A Military of the Willing Works Best," Berl Brechner, Washington Post, December 21, 2006
"U.S. Selective Service plans 'readiness' tests for military draft," Kasie Hunt, Associated Press, December 22, 2006
"Military Draft System To Be Tested," CBS News, December 22, 2006 (as posted to Truthout)
"US tests call-up system but denies return to conscription," Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, December 23, 2006
"Flurry of Calls About Draft, And a Day Of Denials," Eric Lichtblau, New York Times, December 23, 2006