Tony Blankley: Bring Back the Draft
Tony Blankley, former press secretary to Newt Gingrich and editorial page editor of the Washington Times, has a new book out that, among other things, argues for reinstatement of the military draft. Unlike liberals like Charlie Rangel or even centrist Phil Carter, he doesn’t do so on the basis of “fairness” or spreading the burden but rather on the sheer need for manpower.
John Hawkins interviews him. Here’s an excerpt:
Let me give you, to me, the biggest argument and that is the almost 4500 troops that have been killed in Iraq and more thousands than that that have been seriously injured. All of that came after we defeated the Republican Guard. Rumsfeld was correct that we only needed about 80,000 troops to knock off the Republican Guard. They were wrong to think that we could occupy that country with only those 80,000 or 100,000 troops. In Germany, after WW2, we flooded the zone. When the 80,000 elite forces finished their fighting, we needed to flood the zone with 300,000 or 400,000 ground occupying troops. Every village, every main intersection, every building guarded — the resistance would never have arisen. We would have saved 4000 lives if we’d had enough troops. We sacrificed lives.
This was a relatively small war. Now, what happens if the Jihadis overthrow the Pakistani government — a very unstable government. …They have nuclear weapons. If we want to stop the Jihadis from getting nuclear weapons, we’d have to go into Pakistan and try to stop that. We don’t have remotely the number of troops to do that.
Moreover, as the years unfold, according to the intelligence community — the day before I sent my manuscript to the printer — we’re likely to have resource wars over water and oil in the coming decades. China already has a lot of troops in Sudan guarding their oil fields right now.
So, I think it’s obvious that we can’t raise enough troops by the voluntary method. I’ve got a young son, a new 2nd Lieutenant in the Army — I’ve met his friends, …I’ve talked with the generals, and I know how wonderful the volunteer service is, but there just aren’t enough of them.
Blankley, with whom I’ve had conversations and genuinely like and respect, is almost certainly right that, if we need a radically larger force than we now have for some future contingency, we’re not going to be able to achieve it through the current system. But a slightly plausible future emergency strikes me as a weak rationale for a definite present infringement on personal liberty and weakening of the morale of a military that he admits is superb.
Beyond that, the most manpower intensive missions are those like we’re fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan: post-combat or combat-plus operations like COIN and SASO that require a large, continuing presence. The scenarios he envisions would likely be met with massive aerial strikes, not infantrymen fighting door-to-door.
Photo: Sharing Miracles.