Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gotta Be A Misquote

From an Army Times interview with Vice CJCS Marine Gen. James Cartwright, discussing planned DoD budget cuts over the next decade:
“The second three years tend to be on the structure side of the house. So that is forces, changing the number of forces that you have or the character of the forces.
“People generally will look at it and go, ‘That means taking people out of the services.’ Not necessarily. You may just shift the balance of the services from active to Guard or reserve or to — the dirty word — a draft,” he said. “Those are all different characters and they have different costs that you can manage, based on time when you bring those forces into activity. We are looking at all of that full range. We’ll have to look at everything.”
[Emphasis mine] I'm not sure why someone who apparently is supposed to have a clue would be saying that in 4-6 years the military, currently fully-manned and downsizing, would want to bring in a bunch of people who don't want to be there. (Granted, there are plenty of volunteers who end up not wanting to be there, but with those guys you can at least shame them with the fact that they voluntarily signed the dotted line.) I've always said that bringing back the draft is a sure way of destroying the American military; I expect that from people who hate the idea that America should be able to project power overseas, but I'm not sure why someone who apparently doesn't would want that. (If, on the other hand, this was just a scare tactic to try to stop the budget cuts, that means the Administration has some serious message discipline problems.)

Any older guys want to share stories of malcontent draftees who caused problems?


Blogger John Byron said...

Might as well wade in on this one...

1. There's a difference between having a draft and having draftees.A draft in standby to fill the ranks in event of large conflict would free the Services (the Army specifically) from having to keep a full compliment of active-duty people around 'just in case.' Cartwright got it right.

2. The draft option is despised by the US Army, which would much rather have an all-voilunteer force (hang the cost) than have to actually man up and train in the event of large conflict.

3. For Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, an activated draft is a net plus, encouraging volunteer enlistment into these Services rather than draft duty in the Army.

4. The Founding Fathers adamantly and universally feared a standing army, The language of the Constitution - 'raise an army, maintain a navy' - embodies this. They feared an imperial executive able to use his army for conquest and war-making beyond the needs of true defense.

The history of George W. Bush and his band of chickenhawks in their use of the AVF and their abuse of power to start a war of choice in Iraq is strong indication that the Founding Fathers had it exactly right. Had there been a draft strategy in place in 2001 rather than the AVF, we surely would have gone into Afghanistan and far more likely would have prosecuted that war properly. But we'd surely also would have stayed out of Iraq - the political process would not have supported a draft call-up for anything as specious as the Iraq decision.

5. I went through boot camp with draftees and served with them for many years. They were indistinguishable from real people and did well by their duties. Frankly, I have more faith in citizen-soliders called up to defend the nation than I do the semi-mercenaries of the AVF.

6. I'm writing this within a half mile of the Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, drove past it twice this morning. Two of the five Marines depicted in the monument raising the flag on Mount Suribachi were draftees. We won that one with a draft military. I rest my case.

7/16/2011 9:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last war we lost was with a draft in place. No thanks, if someone is concerned with defendng our nation,internallly or externally, then they will volunteer. We don't draft police officers, do we?

As for the same old liberal attacks...I am embarrased for you.

7/16/2011 9:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The draft might not be such a bad idea. Of course the professional part of the military would still do the what they do today, but the draftees would do all the dirty work. Sort of like slaves for the enlisted people. Instead of technicians cleaning and do other menial work, send in a bunch of draftees.

It would also help clean out the inner cities since middle class and above would be smart enough to avoid it. A little discipline, pulling up your pants and learn to speak english would be a plus to our society.

7/16/2011 9:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

People volunteer for a lot of reasons. I expect for most of them, as with myself, "defending our nation" wasn't at the top of the list, so I'm not sure that has anything to do with this.

Replacing reserve forces with a draft would certainly save money. We would pay a price in loss of readiness though.

7/16/2011 10:03 AM

Blogger Chap said...

If there's a draft there's less pressure to pay them well or provide services, so goes the beancounter argument.

Personal opinion is a free country shouldn't force people to join the military. But we all know what opinions are like.

7/16/2011 10:37 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been out of the Navy for eons but it sure looks like we're slowly making our way back to the pre-Pearl Harbor mentality.

7/16/2011 10:50 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The history of George W. Bush and his band of chickenhawks in their use of the AVF and their abuse of power to start a war of choice in Iraq blah, blah, blah

Exactly how many shooting wars is the USA involved in now? And Bush has been out of office how long?

Typical Obama fellatiating comment from RD that I've come to expect. Wipe your chin.

7/16/2011 12:50 PM

Blogger Curt said...

Now: Average Joe (and Joan) have no 'fear' of being drafted, and so the feeling towards the services is outstanding-Much support. Heading towards the dreaded Civilian-Military Divide, but good, overall.

Once the POSSIBILITY of Joe being FORCED to serve is brought back, then we're a threat (again)...

'Hell No I Won't Go!

7/16/2011 12:56 PM

Anonymous Cupojoe said...

I have a number of older colleagues who had very positive things to say about the draftees.

7/16/2011 1:08 PM

Blogger SJV said...

Seems to me the path forward is to with sophisticated weapons and more armor protection with less "grunts". A bit like automated manufacturing. Such a force needs fewer soldiers, but they need to be smarter.

7/16/2011 1:18 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

Any re-imposition of a military draft that does not expose women to the same likelihood of random drawing as men will be challenged by the same army of US lawyers who sought egual rights to trial, Miranda, etc for foreign terrorists.

Women have never been required to register for the draft, and that law has never been changed. How then, can a man (who failed to register, or got drafted) be deprived of civilian employment due to a qualification neither required of women, or job seniority available to women not subject to a draf?

ANSWER: He cannot; that is today considered automatically Unconstitutional and violates EEOC laws. Court rulings have made this clear. here.

In RD's excellent (minus the Bush dig) summary, he fails to mention that invoking a draft might also reduce the number of gays in active duty service. Gen Cartwright would not want that result, would he?

7/16/2011 1:22 PM

Blogger SJV said...

And for the record I think the O Gang pretty well goobed up the records on who raised the flag on Suribachi.

7/16/2011 1:24 PM

Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

As noted by RD, the Navy and the Air Force got some outstanding "Volunteers" during the 1960s because of the draft. A number of those folks ended up making it a career. I suspect that if there was a draft in the early 2000s that the reaction regarding the Iraq war would have been the same as the reaction to the Vietnam War amoung the draft eligible.
A draft would also mean that more than 2% of the country would know someone who has served in Iraq or Afganistan.
I believe that the lack of the draft is what as caused the abuse of the reserves and the national guard troops. Multiple tours are very difficult.
In a future conflict, there may not be time to train up a draftee army. Then again, if the country had some sort of Universal Training where all 18-20 year olds received some basic training and were then released to civilian life until a national emergency, more civilians would understand the stresses of uniformed service.

7/16/2011 1:32 PM

Anonymous submarines once... said...

Rubber Ducky has it right-the draft will put some throttle on the dispatch of troops for various missions, especially if you (politician) have a son/daughter in the cross-hairs. You can argue about training and skills for a short-time member of the armed forces especially as we escalate the high-tech war toys. But there are always skills that need bodies...

7/16/2011 2:48 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the thought of a draft makes my head hurt (23 yrs in Subs and Reserves, enlisted and officer), when our entire country has mobilized for a war, the war is shorter and results in a clear winner and loser.

For 20th century wars Korea and Vietnam don't fit this theory as well as both had a draft. But the case could be made that the entire country wasn't mobilized as it was for WWI and WWII.

While rubber ducky's comments about the draft are valid, his Bush comments conveniently leave out the Congressional approval sought and received.

Until we are all in as a nation, declaring war, requiring participation from all citizens (in whatever capacity), etc. we won't see the national will to win and win quickly.

Recall the G.C.Scott line from the film Patton (paraphrasing) "until we get the wives and girlfriends demanding a quick end to this war..."

7/16/2011 3:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Draft or no, man, if we could only replace the supporting logistics tail with hobbyhorses - those seem to be a renewable and inexhaustible resource.

7/16/2011 3:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

...While rubber ducky's comments about the draft are valid, his Bush comments conveniently leave out the Congressional approval sought and received.

And you conveniently leave out the "faulty intelligence" that their approval was based on...

7/16/2011 5:28 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

If there's a person on earth who can justify the Iraq war as anything other than imperial folly, please that person speak up. What an incredible waste of time, money, lives (ours and uncounted Iraqi innocents), with the gigantic opportunity cost against early success and exit from Afghanistan. Speak up.

And if we'd had a draft, we wouldn't have had an Iraq war.

For those who prefer the AVF, tell us why it has not produced clear success in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Essentially unlimited resources, vastly superior equipment and forces, a foe described in kindest possible terms as small bands of ragtag irregulars, and we can't produce victory in our longest-ever war nor in Iraq, where the Chief Chickenhawk foolishly and falsely declared Mission Accomplished eight years ago.

The draft may suck, but the AVF fails.

7/16/2011 5:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Based on personal experience in Sub Force 1960-1977, RD has got it right. I served with many sailors who chose 4 years in the Nav rather than 2 years as a draftee. Re: Bush 43 decision to invade Iraq, please note that he also did not demand that the American Public participate through a war tax or even selling war bonds. And you know the reason why as well as I do. He couldn't have got it done and there would have been a lot more public scrutiny over the entire idea of starting that war. Instead, a very large part of our deficit belongs to the War in Iraq. What was it Dick Cheney said, "Sniff, Reagan proved deficits don't matter." Right Dick only until a Democrat is in the White House.


7/16/2011 6:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is always interesting to see what people say right before they retire and while Cartwright's comments on the draft are interesting I think there are some more navy centered comments made here:

1) cancelling/delaying the new JFK
2) Cancel the Ohio Replacement and its load of D5 missiles - instead replace with a stretched VA and a load of C4 missiles

He also took some swipes at the new air force replacement bomber here:

7/16/2011 8:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those who prefer the AVF, tell us why it has not produced clear success in either Iraq or Afghanistan.

Has nothing to do with the AVF, but rather the lack of a quantifiable objective. If a POTUS would say, I want every rag head mother fucker in Shitistan killed, that we could accomplish. Nation building and coddling, not so much.

7/16/2011 9:06 PM

Blogger John Byron said...

Anon at 9:06...

Truth to that but the military strategies to achieve the wobbling goals have came from the AVF and the operational arts available to execute the strategies have been pure AVF-derived. Neither have been worth a shit.

Many justify the AVF's gigantic cost (equal to that of the next 20 nations combined) by its grand effectiveness. I say that effectiveness is pure fiction - go win something and then talk about how good things are.

And I would guarantee a big WTF followed by a domestic revolt against mobilization were there a draft in place and the neocons and imperialists tried to press on to the Iraq war.

War is indeed a political act, and in our system of government the intent and design is to rest such supreme political acts in the hands of we the people. We collectively decide for war when our nationhood is threatened and not, absolutely not because "Saddam tried to kill my daddy."

No, with a draft in place, no Iraq war. And we'd have been out of Afghanistan within a year had the vaunted AVF been able to properly and well support the forces at Tora Bora in December of 2001. But this always-ready always-capable magnificent force was essentially MIA in forces and logistics at THE critical point of the Afghanistan War. When it comes to effective military forces, the AVF is a porch dog.

7/17/2011 5:08 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Not fighting the Iraq war may have been the best choice, but that's not the same as winning it. To prove your assertion that a draftee force is superior in the field, you need to provide evidence as to why, given that we were going to fight there, the war would have been different. You seem to be implying that we'd be in and our much quicker with a conscript army, but the most salient examples are Vietnam (eight years with no clear national threat, fighting a holding action, ultimate loss), Korea (another foreign adventure; arguably successful but note well that we're still there), and WWII (victory in response to invasion, but the political leadership was willing to carry on until the unconditional surrender of both enemies; also despite the draft almost everyone knows someone who lied about his age to get in). I don't think you can draw a clear causal relationship between the draft and success or political will to fight.

As for my personal opinion on the draft, I'd say that any war that can't inspire enough volunteers to meet manning probably shouldn't happen and that any nation that can't muster enough volunteers to meet manning in case of invasion has lost its right to exist.

7/17/2011 6:16 AM

Anonymous Kolohe said...

"The draft may suck, but the AVF fails."

Duck, you're smart enough to know that American Military History doesn't start in 1941.

Was there a draft during American's genuine Imperial period - i.e. when we conquered the West, won the Spanish overseas possessions, and annexed Hawaii?

7/17/2011 7:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed that we should go big or stay home in any war. Afganistan should have and could have been won a lot quicker with the right commitment. Iraq? Perhaps a big national mistake, but again, not a big enough commitment.

Lastly, come someone tell me what dog we have in the Libya fight?

The Arab leage pushed for the no fly zone. How many Saudi pilots are in the air over Libya? Nato forces are showing a real lack of depth in the ability to fight a long war. And what about the war powers act? Conveniently not pressed by anyone now.

7/17/2011 10:03 AM

Anonymous Kissimmee Kid said...

If you do not learn from your mistakes you are doomed to repeat them. We have to admit Bush was a dumb as a box of rocks, or we will get stuck with another one! (Personally, I like the stroke theory, watch the Attorney General debate tape and tell me that man was the President.)

7/17/2011 11:04 AM

Anonymous Stop Messing Around said...

We could end this middle east raghead problem in about 90 minutes if we weere not such pussies. Heck, launches could time as not to interfere with meals, field day or training! The only issue would be pier space at Bangor and Kings Bay.

And believe it or not, we could do this with an all-volunteer force...draftees need not apply.

I agree about Iraq...we blew it. The most important thing we should have done is take the oil for ourselves. But no, nobody wants to have a war for oil.

7/17/2011 11:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think there's something wrong with Blogger. In the space where Kissimmee Kid's comment should be, all I can see is "herp derp" repeated over and over.

7/17/2011 12:22 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

RD, (and NOT YOUR ANONYMOUS proxies) -

Let's stipulate for the sake of argument that George W. Bush actually did prosecute the war with Iraq based prominently on Saddam's attempt to assassinate his father, a U.S. president.

Now, Sir, kindly clue us in on why Obama, with far less "unbiased" media explanation and fortitude, has prosecuted the war on Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi.

Many of us are waiting for your cogent answer.

7/17/2011 7:13 PM

Blogger cool_guy said...

Lot of comments here - a lot of opinions, very few facts... But, the temptation to attempt to validate your particular brand of political "truth" is almost impossible to overcome, so I do understand, although your arguments don't stand up...

I was a draftee, got my letter and immediately went down to the recruiter and joined the Navy... Ended up serving for 15 years, got out and went to work for a defense contractor supporting Marines in the field for 12 years, then hired on as civil servant for the DON supporting Marines in the field once again.. Retired from that gig after 7 years, now I work as a consultant to the DON aviation side, supporting Marines in the field...

So, I probably would have had a much different path if I had not been drafted and chose the Navy over the Army - who knows??

Point is that there are as many stories about individual draftees as there are individual draftees, you folks who believe you can lump a large bunch of individuals into a common group that you can then describe with a sentence or two are fooling yourselves, it is an intellectually lazy approach to describing a fairly complex situation with many variables, but it does allow you to rattle on while seeming to make sense, at least until someone looks closely at what you have said...

My two cents...

7/18/2011 10:34 AM

Blogger John Byron said...


No proxies, grommet.

No US war in Libya either. US has lent forces to NATO 'to protect civilians.' On diplomatic side, US has recognized the rebel government.

For the record, between 1798 and 1993 (last data found) "the United States has used its armed forces abroad in situations of conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes" 234 times. In that time I count fewer than ten recognized 'wars.'

7/18/2011 11:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

And since the creation of the AVF how many times has someone cried "DRAFT" !!! And generated this conversation? It is worse than the boy who cried wolf....

The fact is that there are damn few people left on active duty who were part of a draft military in this country. We might as well be arguing over how many angels dance on the head of a pin for all the personal experience current members of the military have with the Draft.

My personal opinion is that there was a subtext to the creation of the AVF....what if we gave a war and no one came? The thought process was that if not enough folks volunteered for service, we could not get into military misadventures. Sadly for those who thought like that, the AVF proved to be highly successful and not the natural block to military misadventures that some might hoped it might be.

7/18/2011 2:17 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

RD, as you were Lord B.

Citing a dumb technicality, you failed to "kindly clue us in on why Obama, with far less "unbiased" media explanation and fortitude, has prosecuted the war on Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi...

So let me rephrase my patently relevant and obviously ignored request in less equivocal terms:

Kindly clue us in on why Obama, with far less "unbiased" media explanation and fortitude, has prosecuted the ACT OF WAR on Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi.

Failure to reply cogently tends to propel you as "the grommet of all grommets".

7/19/2011 3:31 PM

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10/02/2011 10:37 AM


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