This is what our leaders swear to protect and defend.
Not the Flag. Not the Bible.
The Constitution of the United States.
Commentor Slappy asks in a thread below:
“… are you for a draft or not? Are you supporting Gilliard's position of no draft? Your postings seem to me to promote a draft.”
A fair question.
OK, short answer then long answer.
The short answer is, no. If I were made God Emperor of the United States tomorrow I would absolutely not wave my scepter and create conscription.
Compulsory public service isn’t always a bad idea – certain Samaritan laws come to mind (making life-saving attempts compulsory under specific circumstances), as does jury service (compulsory public support of the judicial system), and paying taxes (which is the confiscation of the fruits of one’s labor for the public good) are just three that come immediately to mind as a demonstration that the concept is not black-and-white.
Aside: Hard-core Libertarians and Randites may disagree, but fuck hard-core Libertarians and Randites. Like hard-core Socialists, their ideologies can be useful idea-factories, but suck irredeemably as principles for governance. End of Aside.
However, being involuntarily conscripted into life-threatening/life-talking circumstances is different. It’s forced labor slavery, or damned near, and while there may be life-or-death situations where conscription is the acceptable alternative to annihilation, Iraq isn’t one of those.
So the short answer is “No”.
The longer answer is a confession: I am a shameless process whore. Which is the thing I realized years ago sets me most radically apart from our Conservative fellow citizens.
Most of the Modern Conservatives I know, regardless of regional and religious variations, have this in common: The almost universal belief that their Glorious, Godly and/or Patriotic ends ALWAYS justify whatever means their Dear Leader uses. Shit, they’ll tell you as much with the Barney-Fife-braggin’-pride positively swelling in their voices because somewhere along the line they were told that reflexively hating “the system” is some kind of impressively macho dick-waving.
Somewhere between showing off their guns and talking up their bench-pressing prowess.
They spit on the idea of having to go through the laborious process of trying and sentencing criminals, roll their eyes at Miranda and habeas corpus, at the tedium of proving a threat actually exists before going to war, at worrying about the ethics of torture, and at fucking around with exit strategies when there’s so much ay-rab ass (for someone else) to kick (for them, by proxy.)
Their model public servant is Dirty Harry, their motto for public debate is “Shut the Fuck Up!”, and they know deep in their brownshirted little hearts that only queers and Mama’s Boys want to grow up to be Parliamentarians.
What they are never, ever willing to face is the fact that when you will the ends, you will the means.
And when you come to feel that the ends your cause advocates are too important to be left to chance – that your God or your Party supercedes trifling technicalities like truth and the law, and frees you to lie and cheat and swindle and torture and murder in the name of the Greater Good – quicker that you can possibly imagine, the means you use to achieve your ends will destroy the soul of the nation you claim to be protecting.
Which is why I’m a shameless process whore.
Which is why, although I’m against a draft, I am very much in favor of an open, vigorous, public debate over the draft, and all the other questions about true costs of this War that the Republican Party has almost hysterically refused to discuss honestly for the last four years.
Because when your chosen means of implementing radical public policy such as waging preemptive war, torturing detainees, or imprisoning people indefinitely in a democracy are fundamentally corrupt, they will inevitably breed their own monstrous ends and spawn so many totalitarian demons so fast it's almost unbelievable.
So now that George Bush's Six Week Mesopotamian Cakewalk War has lasted longer than World War Two and will now cost us at least 1,000 times more than its originally-advertised sticker price, two things need to happen.
First, the despicable creatures who cynically led us down the IED-strewn primrose path into Baghdad need to spend the rest of their worthless lives apologizing.
And second, those who still maintain their “keep feeding our kids into the meatgrinder until the carnage miraculously stops” position owe us all some simple answers using some simple arithmetic.
Because the burden of proof for making the case as to whether or not we should remain in Iraq a single day longer now falls decisively on those who want us to stay indefinitely.
On those who have been lethally wrong since Day One – while others have done the dying -- but still insist that they should be heeded.
Because, as Glenn Greenwald put it so eloquently (with a h/t to tristero at the mighty Hullabaloo):
Back in 2002, when the U.S. was debating whether to invade Iraq, those who opposed the invasion were, for that reason alone, dismissed as unserious morons and demonized as anti-American subversive hippies. Despite the fact that subsequent events have largely proven them to have been right, and that those who did the demonizing were the frivolous, unserious, know-nothing extremists, this narrative persists, so that -- even now, when most Americans have turned against this war -- the only way to avoid being an "extremist," and to be rewarded with the "centrist" mantle, is to support the continuation of this war in one form or another.
A desire to keep troops in Iraq even in the face of what is going on there may be many things, but "centrist" is not really one of them. Any Commission which commits itself in advance to keeping American troops fighting in Iraq for the foreseeable, indefinite future is itself "extremist" -- whether that term is seen as a function of public opinion or assessed on its own merits.
Who knows, but maybe Iraq really is the Most Important War Evah!!!
If so, you who have touted it are now obliged to explain to me exactly why that is and exactly what winning looks like with no more bullshit GOP Mighty Morphin’ Casus Belli.
No more fudging the stats.
No more screaming that thoughtful dissent is treason and honest questions are disloyal.
No more playing with the definition of “casualty” as a means to keep the body count down.
No more ignoring the outright looting of tens of billions of our tax dollars by friends of this Administration.
No more pretending dead civilians don’t count.
No more paying for it all off the books.
In other words, No More Republican Lying.
Show me the fucking numbers.
Exactly how many troops will we need?
For exactly how long?
What will they be doing, and where exactly to you plan to get them?
If your Plan "A" for recruitment fails, what is your Plan "B"?
What will we have to give up or do without so they can be deployed to Iraq?
Exactly how much will this all cost and how exactly will it all be paid for?
Maybe you have a good case, and maybe you don’t, but now you have to show me the numbers or you have to shut the fuck up.
And this is the real reason why Conservatives despise the nitpickyness and piffling of “the system”.
Because “the system” they actually despise is the daily public business of maintaining a constitutional democracy.
They cringe at the thought of having to lay out the bare, unpolluted facts and then letting the evidence lead us wherever it may, irrespective of how much poisonous, lying bilge Limbaugh and Coulter and Dobson try to scream and pray and threaten into the jury box.
Because in the end, Limbaugh and Coulter and Dobson and the rest of their ilk are the true Enemies of the State, and what these dimwitted fuckers who heed them are incapable of getting through their fat heads is this simple truth:
The Constitution our leaders swear to protect and defend demands that Democracy be both our ends and our means.