Support The Draft…

Ilana Mercer, November 16, 2007

Support the draft…for politicians and bureaucrats.

Those involved in statecraft recently came out in force to complain about being forced to serve the State in tough times. Being US emissaries in Iraq is a “potential death sentence,” a member of the Foreign Service sobbed” during what Yahoo News described as “an emotional meeting in Washington with senior State Department officials.” I have “post traumatic stress disorder” after being posted there for a year, another whined. Who will take care of our children if we (gasp) die protested yet another fair-weather stooge for the State.

An all-too-small segment of the political class knows, now, how soldiers and their families feel when subjected to back-door drafts in the form of indefinitely extended tours of duty; now they know what most taxpayers feel about a war that has helped plunge the country into debt, and has contributed to the devaluation of the currency, and the sapping of savings and retirement plans. Ordinary Americans, after all, don’t have hefty, free pensions and perks for posterity, like those enjoyed at the State Department.

The taxpayer, the ultimate boss, is sidelined when he protests policies over which he ought to have the final say. State officials kick and scream, and their bosses set up a hearing. (Or was it a healing circle?) Against this background, anti-war advocates seized upon the Foreign Service’s ferment of discontent to score anti-war points. Compassion—misplaced compassion—for the undiplomatic diplomats was the order of the day.

Having expatiated against the illegal, immoral and unconstitutional Iraq war from its inception, I’d recommend a different course of action in furtherance of freedom. For one, crying for the carping consular staff is a bad idea. They seem to want to enjoy the favors of office without bearing the burdens—to pick and choose those policies they are prepared to promote.

Creating a risk-free workplace for the already privileged government employee will do nothing to curb the State’s endless exploits. Coddling its recruits won’t place a dampener on government’s callous, confiscatory practices. The riskier the stakes faced by the political class, the better. Let as many of them as possible shoulder the consequences of the Iraq policy. Force more of the state’s pen-pushing laptop bombardiers to the empire’s fronts. Then, perhaps, will we witness policy changes that percolate down to The People.

Speaking of “the dark side of rule,” and what we call in error “the troops” when we mean soldiers, military men, conscripts (a troop is “an armored cavalry or cavalry unit consisting of two or more platoons and a headquarters group”): Republican representatives are forever broadcasting their love for the brave men and women of the military. But where was the love, pray tell, when not long ago, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) proposed “an amendment forcing the Pentagon to give troops more time off between deployments”? Republicans, who are always professing solidarity with our soldiers, promptly defeated the measure. The proposal, moreover, was not meant to defund the war, but was intended merely to provide soldiers with much-needed respite from the Iraqi inferno.

I have a soft spot for Sen. Webb. The junior senator is a defecting Republican who served in the Reagan administration as Secretary of the Navy. When I first began writing against the war for, he had e-mailed me in approval and sent along some of his own anti-war editorials. Sen. Webb’s motives for safeguarding our soldiers are beyond reproach: love of country and kin. The Senator comes from a military family; he himself is a Vietnam veteran, son of a World War II warrior, and father to a marine fighting in Iraq. According to “ThinkProgress,” Webb’s son had a brush with death in Iraq in 2006.

Leading the retinue of Republicans who opposed Webb’s proposal was the mummified McCain who’s taken a vow of victory with respect to Iraq—Sen. John McCain, “the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has made winning in Iraq the focus of his bid for the presidency.”

Not that he’s any less unsavory than the Republicans, but it’s hard to argue with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid when he quipped that “most of my Republican colleagues are much more concerned about protecting their president than protecting our troops.”

©2007 By Ilana Mercer
November 16

CATEGORIES: Labor, Libertarianism, Military, Political Theory, Politics & Policy, The State & Statism