The worst argument in favor of the draft ever

posted at 2:01 pm on December 1, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

For some reason, whenever you find yourself needing a “worst example of…” something to point to in the press, you won’t have to look much further than Dana Milbank and his ongoing series of opinion pieces at the Washington Post. In an apparent effort to never disappoint us, particularly in this holiday season, we find yet another sterling demonstration of this trend with his recent article on why we should bring back the draft. While I know, as a veteran, that the volunteer nature of our force has resulted in a vast improvement in our military readiness and capabilities, not to mention the overall quality of our forces, I have had times when I’ve felt an emotional reaction which made me feel sympathetic toward those who would see the draft restored and a couple of the reasons they cite. Milbank’s argument, however, does not fall into this category.

There is no better explanation for what has gone wrong in Washington in recent years than the tabulation done every two years of how many members of Congress served in the military.

A Congressional Quarterly count of the current Congress finds that just 86 of the 435 members of the House are veterans, as are only 17 of 100 senators, which puts the overall rate at 19 percent. This is the lowest percentage of veterans in Congress since World War II, down from a high of 77 percent in 1977-78, according to the American Legion…

Because so few serving in politics have worn their country’s uniform, they have collectively forgotten how to put country before party and self-interest. They have forgotten a “cause greater than self,” and they have lost the knowledge of how to make compromises for the good of the country. Without a history of sacrifice and service, they’ve turned politics into war.

I first noticed this article because it had been covered by Dr. James Joyner, who was no more impressed with Milbank than I.

That few in Congress have served in the military is lamentable for many reasons, the most obvious of which is that it not only makes them less intimately familiar with the demands of combat but also tends to undermine civil-military relations by making our civilian leaders afraid to challenge our military brass. But the notion that having worn a military uniform somehow makes one immune from partisanship and foolishness is absurd.

Milbank provides no evidence for this assertion, by the way, other than the fact that Congress seems to be more dysfunctional that it used to be.

Personally, I find military service to be a significant plus on the resume of any candidate for elected office, but it won’t be my only consideration. The willingness to actually serve your nation, even at the cost of placing your own life in peril, speaks volumes about the person’s character when they come along later asking to serve in a different, less physically dangerous capacity. But I’m equally positive that prior service not only doesn’t need to be a requirement, but that it shouldn’t be. We keep the leadership of the civilian and military worlds separate for a reason, and we keep a very close eye on the one place where they overlap. (That being the dual nature of the President of the United States also being the Commander in Chief of the armed forces.)

Instituting the draft would still only affect a tiny portion of the civilian population under the most optimistic of Milbank’s envisioned circumstances. The odds that any significantly larger portion of the electoral candidate pool would wind up being veterans are too low to calculate. The only way that formula would change is if military service became mandatory for every adult in the nation, and I don’t think anyone is seriously discussing that. This is a foolish premise and shouldn’t be taken seriously by anyone.


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Milbank is free to enlist any day.

He’s a leftist moron, like all the others.

Schadenfreude on December 1, 2013 at 2:03 PM

Dana Milbank wouldn’t qualify for the draft. Can’t go in with a little winkie AND a giant vaggie.

AllahsNippleHair on December 1, 2013 at 2:05 PM

If Dana was trying to throw up a SQUIRREL distraction in front of us with this pap, he sorta failed.

Myron Falwell on December 1, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Because so few serving in politics have worn their country’s uniform, they have collectively forgotten how to put country before party and self-interest. They have forgotten a “cause greater than self,” and they have lost the knowledge of how to make compromises for the good of the country. Without a history of sacrifice and service, they’ve turned politics into war.

This is just chock full of chutzpah.

AllahsNippleHair on December 1, 2013 at 2:07 PM

We should also consider demographics – our current leaders that are between 35 and 55 years old fell into the gap between Vietnam and Afghanistan/Iraq. When they were of military age there was no draft, no war going on and our military was downsizing.

Most of our leaders over 55 years old came of age when we still had a draft. There aren’t many congressman under 35 years old.

myiq2xu on December 1, 2013 at 2:13 PM

I’m not a fan of Dana Milbank, sometimes he says something I agree with, most times not. This is another case of “not.”

Without getting into demographics and other discussions about the draft, I have a far simpler solution to the problem he wants to address.

Return ROTC to all Ivy League schools. On campus ROTC.

I’m not a statist, so I resist the nose tweak of saying ROTC at Ivy League schools should be mandatory. No. But it should be a voluntary option. In fact, it should be an option at any university that accepts federal funds.

As Jazz says, the military is too good to be dragged down by two year amateurs who wear a uniform solely because of a low “lottery” number.

I say this based on my own 34 years in the military. It doesn’t make me an expert, but it does give me perspective on the issue.

Grinch on December 1, 2013 at 2:14 PM

It’s a squirrel.

When in doubt
Run in circles
Scream and shout.

claudius on December 1, 2013 at 2:14 PM

The way it is going, it will soon be mandatory that to be elected to political office, as a Democrat, you will HAVE to have served.

.
.
time
.
.
in prison.

How else will your voter base know that you are ‘one of them’?

LegendHasIt on December 1, 2013 at 2:16 PM

BTW – Milbank was born in 1968 which means he was of military age during the Reagan-Bush years but his bio doesn’t mention military service.

myiq2xu on December 1, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Because so few serving in politics have worn their country’s uniform, they have collectively forgotten how to put country before party and self-interest. They have forgotten a “cause greater than self,” and they have lost the knowledge of how to make compromises for the good of the country. Without a history of sacrifice and service, they’ve turned politics into war.

A stellar example comes to mind. Juan McVain for the republican side and Charles Rangel for the dems. Both vaunted veterans and both are political turds.

AH_C on December 1, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Like I said in the headlines version, I could go for compulsory boot camp for every 18 year old, and perhaps continuing infantry weapon qualifications (hey maybe as a prerequisite to vote!), but a conscription army is usually a disgruntled and unprofessional one.
Disclaimer: I’m saying this as someone who has never been in the military.

Count to 10 on December 1, 2013 at 2:20 PM

It would be easier to make the argument to require military service to qualify for election to federal office. Not that it would make you immune from bad government (e.g. Jimmy Carter), but that at least it wouldn’t make you more prone to it (e.g. Clinton and Obama). Of course you will get those who seem to serve only because they think it a ticket they must punch for elected office (e.g. Kerry and Gore).

I still like the Heinlein idea of requiring military service to vote. Those not interested enough in their country to defend it shouldn’t complain about not getting a chance to govern it. Of course the problem with this idea is that by some magical process, government would become a non-ending funnel for more and more veterans benefits until it became unsustainable.

Perhaps the best way would be to take the inverse approach. Those who receive government benefits are ineligible to vote. I suspect that the same magical process would suddenly find a pinch in the government funding funnel under that scheme.

If you really want to balance out government, make senators elected based on tax dollars paid (with corporate taxes allocated on the basis of ownership). Then you would have a house incentivized to hand out goodies and a senate incentivized to restrain spending. Especially if you gave a freeze on federal salaries while running a deficit and a 10% reduction in salary/benefits on elected, appointed federal positions and their staff for every year they serve that runs a deficit. I suspect that would do more for getting government to shape up than anything else.

yetanotherjohn on December 1, 2013 at 2:23 PM

Yes, then the left can force their agendas down people’s throats under penalty of punishment and prison.

Blake on December 1, 2013 at 2:23 PM

AH_C on December 1, 2013 at 2:19 PM

Don’t forget the heroic Swiftboater, now serving as SoS after a stellar career in the Senate.

LegendHasIt on December 1, 2013 at 2:25 PM

One name eliminates all claims that serving in the military is some panacea: John Murtha.

Warner Todd Huston on December 1, 2013 at 2:26 PM

The draft wold allow liberals to FORCE their liberalism on everyone for 2 year stretches. Right now, sadly, our volunteers have to deal with it, but with the draft it would be wholesale propaganda wars.

As a plus for the liberals, a bunch of liberal POS petty tyrants would be available to enjoy taking orders to violate the rights of the citizenry.

Spartacus on December 1, 2013 at 2:32 PM

I would just as soon liberals not have any combat training, for when the burning times come.

lowandslow on December 1, 2013 at 2:39 PM

Warner Todd Huston on December 1, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Spartacus on December 1, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Good points.

LegendHasIt on December 1, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Hmm…military service a requirement to hold office…

If you take it one step further, and make military service a requirement to vote, then you end up with the society in Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (book, not movie)–a society which progressive Dana Milbank would no doubt dismiss as a right-wing fantasyland.

JimLennon on December 1, 2013 at 2:42 PM

I did ten years in the Marine Corps to include 3 Iraq tours. Personally I don’t believe in the draft because it is involuntary servitude – making it illegal to the 13th Amendment to the US Constititon that reads:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Forcing an individual to fight wars like Vietnam and Korea, which had nothing to do with protecting the USA, our homes or the Bill of Rights, was grossly illegal.

MoreLiberty on December 1, 2013 at 2:43 PM

I would not be adverse to Sec of Def having to have either served or worked for DOD, but really thats as far as I would take it.
there are moments when I am a hypocrite and wish potus/vp were required but thats just me being bitchy.

dmacleo on December 1, 2013 at 2:44 PM

huh my comments show up then disappear.

dmacleo on December 1, 2013 at 2:50 PM

But the notion that having worn a military uniform somehow makes one immune from partisanship and foolishness is absurd.

For example, Hubert H. Humphrey. Pete Seeger was also in the army in WWII.

rbj on December 1, 2013 at 2:52 PM

How about having been in the military as a prerequisite to writing about how it should be organized? We could have Special Traitors Forever Units (STFUs)for idiots like Milbank.

drunyan8315 on December 1, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Perhaps the best way would be to take the inverse approach. Those who receive government benefits are ineligible to vote. I suspect that the same magical process would suddenly find a pinch in the government funding funnel under that scheme.

yetanotherjohn on December 1, 2013 at 2:23 PM

that rules out disabled vets.
so you carve out exemption for them.
then you carve out exemption for those who retired from military and get VA benefits.
then you have to set up another bureaucracy to handle the exemptions processes and legal defenses against all the lawsuits…
its a no win situation there.

dmacleo on December 1, 2013 at 2:54 PM

The left is pushing the draft because pretty soon no one will want to volunteer to fight for a Marxist government.

bgibbs1000 on December 1, 2013 at 3:00 PM

Having served in both the Air Force and the Navy I can tell you from firsthand experience that there are many members of the armed forces that are there for other reasons than to serve their country. Most of those people have no better place to go and use the service as a temporary means to get on their feet and get some training. Even some of the lifers see it as a meal ticket rather than service.

HiJack on December 1, 2013 at 3:03 PM

But I’m equally positive that prior service not only doesn’t need to be a requirement, but that it shouldn’t be.

It should be for the willingness to serve their beloved country, nothing else.

I say this as the mother one such person.

I don’t people forced to protect his ass when they have no real interest in doing so.

ladyingray on December 1, 2013 at 3:04 PM

No thanks Dana, a compulsory draft is not required… you had your chance to serve…

Khun Joe on December 1, 2013 at 3:06 PM

I wonder what branch of the military that Milbank served in to make him an expert on how the draft will help our make out military better and how it will turn out better politicians.

Wait, he was never in the military, and so of course neither understanding thew nature of the military or the success of having an all volunteer armed forces, all he can do is use his progressive political ideology to make such determinations.

I’m sure that he knows that John Kerry served in Vietnam, and threw his service awards over the White House fence, except he didn’t. Nut I suspect his knowledge of the armed forces is limited to that.

simkeith on December 1, 2013 at 3:06 PM

We should also consider demographics – our current leaders that are between 35 and 55 years old fell into the gap between Vietnam and Afghanistan/Iraq. When they were of military age there was no draft, no war going on and our military was downsizing.

Most of our leaders over 55 years old came of age when we still had a draft. There aren’t many congressman under 35 years old.

myiq2xu on December 1, 2013 at 2:13 PM

Lebanon, Grenada, Gulf War I. There was also -as usual- the non-publicized advisory endeavors, notably on the African continent and with the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan.

M240H on December 1, 2013 at 3:08 PM

MM2 USN Advisor to the VN Navy during the VN War
retired SSG ARNG 19k30

In general, Volunteers do make the best Soldiers etc. and military by far. No question about that. Draftees do make better Citizens than those who have never served. I’ve a lot of sympathy for the Heinlein’s Starship Troopers (book, not movie) solution.

Linh_My on December 1, 2013 at 3:11 PM

I was drafted, I still keep in touch with guys I shared less than 2 with. I had gone in & out of college, failing or dropping classes with no direction of the future. My GI bill gave me motivation with with the opportunity it provided. Born in Chicago & lower middle class, My only travels consisted of hanging out at the playground with friends or illegal beer drinking by Lake Michigan. So many kids are stuck where they are, whether a dangerous crack dealing corner neighborhood or a one gas station town with no idea on how to get out or what better things may lay ahead. You can hear out it, watch it on TV or movies, but until it is not the same until it’s personally experienced.

RdLake on December 1, 2013 at 3:12 PM

Military service is nothing more than checking the block for some, and it is not a requirement and never should be. Frankly, a veteran does not have more intelligence or love of country than anyone else. Look at John McCain. Many of his policies and agenda items are absolutely disgraceful, and he is constantly re-elected not on the basis of his ideals and service in the Senate, but because he is a Veteran.

Former Representative West never should have gotten elected regardless of his standing as a Veteran. The man was Court Martialed for torturing a prisoner. That he was acquitted was a disgrace to everyone who has ever worn the uniform. He had no other qualifications other than he was willing to rough up a suspected terrorist. That the suspected terrorist made up a story that turned out to be true to end the torture shows that West was not only a disgrace, but inept as an interrogator.

“Duke” Cunningham was a famous fighter pilot in Vietnam, who turned out to be as crooked a politician as you ever wanted to find.

Veterans are no more qualified to serve in elected office than anyone else. And while there are many admirable examples of Veterans in Politics, there are just as many examples of ineptitude and stupidity. The status of an individual as a veteran, or not, is irrelevant to their ability in elected office.

Snake307 on December 1, 2013 at 3:16 PM

edit should have said turned out to be untrue regarding Representative West.

Snake307 on December 1, 2013 at 3:17 PM

The draft and “Project 100,000” pretty much established that without high standards for our military inductees we wound up with more idiots and morons than we needed.

Regardless of motivations, love of country, excitement or economic necessity, the guy next to me wanted to join. That’s more reassuring than the drafted guy who hated the service, me, and his country for drafting him.

I remember the guys who thought that way, they were not fun to serve with.

I could wish that more of our elected leaders had worn a uniform or had relatives who did so, but not so much that I would want to resume the draft.

Those were the bad old days.

E9RET on December 1, 2013 at 3:23 PM

John McCain was a hero for his his service in uniform. He is a RINO and deserves to be horsewhipped for the pathetic excuse for “service” he’s done in the senate and the limp-**ck poor excuse for a presidential run.

John Kerry was and is a disgrace to to the uniform, to the senate, to the sec state’s office, to the American people. He’s a commie like his boss the impersonator in chief.

Service is neither a qualifier nor a dis-qualifier for office. Being a moron and/or a dimmicrat should be a dis-qualifier.

MaaddMaaxx on December 1, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Let’s start off with a limited experiment, just draft 70% of the journalists/reporters/commentators. Minimum of three years. This would give them an opportunity to be around some people who care about this country and they would maybe get to know some of us that are from flyover country.

Meanwhile move recently separated military into their former jobs. Would be a good opportunity to hear from people with a different view.

TPBinKC on December 1, 2013 at 3:27 PM

(That being the dual nature of the President of the United States also being the Commander in Chief of the armed forces.)

I maintain that this misreads the Constitution: it isn’t that C-in-C is part of the presidency, but that ‘the person who is president’ is also the C-in-C (separate office), and when acting in that capacity is subordinate to the Congress’s power to regulate the military. That gets rid of the ‘dual control’ problem that regarding the C-in-C as part of an independent presidency entails.

PersonFromPorlock on December 1, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Make military service a requirement for citizenship?

BobMbx on December 1, 2013 at 3:29 PM

Mr. Milbank seeks to suggest a solution to a problem that seems troublesome but for which the solution really isn’t one.

How big of a draft is he thinking? Is it a universal draft(i.e. no deferments)? Does he have any conception of how much effort it would take to draft upwards of several million people a year?

Where would we put them during their period of involuntary servitude? It is not like we will have a military of a size that is a sizeable percentage of what the WWII military was. Besides what would we do with all those “soldiers” anyway?

A potential answer is that is not stated but evident is that such a large assembled number of people could be put to work for low pay to do the things that some folks (ok the progressive left in the main) want to get done but don’t want to pay market wages. It is just too expensive otherwise. The progressive left can feel good that “it cares enough to make someone else work for low wages” because obviously the left is not out for a profit.

Russ808 on December 1, 2013 at 3:30 PM

The status of an individual as a veteran, or not, is irrelevant to their ability in elected office.

Snake307 on December 1, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Would you say the same about lawyers and doctors?

BobMbx on December 1, 2013 at 3:30 PM

Fertile ground here but I’d like to point out this comment from Joyner.

That few in Congress have served in the military is lamentable for many reasons, the most obvious of which is that it not only makes them less intimately familiar with the demands of combat but also tends to undermine civil-military relations by making our civilian leaders afraid to challenge our military brass.

Joyner has it completely backwards. When all you’ve got is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Politicians without military experience will reward military brass who are more politician than warrior. The JCS stood up to Clinton over DADT because every single one would have resigned. Fast forward a decade to the political generals and (with the exception of the Commandant of the USMC) they didn’t even argue when Panetta told them to support homosexual soldiers as normal and part of the team. They’ve since decided that women can be just as effective on the front lines (even though they are doing the limbo to overcome some basic facts about gender to make that case).

Bottom line, a civilian leadership less familiar with the demands of combat undermines civil-military relations by creating military brass more interested in their political ascendency than in the well being of the troops they command.

Happy Nomad on December 1, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Doesn’t seem like any of yall read the article. He’s not talking about a compulsory military draft, he’s talking about compulsory national service. There is a HUGE difference. Nobody would have to hold a gun who didn’t want to and that keeps the supposed professionalism benefits of a volunteer army. But collective national service doing things like building infrastructure, low-skill medical sector work, teaching, etc. would do wonders both for social cohesion and for the areas of our public sector economy that are underdeveloped because of too-high labor costs. That is undeniable.

solatic on December 1, 2013 at 3:38 PM

I’ve often thought that the military services – and society at large – might benefit if all branches drafted some small percentage of their annual recruiting goal. You’d have people in the military who otherwise wouldn’t have considered joining who might actually find out they like it. Sure, a good number of them would bolt as soon as their commitment was up, but I enlisted in 1977 and met more than a few Vietnam-era guys who got drafted then decided to stick around. Most of those who did ended up going well beyond 20 years.

But I’m conflicted on the topic. Short of the circumstances requiring a full mobilization, the idea of compulsory service goes against my grain.

flipflop on December 1, 2013 at 3:42 PM

edit should have said turned out to be untrue regarding Representative West.

Snake307 on December 1, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Well, since the rest of your crap about West was lies, why worry about accuracy here? You think he should face disgrace for roughing up a terrorist?

West was not Court-martialed. It was an Article 15 where he ended up paying $5000 and (independent) of that decided to retire, which he did with full military benefits.

Most importantly though, he did what he did to protect his men which makes the comparisons to Duke Cunningham or John Glenn, or Jack Murtha (all criminals in office) all the more reprehensible.

Happy Nomad on December 1, 2013 at 3:47 PM

But collective national service doing things like building infrastructure, low-skill medical sector work, teaching, etc. would do wonders both for social cohesion and for the areas of our public sector economy that are underdeveloped because of too-high labor costs. That is undeniable.

solatic on December 1, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Which is why this idea isn’t likely to be adopted. Labor unions would fight tooth and nail against having work which could be done by union members being done instead by low-paid conscripts in national service.

Like Milbank, I was never in the military. But unlike him, I don’t want to force other people to do something that I never did myself.

J.S.K. on December 1, 2013 at 3:48 PM

John McCain.

’nuff said.

Midas on December 1, 2013 at 3:48 PM

But collective national service doing things like building infrastructure, low-skill medical sector work, teaching, etc. would do wonders both for social cohesion and for the areas of our public sector economy that are underdeveloped because of too-high labor costs. That is undeniable.

solatic on December 1, 2013 at 3:38 PM

The lazy stupid coward won’t even pay attention to the millions unemployed due to the Obama recession and ongoing march to socialism. Now you want to lay over the government finding more jobs as part of a national service program.

That’s about twenty shades of stupid.

Happy Nomad on December 1, 2013 at 3:50 PM

OK, fine. The Heinlein solution: Only military veterans are QUALIFIED to run for office.

That would have protected the United States from Clinton and Obama, unfortunately we would still have been at risk from Algore, Kerry and a few other losers.

HBowmanMD on December 1, 2013 at 3:57 PM

But the notion that having worn a military uniform somehow makes one immune from partisanship and foolishness is absurd.

For example, Hubert H. Humphrey. Pete Seeger was also in the army in WWII.

rbj on December 1, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Another notable “sort-of Marxist” was WWII bombardier Howard Zinn.

PatriotGal2257 on December 1, 2013 at 4:01 PM

A Draft?

Is this guy nuts? [Rhetorical.]

The last thing this Nation needs is another government jobs program that will diminish our actual ability to defend ourselves.

I am a veteran of the old VOLAR, was a mud soldier back when being in uniform was pretty much looked down upon across our society, coming out of the Vietnam War, the Draft had ended for all practical purposes, and we were embarked on trying out this new, volunteer, Army.

It took over a decade to finally get it right, establish standards, and move to an Army that was volunteer, and soldiers were motivated and wanted to be there, regardless of their initial motives for signing up.

If it is a Congress with the smallest number of veterans since our Founding that is a perceived problem, well, anyone who wants to serve is welcome to do so…recruiting stations still abound. But, in doing so, service first, and not being able to hang with the homies is part of that service.

If it is a job you want…find one, market yourself, but trying to join the armed forces as a jobs program? Stupid. Bad idea. And if Congress ends up with no veterans at all, well, we deserve the governance we impose on ourselves.

We have a smaller, leaner, more highly motivated, dedicated armed force, that is bearing the brunt of Obamanomics…and this idiot wants to bring back the draft?

How about we start cutting back on all these social programs that require nothing but being there?

We can’t afford almost all of the current crop of government programs. Trying to establish a new Draft in order to provide jobs?

Keeerist, are these people that stupid? [Rhetorical, again.]

coldwarrior on December 1, 2013 at 4:06 PM

One name eliminates all claims that serving in the military is some panacea: John Murtha.

Warner Todd Huston on December 1, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Another name: Charles Rangle.

CurtZHP on December 1, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Most on the Left believe that a draft would be the best way to turn people against wars which they, the Left, are against. Recall the mischief in the early days of the 2nd Iraq war claiming that a draft was imminent, ended only when the bill was brought up and crushingly defeated in both House and Senate.

That having been said, I agree with the benefit to the country of having much wider service than we have now. I just don’t see any legal, ethical, moral or even practical way to obtain it. There is no valid justification for a draft except in a war for national survival.

TREGONSEE on December 1, 2013 at 4:21 PM

While military service can usually build character and confidence in a person it does not make a person smarter or change their political inclinations. The dude’s conclusions are pretty far off.

TfromV on December 1, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Doesn’t seem like any of yall read the article. He’s not talking about a compulsory military draft, he’s talking about compulsory national service. There is a HUGE difference. Nobody would have to hold a gun who didn’t want to and that keeps the supposed professionalism benefits of a volunteer army. But collective national service doing things like building infrastructure, low-skill medical sector work, teaching, etc. would do wonders both for social cohesion and for the areas of our public sector economy that are underdeveloped because of too-high labor costs. That is undeniable.

solatic on December 1, 2013 at 3:38 PM

That actually makes it worse.

Count to 10 on December 1, 2013 at 4:23 PM

But collective national service doing things like building infrastructure, low-skill medical sector work, teaching, etc. would do wonders both for social cohesion and for the areas of our public sector economy that are underdeveloped because of too-high labor costs. That is undeniable.

solatic on December 1, 2013 at 3:38 PM

The lazy stupid coward won’t even pay attention to the millions unemployed due to the Obama recession and ongoing march to socialism. Now you want to lay over the government finding more jobs as part of a national service program.

That’s about twenty shades of stupid.

Happy Nomad on December 1, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Community organizing!

Not that much different from all the money thrown at ACORN and the renamed-ACORNs, only they would be official greedy-union government workers.

slickwillie2001 on December 1, 2013 at 4:24 PM

That actually makes it worse.

Count to 10 on December 1, 2013 at 4:23 PM

+1000

There is nothing stopping millions of citizens from volunteering, for the military, for the Peace Corps, for any number of “national service” programs.

If they wish. Then let them do so.

But, this poppycock. Unless the Chinese are parading down Constitution Avenue, we do not need a Draft or another federal jobs program disguised as some sort of “national service.’

coldwarrior on December 1, 2013 at 4:30 PM

John McCain was a hero for his his service in uniform. He is a RINO and deserves to be horsewhipped for the pathetic excuse for “service” he’s done in the senate and the limp-**ck poor excuse for a presidential run.

John Kerry was and is a disgrace to to the uniform, to the senate, to the sec state’s office, to the American people. He’s a commie like his boss the impersonator in chief.

Service is neither a qualifier nor a dis-qualifier for office. Being a moron and/or a dimmicrat should be a dis-qualifier.

MaaddMaaxx on December 1, 2013 at 3:26 PM

…….what M ^ M ^ said!

KOOLAID2 on December 1, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Instituting the draft would still only affect a tiny portion of the civilian population under the most optimistic of Milbank’s envisioned circumstances.

As I understand Milbanks idea, it isnt about a conscription to actual wars, but about the mandatory service, even in peace times. Its basicly a huge employment program containing, among other things, a military option. We could call it the West-German model. They had this kind of draft since the 50ies, despite the fact that they would not see military action until Kosovo.

Valkyriepundit on December 1, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Personally, I find military service to be a significant plus on the resume of any candidate for elected office

Actually its a plus for just about any career as you well know. In my current profession, my managers are not prior military, however they have learned after hiring a number of us that were, that we bring with us discipline and skills that a non-military experience/education cannot. They openly state in job postings that veteran status is a plus when hiring. If you live in the Texas DFW area and want to work for a software company that knows the value veterans bring, look up Corptax.

paulsur on December 1, 2013 at 5:01 PM

The only “good” solution to the draft, etc I’ve ever seen is Bob Heinlein’s. You’d have to actually read “Starship Troopers” to get it. You won’t get it from the movie.

It solves the whole problem. Unfortunately, it disenfranchises some of the most virulent enemies of society.

Read the book. Get a clue.

All of the rest of this is just some sort of silliness.

CrazyGene on December 1, 2013 at 5:01 PM

First, being a member of the armed forces does not teach one “how to put country before party and self-interest.” Volunteering for military service shows that you’ve already learned that to some degree. Milbank has a problem with causation.

Second, notice how he elides that a “cause greater than self” will somehow make all this partisanship go away. Like all progressives, he believes that compromise with his position is the only possible righteousness. After all, if you can’t compromise to work toward heaven on earth, then you must be a devil.

Dana – like most leftists who suggest this – just wants to see more of “them” in the military, generally defined as “kids of rich folks who aren’t like me.” Notice it’s almost always someone well past draft age suggesting this.

Service is neither a qualifier nor a dis-qualifier for office. Being a moron and/or a dimmicrat should be a dis-qualifier.

MaaddMaaxx on December 1, 2013 at 3:26 PM

You’re being redundant again, MaaddMaaxx.

GWB on December 1, 2013 at 5:05 PM

CrazyGene on December 1, 2013 at 5:01 PM

FYI, Heinlein doesn’t actually advocate that concept. He makes it part of the story setting, but he didn’t think it was an actual solution.

GWB on December 1, 2013 at 5:08 PM

Better than having military experience, I’d like to see the Constitution amended to require that congressmen and senators must have owned and operated a business for at least ten years, and must also have shot at least one armed robber.

Akzed on December 1, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Ft. Ord basic training 1966. Best soldiers were National Guard, followed by Regular Army and bringing up the rear, draftees (US). There were individual exceptions to this but it held in general there and at subsequent duty stations. If you give it some thought you can see why.

Had we put an army of NGs and RAs in the field it would have been much like the better units of today’s volunteer army.

Mason on December 1, 2013 at 5:44 PM

It is no surprise that most members who have served are republican.

The Notorious G.O.P on December 1, 2013 at 5:56 PM

I’m against anything that anybody in this administration thinks is a good idea…..

Renee on December 1, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Because so few serving in politics have worn their country’s uniform, they have collectively forgotten how to put country before party and self-interest.

REASON and LOGIC are not strong points with Milbank.

GarandFan on December 1, 2013 at 7:13 PM

Snake307 on December 1, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Funny, isn’t it, that your three “examples” are all Republicans?

No doubt you believe that john effin kerry deserved his medals…and spent Christmas in Cambodia (he does, after all, have the hat to prove it).

You leftoid drones are a laugh riot.

btw: Col. West did not “torture” anyone. That’s why he was acquitted. But, you just keep on lying about it. (Made up a story that “just happened to be true”! ROFL@U)

Solaratov on December 1, 2013 at 8:06 PM

What’s wrong with a draft when so many in political office, especially the president never have served? Do they deserve to preside over the military, command the military, provide oversight of the military? Not for a second. The prerequisite for any political office should be prior service.

I did, and I don’t like the idea of some dirt bag politician dictating over the military…

stacman on December 1, 2013 at 8:34 PM

They have forgotten a “cause greater than self,” and they have lost the knowledge of how to make compromises for the good of the country.

Yeah, like Col. Allen West… he was all about makin’ compromises.

Marcola on December 1, 2013 at 11:54 PM

Hey Jazz:

Your argument about a volunteer army being of higher quality that a drafted one may be true. But what about the quality of those that don’t?

Have you, EVER, met a veteran who was also a low info voter.

There’s also a somewhat vicious argument about reverse gene pool cleaning that could be made, if your assertion is in fact true.

WryTrvllr on December 2, 2013 at 12:54 AM

Milbank’s logic fails as justification for forcing people into the military.

It’s actually justification for a constitutional amendment requiring members of Congress to have served in the military. But then we’d have problems with those who are unfit for military service claiming “discrimination”, because their “right” to serve in Congress was somehow abridged by being denied the “right” to serve in the military.

That’s a complete misreading of what a “right” is. A right is the moral principle that justifies freedom of action in a social context. When you have the right to do something, it means that you don’t need anyone’s permission to do it. You don’t need anyone’s permission to sleep in your bed in your house, or to paint your bedroom walls the color you like. That’s what “property rights” mean.

Serving in the military and in congress, as a police officer, petty bureaucrat, or as a juror or voter, are not examples of such personal liberty that are “rights”. They are exercises of power over others.

Maybe the best approach is the one Robert Heinlein outlined in Starship Troopers: To become a full citizen, empowered (not to have the “right”) to vote and serve on juries and in other government jobs with authority, one had to volunteer for low-level government service, which could be military or civilian, based on what the government personnel office determined the volunteer was best qualified to do. The volunteer could resign from government service any time (other than in the middle of a battle) with no penalty other than being barred from ever having those powers over others.

The Monster on December 2, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Involuntary servitude is slavery. (#WARONGUESSWHO)

Oh, and between being forced to pick cotton in Alabama or get shot at by the Viet Cong in a rice paddy, I’ll take cotton for $50, Alex.

Additionally, our troops in Vietnam were poisoned by a boatload of druggies and losers who couldn’t make it into Canada.

Go fight the Viet Cong? Go F yourself.

Go put bullets into wild numbers of Taliban? SIGN ME UP!

thejackal on December 2, 2013 at 3:40 PM

I find it right on par for Milbank’s usual level of disingenuous claptrap that he would target lack of military service to prove how messed up Congress is. I wonder how long it would take to find an article by the same author, of effectively the opposite sentiment.

Military service may or may not make one more likely to have a strong sense of a “cause greater than self”, but there are certainly examples of members in each house who wore the uniform, and are among the most partisan and self-serving, least likely to cross the aisle. What Milbank really means is that fewer Republicans than ever have worn the uniform. He gives away the store in this statement:

and they have lost the knowledge of how to make compromises for the good of the country. Without a history of sacrifice and service, they’ve turned politics into war.

He laments that too few conservatives haven’t served in the military, which he believes would make them more amenable to compromise (read: caving in the the Left on everything), because he thinks that their mindset would be that politics isn’t worth the same effort as fighting a battle on the field of war. What does he have to say about the completely intractible resident of 1600 Pennsylvania, who has systematically refused to compromise anything in the last five years? Everytime the opposition party recommends a deal, it’s shot down, and he has found ways to force his wishes down the nation’s collective throats. Would John Boehner be less likely to fight back had he worn a uniform? I doubt it. Milbank is full of something very nasty and malodorous; himself.

MoreLiberty on December 1, 2013 at 2:43 PM

A nation in time of trouble may find it necessary to conscript servicemembers. The Constitution provides for this contingency with a draft, without considering it a violation of the 13th Amendment. This argument has been had and settled many times, and long ago.

Freelancer on December 2, 2013 at 6:54 PM

For some reason, whenever you find yourself needing a “worst example of…” something to point to in the press, you won’t have to look much further than Dana Milbank and his ongoing series of opinion pieces at the Washington Post. In an apparent effort to never disappoint us, particularly in this holiday season, we find yet another sterling demonstration of this trend with his recent article on why we should bring back the draft.

Okay, I am now willing to forgive you for a whole lot of RINO squishiness.

There Goes the Neighborhood on December 2, 2013 at 6:58 PM