But the primary reason for reinstituting the draft is this: our military needs it. Between 1990 and 2000, the Army shrank by a quarter of a million troops. The Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps had their manpower reduced by 36 percent, 34 percent, and 12 percent, respectively.
Despite all our technological advantages, troop strength matters. Even the addition of just 20,000 to 30,000 troops in Iraq during the “surge” completely changed the complexion of the conflict. In the second half of 2007, after the surge reached its full force, violence in Iraq declined by 60 percent, forcing even Democratic congressman Jack Murtha, a die-hard opponent of the Iraq War, to admit that the surge was working.
There’s no substitute for boots on the ground.