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Might Kerry Reinstate the Draft?

One of our readers, Vernon Dozier, has offered a comment that deserves to be moved front and center:

Hasn’t anyone considered that Kerry would need a draft a lot more than Bush? Bush is very popular among current military personnel (he stands to get 75% to 80% of the military vote), and the various branches are currently meeting recruitment goals. In contrast, Kerry is reviled by about 95% of those who served directly with him because he pissed all over them with false accusations of atrocities merely to promote his own political ambitions. Who the hell would volunteer to serve under such a commander in chief?

In fact, this is very much in line with what I learned today from talking with a student who has friends in the armed forces. It is no secret that the men and women of the military find Kerry despicable, and apparently there are many who say that if he is elected they will not reenlist. Assuming he would be unable to make up for these losses with French and German soldiers, it is at least as reasonable to suppose that Kerry would reinstate the draft as it is to suggest that the president might.

Discussions - 19 Comments

It only makes sense to suggest that Kerry "pissed all over" those who served with him if you lump together those few who committed atrocities with the majority who did not. What kind of patriot or leader would he have been if he had known of these atrocities, and then had failed to acknowledge them?

In fact, it is people like you who truly do a disservice to those fighting for our country when you lump the typical soldier together with the murderer. To expose murder is the right thing to do, and it takes courage and integrity to do so. To know about it and say nothing is to promote it and support it.

When Clinton was elected ALL the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff RETIRED! In military circle it was WELL known why! Why you ask, In two words, "Draft Dodger"

I think another obvious explanation for why Bush has more support among troops is simply that Republicans are traditionally more prone to support and join the military. If Kerry, as the Democratic candidate, had more troop support, that would actually be an anomoly.

..he ran under bandaid purple hearts..aided the enemy..prolonged the suffering of pow`s..conspired with the enemy..and he wants gi`s to follow him..they spit in his face...

Hogwash. The President does not have the authority to instate a draft. Such an action would require an act of congress, and that is not going to happen. What would happen, if thousands of the military refused to re-enlist, is that millions of people would die, both abroad and at home. The surest way to invite another devastating terrorist attack is to show weakness.

Hello Reader,

About your statement that "Republicans are traditionally more prone to support and join the military," please tell us how you know that. Did you get your information here:

Rob_NC: what branch of the service are you in?

There appears to already be word on the military street that if Sen. Kerry is elected, there will be many opting for retirement. With 80 percent of the military support going to Pres. Bush and the obviously recognizable continuation of lies coming forth from both the Democratic campaign and Sen. Kerry in particular, there will be a forthcoming problem. Everyone is aware of his actions and lies, but the liberal side chooses to ignore it and adjust their rhetoric accordingly.

Read the many stories about disenfranchised military absentee ballots, especially coming from Pennsylvania. Gov. Rendell there is now making it extremely difficult for our troops to vote and will not extend the deadline. He and the democrats planned well in advance just how to add false names to the Ralph Nader petition so that it could later be rejected by the courts at a time when printing new ballots would be too late. The military votes will all be affected as will all absentee ballot for Pennsylvania after the Democrats challenge them following the election.

This discussion inherently ingores one vital fact: That a majority of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines in this all-volunteer force are, first and foremost, patriots. Patriots are neither influenced nor motivated in their patriotism by whom their commander-in-chief happens to be. Their motivation derives from their love of country. This is what drives patriots to join the military (offers of college and money - though wonderful incentives - would have little effect apart from a sense, however small, of patriotism). This, and a love of comrades, drives them to reenlist. Some may decide to terminate their service because of who is elected (or re-elected), but this should not be construed as an attitude of all of them. Many enlisted under George H.W. Bush and continue to serve. Many enlisted under Bill Clinton, and we continue to serve. Many enlisted under George W. Bush and will continue to serve under him or under John Kerry. In the effort to politicize everything this week, please be careful of reducing their service and sacrifices to a general support of a party and its figurehead. The military is and will remain strong because patriots serve. No draft will become necessary because of this, or any, election.

I figured this out just as soon as I heard Kerry mention the draft, months ago.

He would have to do one of two things:

draft people, or withdraw our military from wherever they might at some future point need strengthening, as he would be unable to strengthen them.

in either case, the effectiveness of the military would be hugely compromised, and it would be the beginning of the end for American supremacy.

And in response to comment 6 above, I believe he meant "those in the military and those supporting it are more likely to be Republican" in the present day. The word "traditionally" is not a good word for him to use in making his point.

I read your weblink with interest. I’d like to see that same list made in 30 years, using the congressmen and leaders of the future, and see how many of them are ex-military Democrats. My guess is the list will be even more lopsided, but this time it will be Republican ex-military guys, not Dems.

Is this the Vernon Dozier voiced by Phil Hendrie on his radio show? If so, you’ve been scammed. If not, I apologize.

Dr. Bockes,

When Kerry said atrocities were widespread, continual, and well know to the chain of command, he pissed on everyone who served in MACV. He said that even those who didn’t do it themselves knew people who were doing it themselves and did nothing about it.

Not to mention the whole meeting with the enemy in wartime while retaining a reserve commission thing.

That said, LT Naum has largely nailed it, unless abandonment of Iraq allows the creation of the new caliphate desired by the Islamists, and we end up fighting a hot war with said caliphate. That might require a draft. But even under Kerry that is unlikely.

I’ve never listened to that show, but it’s not at all uncommon for people to use pseudonyms for their comments. What I found noteworthy was the substance of the comment, not the identity of the person making it.

Ed - I still respectfully disagree. If we suppose that there were atrocities committed in Vietnam by U.S. personnel, and if we suppose that there were many people there who did not participate in those acts, then we have at least two very real perspectives from which to interpret Kerry’s comments: the perspective of the guilty and the perspective of the innocent.

Certainly, those who were/are guilty have obvious self-serving reasons to try to discredit Kerry, or to try to disperse the apparent guilt by contributing to the illusion that Kerry was accusing everybody. No one hates the whitle-blower more than the guilty do.

What mystifies me is any willingness of the innocent to be lumped in with the guilty. Who benefits when we fall for such an obvious ruse? Only the guilty, who have no other means of quieting the whitleblower, or his message.

We see similar dynamics throughout our society, in which the victims (or witnesses) of extortion, hazing, bullying, or sexual harrassment are led to believe that it is their job to protect the perpetrators. They are led to believe that they are breaking some kind of code of honor if they charge the guilty person with a crime, or if they ask for help. This has the effect of isolating victims, and protecting their tormenters.

I am sure that similar processes were at work when the Iraqi prison scandals finally came to light. We were then reminded repeatedly by President Bush that the guilty parties were not representative of the American armed forces in general, and of course he was correct. Why, then, are we not reminded of the same regarding charges of wrongdoing 30 years ago?

I believe that the difference is that today, it protects the Bush administration if we identify, isolate, and charge a few "misguided" prison guards. But, in the case of Kerry, it serves Bush if we pretend that Kerry somehow turned his back on the people that he had recently served with, and falsely accused every one of them with war crimes. But, thinking people don’t have to fall for such an obvious trick.

Finally, Ed, I agree that LT Naum’s comments should give us all pause. The truth is never as simple, or as obvious, as many of us pretend, when we are trying to make a point.


I think you have missed my point. Kerry’s testimony was given in such as way as to describe the US military in Vietnam, as a class, as war criminals and the returning veterans as dangerous near sociopaths. You say that claiming Kerry accused all veterans of war crimes is an obvious trick, but I remember his testimony. He explicitly denied that these were the actions of a few; he declared them to be the standard operating procedure of the many; maybe not all, but cedrtainly most if you include the widespread collusion in the crimes of others (itself an offense under the UCMJ). He never backed down from this generalization.

As far as Kerry’s other misconduct versus that of others, nobody is running LT Calley for high office, and if they did I wouldn’t vote for him, either. Those alluding to Bush’s drinking have a tougher case to make, since Bush STOPPED drinking twenty or thirty years ago, making it harder to connect to fitness for supreme command than meeting with the enemy in time of war to discuss how to get a settlement more on the enemy’s terms. That goes directly to the heart of the matter.

Hi again, Ed! I promise I’ll stop, soon, and I realize that my position is less appreciated here than one that leans a bit more to the right. But, I don’t think that I misunderstood you. I think rather that I disagree with you. I have just read and re-read the transcript of Kerry’s testimony at

I have read there, that he alluded to the testimonies of 150 other soldiers who admitted their own actions. I also read there (and readers can decide for themselves) that he was asking his government to bring his fellow soldiers home and out of harm’s way. Kerry’s testimony is an angry plea for his country to stop listening to politicians when they argue that the way to affirm the meaning of yesterday’s killed-in-action is to commit more of America’s youth to the same.

When I read Kerry’s complete testimony, I saw him as an advocate for soldiers, and not as their enemy.

I also see a number of striking parallels between that situation and our present one. For instance, it seems difficult to distinguish the people whom we are bringing democracy, from the people who will fight to keep us out. Again, it is easy to recognize how the politicians (who are NOT sending their children off to Iraq) would rather that we accept their interpretation and argument for war. They need me to send my sons to fight their war. I am more likely to do that if I accept that Kerry is an unpatriotic turncoat. I am less likely to send them into harm’s way if I clearly hear and understand Kerry’s image of an unjust, chaotic, and unnecessary war.

I wish that the "patriots" could recognize that those of us who oppose unnecessary killing see that opposition as the first line of support for our sons and daughters. We support the troops, just as Kerry supported the troops! We simply -- and adamantly -- oppose sending our children to kill and be killed for s series of self-serving, obvious, destructive lies. Kerry very clearly separated the plight of the soldier from the spin of the politician. It only serves the interests of similar war-mongering politicians to wrap them together again. That is, the best way to support our troops is to protect them from corporate greed and ignorance as motivations to go to war.

If I may: This talk of supporting our troops by not sending us into harm’s way or by not "sending (your) sons and daughters to kill or be killed" is a nice sentiment, but it, too, misses the heart of the motivation behind the service for which most of us volunteered. "Harm’s way" is not something that we fundamentally fear or hope to avoid. On the contrary, this is exactly why we serve. If we wanted to avoid it, we would have found other vocations. It might sound brutal or coarse, but for most of us war is something to look forward to - not as you look forward to your wedding, or Christmas, but as a time to prove your worth, your professionalism, and your value in that profession. Military service to us (in combat or otherwise)is not a cross born out of a sense of self-martyrdom, but a willfully sought and attained ethos. We are warriors, and we are proud to be - and to be known as such. At the end of the day, I think the American people want and need us to be this.

Of course, I don’t speak for everyone in uniform. But I can tell you this from my perspective: I serve because I desire to be a warrior. I look for harm’s way so that you don’t have to. As far as my service is concerned, in a metaphysical sense, I stopped being my parents’ son the day I raised my right hand. I would rather not be viewed by the American people as my mother’s son, or as my wife’s husband, or as my son’s father, but as a soldier, a warrior, and a very dangerous entity to those that oppose our nation. Rejoice with my mother, wife, son and me when I get home, but support me now by allowing me to be successful while in "harm’s way"; by helping me defeat your enemies; and by finishing this job so that MY son doesn’t have to come back here (or to another islamofascist part of the world), in harm’s way, in 20 years. This is how Americans really support their troops, not by bringing us home from a place where we fundamentally WANT to be. This may be why I, and the vast majority of my comrades, prefer President Bush; but this will likewise not prevent us from serving just because another commander-in-chief doesn’t get it (which Mr. Kerry should). We serve because "harm’s way" exists - regardless of which president or congress provides the definition.

There’s my two-cent sermon. Not worth much else, but sincere nonetheless.

I appreciate your point, LT. And yet, I must emphasize that I was not suggesting that we should support our troops emotionally, or because they want to be brought out of harm’s way. Rather, I am suggesting that our Chiefs of Staff, and our Commander in Chief, and all our other politicians have both a pragmatic and an ethical responsibility to choose very carefully which enemies they ask you to fight. Is the enemy Bin Laden? Hitler? I think that most Americans are convinced that those are enemies worth risking lives to defeat. But fewer Americans are convinced that Iraq presented a worthy threat. All of Bush’s justifications have turned out to be lies or errors. (I don’t know about you, but the fall-back position, that Saddam was a bully just doesn’t cut it. The world is full of bullies, and many of them enjoy our support. We certainly don’t have enough of a military to rid the entire world of them.)And I know that soldiers are not expected to question their Commander in Chief. And I know that fighting is what you do. But HAVING a lawn mower doesn’t make the whole world a lawn. And right now, I must choose between two Presidential candidates. One shows every sign of throwing your life and perhaps my son’s life in front of enemies who need not be our enemies. Another shows signs of using force as a last resort. Since I still have a choice, and since I still think of my sons as such, and not as human weapons, I choose to support the military by choosing a president who will use them wisely. If that feels like I am treating you and other soldiers as an end, rather than merely as a means, I will not apologize. But,my arguments stands on pragmatic supports as well. As for Kerry, I don’t think that he was lamenting the dangers of the Vietnam war, but rather the stupidity and the needlessness that characterized the leadership and conduct of that war. I have friends and relatives who fought, and lost parts of their bodies in that war. None of them today would support another such debacle without adequate justification.

Tim, reread the testimony of John Kerry again and keep in mind several facts.

He said they acts of terror were standard, daily procedure of the conduct of the war. That it was acknowledged and encouraged all the way up the chain of command at all levels.

As you say: "he alluded to the testimonies of 150 other soldiers who admitted their own actions". he based his information of the testimony of ’combat veterans’ who it was later found had either never served in the military or whose service was never in Viet Nam.

Look at other contradictions of testimony by Senator Kerry. It was seared into his memory being in Cambodia in Christmas of 1968, under the orders of Richard Nixon. This was testimony that Senator Kerry gave on the floor of the Senate debating against American involvement in Nicarauga in the 1980’s and repeated on the John Kerry for President website. When it was finally pointed out that Presidential Canidate Richard Nixon did not become President Richard Nixon until January 20, 1969 this story ceased to be mentioned by the Senator and was removed from his website.

I spent an entire year in Viet Nam and never saw activities as described by Citizen John Kerry in his Congressional testimony, under oath. Indeed if such activities had occurred they would have been illegal and unlawful. If ordered to participate in said activities it would have been my duty to both refuse to obey the illegal orders and to report them up the chain of command and/or to higher authority.

By his own testimony under oath, John Kerry has shown himself to be unfit to run for the office of the Presidency or to serve as a Senator in the Senate as he is either a liar (false testimony under oath) or a self-confessed war criminal (either as a participant or acessory during and after the fact).

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