This opinion piece is written by one Marine Corporal Mark Finelli, who on 9/11 worked for Morgan Stanley at the World Trade Center. He thinks we need to have a draft like in WWII, not like the one during Vietnam. Not knowing my draft history, I don't know if he's accurate in stating that in WWII, the children of the elites couldn't avoid it as he perceives happened with the Vietnam draft. He thinks that if the children of the wealthy and the political elites were forced to serve, the military would be better funded.
According to the Pentagon, no service personnel have died in an MRAP. So why isn’t every Marine or soldier in Iraq riding in one? Simple economics. An MRAP costs five times more than even the most up-armored Humvee. People need a personal, vested, blood-or-money interest to maximize potential. That is why capitalism has trumped communism time and again, but it is also why private contractors in Iraq have MRAPs while Marines don’t. Because in actuality, America isn’t practicing the basic tenet of capitalism on the battlefield with an all-volunteer military, and won’t be until the reinstitution of the draft. Because until the wealthy have that vested interest, until it’s the sons of senators and the wealthy upper classes sitting in those trucks—it takes more than the McCain boy or the son of Sen. Jim Webb—the best gear won’t get paid for on an infantryman’s timetable. Eighteen months after the Marines first asked for the MRAP, it’s finally being delivered. Though not nearly at the rate that’s needed. By the end of the year, only 1,500 will have been delivered, less than half the 3,900 the Pentagon had initially promised.
He also seems to be saying the military is only getting the dregs of society, not the "best and brightest":
The real failure of this war, the mistake that has led to all the malaise of Operation Iraqi Freedom, was the failure to not reinstitute the draft on Sept. 12, 2001—something I certainly believed would happen after running down 61 flights of the South Tower, dodging the carnage as I made my way to the Hudson River [I worked at the World Trade Center as an investment adviser for Morgan Stanley at the time]. But President Bush was determined to keep the lives of nonuniformed America—the wealthiest Americans, like himself—uninterrupted by the war. Consequently, we have a severe talent deficiency in the military, which the draft would remedy immediately. While America’s bravest are in the military, America’s brightest are not. Allow me to build a squad of the five brightest students from MIT and Caltech and promise them patrols on the highways connecting Baghdad and Fallujah, and I’ll bet that in six months they could render IED’s about as effective as a “Just Say No” campaign at a Grateful Dead show.
Who says "the brightest" can only come from America's wealthy and elite? I just don't buy that. Kind of sounds like Kerry's "you'll get stuck in Iraq" "joke"...
I don't think he's looking at this quite right. During WWII, the vast majority of the American public supported the war effort. It was a war between nation-states between large armies and navies with tanks, artillery, ships and uniforms. Today's war is not against any nation-state, but the ideology of a death cult called radical Islam who don't have the large armies and navies with the tanks, artillery, ships and uniforms we have traditionally faced on the battlefield.
Today, far too many people do not believe there is anything truly worth fighting and dying for, or who do not believe we are really engaged in a war with persons who wish nothing but either our submission to their will or our utter destruction. I never considered joining the military, although I grew up as an Army brat. I never thought I had what it would take to do well in the military - it was not because I thought I was too good for it. Not everyone belongs in the military, and I really don't think we want people in the military who do not want to be there and don't really believe in what it is our military is asked to fight for, regardless of wanting to make everyone, including the elites of this nation, have a "blood-or-money interest" in this fight.
I know our military has been taxed by current military operations around the world, most notably in Iraq and Afghanistan. But I also know I've heard that you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want. After the Cold War, some in power in the United States thought we would no longer need the military we had acquired during the conflict. Our military was cut drastically, and now we, or more accurately, our military and their families, are paying the price for that naïveté about future military needs and the nature of future military conflicts. Yes, we need to expand our military forces. Yes, we need to provide our military with the proper equipment and other resources. However, fixing these problems isn't going to happen overnight. It takes time to recruit and train new soldiers, sailors and Marines. I can only think we want those new recruits to actually want to be there - if they don't want to be there, are they going to do want needs to be done, or are they going to get their comrades in arms killed on the battlefield because they have been forced onto the battlefield instead of having arrived there willingly?
As for getting our military the funding that would be required to keep them properly outfitted, Washington has lots of competing interests for the tax dollars that are collected. How many say we already spend too much on the military? Look at the numbers, as a percentage of the federal budget. In 1956, we spent 57% of out federal budget on Defense. In 2006, it's just 19% of the budget, while Social Security and "other payments to individuals" (can we say "the welfare state"?) is now 59% of the budget. Just forcing the political elites' children into the military isn't going to have a drastic effect on the federal budget - politicians have too many constituencies to pay off with our tax dollars.
Bottom line, I can't agree with Cpl. Finelli's conclusion that a military draft will fix the problems with military funding, and I can't see that forcing someone who doesn't want to be in the military to do it anyway is going to get us "the brightest" in the service. Also, how big does he think our military needs to be? To have military service effect this nation's wealthy and elite and others who seem to be removed from any connection to the cost, in blood, of this war against radical Islam, I think we'd have a military far larger than what we truly need.