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International Socialist Review Issue 38, November–December 2004

A Draft in the Air?

Justin Akers is active in antiwar and cross-border solidarity work. He is the author of "Farmworkes in the U.S." (ISR 34, March—April 2004) and "Operation Gatekeeper: Militarizing the Border" (ISR 18, June—July 2001).

IN EARLY July 2004, American military officials begrudgingly admitted that the Iraqi resistance cannot be defeated militarily. According to Pentagon reports, the resistance is larger than originally thought, widely supported, and able to move in and out of the general populace at will.1 What might otherwise amount to a revelation of seismic proportion, a scathing indictment of the claim that the war is "bringing liberation," has instead been muted by the pro-war covenant between the Kerry and Bush presidential campaigns.

Further erosion of American confidence has taken place with the string of political defeats suffered by the U.S. military in the battles over Fallujah and Najaf. More than 1,060 U.S.troops have been killed, and at the time of this writing over 7,000 wounded and maimed, while ordinary Iraqis are lamenting that their country is "one big graveyard."2 There has been a mushrooming of armed resistance—with the number of attacks against U.S. troops reaching a high of eighty-seven per day in August and a whopping 2,300 in September alone.3 The magnitude of the attacks amounts to an Iraqi popular referendum on the occupation, one clearly in favor of U.S. withdrawal.

For the rational observer, the quagmire in Iraq should sound alarms. The human cost of Bush’s imperial debacle should temper those prowar voices still hoarse from chanting "support our troops." His liberal Democratic detractors should be surfing the wave of popular discontent into the White House, by calling for an immediate withdrawal, reparations for Iraq, and a period of "national healing." Instead, the Kerry campaign has opted for their own version of the Bush Doctrine, a "muscular internationalism" that pledges to finish what Bush failed to do.4

Opting for oil and empire over hearts and minds, leading Democrats have fallen in line behind the Bush agenda. Since both parties support the long-term goals of expanding U.S. empire, whoever wins in November will be facing a military "crisis of manpower." As the Pentagon orchestrates massive troop shifts from Asia and Europe to the Middle East, the Democrats are pushing their own plans to maintain a combat-ready army capable not only of covering the occupation of Iraq, but projecting U.S. power globally.

John Kerry, shrugging off the last residue of his antiwar past, has campaigned to put 40,000 more troops into active duty once elected. And to show that they have a long-term vision for the maintenance of U.S. imperial designs, several Democratic legislators led by Congressmen Charles Rangel and John Conyers along with Senator Fritz Hollings recently introduced bills in the House and Senate to activate a military draft. Despite the recent defeat of the bill by a lopsided vote, the issue is not likely to go away.5 While both presidential candidates vehemently deny any designs for initiating a draft, the demands of empire building may force the issue back onto the table as an option to solve the crisis of manpower.

The Democrats and the origins of the draft

The modern draft was initiated by Democrat Woodrow Wilson in 1917, as the United States mobilized for the First World War. The machinery of the draft was later expanded by Franklin Delano Roosevelt with the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940. Initiated as the first "peacetime draft," it served to press large numbers of working-class men into military service as the U.S. ruling class moved the country into the Second World War. By war’s end, the draft had pushed more than ten million working-class men into war (an additional six million joined voluntarily), and spawned a new federal agency, the Selective Service.

As the war destroyed Western European economies, the U.S. moved to secure its post-war dominance and the expansion of its global empire, and with it came the need for an expansion of military bases and the deployment of military personnel. More important, the draft allowed the U.S. to maintain a permanent standing army as the post-war world devolved into the Cold War between the U.S. and USSR in their battle for supremacy.

This Selective Service agency was designed to register all eighteen-year-old men in order to serve as an ongoing "human resource department" for war preparedness. This peacetime draft was briefly halted after the war, then reactivated under Harry Truman in 1948 as the U.S. moved closer to war in Asia.

Between 1950 and 1953, about two million men were drafted into the Korean War under the Truman administration and between 1965 and 1973 another two million were conscripted to fight in Vietnam by order of Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon.6 During times of the draft, it is common for millions more to enlist in the hope of getting better assignments than the draftees, or in the case of George W. Bush, to secure safe, stateside assignments.

The draft was halted in 1973 as overwhelming opposition to the conflict made the draft, like the war itself, impossible to continue. The disintegration of troop morale and the development of open soldiers’ resistance, made the draft extremely unattractive to the Pentagon. Sentiment had turned so greatly against the Vietnam War that even mandatory registration through the Selective Service was abolished in 1975.7

Nevertheless, the institutional machinery of the draft had been preserved until things "cooled off a bit." The opportunity came in 1980, as yet another Democrat, Jimmy Carter, used the pretext of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan to reactivate mandatory registration in preparation for a new wave of war.

But the legacy of popular opposition to imperialism that blossomed in the U.S. and hobbled the Pentagon in the latter stages of the Vietnam War—referred to today disparagingly by warmakers as the "Vietnam syndrome"—continues to tarnish the institution of the draft in popular consciousness. A recent poll among U.S. teens demonstrates this trend. While opinions about the war in Iraq are evenly split, 70 percent are firmly opposed the reinstatement of a draft.8

Since the defeat of the draft in 1973, the U.S. government has had to cajole working-class men and women into joining a "volunteer" military with economic opportunities often unavailable elsewhere. The current method, often referred to as the economic or poverty draft, is designed to draw from the large section of working poor shut out of other opportunities. But the viability of a volunteer army is always measured in relation to the scope of empire building and the attitudes of the American people.

In the run-up to the elections, both parties have tied their fortunes to the successful re-carving of the world under the auspices of fighting the "war on terror." While the Bush Doctrine has thrust the U.S. into a unilateral quagmire, the Kerry campaign is offering a Plan B. According to the architects of Kerry’s foreign policy,

As Democrats, we supported the Bush administration’s toppling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. We also backed the goal of ousting Saddam Hussein’s malignant regime in Iraq, because the previous policy of containment was failing, because Saddam posed a grave danger to America as well as his own brutalized people, and because his blatant defiance of more than a decade’s worth of United Nations Security Council resolutions was undermining both collective security and international law.… Nonetheless, we are convinced that the Iraqi people, the region and the world are better off now that this barbaric dictator is gone.9

The bipartisan, long-term nature of U.S. empire-building—putting it on a trajectory of incessant conflict and the projection of U.S. power into new regions of the world—is already placing a tremendous strain on current forces.

The growth of orchestrated resistance to U.S. imperialism, now fully ensconced in every province of Iraq and germinating throughout Afghanistan, make reinstitution of the draft a real possibility. As the ephemeral Rumsfeldian vision of short and sharp techno-war gives way to a protracted and bloody war of attrition, more privates will be needed to stand in front of the officers. Future possible conflagrations in Iran, North Korea, or somewhere else—whether pursued by conservative "neocons" or "muscular internationalists"—could make some form of a draft necessary. A mitigating factor will be how the working people of the U.S. respond, how concerned the Pentagon is about balancing troop strength with the danger of introducing more destabilizing elements into the ranks, and whether the antiwar movement will be able to beat back the plans of the war makers.

"Crisis of manpower"

In order to address the new policy shifts, the Pentagon is currently implementing a major redeployment of military forces from Cold War era hot-spots to "global crisis points," in preparation for what Republicans ominously refer to as a "generational war."10 According to the Pentagon, this includes scaling back of hundreds of installations in Europe and Asia and establishing new footholds in the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia over the next several years. Bush’s "axis of evil" crusade served as a portent to the inevitable showdown with the most recalcitrant obstacles to the new "new world order," and a Napoleonic declaration to the rest of the world of U.S. intentions.

The invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq represent significant strides to implant U.S. power in these regions through the use of overwhelming military force. The successful conquest of Iraq is the linchpin of this policy of reshaping the Middle East, one that both parties currently embrace as their cause célèbre. But as with every empire, its arrogance blinds it to the resilience and resourcefulness of the people it conquers.

According to recent reports coming out of Iraq, several cities are now considered "no-go zones" for U.S. troops, and are being run independently by the various sections of the resistance.11 The ability of the Iraqi resistance to stay one step ahead of their occupiers, and deal the U.S. military a succession of political defeats, has bloodied the nose of the U.S. military juggernaut. The sharp growth of U.S. casualties has caused great alarm, as the military is being forced to halt other "terror war" projects to regroup and redeploy personnel to Iraq to shore up the depleting forces. Undoubtedly, the Iraq quagmire is frustrating their efforts to "deal with" North Korea and Iran.

It is likely that much sparring has been taking place behind the scenes in recent months over war strategy. The target of a good deal of criticism is Donald Rumsfeld, who has rankled the old-guard military brass with his "vision of the twenty-first century military." His vision includes hyper-modernization of the military through a bloated military budget, and a shift towards a smaller, better equipped, and highly professional force.12 Combined with overwhelming air power, i.e. "shock and awe," Rumsfeld believes his plan would make mass armies irrelevant.

In the mind of Rumsfeld and his boosters in the defense industry, the nasty morass of empire building in Vietnam—thousands of dead U.S. soldiers, mass resistance of the colonized, and the kindling for a mass antiwar movement at home—can be overcome by twenty-first century technology.

But he was wrong. As Steven Metz, a guerrilla war expert at the Army War College admits, "No one that I know of, to include the most pessimistic experts, predicted a full-scale insurgency would break out within a couple of months of the overthrow of the old regime."13

The strength of the Iraqi resistance has cast a dark shadow over Rumsfeld’s handling of the war. Numerous high-ranking military officials have come to realize the failure of "perfect occupation" and admit that the resistance is so deeply rooted in the Iraqi population that it cannot be defeated militarily.14

As journalists Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel point out

Counterinsurgency specialists say the Bush administration appears to be caught in a trap that has afflicted many foreign occupiers in centuries past: Too little military force allows rebels to flourish, but too much causes a popular backlash and increases grass-roots support for the insurgents.15

The Iraqi quagmire will likely produce "new strategies" to resolve the crisis, but all of them will revolve around the understanding that this occupation will only be maintained with large casualty rates on all sides.

The U.S. military has announced plans to retake the "no-go cities" and confront the heavily entrenched Iraqi resistance, at least in some cities, in time for Iraqi elections in January 2005. Indeed, as this article goes to press, it has already retaken Samarra and is planning to attack other cities—though to minimize U.S. casualties the offensive so far consists mostly of daily bombings of Fallujah and Sadr City. A bigger offensive is being held off until after the presidential election.16

The U.S. is militarily capable of invading a city and occupying it, but it would need a large number of troops permanently stationed in each one to keep them from rebel control. Their current plan—to blast their way into cities and then withdraw to leave U.S.-trained Iraqi surrogates—simply will not work. As soon as the U.S. pulls out, the resistance will regroup, replenish their forces from an even greater pool of angered Iraqis, and the demoralized, under-trained Iraqi surrogate troops won’t be able to hold out for long. This scenario was already played out in Fallujah, and it will be played out again.

It is in this situation that fractures have developed within the military wing of the U.S. ruling class over strategy. At the center of the criticism is Rumsfeld’s strategy and the underutilization of U.S. manpower to overwhelm the opposition. Former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki, for instance, came under fire at the outset of the war for suggesting that "several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq" as opposed to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz’s leaner assessment of only 100,000.17

Against this backdrop, more than 100 retired officers and generals announced their endorsement of Kerry as an indictment of Bush’s failure to do what’s necessary to win the war.18 Even L. Paul Bremer, the first colonial governor of Iraq at the onset of the occupation, has recently joined the chorus of discontent, claiming the stability of the occupation is hindered by low troop levels.19

The strain on existing personnel to develop a new imperial charter while conducting two wars, is already taking its toll. Already 12,500 troops have been relocated from South Korea to be repositioned in Iraq and Afghanistan, and another 50,000 have been withdrawn from Europe, ready to replenish the ranks elsewhere among the global "terror war" garrisons.20

The concentration of current forces in the "hot zones" combined with the now established and deeply-rooted resistance is pushing the question of increasing manpower to the fore. Twenty-one of the army’s thirty-three regular combat brigades (63 percent) are now tied up in the hot zones of Iraq, Afghanistan, South Korea, and the Balkans.21 This doesn’t include another significant number recuperating from previous tours.

It is in this context that the debate over the draft becomes relevant, as the question of a more dramatic increase in manpower becomes less a question of if as when. Volunteer armies may suffice in small conflicts and incursions—or even in short wars involving large numbers of troops, such as the 1991 Gulf War—but U.S. ambitions have already exceeded these limits. That is why the machinery for the draft is still with us, and perhaps why its wheels are currently being put into motion by the Bush administration.

The creeping draft and its discontents

While the Bush administration vehemently denies any ambitions for a general draft, there are subtle signs that it is an option under serious consideration. One such indication is the recent efforts to fill vacant slots on local draft boards, which oversee the institution of the draft and eligibility. Another example is the motioning towards a "special skills draft." The Selective Service has begun planning for a "targeted registration" of linguists and computer experts in addition to the existing structure for drafting health care personnel.22

A more discreet form of the draft is already taking place, involving the emergency deployment of non-traditional front line forces as well as imposing extended service on exiting troops. The Pentagon has taken steps to deputize National Guard units and reservists as an emergency fighting force for Iraq. There are currently about 40,000 National Guard troops serving in Iraq, the majority of whom enlisted for part-time duty often associated with what one army general refers to as "weekend warrior duty," only to be whisked away for extended tours in Iraq.23

Combined with reservists, this group makes up nearly 40 percent of the soldiers on the ground in Iraq. As one reservist, a mother of two from Arkansas complained, "I thought being in the Reserve meant we wouldn’t go overseas until all the active duty had gone first…. Honestly, people go into the Reserve not to be sent here."24 An opinion poll last month in the Pentagon-funded Stars and Stripes newspaper, showed 49 percent threatening not to re-enlist.25

One other group of soldiers now being pressed into service to ameliorate shortages is known as the Individual Ready Reserve—retired or previously discharged soldiers whom the various branches of the armed forces reserve the right to involuntarily reactivate. In early July 2004, more than 117,000 former army personnel were served notice for reactivation, targeted for their specialization in fields that are suffering shortages, such as medical service. Of the first 3,899 called up, 1,498 asked for a delay or to be exempted from service outright. From the first pool of 1,765, nearly a third (622) failed to report for duty by the September 28 deadline.26 According to army officials, the call-ups will be expanded over the next year despite the obvious discontent.27

Servicemen and their families are turning against the war, which is leading some to worry about future recruitment and sustainability of the Guard and Reserves. As Brigadier General John W. Libby laments, "Our recruiting is down significantly from last year, and our retention rates are down also." The biggest problem, he said, is that parents are discouraging their children from joining. "We’ve got a level of reluctance with parents this year that we haven’t seen in the past."28 Current projections show the Guard will fall 5,000 recruits short of meeting their goal for 2004.29 Despite the growing discontent, the Pentagon plans to increase the percentage of Guard troops in Iraq over the next year.

The frustration of the soldiers and their families is exacerbated by the imposition of "stop-loss" and "stop-movement" orders. Stop-loss allows for the government to retain members in active duty for the full term of their deployment beyond the expiration of their service commitments, plus an extra three months after their return. Stop-movement prevents soldiers from moving out of combat zones. The armed forces have also been offering various reenlistment bonuses to troops set to muster out.30

These trends indicate that current stop-gap measures would be insufficient to maintain troop levels if the U.S. military is faced with a dramatic increase in violence (and casualties) or the creation of new fronts, in Iraq or in a new theater of war. According to Andrew Exum, a retired army captain who served in Afghanistan, "In a year and a half or two years, there are going to be huge [personnel] shortages…. You can’t keep these guys in for good."

Sending the poor to war

When Congressman Charles Rangel introduced draft legislation, his stated purpose was "to make it clear that if there were a war, there would be more equitable representation of people making sacrifices." He went on to add, "Those who love this country have a patriotic obligation to defend this country.… For those who say the poor fight better, I say give the rich a chance."31

According to the legislation, every able-bodied male and female between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six would be required to perform two years of mandatory public service, either in the military or the public sector. Deferments for college or "critical skills" would not be allowed.

Rangel’s criticisms of racial and class inequity within the military are undeniable, but his motives and rationale are suspect. For a man who rode antiwar sentiment into Congress during the Vietnam War, his appeal for a draft amid the current Iraq crisis drips with hypocrisy. Cloaking his party’s support for the war in liberal rhetoric about race and class discrimination not only ducks the question of the war, but provides a liberal rationale for how to continue it in a more equitable way.

Secondly, Rangel fails to point out that popular opposition to the draft forced the abandonment of the preferential deferments in 1969, initiating selection based on a "lottery system." Despite this "reform," the sons of the rich still managed to avoid combat duty through other means. One current defender of privilege, Colin Powell, admits how this brazen process had upset him in the past. In his book My American Journey, he states

I am angry that so many of the sons of the powerful and well-placed...managed to wrangle slots in Reserve and National Guard units.... Of the many tragedies of Vietnam, this raw class discrimination strikes me as the most damaging to the ideal that all Americans are created equal and owe equal allegiance to their country.32

Throughout U.S. military history, the majority of soldiers placed in harm’s way have been drawn from the working class, immigrant communities, and people of color. The two main reasons for this particular pattern has to do with the nature of capitalism in the U.S., and the class system that emerges from it, not the existence or non-existence of a draft.

Historically, the military has been the "occupation of last resort" for segments of the poor and unemployed working class marginalized by capital to serve as reserve armies of labor. In a society where stable wages, health care, higher education, and job training have historically eluded the poorest, the military option with its economic incentives has become the standard means by which many families attain some stability.

More important, the draft has ensured that the ranks are filled by "expendable" workers, with deferments historically earmarked for the sons of the wealthy. For example, in Vietnam over 75 percent of active duty soldiers were from blue-collar families, a trend perpetuated by the draft even after the elimination of deferments.33 The structure of the armed forces reflects the structure of the society that surrounds it. Even those wealthier individuals who fail to take advantage of various loopholes to escape military service have always been far less likely to find themselves holding a rifle on the front lines.

The military today is no different. A recent Defense Department study concluded that 40 percent of low-ranking soldiers face "substantial financial difficulties." While the average officer in the high-ranking grades can count on fixed pay and a benefit package that can rise into the six-figure range, the majority of enlisted soldiers receive no more than a poverty wage—on average, around $1,300 a month. For example, a private with one year of service has a base pay of $15,480; the base pay for a corporal with three years of service is $19,980.34 Well over half of the casualties in the current Iraq war come from the very lowest enlisted ranks.

Within this class dynamic, communities of color are disproportionately affected. In the 1991 Gulf War, 23 percent of troops deployed were Black and made up 17 percent of the casualties, this despite making up only 12 percent of the U.S. population.35 The current racial composition of the army in Iraq, which has sustained 70 percent of the casualties in Iraq, is about 45 percent non-white (primarily African American and Latino) while these groups comprise only 29 percent of the population. In the military today, about half of all enlisted women are Black.36 While Latinos make up about 9 percent of the armed forces, they are 12 percent of the casualties.

In recent years, recruiting efforts have been intensified in immigrant communities. This is not a new phenomenon in military history. During the First World War, 400,000 immigrants were drafted into the military. According to Major General George Bell, "the local boards in Illinois had very evidently spared men of the draft age of American birth or stock at the expense of those of foreign birth or patronage."37

Since 9/11, the Pentagon and recruiters have taken advantage of the difficulty immigrants face obtaining citizenship. "Green-card soldiers," as they are cynically called, serve in active duty in exchange for a faster track to citizenship. According to the Pentagon, there are currently 37,401 non-citizens on active duty, many of them on the front lines in Iraq. To date, about forty non-citizen soldiers have been killed in battle—the battle for citizenship.

On the other hand, a recent survey found that only four members of Congress had children serving in the U.S. military and most of these were attending the elite service academies.38 Many, like George Bush, used their power and clout to get special assignments stateside, well away from the front lines. In Vietnam, since only the rich and powerful could exert influence to get these spots in the National Guard or Reserves, common soldiers began to refer to these as "champagne units." This situation is best summed up by Carlos Mendes of Latinos Against the War in Iraq:

The people who made the decisions never sent their sons to get hot, bloody and dirty on the battlefield.… The white sons of the rulers of America, including a certain George W. Bush, have always found ways around the draft, in his case through his bogus service in the air auxiliary, while Dick Cheney took one course after another at university.39

Defeating the draft before it starts

While Rangel is right in exposing the racist and class-biased nature of the military, his solution of making the draft more equitable is a sham. As the history of warfare shows, the rich have never had to make the sacrifices associated with their decisions to go to war, and any new draft will be no different. But even accepting for the sake of argument that a draft could be implemented more "equitably," it would still nevertheless be a draft to bolster an army of imperialist conquest.

In the current context, Rangel’s proposal is in sync with the Democrats’ strategy to offer up solutions to solve the Iraq crisis. John Kerry has been able to convince antiwar activists to support his campaign while he promises Corporate America that he will "finish the job" in Iraq. Rangel, on the other hand, is seeking to build support among working communities and people of color to support the Democrats’ version of the war on the faulty basis that they will make it more equitable in sacrifice.

By using antiwar rhetoric to promote a solution to the crisis of manpower, Rangel is continuing the historic role of the Democrats: Push through anti-worker policies and solve periodic crises in ways that the Republicans could never do themselves. The draft is now an option, and while most political figures deny it, it will likely become more desirable over time to solve the long-term goal of building the American empire, and it will likely be the Democrats that impose it on us. Other forms of "national security drafts" are also a possibility. According to the Kerry campaign Web site, "national service" programs are a way to involve up to 200,000 youths in some form of duty in exchange for college loans. This could very easily serve as a corridor into military service.40

The exigencies of empire, whether a Democrat or Republican is at the helm, will eventually raise the specter of a draft. While opposition to the draft makes it politically combustible and a point of theoretical contention at the moment, it could become an option of last resort if the preeminence of the U.S. empire is threatened.

But there is another determinant in the equation.

There is a fundamental commonality between the people of the United States and the working people of the countries targeted and occupied by the United States. The costs of war fall disproportionately on workers, whether they are being occupied or sent to fight a rich man’s war. Occupation provokes resistance. The Vietnam antiwar movement—a broad front of students, workers, and soldiers—was able to bring an end to the draft by confronting imperialism in the streets, and in the case of the soldiers, in the jungles of Southeast Asia. The only way to defeat the draft before it begins is to build a broad antiwar movement now, one that unites students, workers, and soldiers in solidarity with the working people of Iraq. Our rulers know this—so should we. Under circumstances of widespread active discontent over the war, the Pentagon may be forced to think twice about enacting legislation that will import and encourage even greater levels of discontent in the armed forces. As one senior military official recently admitted to the New York Times: "The only way we can lose this battle is if the American people decide we don’t want to fight anymore."41

1 "Iraq Insurgency Larger than Thought," Associated Press, July 9, 2004.

2 "Insurgents Target Iraqi Police; 59 Dead," Associated Press, September 14, 2004.

3 Dexter Filkins, "U.S. Plans Year-End Drive to Take Iraqi Rebel Areas," New York Times, September 19, 2004, and James Glanz and Thom Shanker, "Iraq Study Sees Rebels Attacks as Widespread," New York Times, September 28, 2004.

4 The "new Democrat" equivalent of the right-wing Project for a New American Century (PNAC) is the Progressive Policy Institute. Their key foreign policy document, "Progressive Internationalism: A Democratic National Security Strategy" is available online at

5 "The Universal National Service Act," introduced in January 2003. Though Rangel introduced the bill, the Republicans put it up for a vote in early October 2004 to allay rumors put out by the Kerry campaign that Bush is planning to restore the draft after the election. The vote against Rangel’s bill was 402—2.

6 Statistics on the draft taken from Houghton Mifflin, available online at

7 Eric Rosenberg, "Agency Initiates Steps for Selective Draft," Seattle Post Intelligencer, March 13, 2004.

8 Associated Press, "Teen Poll: Majority Expects Draft", August 10, 2004

9 Quoted in "Progressive Internationalism."

10 "Pentagon Officials Grilled about War’s Cost," CNN, April 22, 2004.

11 Dexter Filkens, "One by One, Iraqi Cities Become No-Go Zones," New York Times, September 5, 2004.

12 Congress recently approved a $417 billion defense budget. Alan Fram, "Congress Ships Bush $417 Billion for Defense," Associated Press, July 23, 2004.

13 Thomas E. Ricks, "U.S. Troops’ Death Rate Rising in Iraq," Washington Post, September 9, 2004.

14 "Iraq Insurgency Larger than Thought," Associated Press, July 9, 2004.

15 Jonathon S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel, "Surge in Violence Threatens Iraq Elections, U.S. Exit Strategy," Knight-Ridder, September 15, 2004.

16 Eric Schmitt and Thomas Shanker, "Combating Insurgents: Pentagon Sets Steps to Retake Iraq Rebel Sites," New York Times, October 8, 2004. Mark Mazzetti, "Major Assaults on_Hold Until After U.S. Vote," Los Angeles Times, October 11, 2004. Patrick Cockburn argues that the current offensive in Samarra and elsewhere is designed not so much for Iraq as for U.S. domestic consumption, to show in the face of Kerry’s criticisms that the Bush administration has a "plan" for Iraq. Patrick Cockburn, "Elections Will Not End the Fighting in Iraq," CounterPunch, October 6, 2004, available online at

17 Eric Schmitt, "Pentagon Contradicts General on Iraq Occupation Force’s Size," New York Times, February 28, 2003.

18 Charles Babington, "Generals and Admirals Battle Perceptions of Kerry," Washington Post, July 30, 2004.

19 "Bremer: U.S. Paid Price for Lack of Troops," Associated Press, October 5, 2004.

20 Mark Mazzetti, "U.S. to Cut Number of Overseas Bases," Los Angeles Times, September 24, 2004.

21 Connor Freff Cochran, "The Coming Draft," Alternet, March 25, 2004, available online at

22 Rosenberg.

23 Thomas E. Ricks, "War Puts Strain on National Guard," Washington Post, June 6, 2004.

24 "U.S. Army Reservists on Iraq Front Lines," Associated Press, July 23, 2004.

25 Suzanne Goldenberg, "Appeal for Draft Board Volunteers Revives Memories of Vietnam Era," Guardian, November 5, 2003.

26 David Hasemyer and Otto Kreisher, "5,600 From Ready Reserve Likely to See Action Overseas," San Diego Union Tribune, June 30, 2004.

27 "Stop Loss Continues," Chicago Tribune, September 27, 2004, and "Reservists Balk at Involuntary Call-up," Associated Press, October 1, 2004.

28 Ricks, "War Puts Strain on National Guard."

29 Kimberly Hefling, "Army, Army Reserves to Get Enough Recruits," Associated Press, September 27, 2004.

30 Tom Squitieri, "Army Expanding ‘Stop Loss’ Order to Keep Soldiers From Leaving," USA Today, January 6, 2004.

31 "Rangel Introduces Bill to Reinstate Draft," CNN, January 8, 2003.

32 Margaret Kimberely, "Should We Bring Back the Draft," Black Commentator, Issue 63, November 6, 2003.

33 Christian G. Appy, Working Class War (University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, 1993).

34 Julie Lynem, "Wages of War: Entry Level Salaries of Troops Barely Higher Than a Theater Usher’s," San Francisco Chronicle, March 29, 2003.

35 Darryl Fears, "Draft Bill Stirs Debate Over The Military, Race and Equity," Washington Post, February 4, 2004.

36 Ibid.

37 Meirion and Susie Herries, "Building a National Army" in The Way We Lived, Essays and Documents in American History (New York: Houghton-Mifflin, 2004).

38 Todd Ensign, "Draft Chatter," Citizen Soldier, available online at

39 James Gooder, "U.S. Attacked Over Green Card Soldiers," _Al-Jazeera, September 1, 2003.

40 See John Kerry’s Web site at"national_service/.

41 Glanz and Shanker.

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