Coming Draft: The Crisis in Our Military and Why Selective Service Is Wrong for America

Coming Draft: The Crisis in Our Military and Why Selective Service Is Wrong for America

by Philip Gold
     
 

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A frustrating war and an endless occupation. The very real prospect of more conflict overseas. A military stretched beyond its breaking point. The stage is set for the resumption of the draft. Now, in an explosive and provocative book, Philip Gold, a former Marine and a disaffected conservative, reveals why selective service should never come to pass–but

Overview

A frustrating war and an endless occupation. The very real prospect of more conflict overseas. A military stretched beyond its breaking point. The stage is set for the resumption of the draft. Now, in an explosive and provocative book, Philip Gold, a former Marine and a disaffected conservative, reveals why selective service should never come to pass–but might.

In The Coming Draft, Gold charts the path that brought us to this treacherous point and posits an “exit strategy” for America to change its course. In candid language and through authoritative research, he uncovers the flaws of forced enlistment from ancient to recent times and suggests serious and more effective methods to protect the homeland.

“Plans/reality mismatch” is how Gold describes the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war. This conflict’s deadly, years-long duration–with overtaxed volunteer troops–has led to the Marines missing their monthly recruitment quotas by up to 25 percent, soldiers over sixty being called out of retirement to serve, and in some cases National Guard tours being extended to 2031. Though the House of Representatives made a show of voting against the draft idea in 2004, Gold believes that a collusion of neoconservatives and liberals could eventually cause conscription to be reinstated. The neocon argument for the return of universal conscription rests in the expectation that American military presence will need to increase in order to combat the spreading threat of terrorism, while the left wing hopes that the revival of the draft will expand the scope of the debate about U.S. military policy, thereby making American involvement in wars an issue that potentially touches every household.

Asserting that selective service has been neither effective nor historically validated, The Coming Draft provides evidence that the Founding Fathers’ concept of common defense differed from our own and allowed for “proper refusal” in addition to service. More damning, Gold insists that starting with the Universal Militia Act of 1791, the draft has been rife with demoralizing corruption and bad faith, whether it was exceptions for civilian slave owners in the Civil War or loophole-laden systems from World War I to Vietnam.

Gold’s practical and innovative alternatives include the redefinition of service (to include earthquake and weather-related relief work), and a drastic rethinking of the duties of the National Guard. All this, he believes, must begin with setting limits on any president’s ability to launch an undeclared war.

Written with an acute awareness and fierce intelligence, The Coming Draft is an indispensable work for anyone who is, or who might have to be, a soldier–and any citizen concerned about the future of our country.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
Mr. Gold points out that the idea of a draft is anathema to almost all parties, including military brass, and that this has been the case throughout much of American history. Since his own bona fides warrant a Semper Fi (he is a former Marine officer, Georgetown University professor and conservative think tank analyst specializing in defense issues), he focuses on this issue at close range. He also sets out to transcend partisan politics and address reality.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
The author of this lively but conflicted study, an ex-think tanker and Marine vet, is torn between libertarian impulses and a lingering social conservatism. "Conscription sucks so bad," he moans, yet he believes that "every American male should spend some time in uniform." (Women, too, he allows, despite grousing about "man-hating" feminists.) Gold (Take Back the Right) suggests that the army needs several hundred thousand more troops for its many missions, from hurricane relief to fighting wars and nation building. But he also considers conscription an intolerable, perhaps unconstitutional infringement of liberty, historically fraught with corruption, unfairness and malign social engineering. Gold squares this circle, not very persuasively, with a nod to the wisdom of the founding fathers and the nation's hoary citizen-militia tradition. People should have a choice of different commitments, he argues, from overseas deployment in the regular military to strictly domestic service in state militias or no service at all, which would subject them to extra taxes. It's hard to see how this system would sustain a tough foreign conflict but maybe that's the point, since Gold considers the Iraq War a disaster. He presents an engaging, down-to-earth take on the urgent problem of military manpower, without quite resolving it. (Sept. 19) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780345495426
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/19/2006
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
File size:
422 KB

Meet the Author

Philip Gold is the author of five books, including Take Back the Right, along with more than eight hundred articles, columns, and reviews. He has served as a Marine officer, covered defense issues for a national news magazine, and was recently a Senior Fellow in National Security Affairs at the prestigious Discovery Institute in Washington, D.C. Gold holds a B.A. in history from Yale University and a Doctorate in history from Georgetown University, where he taught history and defense policy for fourteen years.


From the Hardcover edition.

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