By H. A. Goodman
Since President Obama recently stated ISIS is a direct threat to national and global security, and since we have a military that is overburdened from two wars in the Middle East, one still ongoing in Afghanistan, the American people should make some sacrifices for the next war. Thus far, the 2.5 million veterans of both wars (less than 1 percent of the population), and their families, have done all the heavy lifting for our great nation. As a result, we recently had a VA crisis that is still ongoing, a debt crisis that our grandchildren will be faced with well into their own retirement, and the threat of future budget sequestration and even shutdowns. We have a population of over 313 million people and it isn’t fair for the 2.5 million veterans, or the over 500,000 active duty soldiers to defend such a large nation on their own-especially against an existential threat in ISIS.
It’s time to get off the couch, America, and collectively sacrifice for national security, both through taxes to fund the next conflict and a draft, like previous generations in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. ISIS wants to bankrupt this country and drag us into another quagmire, so if you believe these maniacs need to be destroyed by bullets fired from American guns, it’s time for you too to start firing these bullets and paying for the next war. Once we defeat ISIS, we can then begin to destroy the next terrorist group that pops up (like Al-Qaeda Iraq morphed into ISIS) with money from higher taxes and from the additional troop levels from a national draft.
No, this isn’t a joke.
The best way to defeat terror is to get everyone on board, so stop watching reruns of terrorists and their “just for men beards” holding their rifles up in glorious poses of victory. Our troop levels are far too low for another war, and like General Shinseki warned over a decade ago, if we’re going to occupy Iraq again, we need more soldiers. Don’t think we’re just going to bomb them and leave it at that; ISIS can remain entrenched within Fallujah and Mosul even after we defeat them throughout Iraq, so an occupying force will be needed to ensure that the Iraqi government survives if indeed we intend on defeating “terror.” As Jon Meacham explains in a Time magazine article titled “The Case For Bringing Back The Draft,” not having compulsory military service has led this nation astray in a variety of ways:
Without a draft, we are given a great and dangerous luxury: we are, in the main, able to consign our war fighting to a largely isolated force of brave volunteers. The military is a noble calling, and many choose to serve for many different reasons. Whether it is because of family tradition or because a recruit has few other options in life for socioeconomic reasons, the result is that the majority of Americans have little direct connection with the military.
Without that direct connection, the politics of war are inescapably different than what they would be if the children of the most influential families in communities across America were at risk of being drafted to face fire at the front.
It is difficult to imagine that the wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq would have been conducted in the ways they were (and still are) if a large-scale draft had been in effect in America since 2001.
This is a long-running debate in policy circles, and there are sundry studies and proposals about systems of military and civilian national service in exchange for student loans and other GI Bill-type benefits. (The arguments put forward in a 2005 Washington Monthly piece by Phillip Carter and Paul Glastris is a good place to start a study of the question. William F. Buckley Jr. also argued for voluntary service in his book Gratitude.)
As stated in the Time article, over 300 million Americans are given the “luxury” of sitting home and watching the talking heads debate how this country will defeat a terror group in a country most Americans can’t even point on a map. General Shinseki asked for more than double of the 145,000 soldiers Bush sent to invade Iraq, so if we’re looking at close to 300,000 new soldiers, we need a draft. ISIS is
throughout Iraq, and bombing alone won’t work, so everyone knows ground troops are an inevitability.
Also, remember the sacrifice needed to fight insurgents hiding in apartment buildings, blending into civilian regions, and planting IED’s that explode like this. After 4,486 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq and 2,344 U.S. soldiers died in Afghanistan, 1 million U.S. soldiers wounded in both wars, and a potential cost of up to $6 trillion, the last thing American soldiers and their families need is another war. Both Republicans and Democrats should remember the VA crisis that is still taking place: over 514,000 veterans are still waiting for disability benefits, the average wait time for their first claim is 318 days, and the average wait time for additional claims is over 160 days. So, the least that all the 300,000 million Americans can do, especially those who haven’t served in a war or the military, is pitch in to destroy ISIS.
Is this asking too much? ISIS is a direct threat to our interests, so we need the troop levels to defeat them.
As for paying for the next war, well, let’s actually pay for it and not ask our great-grandchildren to chip in for the cost. R. Russell Rumbaugh, in a New York Times article titled “A Tax to Pay for War,” explained the economics of waging war:
War traditionally has motivated major changes in tax policy. The Civil War brought the first income tax. World War I made the federal income tax permanent. World War II brought tax withholding. In 1969, at the height of the Vietnam War, the United States ran a budget surplus because of a tax surcharge Congress forced President Lyndon B. Johnson to accept.
… Such decisions should not be divorced from economic considerations, but neither should we allow our finances to prevent us from pursuing vital American security interests. Putting in place a permanent tax surcharge to pay for wars would ensure that we could achieve our interests throughout the world without further worsening our finances.
If military action is worth our troops’ blood, it should be worth our treasure, too — not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American.
The sentiment is eloquently stated in the article, and if it’s worth the blood of your fellow American, it’s also worth some of your money, so fork it over and stop watching reruns of ISIS beheadings. You want the terrorists dead and so do I, now let’s fund the next war appropriately.
To my fellow Tea Party Americans who care about debt and who, like me, want these terrorists gone, I ask you to remember the cost of war. According to Harvard University, “The US has already borrowed some $2 trillion to finance the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and the associated defense build-up — a major component of the $9 trillion US debt accrued since 2001.” The total cost will reach $6 trillion when healthcare costs from both wars are taken into account and the interest from borrowing could reach trillions. To the rest of my country, in terms of actually fighting against ISIS, we’ll need a draft to ensure they don’t morph into another group, and ensure they don’t simply wait until we leave Iraq. Another occupation will be needed, and this will amount to boots on the ground for years and far greater troop levels. Together, through some sacrifice, we can defeat these terror groups so that the 250,000 Iraqi soldiers, Kurdish force, and Sunni militias don’t have to do it on their own. Yes, we’ve spent over a decade in Iraq and Afghanistan nation building, but we can’t let up now, we need to continue the fight, even if it lasts forever. Taxes and military service is what America owes its veterans, future generations, and any terrorist who gets in the way of freedom and democracy. Open up your pocket books, pick up a gun, and say goodbye to your family, because America needs everyone to chip in and protect liberty.