...I'm okay with being REALITY-based.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004
      ( 10:18 AM )
Feeling Drafty Again

It looks like the Pentagon has cleared the way for the IRS to provide the current addresses of thousands of inactive reserves for call-up in the near future. The inactive reserves are known as the IRR, the Individual Ready Reserve - people who have already served their time in active duty but can be involuntarily called back into service. The Pentagon has already called up a few thousand of these folks since 9/11, but it looks like a massive call-up may be in the works since the active Reserves are practically depleted at this point, and regular troops are being drawn from South Korea.

The Defense Department, strapped for troops for missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, has proposed to Congress that it tap the Internal Revenue Service to locate out-of-touch reservists.

The unusual measure, which the Pentagon said has been examined by lawyers, would allow the IRS to pass on addresses for tens of thousands of former military members who still face recall into the active duty.

The proposal has largely escaped attention amid all the other crises of government, and it is likely to face opposition from privacy rights activists who see information held by the IRS as inviolate.

For it to become practice, Congress and President Bush would have to approve the proposal, which would involve amending the tax code.

The only way out of this inevitable call up of inactive reserves and then a draft is to get our troops out of Iraq. While Colin Powell insists that if the Iraqis ask us to leave after June 30, we will, the Pentagon appears to be making plans for full occupations for years to come.

John Kerry has taken the path of allowing Bush to use his own rope, so to speak - but it's time for Kerry to step out and present a bold plan for Iraq. He can't waver between what he thinks people might want - he has to do what is best for our troops and our country. It may be painful and embarrassing and it may enrage the corporations for whom this invasion was conducted, but otherwise we are looking at years and years of death and destruction. Kerry has to know from personal experience that once people start being conscripted into the military involuntarily, there goes public support.

I've talked about a draft before. Basically, if a draft is enacted again, there are going to have to be a lot of changes to how it looked before it ended in the 1970's. It will have to include women, it will have to include college students - except those within one semester of graduating. It will have to include gays. It will have to provide a new and beneficial GI plan, and it will have to allow no exemptions for upper class kids. In today's political climate it seems highly unlikely that a draft would be passed by Congress. But if our occupation of Iraq continues, they may have little choice. We have now made the entire country that we original were liberating into our enemies. It can't go well from here.

The only good option is for Kerry to come up with a cogent, precise and bold plan for exiting this situation and rebuilding political ties with the middle east, muslim nations and the rest of the world.

As for you inactives, you might want to move soon - and not tell the IRS where you went.

(thanks to Atrios for the links)

UPDATE: Kevin Drum has a great graphic that explains the situation.

UPDATE 2: Dad could be eligible for re-enlistment because he did 30 years active duty, unless he can make it 18 more months without being called up. After he turns 60, they can't get him. Hopefully.

UPDATE 3: Phil over at IntelDump has some further info on how the Army is demolishing itself apart trying to get more boots on the ground in Iraq.

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