Archives: March 2005
Thu Mar 31, 2005
The way the wind is blowin'
Draft May Be Needed in a Year, Military Analysts Warn
By Bob Dart
Cox News Service
Wednesday 30 March 2005
Washington - If American forces aren't pulling out of Iraq in a year, a draft will be needed to meet manpower requirements, military analysts warned Wednesday.
With recruitment lagging and no end in sight for U.S. forces in Iraq, the "breaking point" for the nation's all-volunteer military will be mid-2006, agreed Lawrence Korb, a draft opponent and assistant defense secretary in the Reagan administration, and Phillip Carter, a conscription advocate and former Army captain.
"America's all-volunteer military simply cannot deploy and sustain enough troops to succeed in places like Iraq while still deterring threats elsewhere in the world," Carter concluded in the March issue of "Washington Monthly." advertisement. Korb is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and a senior adviser to the Center for Defense Information. Carter is attorney who writes on military affairs for Slate.com and other media. They debated at a symposium on the draft Wednesday.
While conceding that the Army, Marines, National Guard and Army Reserve -- the branches serving most in Iraq -- face recruitment difficulties, military officials have denied any plans to revive the draft, which was replaced by an all-volunteer force in 1973.
"The 'D-word' is the farthest thing from my thoughts," Army Secretary Francis Harvey said at a Pentagon press briefing last week. He said the all-volunteer force has proven its value and applauded the performance of soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"When you get over there, there's no difference between the active, the Reserves and the National Guard. The quality is high across the board. ... It's seamless," he said.
During his re-election campaign, President Bush declared flatly that he would not reinstate the draft. And there is little support for conscription on Capitol Hill.
"Today, no leading politician in either party will come anywhere near the idea -- the draft having replaced Social Security as the third rail of American politics," wrote Carter.
However, the analysts said that the all-volunteer army is on the verge of "breaking" under current circumstances. The 3rd Infantry Division based in Fort Stewart, Ga., and the 4th Infantry Division based in Fort Hood, Texas, are among the units that are being sent back for a second tour in Iraq.
The National Guard and Reserves historically depend on men and women leaving active duty to fill their ranks, Carter pointed out. But they're not going to join if it means they will be sent right back to Iraq in an activated unit, he said.
Military men, women and machines are all suffering from repeated deployments.
"What keeps me awake at night is what will this all-volunteer force look like in 2007," Richard Cody, the Army Vice Chief of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 16.
Korb, assistant secretary defense for manpower from 1981 through 1985, said the current rotation is unfair to the "patriotic" men and women who volunteered for military service and are stuck on a cycle in and out of Iraq. Since only a tiny segment of the populace is sacrificing, there is no political pressure to change the system, he said.
"If you had a draft right now, I think you'd be out of Iraq," Korb said.
The American society "hasn't gotten the message that we're at war," agreed Carter.
"Those at peril are completely divorced from those in power," said Mark Shields, a syndicated columnist and TV commentator who moderated the symposium. "It's 'Patriotism Lite' -- you put a sticker on your SUV."
"America has a choice," wrote Carter. "It can be the world's superpower or it can maintain the current all-voluntary military. But it probably can't do both."
 comments (5586 views) | link
Mon Mar 28, 2005
Don't look now, but the neo-cons are looking South again.
Latin America’s Terrible Two
Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez constitute an axis of evil.
By Otto J. Reich
EDITOR'S NOTE: This piece appears in the April 11, 2005, issue of National Review.
In military terms, the Western Hemisphere is the strategic rear area of the United States. The U.S. needs a secure and prosperous hemisphere not only to ensure a peaceful neighborhood in which to live, but also to be able to project its power to the farthest reaches of the globe and win the War on Terror.
What is happening in our neighborhood? Press reports indicate that a leftist-populist alliance is engulfing most of South America. Some Andean and Central American countries are sliding back from economic reforms and narcotics eradication, and the Caribbean remains irrationally hostile to the U.S. This is the reality U.S. policymakers must confront; and our most pressing specific challenge is neutralizing or defeating the Cuba-Venezuela axis. With the combination of Castro's evil genius, experience in political warfare, and economic desperation, and Chávez's unlimited money and recklessness, the peace of this region is in peril.
A quarter-century ago, a democratic revolution began to stir in Latin America and the Caribbean. Today, that revolution is in danger of being reversed. When Ronald Reagan came to power in 1981, more than three-quarters of the region's citizens lived under undemocratic regimes, mostly right-wing military juntas, but also a few left-wing dictatorships. By 1981, the Soviet Union and its cat's paw, Fidel Castro, had succeeded in backing Marxist takeovers in two nations close to U.S. shores: Grenada and Nicaragua. Financed by the Soviets and by local kidnappings, drug trafficking, bank robberies, and other criminal activities, Castro had spread his ideology of violence throughout the Caribbean and Central America. By January 10, 1981, ten days before Reagan's first inauguration, the Castro-supplied Marxist FMLN guerrilla group in El Salvador felt so confident of victory over a moderate civilian-military junta that it launched what it called a "Final Offensive" to give Reagan an "inaugural gift" of a Communist El Salvador...
 comments (9865 views) | link
Wed Mar 23, 2005
Restless Me - The Journal of World Travel
Our roving travel writer Joe Franklin gives a report from Guatemala with:
Fear and Loathing on a Chicken Bus
The public buses here in Guatemala are known as chicken buses, although I've never seen a chicken on one, and for the record don't know anyone else who has either. This simple fact doesn't keep them from being interesting though, the buses. Riding them is like a crapshoot -- either your driver is going to drive like his ass is on fire, or he's going to drive like he's merely loco.
read more on restlessme.com
 comments (6043 views) | link
Thu Mar 17, 2005
Rodrigo and the payroll
A true story, as told to me by Enrique Paz.
 comments (4742 views) | link
Wed Mar 16, 2005
'A Very Long and Very Bloody War'
A good interview with Michael Scheuer, the author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror
 comments (4564 views) | link
Tue Mar 15, 2005
Wed Mar 09, 2005
Noah Purifoy site photos
Use the link below to view some pictures I took at the Noah Purifoy's site in Joshua Tree. Purifoy, who passed away in March 2004, was a Los Angeles-based artist and co-founder of the Watts Towers Arts center. He moved to Joshua Tree in 1988 and spent the rest of his life there, building sculptures from recycled materials and trash on his several acre site.
If you're ever out that way and would like to visit for yourself let me know and I'll tell you how to get there. It's an amazing place and he created an unbelievable amount of work in 15 years.
 comments (5100 views) | link
Tue Mar 08, 2005
Iowa City, 1989
After Crumb's That's Life series from the early 70's.
 comments (7338 views) | link
Sun Mar 06, 2005
Luntz Memo at Luntzspeak
Oh, This site is great -Luntzspeak.com.
It features a Frank Luntz communique coatching Republicans how to speak about the environment..
LuntzSpeak (excuse us, "The Environment: A Cleaner, Safer, Healthier America") details how the President and his party have received numerous black eyes for their record on the environment. Rather than coming up with a novel approach to the problem - such as not weakening environmental protections - LuntzSpeak laundry lists easy ways to repackage awful environmental positions to make them sound innocuous.
Despite poll numbers showing overwhelming concern for the environment, some members of the Republican leadership have decided it's easier to spend time, money and political capital on obscuring a bad record and bad policies than to develop sound environmental policies that protect public health and public lands.
But don't take our word for it! To appreciate the amount of spin here, use this guide to help decode some of the sneakier communications tips, or read the memo for yourself.
Read the Memo
 comments (5132 views) | link
Sat Mar 05, 2005
house of the future
fortunately someone took pictures....
 comments (4843 views) | link
I am over at their house
I'm over at Barry's house. It was a great day today in Oakland. I have nothing to rant about right now, but I did want to turn the theme of yopyop away from politics for a moment and move it closer to freak-folk music such as this Newsom chick. Anyway, I miss everyone and am feeling very tweaky and sentental.
I am grass-fed beef.
 comments (5154 views) | link
Tue Mar 01, 2005
You know it's a trend when Larry Rohter perceives it.
With New Chief, Uruguay Veers Left, in a Latin Pattern
By: Larry Rohter - New York Times
Montevideo, Uruguay, Feb. 28 - When tiny Uruguay inaugurates its new president here on Tuesday, it will make a clear break with the country's past. After 150 years in which two moderate parties alternated in power, Uruguay's five million people will have turned decisively to the left.
But more than that, the moment is fraught with symbolism for the region. Uruguay's shift consolidates what has become the new leftist consensus in South America. Three-quarters of the region's 355 million people are now governed by left-leaning leaders, all of whom have emerged in the past six years to redefine what the left means today.
They are not so much a red tide as a pink one. Doctrinaire socialism carries the day far less than pragmatism, an important change in tone and policy that makes this political moment decidedly new.
 comments (5766 views) | link