Tuesday, October 19, 2004

I Got Your All-Volunteer Army Right Here

While Bush peddles the no-draft line on the campaign trail, the Selective Service puts in place a plan for a draft of medical professionals:

The Selective Service has been updating its contingency plans for a draft of doctors, nurses and other health care workers in case of a national emergency that overwhelms the military's medical corps.

In a confidential report this summer, a contractor hired by the agency described how such a draft might work, how to secure compliance and how to mold public opinion and communicate with health care professionals, whose lives could be disrupted.

On the one hand, the report said, the Selective Service System should establish contacts in advance with medical societies, hospitals, schools of medicine and nursing, managed care organizations, rural health care providers and the editors of medical journals and trade publications.

On the other hand, it said, such contacts must be limited, low key and discreet because "overtures from Selective Service to the medical community will be seen as precursors to a draft," and that could alarm the public.


The chief Pentagon spokesman, Lawrence T. Di Rita, said Monday: "It is the policy of this administration to oppose a military draft for any purpose whatsoever. A return to the draft is unthinkable. There will be no draft."

"We prefer the term indentured servitude," explained Mr. Di Rita.

And why exactly would we need more medical professionals in the armed services anyway?

The most interesting part is the Selective Service's plan to use p.r. tactics on the American public to garner support for a draft. The Service held focus groups to learn that:

People are apprehensive about the length of service that might be required. The "occupation of Iraq has proved more costly, in terms of dollars and lives, than most Americans expected." Members of the National Guard are "serving tours of duty far longer than many ever anticipated."

Could that be because the Administration used lies and p.r. to sell the war? And what does that tell us about the credibility of Bush's no draft pledge?

(Thanks to a reader for the link.)

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