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First signs of draft renewal?

"The U.S. Army is planning an involuntary mobilization of thousands of reserve troops to maintain adequate force levels in Iraq and Afghanistan," reported Reuters on June 28.

Drawing on the seldom used Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), composed of soldiers who have completed their active-duty commitments, the involuntary mobilization--which is, in principle, a draft--will involve roughly 5,600 soldiers.

"These individuals are being called back to fill specific shortages for specific jobs," an unidentified senior Defense Department official told the wire service. "We're not calling up units, we're just using all the existing assets in theater and we're augmenting these assets with these individuals--various occupational specialties, various different types of officers running the whole gamut."

While soldiers in the IRR "have served their voluntary obligation in the Army, they can still be mobilized involuntarily for several years after returning to civilian life," Reuters explained. "Sometimes there's a misperception by some of the individuals ... that 'I've done my obligation, I've been in the Army, thank you very much, and I'm done,'" continued the defense official. "But you're not done."

"If there was any doubt that this administration was conducting a pseudo-draft, this call-up should dispel that doubt," commented Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.), who sits on the House Armed Services Committee. At least one prominent neoconservative war hawk candidly calls for a full-fledged return to conscription.

"The U.S. military is operating at about as high a tempo as it can," commented Frank Gaffney, who served in the Department of Defense under President Reagan. "In short, you may need to move rather more directly and swiftly towards a draft than most of us are prepared to contemplate right now."

As previously reported in these pages, the Selective Service System (SSS) is ramping up preparations for the draft--just in case. And an obscure section in the No Child Left Behind Act would prove quite useful to the SSS should the draft be renewed. Notes investigative reporter Dave Eberhardt: "Helping [SSS] to reach its goals and objectives is a little-known provision of the No Child Left Behind Act that requires schools to provide contact information for every student--upon pain of losing federal aid dollars."
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Title Annotation:Insider Report
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 26, 2004
Words:360
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