Lying about the draft.In

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Lying about the draft.

In an interview Monday with the AP, Bush accused Kerry of scare tactics and insisted he would not bring back the military draft, even if there were a crisis with North Korea or Iran.

“I believe we’ve got the assets and manpower necessary to be able to deal with another theater should one arise,” Bush said.

Then there’s this from the Times

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.”

Unthinkable?

Categorically, there will be no draft?

Then why do we have a Selective Service exactly? Why do we have the contingency plans <$Ad$>discussed in the Times article? The draft is always possible, depending on various possible national security threats and contingencies, particularly those that might persist for some time. That’s why we have a Selective Service.

My point, as I’ve said previously, is not that there will necessarily be a draft or that the Bush administration is planning one or wants one. The point is that the administraiton has pursued a mix of policies that make it a very real possibility — not because the administration wants a draft, but because they may drive the country into a position where we have no choice.

Take the president’s comment to the Associated Press. We have the manpower to deal with another major theater conflict in North Korea or Iran? Really? The US military is under great strain now with current deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. How can we possibly have sufficient manpower to handle an all-out war with North Korea and its aftermath, without pushing the all-volunteer military past its breaking point?

Through a mix of conscious policy and mismanagement, the White House has gotten us to the point where another major conflict would be quite difficult to sustain for a number of reasons. The point of a debate about a potential draft is to weigh the consequences of those policies and that record of mismanagement.

By making categorical statements that are false on their face — i.e., there will never be a draft — the White House is trying to avoid or cut short that debate. And that makes sense because when you have the debate on its merits, a draft does seem like a real possibility.

Voters have a right to know that, to understand the consequences of White House policies and what they’re not being told about them.

Perhaps the president and his advisors really believe they’ll never have to consider a draft, though I doubt it. But then this White House has a history of making bluff, confident assertions of which reality quickly makes a mockery.

Just look at Iraq.

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