[Marxism] I feel a draft coming (was Re: CNN poll...)

M. Junaid Alam junaidalam at msalam.net
Sat Apr 24 20:10:21 MDT 2004

"I don't think anything about this is at all improbable.  And - bottom 
line - what else are they going to do?  The other methods they have 
tried - use of mercenaries, recruitment of Iraqi soldiers and police 
under their control, the "coalition of the willing", etc. - are all 

Tactically the anti-war movement can use talk of the draft to raise 
political awareness to some degree. But I don't see a general draft is 
in the immediate offing.

First: the Vietnam draft had college-exemption, right? So who is going 
to be doing all the fighting this time if college kids are exempt from 
the draft now? Almost all kids go to some kind of college these days.

Second: introducing incentives to lure back military personnel or 
prospects seems like a more intelligent measure. Throw some money and 
bonuses around, see what happens. That principle has worked well for the 
companies hiring working-class Americans so far.

Third: I think it is an exaggeration to say coalition forces, 
mercenaries and recruitment of Iraqi soldiers are "collapsing". These 
tiny countries with tiny forces pulling out is symbolic, little else. 
The big dogs are in for the long haul - the US and Britain. Blair is no 
poodle. He is an attack dog and he is committed to offering up as many 
Brits as necessary for the war. Also, the Americans are re-hiring 
Saddam's best brutes, and there's still that half of the Iraqi army 
serving the occupation to work with.

Fourth: There is a much more obvious development possible before the 
draft, even inevitable - though one always brushed aside by both 
Marxists and liberals, curiously enough: bringing Israel into the war.

The logic of the situation has no other conclusion besides further 
escalation. Sharon has been given full blessings to do whatever the hell 
he wants to the Palestinians and Iraq itself has been Palestinized - no 
one can dispute that. Pretexts for invading Syria have been carved out 
with a) the anti-Hamas strike carried out a few months ago, b) the new 
Hamas leader being in Damascus and Sharon threatening to strike it, c) 
US-Syrian border skirmishes and battles.

A reasonable person would assume the US would shut up about Syria and 
Iran with its hands full in Iraq, but just the opposite is true. Bush 
recently said Iran will be "dealt with" and nonsense about Syrian 
"foreign fighters" is as strong as it was a couple months ago.

We live in very fluid times. There are lots of triggers and a hell of a 
lot of mines. Tomorrow 200 people could be dead in Tel Aviv, and Sharon 
will insist on conducting anti-terrorist operations in Syria against 
Hamas, or in Iraq, taking seriously Sadr's invocation of the Palestinian 

To some comrades this all sounds a bit outlandish. But I submit that it 
is realistic for one main overarching reason: this is not Vietnam. 
Vietnam was framed and fought as a proxy war between two superpowers. 
Iraq is not a proxy but the opening page of a manifesto for world war. 
It is as Bush said only a "battle" in the "war against terror", which is 
"global", and when stripped of all niceties, entails dominating and 
destroying most of the Islamic world. Just recall that the US mission is 
to "liberate and democratize" the Arab world, remember what those words 
mean in reality, and the picture is not very hard to see.

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