Robert Heinlen, who's book Starship Troopers was on the Sgt. Major of the USMC's reading list for privates last time I checked, once said, "If a
country can't get its own citizens to defend it, let it die."
I can see how a draft could be necessary if a very rapid mobilization were absolutely vital in response to sudden aggression, however in my opinion a
conflict which necessitates a draft strains Weinberger Doctrine to the limits both in terms of sufficient force and public support.
Another consideration is that the wartime draft may be fast becoming an anachronism. I severely doubt that two first world nations will ever fight
another year long war. The mobility, striking power, and logistical capabilities of modern forces have brought manuever warfare (as opposed to
attrition) to a unquestionable superiority. Modern wars are likely to increasingly be won in months if not weeks. The first side to show its back to
the enemy in any way is likely to find itself either surrounded or in full retreat within days because the ability through battlefield awareness,
rapid communication, mobility, and tremendous firepower to exploit an enemy weakness is immense and only growing. By the time your first load of
draftees is ready to go, the war may be well on its way to decision if hostilities have already commenced.
The weapons of war are more complex as well. If you can draft and train troops fast enough, you certainly can't turn out the armor and artillery fast
enough to equip them all- the war will be over before you've raised a substantial force.
So the question is really one of conscript militaries during peacetime or times of tension. A conscript military is less professional. Esprit de
Corps, tradition, motivation are simply not going to be there. Volunteers don't just fight harder- they train harder and are therefore more
proficient. On the right terrain, with the right commander, I'd take a volunteer division over a conscript force 10 times their size.
Chosin Resevoir- Chinese radio had announced that by 10 November (the birthday of the Corps) they would be the first force ever to destroy a Marine
division. In fact it was the Chinese force that was destroyed. Exactly one month beyond the limit Chinese radio had declared, Chesty's Marines and
their British companions had finished fighting their way out. Seven divisions of the PLA 9th Army Group were either destroyed or no longer combat
effective and the Group was broken up and its men used to reinforce other units.
Conclusion? No draft. If we're going to fight wars like Iraq, we need to fight to win and do it fast, then get our boys home. That will be good for
recruitment and retention. That's the answer.
Personally, and I'm no general I realize, I'd have sent 600,000 men to Iraq, declared a state of emergency and stop lossed the whole army for 1
year- paying a full reup bonus for that extra year, and used the extra men to put that country on serious lockdown. Najaf would look like lienency if
I were in charge. Gridsearch every major city- house by house for weapons and former republican guards, ID cataloged every man woman and child, and
any non-ID'd person found in Iraq afterward would be presumed a foreign combatant and sent to prison until checked out and issued ID. Then I'd have
started throwing money at Iraqi men like nuts to recruit and train 200,000 men in the first year, pulling out 400 thousand of ours in their place,
giving us a total force of 400,000- half iraqi, after one year. It would have cost an arm and a leg, but we'd have been out of Iraq 4 months ago and
we'd have killed more terrorists and taken fewer casualties without developing a long term retention crisis.
As it is, I don't see any denying the fact that America is either going to have to institute conscription to the reserves or cut a couple of
divisions. Frankly I suspect that the reorganization of the army into 48 brigades is partially designed to spread out the under-strength burden and
hide the effects- basically precluding the "official" reduction of a division or two.
And yes I realize my idea of "fight to win and do it fast" sounds a little gestapo, but it's rooted in the lessons of this war as well as Vietnam.
Going in huge and heavy handed is scarry and violates the privacy of innocent people, but it may very well save many of their lives and protect the
future viablity of our forces from the need for a draft.