Sunday, February 29, 2004

40,000 new troops 

At Calpundit, some interesting discussion of John Kerry's proposal to add 40,000 new troops to the Army. Several posters wondered if this was really a way of saying we might need a draft. I doubt a draft would be required to get 40,000 new recruits, which is less than one tenth the size of the Army. Still, the Petagon's "stop loss" orders, which prevent currently enlisted troops from leaving the armed forces, are deeply alarming. Already over 40,000 troops have been prevented from leaving the Army alone. When you factor in the number of troops who want to and should be allowed to leave the armed forces, increasing the size of the Army by 40,000 troops becomes a much more daunting task. Kerry should release a detailed plan indicating how he would obtain enough new recruits to make his proposal feasible.

As to the merits of Kerry's proposal, there are pros and cons. While Kerry is right that our military is overextended and new troops are needed to prevent reserves from having to serve on active duty all the time, his proposal would renew a commitment to American empire and further increase the size of an already grotesque military budget. In fact, the size of the army already exceeds the limit of 480,000 troops set by congress. I'm willing to concede that additional troops may be necessary while we have so many soldiers committed to Iraq, but the changes Kerry proposes should certainly not be permanent.

UPDATE: Kerry doesn't think they should be permanent, either. But he thinks the changes will "likely last the remainder of the decade." Sounds a bit on the long side to me. Do we really still plan to be occupying Iraq in 2010? But Kerry also says he can pay for his proposal with cuts in missile defense, which would be great.

Kerry's proposal will be budget neutral because he will streamline some large weapons programs, putting more emphasis on electronics and advanced sensors and munitions and by reducing the total amount of money spent on missile defense.
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