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A Modest Proposal: How to Initiate a Stealth Draft

A Modest Proposal: How to Initiate a Stealth Draft

By Bernard Weiner
The Crisis Papers

Memo from Karl Rove
To: George W. Bush/Dick Cheney/Don Rumsfeld

Look, given our needs in Iraq and Afghanistan and given our agenda in helping freedom unfold across the globe -- starting perhaps with Syria and Iran -- we're going to need more bodies. As a result of our, shall we say, "problems" in Iraq, our re-enlistment rates are way down, the National Guard and Reserves can't meet their sign-up quotas, the Army is finding it difficult to entice fresh recruits. Soldiers are asking embarrassing questions of the Defense Secretary in public, and even arranging to be shot in the leg in order not to have to return to the battlefields in Iraq. Something has to be done.

It's clear that the American public will not tolerate the re-institution of the universal military draft -- and during the campaign, we promised we would not re-start such a draft -- so we've got to come up with some creative thinking outside the box.

So here's my idea: Draft 12-year-olds and those over 70.

In short, we create the equivalent of Germany's Volkssturm (Home Guard) at the end of World War II. (Despite their bad rep, there was much creative thinking in the Third Reich, some of which we've succcessfully adapted to the way we package ourselves and our programs.) The German Army was desperately short of troops, and drafted youngsters and oldsters to fill the slots. It worked for them, at least temporarily, so why not for us?

Absent a creative agit-prop campaign, we can be fairly certain that both suggestions will generate considerable opposition: respect for elders, love of children, and all that.


But we could ratchet up a really solid, effective marketing campaign. For example, Mr. President, if you were to go on national TV and describe the extreme, mortal danger in which our country finds itself -- that crazy Muslim terrorists across the globe need to be stopped before we have to face them inside the U.S., and that all Americans will have to make sacrifices in this holy endeavor -- we probably could push this proposal through.

We'd ratchet up the young and old "heroes" angle, with special medals and such presented by you in heavily ritualized ceremonies in the White House. Parents would be made to feel patriotic and so proud of their little warriors in their cool new uniforms, with the distinctive "W" arm bands.

In short, it could be done. (But no drafting of girls. We don't want to stir up a hornets' nest.)

The positives are that we would gain several million bodies. Since most of our shock&awe campaigns depend on high-tech bombing from the air and missiles released from ships at sea, the new Home Guard troops would either free up our professional soldiers to head abroad, and/or participate mainly in "mopping-up" missions on the ground.


But, as our exile consultants point out, there probably wouldn't be the need for much fighting, since the downtrodden citizens of the countries we would be liberating would welcome us with flowers and kisses at being freed from the authoritarian rule that has kept them down for so many decades.

Well, true, those same consultants told us that Iraq would be a cakewalk, and it's been a bit more difficult than that. But the autocatic rulers of Syria and Iran and the others have seen what "shock&awe" can do to their countries -- and realize that they are dealing with madmen who don't mind unleashing such destruction upon those that cross them. For their own safety, those rulers will give in to U.S. demands without a fight.

But, if it comes to it, our boy-soldiers and geezer-brigades will do themselves proud. The youngsters would be expert warriors, given how experienced they are at video battle-games. They'd just die to get into real warfare (whoops! pun intended, I guess) -- and they'd eat up those medals they can show off at school, if and when they return.

And the geezer-brigades would be filled with decades of experience and wisdom -- and many would feel that their passing, even in battle, would affect the world little; they lived a full life, got to wear uniforms again, died heroes for their country, etc. And, they have nothing else to do anyway, except worry about their families putting them in those rotten nursing homes. (Besides, we've prepared the ground for such a geezer draft by already recalling former soldiers in their 60s, and there's been no big stink about that move.)


Another advantage of moving on this modest proposal would be to head off at the pass an appalling idea that's making some headway in the public: That all members of Congress who vote for war, and leaders in the Executive Branch who call for war, must either serve in combat brigades, or their children must go in their place, regardless of gender.

In sum, since we are politically unable to re-institute a universal military draft, I think you seriously need to consider the stealth-draft proposals mentioned here, and begin implementing them in order for the U.S. to continue spreading democracy and free markets throughout the globe. (Which, as I'm sure you realize, would keep huge amounts of money flowing back from our corporate friends into our political-campaign coffers.)

We have an electoral mandate for radical conservative change, we have political capital to spend, freedom is on the march and the momentum has to be maintained, the public seems passive enough about anything we do or propose, the mass-media organs of influence and manipulation are eager and willing to do our bidding -- in short, it's time to move and bring millions of new soldiers into the military by the methods proposed above.

Onward to Damascus!

Oh, here's one further thought: Even if you don't like my idea, let's consider leaking it anyway. We dropped the ball badly with regard to the tsunami disaster, and getting these ideas out there would divert attention away from our embarrassingly deficient P.R. profile at the moment. The liberals would take the bait, immediately condemning our "heartless" proposal, and we'd be freed from having to deal with tsunami and Iraq questions. In short, it's a win-win for us, even if my modest initiative goes nowhere.

Happy New Year!

-- All best, The Resident Genius


Bernard Weiner -- who has created numerous other "conversations" with Shallow Throat (available at -- is a playwright/poet, formerly a writer/editor with the San Francisco Chronicle; currently, he co-edits The Crisis Papers ( He is a contributing author to the recently released "Big Bush Lies" book.

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