Rants and Raves

Opinion, commentary, reviews of books, movies, cultural trends, and raising kids in this day and age.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


I see that Charles Rangel (D-NY) has floated the idea of bringing back the draft. The Democrats, who may be suicidal but not that suicidal, immediately shot the idea down.

The Republicans must be terribly disappointed, they were probably hoping that the Democrats would immediately self-destruct by doing something massively unpopular right away.

It seems that the Republicans self-destruct by betraying their principles, the Democrats by following theirs.


The military doesn't want, and doesn't need a draft. Recruitment goals are being met by all services - and I really wonder what that means. It's supposed to be unpopular, nobody wants to go to Iraq. Troops are tired of being rotated back, for the third time in some cases etc. So what gives?

Teddy Kennedy has wanted a draft for some time, for "national service". Whatever that means. My wife tells me that when her mother was in school back in the communist days in Poland, they took kids out of school for days of "service to society". What she remembers is raking leaves in the park, while in another section other kids scatters the leaf piles around so someone else could rake them...

The Army is happy with their all-volunteer service. One good thing about it that occurs to me is that when you have to ask young men to join, you've got to be really careful about how you use your soldiers. Young men full of testosterone are often willing to risk death, but will usually balk at being treated like cannon fodder by officers who figure, "Oh well, I can always get more."

That's the attitude that the jihadists and even many armchair theorists have such contempt for. "The Americans can't take casualties." Maybe there's some truth to this, but I think it misses the point. Our soldiers are expensive. It's not that we lack volunteers, it's that by the time they're trained and equipped, a lot of money has been spent on them.

We're actually at the point where it's probably less expensive to use up the equipment than the men. I remember a student in Poland once told me that during WWII, the Soviets instucted their pilots not to bail out of their planes but to try and bring them in at all costs, because the plane was far more valuable than the pilot.

Lots of less than competent generals throughout history have wanted an army of men who would die if they were told to. Some have even been lucky enough to get them. History shows that in the long run, such armies lose.


Our four-month old baby has just discovered that by constricting those muscles in the glottis, she can make all kinds of interesting sounds. Now she's yelling a lot - not crying, just making noise for the sheer joy of it. I swear, we heard her trying to do something like singing the other day.

What I should do is start trying to record her babbling some time soon. I tried it with our boy, because I wanted an audio record of the linguistic development of a child in a bilingual environment, but he wouldn't cooperate. Clammed up every time I shoved a microphone in his face.


Just finished Mark Steyn's 'America Alone' and will be reviewing it shortly. I don't think I've ever read such a savagely witty book on such a depressing subject - demography.


  • At 12:01 PM, Blogger sunshinesprite23 said…

    Ironically, while the military does in fact spend a LOT of money training soldiers, something on the order of $30,000 in recruitment and training by the end of a soldier's basic training experience (these are all Army stats), they are surprisingly unwilling to let injured soldiers rest long enough to heal. Thus resulting in many, many cases where a soldier is overstrained to the point of permanent damage (as in problems for the rest of their life) and military discharge. *flush* There goes, at best, that $30,000, and a whole lot more if the soldier made it a year or two into their career.


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