“Surge” or “Involuntary” Military Conscription: The Neo-Conservative Architects of Military Escalation

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Was it a coincidence? The Bill to restore the Draft (Universal National Service Act of 2007 (HR.393)) was introduced in the House of Representatives on exactly the same day as President Bush’s announcement regarding the “Surge”, in which he confirmed, in a nationally televised address, that he was going to send more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq.  

The “surge” in US forces in Iraq has been presented by the Bush administration as a short term necessity to confront “the terrorists”:  

“So America will change our strategy to help the Iraqis carry out their campaign to put down sectarian violence and bring security to the people of Baghdad. This will require increasing American force levels. So I’ve committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq.” (President Bush’s TV address to the Nation, 10 January 2007)

Within days of Bush’s announcement, Congress responded by formally rebuffing the White House’s proposal to send more troops: 

“The defiant White House stance comes as both the House and Senate, now controlled by Democrats, prepare to vote on resolutions that oppose additional U.S. troops in Iraq. Cheney said those nonbinding votes would not affect Bush’s ability to carry out his policies” (AP, Jan 14, 2007)

While differences have emerged between the presidency and the US Congress regarding troop deployments, real opposition to Bush’s “surge” largely emanates from the broader American public, which is putting pressure on its (elected) members of Congress.  

US troops in Iraq are facing fierce and organized armed resistance.

Occupation forces no longer exercise control over part of Iraqi territory.

The “Green Zone” is threatened. The more than 20,000 troops are, according to the White House, to be deployed in Baghdad, with a view to securing the “Green Zone” enclave.

Despite these developments, the decision to substantially increase US forces in Iraq is not a makeshift initiative, which emerged in response to the evolving crisis in Iraq. It is part of a carefully formulated NeoCon agenda to increase the size of US forces and reinstate “involuntary” forms of military conscription. 

Some analysts have suggested that the “surge” is intended in relation to a planned war on Iran.

The Neo-Conservative Architects of Bush’s “Surge”

The decision to substantially increase US forces in Iraq is not a makeshift initiative, which emerged in response to the evolving crisis in Iraq. It is part of a carefully formulated NeoCon agenda to increase the size of US forces and reinstate “involuntary” forms of military conscription. 

Frederick Kagan of the American Enterprise Institute is credited as being one of the main architects of Bush ‘s “Surge”. Fred Kagan together with General (ret) Jack Keane, argue that “any troop increase must be large and lasting”… [involving]  a surge of at least 30,000 combat troops lasting 18 months or so”. (Quoted in the the Financial Times, 2 January 2007). 

“Kagan was arguing that while “the high end of estimates” suggested the need for another 80,000 US troops to stage an effective counter-insurgency operation in Iraq, “it is very likely that a surge of 50,000 troops would be sufficient to stabilise the capital”. In the event, it seems unlikely that Mr Bush will commit even half that number”.(Ibid)

Frederick Kagan is the brother of Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace who coincidentally is also on the board of Directors of the Project of the New American Century (PNAC). The latter is a Washington based think tank headed by  William Kristol, with direct ties to the Bush Cabinet. 

William Kristol is the son of Irving Kristol, one of the main founding figures of Neoconservatism. Irving Kristol sits on the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR). He is also a Senior Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). 

William Kristol is editor of the influential Washington based Weekly Standard. Robert Kagan is a contributing editor to the Weekly Standard. All of these people are firmly committed to America’s “long war”, a war without borders, inspired by the teachings of the late Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago. 

Surge and the Project for the New American Century (PNAC)

An overall expansion of  US forces worldwide is an integral part of the NeoConservatives mission, as formulated in the Project of the New American Century’s key document entitled Rebuilding American Defenses.  

Bush’s “Surge” is essentially derived from this document, which constitutes the PNAC’s manifesto. The authors of Rebuilding American Defenses  are Donald Kagan, (Professor of History at Yale University and father of Frederick Kagan and Robert Kagan)., Gary Schmitt (PNAC Project Coordinator together with Donald Kagan) and Thomas Donnelly (main author), Both Schmitt and Donnelly are resident fellows at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and colleagues of Frederick Kagan. 

In Part IV of  Rebuilding American Defenses,  the PNAC recommends  an overall expansion of  “active-duty strength” from  475,000 (2000 figure) to 525,000. It also points to the reinforcement of the Army National Guard as: 

“a hedge against the need for a larger-than-anticipated force in combat…. It should not be used primarily to provide combat service support to active Army units engaged in current operations”

The Army National Guard should according to the PNAC “play its essential role in fighting large scale wars”, while minimizing its civilian functions. 

PNAC Pressures US Congress

Two years ago (28 January 2005), the PNAC submitted a Letter to Congress on Increasing U.S. Ground Forces, addressed to the Senate and House Majority and Minority leaders. The Letter asserts that “the United States military is too small for the responsibilities we are asking it to assume” and that steps must consequently be taken: 

 “to increase substantially the size of the active duty Army and Marine Corps. While estimates vary about just how large an increase is required, and Congress will make its own determination as to size and structure, it is our judgment that we should aim for an increase in the active duty Army and Marine Corps, together, of at least 25,000 troops each year over the next several years.”

The authors of the January 2005 PNAC Letter, who describe themselves as “a bipartisan group with diverse policy views” include (among others) the key Neo- Conservatives ideologues and protagonists of Bush’s “surge”, namely William Kristol, Frederick Kagan, Robert Kagan, Gary Schmitt and Thomas Donnelly. Other prominent members include former CIA director James Woolsley, John Hopkins Professor Eliot Cohen, who has acted as an adviser to Paul Wolfowitz and has participated in several PNAC activities, former CIA specialist Reul Gerecht who is a Senior PNAC fellow. and a resident scholar at the AEI, Will Marshall, president of the Progressive Policy Institute, etc. .     

In this regard, there is a consistent Neo-Conservative thread characterized by a working relationship between Washington based think tanks (CFR, AEI, PNAC, Carnegie, etc) as well as a complex net of personal and family ties between the various NeoCon protagonists.  

The “Surge” is De Facto

Bush’s “Surge” has de facto already been put in place in the form of  what Mahdi Nazemroaya describes as “a concealed military draft”: 

“[T]he U.S. Marines have started recalling or legally summoning thousands of ‘inactive servicemen’ to serve in Iraq and the Middle East, where the number of U.S. troops and contracted security personal are dropping towards hap-hazardous levels. …  The U.S. Army too, undermined by shortfalls in manpower, has ordered over a reported 14,000 ‘inactive servicemen’ back to fight”  (Mahdi D. Nazemroaya, Global Research, August 2007)

Similarly, the Bush administration has taken measures to increase the recruitment of private mercenary-soldiers, who constitute a significant and growing force in both Iraq and Afghanistan (Ibid)

“Many young men from within the United States and around the world seeking American citizenships or green cards have also been lured into the circuits of the U.S. military and mercenary groups.” (Ibid)

The Universal National Service Act

Barely noticed, in early 2006, Congressman Charles Rangel, a Democrat (NY), introduced a bill in the US Congress which requires:

“all persons in the United States, including women, between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform a [two year] period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.”

Ironically, Rangel’s initiative to restore the draft was described as “an anti-war tactic” directed against the Bush adminstration:

“Rangel opposes war with Iraq and seeks to make the point that many soldiers are volunteers from low-income and minority families. Political leaders, his reasoning goes, would think twice about sending into war the sons and daughters of a more complete cross-section of America. But whether or not one agrees with Rangel’s rationale, many Americans would agree that universal service can be a great leveler and a unifying force in society.”

The 2006 version of the bill (which followed earlier versions) was referred to the House Armed Services Committee and its Subcommittee on Military Personnel. There have been no actions taken at the committee or subcommittee levels since it was introduced in February of last year.( See Library of Congress

Restoring the Draft? 

However, following the victory of the Democrats in the November 2006 elections, Rep. Charles Rangel reaffirmed his commitment to “bringing back the draft” as part of  the House of Representatives’ Democratic agenda. 

On January 10th 2007, Rep. Rangel reintroduced his bill, entitled the Universal National Service Act of 2007 (HR.393) (For full text see Annex below).

Was this a coincidence? The Bill to restore the draft was introduced on exactly the same day as Bush’s announcement regarding the “Surge”, in a nationally televised address. In this address the President and Commander in Chief confirmed that he was going to “surge” more than 20,000 troops and that this decision would be implemented without seeking the authorization of the U.S. Congress. (See Francis Boyle, January 2007)

Meanwhile Rangel’s bill HR 393 has been referred both to the Arms Services Committee and the Ways and Mean Committee. . 

What are the implications of Rangel’s timely January 10, 2007 proposed Universal National Service Act?  

Although Rep Charles Rangel is opposed to sending more troops to Iraq, the reintroduction of the Draft is on the books of the US Congress. His proposed bill directly serves the interests of the Bush Administration, which can now blame the Democrats for attempting to reintroduce compulsory conscription.  Bill HR 393 is opposed by ranking democrats. While it has little chance of being adopted, it could indeed be used, in an opportune fashion, to manufacture a shaky bipartisan legitimacy, which ultimately would support Bush’s proposed “Surge” in troops.   .

Given the dynamics and hidden agendas behind these various initiatives, a combination of the NeoCon Surge on the one hand and the “Universal Service Act” proposed by a leading Democrat on the other, might ultimately serve the interests of military escalation, as formulated by the NeoCons, leading to some form of bipartisan “consensus” on  “involuntary” conscription. 

The decision and discussions would be reached behind closed doors in the Armed Services committees of the House and the Senate. There are many formal mechanisms to recruit servicemen and women, which could be applied outside the outright reintroduction of the Draft.  

This form of bipartisan dialogue would serve to deflect attention from the more fundamental issue of military escalation, not to mention the war on Iran, which are being implemented without Congressional approval. 

If the Bush/Cheney White House refuses to seek authorization from Congress for an increase in troop deployments to Iraq, this could constitute a violation of the United States Constitution. (for further details see Francis Boyle, op. cit)


Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international best seller “The Globalization of Poverty ” published in eleven languages. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization, at   
www.globalresearch.ca . He is also a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His most recent book is entitled: America’s “War on Terrorism”, Global Research, 2005.

ANNEX

Universal National Service Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)

HR 393 IH

110th CONGRESS

1st Session


H. R. 393

To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the favorable treatment afforded combat pay under the earned income tax credit, and for other purposes.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

January 10, 2007

Mr. RANGEL introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Armed Services, and in addition to the Committee on Ways and Means, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the favorable treatment afforded combat pay under the earned income tax credit, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title- This Act may be cited as the `Universal National Service Act of 2007′.

    (b) Table of Contents- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
      Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.

TITLE I–NATIONAL SERVICE

      Sec. 101. Definitions.
      Sec. 102. National service obligation.
      Sec. 103. Induction to perform national service.
      Sec. 104. Two-year period of national service.
      Sec. 105. Implementation by the President.
      Sec. 106. Examination and classification of persons.
      Sec. 107. Deferments and postponements.
      Sec. 108. Induction exemptions.
      Sec. 109. Conscientious objection.
      Sec. 110. Discharge following national service.
      Sec. 111. Registration of females under the Military Selective Service Act.
      Sec. 112. Relation of title to registration and induction authority of Military Selective Service Act.

TITLE II–FAVORABLE TREATMENT OF COMBAT PAY UNDER EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT MADE PERMANENT

      Sec. 201. Favorable treatment of combat pay under earned income tax credit made permanent.

TITLE I–NATIONAL SERVICE

SEC. 101. DEFINITIONS.

    In this title:
      (1) The term `contingency operation’ has the meaning given that term in section 101(a)(13) of title 10, United States Code.
      (2) The term `military service’ means service performed as a member of an active or reserve component of the uniformed services.
      (3) The term `national service’ means military service or service in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and service related to homeland security.
      (4) The term `Secretary concerned’ means the Secretary of Defense with respect to the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, the Secretary of Homeland Security with respect to the Coast Guard, the Secretary of Commerce, with respect to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, with respect to the Public Health Service.
      (5) The term `United States’, when used in a geographical sense, means the several States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam.
      (6) The term `uniformed services’ means the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, commissioned corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and commissioned corps of the Public Health Service.

SEC. 102. NATIONAL SERVICE OBLIGATION.

    (a) Obligation for Service- It is the obligation of every citizen of the United States, and every other person residing in the United States, who is between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform a period of national service as prescribed in this title unless exempted under the provisions of this title.

    (b) Forms of National Service- The national service obligation under this title shall be performed either–
      (1) as a member of an active or reserve component of the uniformed services; or
      (2) in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and service related to homeland security.

    (c) Age Limits- A person may be inducted under this title only if the person has attained the age of 18 and has not attained the age of 42.

SEC. 103. INDUCTION TO PERFORM NATIONAL SERVICE.

    (a) Induction Requirements- The President shall provide for the induction of persons described in section 102(a) to perform their national service obligation.

    (b) Limitation on Induction for Military Service- Persons described in section 102(a) may be inducted to perform military service only if–
      (1) a declaration of war is in effect;
      (2) the President declares a national emergency, which the President determines necessitates the induction of persons to perform military service, and immediately informs Congress of the reasons for the declaration and the need to induct persons for military service; or
      (3) members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps are engaged in a contingency operation pursuant to a congressional authorization for the use of military force.

    (c) Limitation on Number of Persons Inducted for Military Service- When the induction of persons for military service is authorized by subsection (b), the President shall determine the number of persons described in section 102(a) whose national service obligation is to be satisfied through military service based on–
      (1) the authorized end strengths of the uniformed services; and
      (2) the feasibility of the uniformed services to recruit sufficient volunteers to achieve such end-strength levels.
      (3) provide a mechanism for the random selection of persons to be inducted to perform military service.

    (d) Selection for Induction-
      (1) RANDOM SELECTION FOR MILITARY SERVICE- When the induction of persons for military service is authorized by subsection (b), the President shall utilize a mechanism for the random selection of persons to be inducted to perform military service.
      (2) CIVILIAN SERVICE- Persons described in section 102(a) who do not volunteer to perform military service or are not inducted for military service shall perform their national service obligation in a civilian capacity pursuant to section 102(b)(2).

    (e) Voluntary Service- A person subject to induction under this title may–
      (1) volunteer to perform national service in lieu of being inducted; or
      (2) request permission to be inducted at a time other than the time at which the person is otherwise called for induction.

SEC. 104. TWO-YEAR PERIOD OF NATIONAL SERVICE.

    (a) General Rule- Except as otherwise provided in this section, the period of national service performed by a person under this title shall be two years.

    (b) Grounds for Extension- At the discretion of the President, the period of military service for a member of the uniformed services under this title may be extended–
      (1) with the consent of the member, for the purpose of furnishing hospitalization, medical, or surgical care for injury or illness incurred in line of duty; or
      (2) for the purpose of requiring the member to compensate for any time lost to training for any cause.

    (c) Early Termination- The period of national service for a person under this title shall be terminated before the end of such period under the following circumstances:
      (1) The voluntary enlistment and active service of the person in an active or reserve component of the uniformed services for a period of at least two years, in which case the period of basic military training and education actually served by the person shall be counted toward the term of enlistment.
      (2) The admission and service of the person as a cadet or midshipman at the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, or the United States Merchant Marine Academy.
      (3) The enrollment and service of the person in an officer candidate program, if the person has signed an agreement to accept a Reserve commission in the appropriate service with an obligation to serve on active duty if such a commission is offered upon completion of the program.
      (4) Such other grounds as the President may establish.

SEC. 105. IMPLEMENTATION BY THE PRESIDENT.

    (a) In General- The President shall prescribe such regulations as are necessary to carry out this title.

    (b) Matter to Be Covered by Regulations- Such regulations shall include specification of the following:
      (1) The types of civilian service that may be performed in order for a person to satisfy the person’s national service obligation under this title.
      (2) Standards for satisfactory performance of civilian service and of penalties for failure to perform civilian service satisfactorily.
      (3) The manner in which persons shall be selected for induction under this title, including the manner in which those selected will be notified of such selection.
      (4) All other administrative matters in connection with the induction of persons under this title and the registration, examination, and classification of such persons.
      (5) A means to determine questions or claims with respect to inclusion for, or exemption or deferment from induction under this title, including questions of conscientious objection.
      (6) Standards for compensation and benefits for persons performing their national service obligation under this title through civilian service.
      (7) Such other matters as the President determines necessary to carry out this title.

    (c) Use of Prior Act- To the extent determined appropriate by the President, the President may use for purposes of this title the procedures provided in the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 451 et seq.), including procedures for registration, selection, and induction.

SEC. 106. EXAMINATION AND CLASSIFICATION OF PERSONS.

    (a) Examination- Every person subject to induction under this title shall, before induction, be physically and mentally examined and shall be classified as to fitness to perform national service.

    (b) Different Classification Standards- The President may apply different classification standards for fitness for military service and fitness for civilian service.

SEC. 107. DEFERMENTS AND POSTPONEMENTS.

    (a) High School Students- A person who is pursuing a standard course of study, on a full-time basis, in a secondary school or similar institution of learning shall be entitled to have induction under this title postponed until the person–
      (1) obtains a high school diploma;
      (2) ceases to pursue satisfactorily such course of study; or
      (3) attains the age of 20.

    (b) Hardship and Disability- Deferments from national service under this title may be made for–
      (1) extreme hardship; or
      (2) physical or mental disability.

    (c) Training Capacity- The President may postpone or suspend the induction of persons for military service under this title as necessary to limit the number of persons receiving basic military training and education to the maximum number that can be adequately trained.

    (d) Termination- No deferment or postponement of induction under this title shall continue after the cause of such deferment or postponement ceases.

SEC. 108. INDUCTION EXEMPTIONS.

    (a) Qualifications- No person may be inducted for military service under this title unless the person is acceptable to the Secretary concerned for training and meets the same health and physical qualifications applicable under section 505 of title 10, United States Code, to persons seeking original enlistment in a regular component of the Armed Forces.

    (b) Other Military Service- No person shall be liable for induction under this title who–
      (1) is serving, or has served honorably for at least six months, in any component of the uniformed services on active duty; or
      (2) is or becomes a cadet or midshipman at the United States Military Academy, the United States Naval Academy, the United States Air Force Academy, the Coast Guard Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, a midshipman of a Navy accredited State maritime academy, a member of the Senior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or the naval aviation college program, so long as that person satisfactorily continues in and completes at least two years training therein.

SEC. 109. CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION.

    (a) Claims as Conscientious Objector- Nothing in this title shall be construed to require a person to be subject to combatant training and service in the uniformed services, if that person, by reason of sincerely held moral, ethical, or religious beliefs, is conscientiously opposed to participation in war in any form.

    (b) Alternative Noncombatant or Civilian Service- A person who claims exemption from combatant training and service under subsection (a) and whose claim is sustained by the local board shall–
      (1) be assigned to noncombatant service (as defined by the President), if the person is inducted into the uniformed services; or
      (2) be ordered by the local board, if found to be conscientiously opposed to participation in such noncombatant service, to perform national civilian service for the period specified in section 104(a) and subject to such regulations as the President may prescribe.

SEC. 110. DISCHARGE FOLLOWING NATIONAL SERVICE.

    (a) Discharge- Upon completion or termination of the obligation to perform national service under this title, a person shall be discharged from the uniformed services or from civilian service, as the case may be, and shall not be subject to any further service under this title.

    (b) Coordination With Other Authorities- Nothing in this section shall limit or prohibit the call to active service in the uniformed services of any person who is a member of a regular or reserve component of the uniformed services.

SEC. 111. REGISTRATION OF FEMALES UNDER THE MILITARY SELECTIVE SERVICE ACT.

    (a) Registration Required- Section 3(a) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. 453(a)) is amended–
      (1) by striking `male’ both places it appears;
      (2) by inserting `or herself’ after `himself’; and
      (3) by striking `he’ and inserting `the person’.

    (b) Conforming Amendment- Section 16(a) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 466(a)) is amended by striking `men’ and inserting `persons’.

SEC. 112. RELATION OF TITLE TO REGISTRATION AND INDUCTION AUTHORITY OF MILITARY SELECTIVE SERVICE ACT.

    (a) Registration- Section 4 of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 454) is amended by inserting after subsection (g) the following new subsection:

    `(h) This section does not apply with respect to the induction of persons into the Armed Forces pursuant to the Universal National Service Act of 2007.’.

    (b) Induction- Section 17(c) of the Military Selective Service Act (50 U.S.C. App. 467(c)) is amended by striking `now or hereafter’ and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting `inducted pursuant to the Universal National Service Act of 2007.’.

TITLE II–FAVORABLE TREATMENT OF COMBAT PAY UNDER EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT MADE PERMANENT

SEC. 201. FAVORABLE TREATMENT OF COMBAT PAY UNDER EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT MADE PERMANENT.

    (a) In General- Clause (vi) of section 32(c)(2)(B) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (defining earned income) is amended to read as follows:
          `(vi) a taxpayer may elect for any taxable year to treat amounts excluded from gross income by reason of section 112 as earned income.’.

    (b) Effective Date- The amendment made by subsection (a) shall apply to taxable years ending after December 31, 2006.

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About the author:

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.  He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America's Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO's war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at [email protected]

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