In Washington D.C., they know only too well that if there were a draft, it would swell the ranks of anti-war protesters, just as it did during the Vietnam war. Some members of SDS (Students For a Democratic Society) wore lapel buttons that said "Not With My Body You Don't." Here are two disparate dispatches datelined July 7 which together indicate what could be described as the fallout perils of an all-volunteer military force in these particularly perilous times.
Elizabeth Dunbar in the Associated Press:
"A former Army private charged with raping an Iraqi woman and killing her and her family...was discharged because of an 'anti-social personality disorder,' according to military officials and court documents. President George W. Bush...said the Iraqis should understand that the allegations will be handled 'in a very transparent, upfront way.'
"But he also defended the U.S. military overall. 'What I don't want to happen is for people to then say, "Well, the U.S. military is full of these kind of people." That is not the case. Our military is fabulous.'"
John Kifner in the New York Times News Service:
"A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed 'large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists' to infiltrate the military....The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines. 'We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad,' [said an] investigator....
"The groups are being abetted, the report says, by pressure on recruiters, particularly for the Army, to meet quotas. The report quotes Scott Barfield, a Defense Department investigator, saying, 'Recruiters are knowingly allowing the neo-Nazis and white supremacists to join the armed forces, and commanders don't remove them from the military even after we positively identify them as extremists or gang members....' He also said there was an online network of neo-Nazis. 'They're communicating with each other about weapons, about recruiting, about keeping their identities decret, about organizing within the military. Several of these individuals have since been deployed to combat missions in Iraq.'"
Oh, well, at least they're not gay.