It's only semantics, but these are the kind of semantics that can kill you
From over at Eschaton, we have a really unpleasant rumour that:
According to an emailer, who signed it "An Afghanistan and Iraq Veteran For Truth," the Bush administration does have a cunning plan to avoid reinstituting the draft. Their plan is to extend allowed reservist mobilization to 5 years, up from the current 2. Obviously I can't confirm the information one way or the other, but there's reason to think the person is credible.
Now, those of you with long memories should appreciate the irony here. The first President Bush staked his re-election on his promise of "Read my lips. No new taxes." When he did in fact raise taxes, he tried to tap-dance around the apparent contradiction by claiming that, well, these weren't new taxes, per se, they were just increases in existing taxes. The electorate, not having the brains of trout, saw right through this and turfed Bush I out on his prissy ass.
And, apparently, not being a student of history (or of anything for that matter), Bush II is playing the same game. No, he won't force civilians into the military; he'll simply force the current mililtary reserves to serve longer terms.
As ever, boys and girls, playing these kinds of semantic games can be tricky, so don't try this at home. Specifically, don't try it with me or I'll just plain slap you.
ADDENDUM: And if you still think this is all just abstract semantics, I recommend this, particularly this disturbing introduction:
Two days ago I learned that an extended family member is being shipped off to Iraq. His upcoming mission will be “to protect the new Iraqi government.” This obligatory service would not have bothered me if he were serving in the US Army, Air Force, Navy or Marines. No, what is sticking in my craw is that this young man is a member of the Minnesota National Guard.
He enlisted in the US Army in the 1990s and was honorably discharged in 2000. Since then he has acquired a wife, two baby girls, a career and a small mortgage. His National Guard obligation was supposed to be up next month, but due to his unit’s activation, he will instead be on a troop transport with dozens of other Minnesotans heading for Baghdad International Airport in October. He has been told to prepare for up to two years of service. Like any good soldier he is bucking up and preparing for duty.
Like I said -- semantics can be a real bitch.