Draft Boards Being Formed, part 2

Back in November 2002, I linked to a story that said draft boards were being formed. The reality was probably a little more mundane. The Defense Department likes to make sure Selective Service boards are fully staffed at all times in the event a draft becomes necessary.

Now the blogosphere is roiling with speculation that a draft is imminent because of a recent Salon article about the administration's recent plan to staff the draft boards. Salon quotes some experts who feel the draft is a real option because we don't have enough troops to replace those currently in Iraq nor really control the country:

"The closest parallel to the Iraq situation is the British in Northern Ireland, where you also had some people supporting the occupying army and some opposing them, and where the opponents were willing to resort to terror tactics," says Charles Peña, director of defense studies at the libertarian Cato Institute. "There the British needed a ratio of 10 soldiers per 1,000 population to restore order, and at their height, it was 20 soldiers per 1,000 population. If you transfer that to Iraq, it would mean you'd need at least 240,000 troops and maybe as many as 480,000.
"The only reason you aren't hearing these kinds of numbers discussed by the White House and the Defense Department right now," Peña adds, "is that you couldn't come up with them without a return to the draft, and they don't want to talk about that."

I really don't think anything will come of this because the draft is political poison and everyone knows it. It'd be much easier to "declare victory" and get the hell out of Iraq after setting up a puppet government.

Nevertheless, this article has spawned some good commentary about the draft and Iraq. Nick Confessore at TAPPED explores our options and suggests a national service program for all college students. Melanie over at Daily Kos thinks that the draft is the only option, but will be withheld until after the election since it's politically radioactive. Steve Gilliard explains why he thinks the draft won't work and Atrios points out that all you have to do to get out of it is say you're gay.