With 2005 nearing its close, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that 2006 isn’t looking too hot for enlistment either.
[The] pool of early recruits signed up for boot camp next year
is unusually small. The Army hopes to have banked about 7,200 of these
recruits in its delayed entry pool for 2006 — less than a fourth of the
delayed entry enlistees it had signed up for 2004. Next year, said Army Chief
of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker, "may be the toughest recruiting environment
In this recruiting environment, could a draft be coming? The Chron thinks not:
Polls now indicate a majority of Americans are unwilling to encourage
their own children to enlist in the military. That represents a drop from one-
third just five years ago in a Gallup Poll. Resuscitation of a draft likely
would eviscerate the half-hearted support remaining for our involvement in
Iraq. An Associated Press-Ipsos poll last month found that only 1 in 4
Americans favors reinstating the draft, while 7 in 10 oppose it. More than
half of those polled said they were "strongly opposed."
Members of Congress have an ingrained aversion to political suicide, and
thus will keep refusing to drink the Kool-Aid of conscription.
So instead, the military will have to rely on tactics like "raising the upper age limit to sign up — to age
35 for active duty and 42 for the reserves and Guard" and "pursuing a
mentally ill teen, threatening a wavering prospect with arrest if he reneged,
and suggesting that a prospect doctor up a high-school diploma and taking him
to a head shop to buy a kit to help him pass a drug test."