Reporting on possible draft: Even “conspiracy theorists” have stories to tell

Published 15 years ago -  - 15y ago 17


Image courtesy of Tim under CC BY-SA 2.0.

About a year ago, upon the request of an anti-conscription activist and Libertarian Party honcho from Alaska, I wrote a small article called “Feeling a draft?” that described the possibility that the U.S. may reinstitute the military draft. The article was based on two premises: One, on a story I had read where the government would call a “special skills” draft of emergency personnel throughout the country in case of a serious terrorist attack and two, the need for more soldiers, sailors and airmen if the so-called “War on Terrorism” continued for any long period of time in due consideration of the military’s numerous commitments around the globe.

Ladies and gentlemen I, Sean Scallon, am now a conspiracy theorist.

Basing my aforementioned piece on a news story and some logical analysis, I spun a conspiracy so vast and sinister, that it reaches to the highest levels of government. And I’m not a lone. Hundreds of internet journalists have written similar stories in same time period with the same premise.

Once again, that wacky internet knows how to spin up a good ball of yarn.

In fact, these stories were no different in the way they were written than those recently found in two mainstream publications, (online no less) from the Cincinnati Post (“As troops spread thin, some fear return of draft” by Michael Collin and Jeff Patterson) and the Los Angeles Times (California draft boards ready for call-up” by Steve Chawkins), both downloaded from Antiwar.comIn other words: The military is overstretched, more bodies are needed, draft board are being readied, there are bill in Congress, a draft is a real possibility.

I guess were all conspiracy theorists now.

But the tone of the mainstream news media’s coverage of this issue barely hides their contempt for internet journalism as shown in this article by Josh White of the Washington Post:

       “Trying to counter recent Internet rumors that the U.S. military and the Selective Service System are girding for a potential draft to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Undersecretary of Defense David Chu said there is no reason to bring back the draft. He fielded questions on the issue at a House Armed Services Committee hearing that focused on the strains on military personnel as officials plan to rotate more troops into the conflicts in coming months.

So all of us working in cyberspace are simply just scaring people for our own amusement. Just trust the government and the mainstream media when it says there will be no draft….

….for now

Yes the government is telling truth that as of right now there is no need for a draft and chances of it happening at this moment are nil. Given that 85 percent of respondents in recent polls oppose the draft, what politician in their right mind, unless they come from a safe district (Charles Rangel) or are retiring (Ernest Hollings) would campaign on such a proposal in 2004?

But 2005 is another year entirely, and this year, I and many other cyber journalists, bloggers and the like, believe that the possibility, and I do stress the word possibility, of a draft could become very real.

So what’s so conspiratorial about a gut feeling?

Given the fact the Pentagon has issued stop-loss orders to individual units and has mobilized the Individual Ready Reserve for potential duty, some of whom may have to take their doctors and medications into combat zones, shows that the military is just one step away from a general mobilization. That they have done this despite the fact the Pentagon has boasted of upticks in recruiting and retention numbers, also shows that simply keeping the same force levels in these times may not be enough to handle wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention chasing Al Qaeda all the globe and deal with potential crisis’s and conflicts from Syria to Iran to North Korean to even invading Darfur Province in Sudan to save millions from the ethnic cleansing of the janjaweeds.

So given these facts, what’s wrong with a little speculation, analysis or predictions based on them? Is that rumor mongering, conspiracy theory or just plain old fashioned journalism that the mainstream doesn’t consider worthy unless they happen to be the one’s writing the stories? Has anyone ever accused the New York Times of “conspiracy theory” for writing stories on the draft subject that were already written on the internet a year ago?

If the draft is ever reinstated, don’t say you weren’t warned.

Published originally at : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.”

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