The Army We Have

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Over the weekend, Charles Krohn had an important op-ed about the future of the United States military. One of the things to watch over the next few years is whether the Army decides that it can’t risk ripping itself apart over the occupation in Iraq. The deadly insurgency war there is having a noticeable effect on recruitment, which is in turn putting the all-volunteer Army in peril. When the breaking point is reached, there will only be two options: rapidly drawing down from Iraq, even if the military’s goals there have yet to be achieved, or calling for a draft. I’m not sure even the most ardent hawks in the Republican party would be willing to take the heat for the latter.

The other point Krohn raises is that Iraq’s not likely to be the only unpopular war we ever fight, nor the only war whose ferocity makes potential recruits cringe and demur. If, as he says, our “adversaries sense they can win by wearing us out,” it’s time to think about the consequences of this. Krohn believes the solution is for our leaders to be absolutely clear, in every conflict, about why we’re fighting, what it will involve, what our goals are, and why Americans should support it. Clearly the Bush administration has done a miserable job on that front with regards to Iraq, but it’s not clear that a little pep talk, a dose of honesty from our leaders, and some plum recruiting incentives can swoop in and cure what ails the military. If the United States is going to stick with a highly-educated, all-volunteer force, then perhaps it’s time to rethink what sorts of wars and conflicts we can and should realistically get ourselves into, before deciding that what we need is a draft to fill the ranks. As Phillip Carter likes to say, we may get to the point where military missions are dictated by force structure, rather than the other way around. Whether that’s a bad thing or a good thing depends on what you think our foreign policy should look like over the coming decades.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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