The Draft. It's the Democrats' "October Surprise", and the GOP is scared shitless. It polls through the roof -- suburban women will become single-issue voters on it. They don't want their children sent off to fight Bush's disastrous wars. 18-25 year olds are suddenly realizing their vote means something -- perhaps life and death. As Trapper John notes below, it's so potent an issue, that Ed Gillespie, RNC chair, has threatened Rock the Vote for using it.
Remember, if we have learned anything, it's that people can tolerate war as long as it's someone else doing the dying. The threat of a Draft paints the poor Iraq news in a different light to many voters.
I linked to Trapper John's post on Kos above; what's useful to quote here is Rock the Vote's well-argued reply:
I have some news for you. Just because President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and Secretary Rumsfeld, and for that matter Senator Kerry, say that there is not going to be a draft does not make it so. Just because Congress holds a transparently phony vote against the draft does not mean there isn't going to be one. Anyone who thinks that the youth of America are going to take a politician's word on this topic is living on another planet.
By your logic, there should be no debate about anything that you disagree with. There's a place for that kind of sentiment (and your threats), but its not here in our country.
There are questions that the politicians are running away from. How long can we keep 138,000 U.S. troops or more on the ground in Iraq? What if full-scale civil war erupts there, as the CIA has warned is a realistic possibility? Would the next President be faced with a choice of pulling out of Iraq rather than institute a draft? Would women be drafted? What exactly would the draft-age be?
According to the Pentagon's own internal assessment, there are "inadequate total numbers" of troops to meet U.S. security interests. The current issue of Time magazine reports that, "General John Keane, who retired last year as the Army's No. 2 officer, says the continued success of the all-volunteer military is not guaranteed" Keane has told Congress that adding more than 50,000 troops to the Army would require thinking about a return to the draft."
Indeed. As others have also noted, if we have a war of necessity, we WILL have a draft- there are no other alternatives unless people consider surrender an option or unless everybody suddenly really starts to go against the demographic evidence cited above. This is the mess Bush has given us, and no amount of bloviating can mitigate that fact.