An Iraq War veterans group says the call-up of thousands of Marines from the Individual Ready Reserve, announced by the Pentagon today, is "one of the last steps before resorting to a draft."
"This move should serve as a wake-up call to America," said Jon Soltz, an Army captain who served in Iraq and heads the group VoteVets.org, which raises funds for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans running for Congress. "Today’s announcement that thousands of Marines in the Individual Ready Reserve will be called back to go to Iraq is proof that our military is overextended, and there is no plan for victory in Iraq." While the Pentagon has repeatedly maintained the armed forces have met their recruiting and retention goals, Soltz says, "Today’s actions speak louder than words." The IRR are reservists, who have returned to civilian life, don’t drill on a regular basis and prior to the Iraq war were rarely called to active duty. The Army has been dipping into their IRR pool since shortly after the beginning of the war, but today the Marine Corps said they also planned to call thousands of these traditionally last resort troops back to active duty. "If this call-up directly fed into a plan for victory and bringing our troops home, we could take some solace. But there is no plan. We must demand a detailed, military victory strategy in Iraq, which will get our troops out of harm’s way and relieve the strain on our active duty troops," said Stolz. The Bush administration has stated that the reinstatement of a military draft is unlikely. Earlier this summer, Vice President Cheney told reporters he is supporter of an all volunteer military. "We keep the provisions for the draft in case circumstances should arise where it might be needed," he said, "but I don’t foresee the development of those kinds of conditions any time in the future."