The Null Device
The US's most highly decorated soldier, David Hackworth, argues that, despite denials from the Pentagon, a return of the draft is inevitable:
Clearly, this war against worldwide, hardcore Islamic believers will be a massive military marathon, the longest and most far-flung in our country's history. By Christmas, more troops could be needed not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, but wherever the radical Islamic movement is growing stronger, from the Horn of Africa to Morocco, Kenya, Somalia, Yemen and across Europe -- remember Spain?! -- to Asia. Accordingly, we need to bring our ground-fighting and support units to about the strength they were before the Soviet Union imploded, especially since the proper ratio of counterinsurgent-to-insurgent in places like the Middle East should be around 15 to 1. You don't have to be a Ph.D. in military personnel to conclude we need more boots on the ground.
I led draftees for almost four years in Vietnam and for several years during the Korean War. If well-led, there are no finer soldiers. Ask the Nazis, the Japanese and the Reds in Korea and in Vietnam, where "no value" draftees cleaned their clocks in fight after fight. Israel, a country that has lived under the barrel of the Islamic terrorist gun for decades, has the most combat-experienced counterinsurgent force in the world -- and boy and girl draftees are its major resource.
To which, Counter Spin adds the suggestion that, when the US reintroduces the draft, a re-elected Coalition government will follow suit in Australia.
Morrissey, Radiohead and Jarvis Cocker are now facing the spectre of fatal loss of credibility, after revelations that a Tory official likes their music. Say it ain't so, David Cameron!
As every student knows, a liking for the Smiths, Radiohead and Pulp can be a badge of pride, confirmation of your status as a romantic intellectual loner. If you're a Tory MP, however, it rather suggests that you're either not listening to the lyrics properly - what do you make of all that stuff about class resentment - or view listening to music as a slightly disturbing form of self-flagellation.
Retro-styled major-label-indie act The Scissor Sisters (they're the ones who sound like early Elton John combined with 10CC) are in a similar predicament, with Tory co-chairman Dr. Liam Fox has declared himself a fan. Then again, it could be argued that there is something inherently conservative in the recent wave of revivalist bands (Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, The Scissor Sisters, The Killers, and indeed the entire '70s rock revival). However, it's probably safe to say that Dido's credibility will emerge unscathed from her recent naming as Nicholas Soames' favourite artist:
The gulf between what you assume that message is and how others perceive it is often vast, however. Soames may think that liking multi million-selling Dido suggests he is a man of the people, blessed with populist taste. But liking anything that innocuous could suggest you loathe pop music, preferring it to waft delicately in the background rather than risk it moving you in any way.