University of Michigan Professor Juan Cole on Social Media Fears of a Returning Military Draft

I don’t anticipate that this crisis with Iran is going to go to a conventional military engagement. This generation uh doesn’t remember, a time when the United States wasn’t at war, and I said you have to have been alive or a conscious in the Clinton administration to remember such a time. Uh and so I think there’s this constant war, uh war but also terrorism has produced these anxieties of where things could go. In the world of uh of the internet, uh social media and so forth you never know exactly who’s pushing certain memes. I’d be a little worried about uh about uh influencers from countries that, don’t want a strong US military, uh to kind of produce these anxieties in the U.S. I’m not alleging that that’s necessarily being done, but I think anytime you have a trend on, on the internet you have to be worried at least a little bit about who exactly is promoting that trend and how spontaneous it really is. I think the U.S. political elite doesn’t want to draft because the draft was what made it so difficult to pursue the Vietnam War. The, the generals and the politicians were committed to that war, even though they were losing very badly. The the public discontent was enormous. The United States lost nearly 60,000 soldiers in that war. Again the benefits of that were not clear. So the draft made it difficult to pursue these wars and the U.S. geopolitical elite uh doesn’t want that encumbrance. Uh and so I think there’s not an appetite to go back to that. I think they think it would make it difficult ever to prosecute a war if you had a draft. [music fades]

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