Friday, December 22, 2006

Get ready, boys and girls

An old professor of the Mandarin's, in the context of analyzing some peculiar laws instituted during the Tang Dynasty in China (618-907), made this pithy observation: "Governments don't pass laws against things that nobody is doing."

In that vein, the Mandarin was intrigued by this little bit of bureaucratic doublespeak:

The Selective Service—the federal agency that would be integral to any draft effort by the Bush administration—will perform tests on its system equipment, The Associated Press is reporting.

Selective Service "is planning a comprehensive test of the military draft machinery, which hasn't been run since 1998," writes Kasie Hunt. "The agency is not gearing up for a draft," an agency official told Hunt, and "the test itself would not likely occur until 2009."

Bush's Secretary for Veterans Affairs, Jim Nicholson, meanwhile remarked that "society would benefit" should the draft return; he later issued a press release stating "he does not support reinstituting a draft."

And the Mandarin means that "boys and girls" in the title literally. Equal rights carry equal responsibilities, don't they? Will we see the Roberts-Alito-Scalia-Thomas "axis of evil" go after Rostker v. Goldberg next?

Anyway, the Mandarin (Selective Service Classification 4-A: "Registrant who has completed military service") wishes today's crop of cannon fodder between the ages of 18 and 26 the best of luck in dealing with their local Draft Boards when the time comes. Or doesn't come, depending on which side of his mouth Jim Nicholson is speaking out of at any given moment....

One of these days, the Mandarin may share a cautionary tale with his loyal reader(s) about his own experience with the Selective Service System, including such highlights as 1) his having received a draft notice while attending graduate school under the G.I. Bill as an ex-Army officer, and 2) a testy meeting with the head of the Tennessee Draft Board, whose name was Col. Sanders. (Would the Mandarin kid you about something like that?)

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