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Bug Government The Military

Today In Year-based Computer Errors: Draft Notices Sent To Men Born In the 1800s 205

Posted by timothy
from the pa-dmv-never-did-me-any-favors-either dept.
sandbagger (654585) writes with word of a Y2K-style bug showing up in Y2K14: "The glitch originated with the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles during an automated data transfer of nearly 400,000 records. The records of males born between 1993 and 1997 were mixed with those of men born a century earlier. The federal agency didn't know it because the state uses a two-digit code to indicate birth year." I wonder where else two-digit years are causing problems; I still see lots of paper forms that haven't made the leap yet to four digits.
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Today In Year-based Computer Errors: Draft Notices Sent To Men Born In the 1800s

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  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @01:21PM (#47425767)
    While the linked to article, a US TV station news site, does call it a "draft notice", I suppose I should explain to the non-US people here that this is not technically correct. There has been no draft in the US since the end of the Vietnam War. For roughly 40 years now, the US has had an all volunteer army. What Selective Service is required to do is to contact US citizen males on their 18th birthday and advise them that for the next 10 years they need to let Selective Service know their new address every time they move because in theory, in a national emergency Congress could pass a law reinstating the military draft and Selective Service is required to maintain accurate records of those who might theoretically be subject to such a draft. Whether such a draft would ever be done again is a great question, given how Congress currently seems incapable of passing anything non-controversial, let alone something as controversial as reinstating the draft. A crackpot Congressman or two has tried to get the draft reinstated and it's never had enough support to even get a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives. Whatever this is, technically speaking it's not a "draft notice".

    Not to digress, but for those who don't know, the draft was very controversial during the Vietnam War, with the rich and powerful were able to get their sons exceptions to the draft or get them plum assignments in the National Guard that wouldn't require them to actually go to Vietnam. Listen to Credence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son", which was written about the practice. There was so much animosity about the unfairness of the draft and the compulsion to fight in a war that nobody but a small number of politicians seemed to want that the US switched to a voluntary system, but one of the deals cut to move to this system was that Selective Service had to know where to get young men should the draft ever get reinstated. And yes, female US citizens are not subject to this at all.
  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @02:07PM (#47426135)

    a war that nobody but a small number of politicians seemed to want

    This is revisionist nonsense. Vietnam was the most popular war in US history. At the time of the Tonkin Gulf Resolution [wikipedia.org], 90% of American's supported deeper involvement. No other war has ever had so much support. For instance, only 70% of Americans thought the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a good idea. Of course, support for any war declines as it drags on, especially if we appear to be losing. But it is a lot easier to get into a war than out, so it is only the support at the beginning that matters.

    The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed the Senate with 98 votes. The two senators that opposed it were both voted out of office at the next election. It is silly to say that this war was forced on the American people by the politicians, when the truth is that it was fear of the voters that pushed the politicians into supporting the war.

  • by mwehle (2491950) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @04:01PM (#47427025) Homepage

    Phrases like "revisionist nonsense" and "it is silly to say" should likely be used sparingly unless you have a very deep grasp of your subject matter.

    Conflating the Tonkin Gulf Resolution with America's war in Vietnam would be a mistake. In bringing Tonkin into an argument you may wish to acquaint yourself with records detailing the Johnson Administration's orchestration of the resolution. See Michael Beschloss's work for instance, or the Pentagon Papers, either portions of the full set or the single volume if your time is short. With Tonkin Johnson was reacting from fear of voters, but the documentary record shows clearly that the Administration wished to expand the war despite public sentiment, not because of it.

    In arguing that the war in Vietnam was popular you will likely want to look at some actual polling data, http://www.gallup.com/poll/119... [gallup.com] for instance. Anecdotal evidence such as Nixon's 1968 platform may also prove useful to you.

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