Phil Carter makes an interesting point about America’s use of reserves that I didn’t know in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed:
The story starts with Vietnam. In that war, reservists largely stayed home, due in part to political calculations by the White House that it could not afford to mobilize thousands of reservists from every corner of America. After the Vietnam War ended, America’s generals restructured the military in such a way that would require the president to mobilize the reserves for any major conflict.
Army Gen. Creighton W. Abrams played a key role in crafting this “total force” concept, wherein key support units were placed in the reserves that active-duty combat units would need for any major war. The idea was that no president could again wage an unpopular war, because a future war would require reserve mobilization, and that would require popular support.