Nuadha's Tale

Ignorance can be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it. -Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, January 02, 2003

The Draft Re-visited
Before I go into the topic, I hope everyone had a good New Year's celebration.

A so-called liberal congressman from New York is proposing the return of the draft. Here is his proposal:

Bring Back the Draft
December 31, 2002

President Bush and his administration have declared a
war against terrorism that may soon involve sending
thousands of American troops into combat in Iraq. I
voted against the Congressional resolution giving the
president authority to carry out this war - an
engagement that would dwarf our military efforts to
find Osama bin Laden and bring him to justice.

But as a combat veteran of the Korean conflict, I
believe that if we are going to send our children to
war, the governing principle must be that of shared
sacrifice. Throughout much of our history, Americans
have been asked to shoulder the burden of war equally.

That's why I will ask Congress next week to consider
and support legislation I will introduce to resume the
military draft.

Carrying out the administration's policy toward Iraq
will require long-term sacrifices by the American
people, particularly those who have sons and daughters
in the military. Yet the Congress that voted
overwhelmingly to allow the use of force in Iraq
includes only one member who has a child in the
enlisted ranks of the military - just a few more have
children who are officers.

I believe that if those calling for war knew that
their children were likely to be required to serve -
and to be placed in harm's way - there would be more
caution and a greater willingness to work with the
international community in dealing with Iraq. A
renewed draft will help bring a greater appreciation
of the consequences of decisions to go to war.

Service in our nation's armed forces is no longer a
common experience. A disproportionate number of the
poor and members of minority groups make up the
enlisted ranks of the military, while the most
privileged Americans are underrepresented or absent.

We need to return to the tradition of the citizen
soldier - with alternative national service required
for those who cannot serve because of physical
limitations or reasons of conscience.

There is no doubt that going to war against Iraq will
severely strain military resources already burdened by
a growing number of obligations. There are daunting
challenges facing the 1.4 million men and women in
active military service and those in our National
Guard and Reserve. The Pentagon has said that up to
250,000 troops may be mobilized for the invasion of
Iraq. An additional 265,000 members of the National
Guard and Reserve, roughly as many as were called up
during the Persian Gulf War in 1991, may also be

Already, we have long-term troop commitments in Europe
and the Pacific, with an estimated 116,000 troops in
Europe, 90,000 in the Pacific (nearly 40,000 in Japan
and 38,000 in Korea) and additional troop commitments
to operations in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo and
elsewhere. There are also military trainers in
countries across the world, including the Philippines,
Colombia and Yemen.

We can expect the evolving global war on terrorism to
drain our military resources even more, stretching
them to the limit.

The administration has yet to address the question of
whether our military is of sufficient strength and
size to meet present and future commitments. Those who
would lead us into war have the obligation to support
an all-out mobilization of Americans for the war
effort, including mandatory national service that asks
something of us all.

Charles B. Rangel, a Democrat, is a representative
from New York.

God and Goddess help us all. It gets harder and harder to tell the difference between the parties. I like how he tries to make it sound like a populist sentiment. It's not like rich people can find ways out of the draft or anything. Just look at how dutifully our rich-boy president served during Vietnam.


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