draft, take three?

I’ve spoken about the draft before. Sometimes tongue-in-cheek, and sometimes not.

Today, I got a message from a friend:

Mandatory Draft for Men and Women

(Ages 18-26) Starting June 15, 2005?

There is pending legislation in the House and
Senate (companion bills: S89 and HR 163) which
will time the program’s initiation so the draft can
begin as early as spring, 2005, just after the 2004
presidential election. The administration is quietly
trying to get these bills passed now, while the
public’s attention is on the elections, so our action
on this is needed immediately. Details and links

This plan, among other things, eliminates higher
education as a shelter and includes women in the
draft. Also, crossing into Canada has already
been made very difficult.

Please repost this here or on myspace or
anywhere people read. Send this on to all the
parents, teachers, coworkers and friends you
know, the young and the old.

This legislation is called HR 163 and can be found
in detail at this Library of Congress web site:

Just enter in HR 163 and click search and it will
bring up the bill for you to read. It is less than two
pages long.

If this bill passes, it will include ALL MEN and ALL
WOMEN from ages 18 - 26 in a draft for military
action. In addition, college will no longer be an
option for avoiding the draft and they will be
signing an agreement with Canada which will no
longer permit anyone attempting to dodge the
draft to stay within its borders. This bill also
includes the extension of military service for all
those that are currently active.

If you go to the Selective Service web site and
read their 2004 FYI Goals you will see that the
reasoning behind this is to increase the size of the
military in case of terrorism.

Please take the time to write your congress
people and let them know how you feel about this
legislation. Go to www.house.gov and

Please also write to your representatives and ask
them why they aren’t telling their constituents about
these bills, and write to newspapers and other
media outlets to ask them why they’re not covering
this important story.

to which I respond:

I feel I should point out here a few things.

First and foremost is that the draft legislation you reference is actually proposed by a Democrat Rep. Charlie Rangel., who is in fact actually an opponent of the latest Iraqi war.

Bush and his neocon cohorts wouldn’t think of proposing a draft, because honestly, it would be political suicide – for him, or anyone that supports it, including congress. Rumsfeld’s maligned vision of a technologically superior low-manpower military is the only thing that sold this war in the first place, and it’s the reason it’s such a cluster-fuck now.

In any event, Rangel is proposing this draft legislation not as a serious effort to recruit more soldiers to die senselessly, but more as a very valid statement about the state of our military. He says:

“I believe that if those calling for war knew that their children were likely to be required to serve–and 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,” he wrote. “A renewed draft will help bring a greater appreciation of the consequences of decisions to go to war.”

“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.”

You can read more at http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0106-04.htm..

He makes a compelling case, but the reality is that this legislation is a ploy with very weak backbone to point out the folly of the war – as if that were hard. The Democrats should be standing up for any one of the barrel-full of reasons this war was a horrible idea.

Now, to see people re-surfacing this legislation as evidence of a republican effort to re-institute a draft is disconcerting.

Primarily because it’s simply not true. Bush has said repeatedly he opposes a draft, and honestly, I believe him. I have no idea what they do have planned, as our military is currently stretched perilously thin.

That’s not to say I even oppose the idea of a draft entirely. If we’re going to fight senseless wars, I’d rather see a broad swath of Americans having to fight it, rather than the bottom segment of us who have no choice, in our so-called “volunteer” military.

But the reality is that it’ll never happen. This is all pointless political posturing and manipulation..