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According to People Against the Draft, Rep. Charles Rangel intends to reintroduce legislation calling for resumption of the draft during the current Congressional term.  People Against the Draft cite a memo circulated by Bill Galvin of the Center on Conscience and War. source: IndyMedia (nyc)

Rangel previously introduced HR 163 to call attention to the racial inequality in the current makeup of the military.  The bill was defeated, with even Rangel voting against it.

If it is true that Rangel plans to reintroduce the draft bill, he is making a mistake that will harm opponents to the occupation in the event that Bush does call for a draft.  Our opposition to the draft must be based on principle, and if we are to oppose the draft later we cannot be the ones to first call for it.  Rangel is making a huge political error.  His actions make it easier for the draft to be advanced, and harder to be opposed.  This is not the right way for Rangel to make his point.

Okay, you've read this far.  Time for a note about me. Why the hell is Liberation Learning writing a diary?  Isn't LibL dead?  Well, he was rolling over in his grave upon hearing this news.  And since Tom Kertes can't write diaries yet, it was a question of getting out the news or swallowing my pride.  Please, it's open season on me and my moody snits, et al.  But the draft and war are issues that just matter too much for stupid pride to get in the way.  So please, I am begging you - recommend this post.  Also, Tom Kertes will remain my sigline, since using my real name keeps me in line and little less jerky.

Back to the news:

Here is a quote from People Against the Draft: "Rangel continues to argue that conscription would force privileged Americans to share the burden of military service now disproportionately carried by the poor and minorities. He also asserts that future wars would be made less likely by reintroduction of the draft."

Part of the problem we face in defining and using the draft issue to advance our cause is that we're uncertain over what the principled position on the draft is.  Noam Chomsky and Charles Rangel have raised the complexity of draft opposition in their own ways.  Chomsky by repeating his opposition to an "all-voluntary" army on the grounds that a citizen's army will better reflect the will of the people over the will of the few. Rangel brings up the injustice of a "volunteer" army made up more Americans of color and more working class citizens than it would under a fair draft.  Both Chomsky and Rangel's concerns point to the fact that the US military is a mercenary force.  As such, it poses more of a risk to republican government than would a drafted-military, since the soldiers in the current force are economically dependent on following orders.  Soldiers who face poverty if ousted from the army are hard pressed to stand against army command.

The issue of the draft is complicated by the conflicting values of liberty - freedom from killing and getting killed for the state, of equality within society, and of preserving republican government and democracy.  The issue is further complicated by the fact of the fundamental right of moral refusal in war, regardless if that right is recognized by the state or by society at large.  The political question of whether or not the state ought to compel its citizens to engage in warfare is different than the philosophical question of each person's right to act morally.  Often opposition to participation in warfare is conflated with opposition to the draft.  But one can, in principle, be a pacifist who opposes all warfare but who does not (at least actively) oppose the draft.  Moral refusal of participation in war is separate from the question of how best to manage society's defense through a military - either mercenary or citizen's.

These principles and philosophical issues are the backdrop to the center stage of reality - of the less nuanced, more real and less hypothetical occupation of Iraq. The United States currently occupies Iraq.  The United States invaded Iraq, in violation of US and international law.  Over 100,000 Iraqis have died as a result of this invasion and occupation.  The occupation is immoral, and is a crime against the peace.  Those opposed to the war on moral grounds agree that the war must end. (We also agree that the while the war must end, the United States is now responsible for protecting the sovereignty of the Iraqi people, and is responsible for providing all aid and assistance required for restoring the domestic tranquility of Iraq.)  We are enraged by the complicity of the American majority in this war, by the right-wing propaganda campaign to advance the war, and by the deaths and suffering caused at the hands of the American military.

The reality of war makes today the wrong time for advancing the draft, regardless of any merits that the draft may have during peacetime. A draft established before war is the draft that provides the kind of citizen army that may challenge the advancement of war.  But a draft established during war only provides fodder for the war effort.  

Washington DC Office
2354 Rayburn House
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 225-4365

New York Office
163 W. 125th Street #737
New York, NY 10027
(212) 663-3900

Originally posted to Liberation Learning on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 12:19 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar (3.87)
    Please consider recommeding this diary.  Thank you.

    (And sorry to anyone I've pissed off.  Hell, there's a war on.)

    LibL TK supports freedom from the draft.

    by Tom Kertes on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 12:11:29 PM PST

    •  Here's some mojo (none)
      We are all prodigal at times in our lives.
    •  Today's news on the draft (4.00)

      Today's News on the Draft Issue from

      Bad news for Bush today. Usually I have to look for stories related to the draft issue in the corporate media, but today there were tons of reports on moral refusers, on the possibility of the draft and on the immoral actions of the Bush adminstration.


      Rangel to Introduce Draft Bill Again Rep. Charles Rangel intends to reintroduce legislation calling for resumption of the draft during the current Congressional term, according to a memo circulated by Bill Galvin of the Center on Conscience and War. Rangel, it will be recalled, was the author of the notorious HR 163, the "universal" conscription bill that became a political football during the 2004 Presidential campaign. When charges that Bush would reinstate the draft emerged as a red-hot election issue last October, HR 163 became a liability for the Kerry campaign -- whereupon Rangel's bill was rushed to the floor and summarily voted down by a huge majority. For tactical reasons even the bill's sponsors, including Rangel, voted against it.

      Be sure to visit the following highlights:

      News on the Youth Draft & Skilled Worker Draft

      Aberdeen: Local board members needed The Selective Service System is looking for men and women to serve as members of local boards that are currently in a standby mode. A prospective member must be a United States citizen, at least 18 years old, registered with the Selective Service (if male), not employed in law enforcement, not an active or retired Armed Forces member and not convicted in any criminal offense. Once identified as qualified, candidates recommended by the governor are appointed by the Director of Selective Service, acting on behalf of the president. As board vacancies occur, they must be filled with candidates from their identified jurisdictions. Each new board member receives initial training after appointment, and continuation training each year thereafter to improve their knowledge of the laws and precedents which encompass the Military Selective Service Act and its application to civilians. Board members may serve up to 20 years. "Local board members are uncompensated volunteers who play an important community role closely connected with our nation's defense," says a news release. If a military draft becomes necessary, approximately 2,000 local and appeal boards throughout the nation would decide which young men in each community receive deferments, postponements or exemptions from military service, based on federal guidelines and community standards. Anyone interested should contact Sonny Magnuson at (605) 484-2554 or Wayne Asscherick at (605) 484-9355 or visit and click on "Board Member Application."

      Someone explain where sanity went So that's why this morning's news item about seeking draft board members set us off. It appears the Bush people are gearing up for more of the same insanity. Are we to invade another innocent country to raise Bush's ratings in the polls? Is that reason enough? Or are oil- and war-profiteering the real motivation for this gross stupidity? After all, except for such profiteering, what possible 'good' can come from yet another war against another hapless country?

      Bush says elections will bring democracy to Iraq, but that is as unrealistic as all his other now-disproved rosy scenarios. Scowcroft was joined by Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security advisor, who spelled out the minimal metrics for winning the Iraq war -- 500,000 troops, $500 billion, a military draft and a wartime tax -- and added that it would take at least 10 years. Unwillingness to pay this essential price while continuing on the current path would be a sign of "decadence."

      News on Already Enlisted & Other Moral Refusers

      Deserters flee to Canada to avoid Iraq service An estimated 5,500 men and women have deserted from the U.S. Army since the invasion of Iraq, reflecting growing problems with troop morale in the United States. Many people are fleeing to Canada, according to the Sunday Telegraph, a trend that rekindles memories of the draft dodgers who flooded north to avoid service in Vietnam. Jeremy Hinzman, a 26-year-old from South Dakota who deserted from the 82nd Airborne, is among those who have applied for refugee status in Canada. "This is a criminal war and any act of violence in an unjustified conflict is an atrocity," Hinzman said. "I signed a contract for four years, and I was totally willing to fulfill it. Just not in combat arms jobs."

      Iraq War Resister: "You Just Don't Know How Bad It Is [in Iraq]"
      Here at home more soldiers are refusing to go back to Iraq. In Savannah Georgia 40-year-old Sgt. Kevin Benderman has become one of the country's latest war resisters. When asked about the situation in Iraq, the Army mechanic told the Associated Press "you just don't know how bad it is."

      The Stickiness of the 'Band of Brothers' CBS News reported, in December 2004, that 5,500 soldiers have deserted since the US invaded Iraq. One of those soldiers, Pfc. Dan Felushko was quoted as saying: “I didn’t want, you know, ‘died deluded in Iraq’ over my gravestone.” Some of these soldiers -- like Jeremy Hinzmen -- applied for Conscientious Objector status but were denied. Hinzmen fled to Canada with his family. In October of 2004, 16 members of the 343rd Quartermaster Company defied orders to go out on what they described as a “suicide mission” for lack of armor. None of them was court marshaled and lack of armor became a bit of a thorn for Donald Rumsfeld, assisted in part by Tennessee Guard member Thomas Wilson. His direct question about armor was heard around the world. Peace activists have embraced these examples and many live in hope that others will follow in dissent.

      Brothers and Sisters in the Military: "Refuse to Fight! Refuse to Kill!"

      Reluctant soldier sent back to Iraq An Arkansas Army reserve soldier who unsuccessfully sued the US Army to prevent his return to Iraq has been redeployed to the country, an Arkansas National Guard spokeswoman said.

      News on the Poverty Draft & Backdoor Draft

      Survey Offers First Glimpse of 'War on Terror'; Combat Veterans Seeking Homeless Assistance Combat veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and the Global War on Terror who need help -- from mental health programs to housing, employment training and job placement assistance -- are beginning to trickle into the nation's community-based homeless veteran service provider organizations. Already stressed by an increasing need for assistance by post-Vietnam era veterans and strained budgets, homeless service providers are deeply concerned about the inevitable rising tide of combat veterans who will soon be requesting their support.

      Army may keep extra 30,000 in Iraq The Army is likely to make a temporary 30,000 increase in troop numbers permanent as it struggles to ease the burden on forces strained by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a senior Army general said Thursday.

      Oppose the draft? It's already here While most pollsters would agree that there is almost no discernable support for reinstating the military draft, why should the public support the military's policy of forcing exhausted those who already have fulfilled their contractual obligation to serve into an open-ended term of indentured — potentially fatal — military servitude?

      News on the Illegal Occupation of Iraq

      Jury Told Abu Ghraib Abuse Was for Laughs "It was a persistent, consistent set of orders," said Womack. "To soften up the detainees, to do things so we can interrogate them successfully in support of our mission. … We had men and women being killed."

      Soldier Serves as Scapegoat in Iraq Prison Scandal While Higher-Ups Duck Responsibility

      Group Calls for a Kenneth Starr for Abu Ghraib The latest annual report by Human Rights Watch describes the torture and sexual humiliation as Abu Ghraib one of the most insidious threats to human rights in 2004. In an interview with SPIEGEL INTERNATIONAL, the group's associate director explains why the US should has a greater responsibility and how the world is failing the people of Sudan.

      Human Rights Watch: Abu Ghraib, Darfur: Call for Prosecutions

      Human Rights Watch: Three Years of Lawlessness Detainees Still Held Indefinitely Without Basic Rights

      The needless war After two years of intensive investigation, the White House's hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq has officially come to naught with the shutdown of the Iraq Survey Group, which had been searching the country.

      UK: Hold the elections, then get out The biggest surprise of the White House announcement calling off the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is that there was anyone still out there looking for them. The rest of the planet has known for over a year that there are no WMD to be found in Iraq, and that hunting for them is just as eccentric - and even less interesting - as poring over arcane codes in the hope of unearthing the holy grail.

      WMD Hunt Ends; Bush's Spin Goes On And nothing has changed in terms of the White House's response to the absence of WMDs. Bush refuses to address the consequences of having misled the nation and the world. Before the war, he stated that there was "no doubt" that Iraq was loaded to the gills with WMDs.

      Iraq War May Incite Terror, CIA Study Says

      Call to Action

      Reasonable fear of the draft helps build opposition to the occupation. Spread the word that the draft is a real possibility. All Americans have the right to exercise freedom from fighting for an immoral and illegal occupation. Help spread the word:

      <img src="">

      <img src="">

      <img src="">

      <img src="">

      <img src="">

      <img src="">


  •  Use this thread to tell me what an asshole I am (4.00)
    but before you do it, please consider recommending this diary.

    And remember, Tom is lot calmer than LibL.  (At least for today...)

    LibL TK supports freedom from the draft.

    by Tom Kertes on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 12:13:07 PM PST

  •  Thanks for raising the issue again. (none)
    I'm not so sure of where I stand on how to best oppose a military draft. But I'm dead sure I oppose it.
  • its starting (none)
    knew the draft would be rearing its ugly head sometime, but didn't think it would be this soon.  Don't have time to read your whole diary right now, but thank you for writing this (who cares what name you use).  Don't sweat the last diary you wrote under this name.  I don't know anyone who hasn't overreacted at some time in their life.  I,for one, am just grateful that you are paying attention to this.
  •  Didn't he already propose this (none)
    last session?  Got voted down before the election IIRC.

    We fight on. We fight for ourselves and the people who do not have a voice.

    by mlk on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 12:24:16 PM PST

  •  please, please (none)
    Mr. Rangel, don't do this!
    When he proposed this previously, the Repubs forced it to a vote and made him (and all Democrats, by association) look like idiots, especially when Rangel was forced to vote against it.
    It was a total and complete backfire. Doing it again would be masochistic, to say the least.
    •  There are better ways to make this point. (4.00)
      When the draft is called, the Republicans will be all over it - it was the Dems who called for it first.


    •  he's smarter than that...... (none)
      the bill he proposed was a universal, no champagne- units-for-politicians'-kids, draft.  of course, everyone voted against it.  dems, because the draft is wrong....thugs because rich white boys and girls might be drafted.

      he has put the thugs ON THE RECORD as opposing a "fair" draft.  how can they come out in march or april for any other kind of draft, without their hypocrisy oozing down the capitol steps like so much santorum?  dems will vote against it, but the repugnicans will do as they are told, and if chimpy wants a draft, they'll give him one (unless they are smarter than i give them credit for).

      having said that, i'm not sure what re-introducing the bill would accomplish.....

      If you're not pissed off, you're not paying attention!

      by roxtar on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 06:57:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  a "fair" draft is still immoral (none)
        it is still a kind of enslavement. Period.  The only argument for it would be a case of this country actually being invaded by another.  Politically that would be justifiable, but even then I don't know I can justify it philosophically with the concept of personal liberty.
  •  Rangel wants it to be debated (none)
    The previous time it was brought up and a vote scheduled without debate, which is why he voted against it.

    What he really wants is for all the folks in Congress to be on the record about where they stand, specially in terms of the inequity as he sees it that currently exists.

    There is no way a draft bill could pass right now.

    At the same time, although I understand why he is bringing it up, I am not sure now is the best time.

    Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

    by JAPA21 on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 12:54:27 PM PST

    •  I think he is also making the Dems (none)
      pay a price for not opposing the war more strongly.  But I think he risks actually making a draft more likely - which from the standpoint of opposing the war is a bad thing.  But from the standpoint of eqitity, perhaps he is right.  I just think his strategy will most likely backfire, and that's why I oppose it.  But if he does nothing else, it is good to keep the draft issue in the news.
      •  I agree (none)
        Not sure if this is exactly 6 of one and 1/2 dozen of another. But it also brings to debate the handling of the war and its mismanagement.  If we hadn't gone at all or if had gone and done it properly we wouldn't be in this predicament.

        Of course my preference from the beginning was not to go, and I'm not sure handling it differently would have made any difference, but there is a chance it would have.

        Bush, so incompetent, he can't even do the wrong things right.

        by JAPA21 on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 01:06:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Actually, this kinda makes me nervous... (none)
    Last time around, it was theater.  This time, though, they just might take him up on it.  

    The GOP knows we're going to have to reinstate the draft sooner or later.  They know it's going to send people into the streets as in the Vietnam era.  They know they are going to get burned.

    UNLESS they can point fingers and say "But, look, a Democrat pushed this bill.  The Democrats insisted on it!  This is all the Democrats' fault!"

    And people will nod and say "Oh yeah... it's those damn Democrats."

    Plus, no one is facing "re-election" for another year and a half or so.  Plenty of time for people to forget, and for the GOP to figure out a way to make people think it's the fault of the Democrats that the Republicans looted Social Security.

    "I can't see the point, but I see the attraction." -- Graham Parker

    by Roddy McCorley on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 01:08:26 PM PST

    •  I think you are right (none)
      I understand the point Rangel is trying to make, but it could open the door for some really ugly Republiclan opportunism (as if there is any other kind).  

      A couple of weeks ago, just before the end of the year, Lt. Gen. James R. "Ron" Helmly, the Army Reserve's top commander, told the Dallas Morning News  that the Army National Guard was 30% below its recruitment goals for the year, and if things didn't turn around soon "a military draft could be around the corner."

      The signs that the military are starting to buck this war are everywhere, largely due to the fact that their numbers are stretched beyond limit and they need a new infusion of blood (literally) in order to continue to line Halliburton and Bechtel's pockets with cash.

      This could be just the opening they are looking for.  It allows them to cast the draft in an egalitarian, populist (uhg!) light, and the Democrats will look like a bunch of disorganized fools either way.

    •  Yes, that worries me (none)
      I don't want the draft.
      I understand wanting to have a discussion on it, but actually introducing a bill that could be passed...I think that would be so much of a gift to Bush and his crowd.  And I'm not in a gift-giving frame of mind.  
  •  Missing the point... (none)
    this legislation will never get considered.  THey would dust off the old version to keep the wealthy base voting for them.  

    The fact that it is based on making everyone's kid eligible for service, and equal in the eyes of government WILL NEVER HAPPEN!

    •  the point is that draft may happen, and (none)
      then we'll be blamed for bringing it on. Sure that Rangel called for it doesn't matter to them, but if they do want the draft they will say that it was Rangel who prompted them to call for it.
      •  Yes the draft... (none)
        may happen, but this particular legislation will never see the light of day.  It serves the purpose that Cedwyn touched on, and that is to debate.

        So if this legislation is doomed for failure, it cannot be attributed to democrats.

        Also, democrats didn't create this war, and eventually the sheep will jump on board with the knowlegde that it was a republican decision.  Recent polls show the support for this engagement plummeting, and rethugs can say whatever they want, but they have been in ultimate control of government the entire time.  

      •  I don't think so (none)
        For any measure to pass the congress, it would require strong Rethug support. They would have to go on record as wanting a draft.

        Besides, I believe that they are satisfied to have the poor folks fight this without inconveniencing any of their wealthy donor base.

        Still, I think Rangel had a great idea at the right time before. Now is not the time for this ploy to be replayed.

        "She was very young,he thought,...she did not understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing." -1984

        by aggressiveprogressive on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 01:40:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  it might not be that explosive (none)
      the infamous "they" * are * calling for a pullout of u.s. troops in 2005.  if - and it's a big if - that holds true, the need for a draft should be averted.

      i also applaud the effort to force a debate, replete with recorded statements, in congress.  but it is a risky move - maybe they have a ninja plan!

  •  I called Rangel's Washington office (4.00)
    I talked at length with a staffer.  I think I understand why Rangel is doing this---he believes that universal service, or even the threat of it,  will make frivolous, immoral wars much less likely.  I think that as a Korean war vet he was  scandalized by how many Republicans and Democrats voted for the Iraq war as if it was an authorization to go to the beach.

    The staffer also said that since the Iraq debacle we might actually need a draft.

    I pointed out that in Viet Nam (my era), the rich and connected found a way out.  Even the not-so-rich, like me, got college deferments that kept us safe until I we were out of the 19-year-old demographic.  I also said that since Charlie Rangel is my favorite Congressman---no lie---I didn't like to see him so far out on a limb.

    •  My response to this: (none)
      Some on the left call for the draft now because of the belief that if there were a draft more Americans would oppose the war.  Stop and think about the misplaced logic of this tactic.  First, it is unprincipled, and is morally empty. Additionally, this stance is dangerous.  That the left supports a draft (as a way to stop the war) will not be the reason that a draft will be called. In this sense, the calls for the draft are a pointless exercise.  But if there is a draft, Bush supporters will exploit earlier calls from the anti-war community for the draft.  We will be cited as one of the reasons for the draft.  We will be given part of the burden for what will prove unpopular - especially to those most likely to join our position in opposition to the occupation.  No, we should not be advancing the draft now.  Each time we advance the draft during this time of war, we have missed an opportunity to make a principled argument against the immorality of the occupation, against the injustice of the poverty draft and for an end to the war. We have weakened our positions should a draft be called.
    •  Also, Rangel is making a good point. (none)
      But the point he is making may result in a draft and may make it harder to stop the war.  If a draft is called, it will be to make the war effort stronger - otherwise it will not be called.  Perhaps the drafted won't be sent into combat, so that more of our mercenaries can be used in combat.  That would appease the Pentagon that doesn't want drafted soldiers, and would also appease Americans not willing to die or kill in war - while making the war effort stronger.
      •  I agree (none)
        I HATED the draft (and especially our local draft board) in my youth.  Certainly the draft didn't keep us out of Viet Nam, but it undoubtedly got us out sooner.  I would hope that there is a better way to point out the hypocrisy of the pro-war crowd without the draft, but the draft sure does scare you----it did me.

        I believe that the draft may well be a millstone around our Democratic necks and it is better to directly oppose the war than reinstitute the draft.

        That said, the volunteer army is dead.  So is the National Guard.  Bush killed them both.  Even Switzerland has an army---what are we going to do?

  •  Im kind of glad he brought it up (none)
    the first time b/c it gave us that kick ass speech from Rep. Tim Ryan. But now, no, please no. Contact Rangel!! Email, phone, whatever.

    The last thing this country needs is two Republican parties.-Ted Kennedy

    by jj32 on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 01:39:24 PM PST

  •  The only viable solution (none)
    is on my bumper:
       Draft Young Republicans

    "She was very young,he thought,...she did not understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing." -1984

    by aggressiveprogressive on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 01:42:57 PM PST

  •  Rangel is really make himself look stupid (4.00)
    And, by association, the whole Democratic party.  This is a really, really bad idea for a thousand reasons.
  •  devil's advocate question (none)
    since Bush categorically denied he would re-instate the draft as a campaign pledge `read my lips, no new draft', is this not a Machiavellian move on Rangel's part? if the Republicans go with it and pass the bill they are making Bush a liar again and if they don't when Bush has to do it eventually (if he continues in this fashion anyway) how could they pass it then? plus would it not be a golden opportunity for some very healthy debate about where this war and future wars are going?
    •  Bush won't call draft until there is another (none)
      terrorist attack on America. That's why we need to be positioned now.
    •  Bush has lied for four years (none)
      Honestly, who's gonna notice that he lied about a draft? Who's going to call him on it?

      I have a winger friend who keeps trying to tell me all my talk of a reinstated draft is "alarmist." I'll have to point out Bush's duplicity to him as a signal that a draft is coming.

      Not that he will notice or care, either.


      I've figured out how to know what the Republicans are up to. Just listen to what they accuse the Democrats of doing. -- Me

      by Our Man In Redmond on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 03:25:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good reasons for a draft (none)
    Basically, I'm against it because I have three boys who are precariously close.  Nevertheless, noone is mentioning some important arguments.

    1.  We need more troops to achieve overwhelming force.  Without overwhelming force, there will be more death on both sides.  Unless you think we are going to just slip out of Iraq, we are going to have to achieve control at some point.  If we had the troops we could track down the bomb-making supplies, arrest the bad guys, police the streets, protect the Iraqi police recruits, and build water mains.  We have to do those things before we leave.

    2.  By supporting a draft, we are supporting the troops.  They will be able to rotate home more often.  Supporting people who are out dying for your country is always a good thing.  We must do that while we try to change the direction of the government.  There is no reason to force the soldiers to carry a larger burden than they must.

    3.  Iraq is our problem.  Everyone's.  Even the people who didn't vote for Bush.  Let's start figuring out how we are going to solve this problem.
    •  It's interesting that you didn't (4.00)
      mention the only argument I find at all persuasive: if we're going to have an army at all, it should be an army made up of everyone, not just the poor. A volunteer army is mainly a means of paying the poor to fight and die for everyone else. (Like the old Russian joke: if the rich could pay the poor to die for them, the poor could make a wonderful living.)

      I oppose instituting the draft right now, because doing so is simply an attempt to put out a fire by adding more (human) kindling. And there would be lots of problems in enforcing it for powerful people who wanted to keep their kids out. But it seems only fair that the whole citizenry be involved in defending our country, should the country ever in fact need defending.

    •  vietnam and drafts (4.00)
             I think theres one more reason for wanting a draft which is semi complelling. It hinges on the belief that people would not be able to stomach the war any longer if they actually felt affected by it. One of the key demographics would be so called "security moms" who want the US to be safe, but aren't ready to send their boys off to die for this war. If the democratic party adopted as its goal the withdrawal of troops ASAP, then that would be where these voters could turn.
            Also, this would serve to galvanize public opinion. During the war in vietnam, people weren't calling for an end to the draft - they wanted an end to the war. The same thing could happen here as people would stop focusing on technicalities and simply call for a withdrawal. It seems pretty clear that those who support a draft, do not want to see anyone actually drafted or sent to war. Instead they bring publicity to the futility of the war and the state of our armed forces. I guess those are my two cents.
      •  talking about the draft reframes the war (none)
        and we can talk about the draft by opposing it
        •  Any rational discussion works to our advantage (none)
          Because Iraq is FUBAR, any discussion we have will make the republicans look silly, because the strategy was ill conceived from the beginning.  However, there is every chance that this problem will still be a problem in 4 years.  The question is, what are democrats going to do about it.  Let's propose a plan.

          Here's a plan:

          1.  move in lots of troops to stabalize the country,
          2.  help an Iraqi political system take hold,
          3.  convince our allies that sending troops is not the same thing as a death sentence,
          4.  let the UN take over, and
          5.  slowly draw down our troops.

          If we simply withdraw our troops, we could destabalize the entire region. That would be bad not only because lots of good people in that region would die in a needless war, but also because disrupting the oil supply could destabilize countries far from the field of battle.

          Let's focus on alternative strategies, not just tactical political issues.  If we are not careful, we may end up electing a democratic president who will need to implement the draft to save the world.

      •  I gave you a 4 (none)
        because you really get what Charlie is proposing. The volunteer Army has failed. It has become a force of Junkers with an extremely conservative and openly political officer Corps leading a predominately poor and working class Army. A citizen soldiery has a broader view point. One reason for the crisis in Iraq is that the officers who had to redesign the Army after it was broken in Viet Nam understood that there would be a temptation to adventure. They positioned the pointy end in the regular service but the long term support is in the reserves. That means, if you want to go to war like the Bushies, you've got to go to the people. It was working until the crazy people took over the government. There is going to be a draft. The difference will be, if Rangel''s bill fails, the draft will only be for poor kids.

        Pithecanthropus "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 04:36:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  IDIOT (none)
    Not you, Tom. :)

    I think Rangel is an idiot.

    But then, I react with pure emotion when the draft rears its ugly head.

    I will NOT let my only child go off to fight in Bush's illegal and immoral war.

    •  I can think of one good thing to come of (none)
      Rangel's move:

      To ensure that if there is a draft that it be a fair draft.  Perhaps that is his real intent.

      If so, we can use it to carry our message and he can go on with his objectives.

      Ain't politics grand?

      •  Not perhaps - (none)
        that is the core of his intent. Poor and working-class minority kids fight this country's wars because enlistment for them is a career opportunity, something they have in very limited supply. Even a draft as unfair as the Vietnam-era one would be fairer than that, though I believe Rangel intends for any draft he proposes to be pretty damn near universal.

        Moreover, a truly universal draft, with the Rethugs' kids getting taken, would turn this country against further military adventurism, and fast. My husband, not a working-class or minority kid, was a Vietnam-era draftee, and everyone back then knew a few people who'd been caught in the draft. The personal connections turned more people against the war than all the high-minded political analysis in the world.

        I realize all this is not new thinking, but I felt it deserved a re-statement.

        As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? - William Marcy Tweed

        by sidnora on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 03:57:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Lovely... (none)
        Would it include Jenna and not-Jenna?
  •  Opinion changed (none)
    I used to be of the opinion that it would be be good to have a draft or compulsory service

    • to be more fair and just (pace Rangel)
    • to discourage military adventurism (like Iraq)
    • to keep a citizen army instead of the developing a separate warrior/mercenary class

    I've changed my mind. One reason is that with Bush in office we have an unelected anti-constitutionalist who makes war for sport. If we give him a bigger army, he'll use it to make more  mischeif in the world.

    But the main reason is that my younger daughter is 17, and it will be a cold day in hell before I'll see her sent off as grist for Bush's meat grinder.

    My own draft number was 300, during a year, 1971, when they only called up the first 35 numbers or so.

    yr frn,

    Get your free download of prizewinning novels Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Compl

    by jsundman on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 03:47:24 PM PST

  •  I support Rangel's strategy (none)
    I understand most of folks' point to be 'sure there's an economic draft which doesn't impact my family, but i'll fight anything that impacts my son/daughter/myself, and also that would be bad for countries that we might invade since a draft would produce more soldiers.

    If that's the argument than it goes even further to encourage me to support rangel's strategy, and perhaps a universal draft as well. That's why Derrick Bell says that white social justice fighters too often are willing to sacrifice black lives in order to make their peace.

    This is similiar to abortion--we're fighting for rights that aren't universal.  these 'rights' are based on class and wealth. abortion already isn't legal for those who can't afford it.  there are similiar class trends with the draft. there's already an economic draft.  creating a public policy that creates a constituency like the ones who read blogs (gulp!) would make the (umm, your) opposition much realer, and hopefully more effective.  

    I think a universal draft would engage americans (and by that i really mean white blue state americans) much more in (and hopefully against) the wars we've been having (and keep in mind Iraq and Afghanistan aren't the only ones). It's obvious that we activists don't really impact where our military goes, otherwise it would have inviaded south africa decades ago and would now be in darfur.

    So, I'm interested to here why the current economic draft is something to maintain, and that argument should not only the international rtamifications of such a draft, but spotlight how your position promotes racial justice in this country.

    i'm ready to get flamed.  but try to answer my questions.  

  •  Urgh (none)
    I understand the sentiments of Rangel completely, but fucking hell is this a stupid political move.

    Can we PLEASE stop shooting ourselves in the foot, just for a couple of year ? Please ?!

    I am a Reform Democrat

    by Pounder on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 04:28:06 PM PST

  •  Then make it about pheripheral draft (none)
    issues, or potential draft related parameters SHOULD a draft ever be re-introduced.  Rengel and most folks here can both have their cake and eat it as well by just supporting the idea that if there is ever a draft again, everyone will have to serve in some kind of service, either military or public service.  Everyone!  If a draft is re-introduced, public service alternatives will be just as good an alternative to meet the draft obligation.  

    By doing these two items, Rengel could make his point without actually calling for a draft.  Another benefit--*Think of the political meaning to an administration's policies if that administration could not get enough military soldiers because of the public service alternative.  It would be as good a vote against their policies as a losing presidential election, IMO!

    Political censorship is the root of all evil! It is the antithesis to a functional democracy!!

    by truthbetold on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 04:35:54 PM PST

  •  An Administrative Decision (none)
    As I understand it, right now cranking up the draft is an administrative decision of the president and the Selective Service System.  Just start it up using the current rules.  It could just crank up without anyone noticing at first.  A few letters sent out, a few physicals, and off to basic training--especially if the draftees are from "red" states and wouldn't get terribly upset.  Once it gets going, it will be difficult to stop, just like the current backdoor draft of Reservists.

    Rangel is putting this issue on the table and bringing it to the legislature.  As long as it is a high profile bill going slowly forward in the Congress, the administration cannot hide the administrative startup of a draft under the current rules.  And it puts Republicans into having to send their own children and grandchildren and not just the macho high school guys from West Virginia, the South, and parts of the Midwest.

    We must be firm.  Jenna, Barbara, George P, Mary Cheney, Ralph Reed, and ... should be subject to the draft if there is to be a draft.  Elvis Presley went; Muhammad Ali went to prison rather than go; they were called just like other people.  Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Perle, O'Reilly, Limbaugh... did not.

    We must help Charles Rangel make this point.  Everybody, and we mean everybody, or no draft.  That is the position.

    The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

    by TarheelDem on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 04:41:33 PM PST

  •  Big mistake... (none)
    If there must be a draft, it must be a Republican draft.  Rangel's grandstanding does confuses the issue and does us no favors.  There is no possible worse frame than "The bipartisan Draft Act."  (Of course, I don't want a draft either way, but if there must be one, let the blood be on their hands, not ours)

    (Insert Democrat Here) for President in 2008!

    by teenagedallasdeaniac on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 04:56:10 PM PST

  •  When arguing about the possibility (none)
    of a draft before the election, my repug sister would always say that it was the dems that introduced a bill calling for the draft.  Of course she would never listen to me try to explain what he was saying.  Why can't Rangel bring up this stuff after they bring it up?  Why give them this ammunition?
  •  Draft Republicans (none)
    One of my favorite bumper stickers....

    "Orthodoxy, of whatever color, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style." --George Orwell

    by markymarx on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 06:43:29 PM PST

  •  When I got back from Nam... (4.00)
    ... I knew the war was fucked. I never registered with Selective Service, I had enlisted at 17 in the Marines.

    When I went into the streets of Boston to protest the war, I realized the reason the college kids were in the streets was the draft. Not that it was a pointless incursion into a domestic problem, but that they might have to go.

    Reinstating the draft now will energize that base, kids who are meat, and their Moms and Dads.

    It will most likely put more pressure on the rethugs than they can bear.

    It's a brutal tactic but it will work.  

  •  I almost forgot. (none)
    Everybody has to go. No college deferment. Women.


  •  Hell yeah. Let's have a draft. (none)
    I don't think it will EVER happen under this administration, because they rely on the public's blissful ignorance, but I want it anyway...

    I had a little talk with my fiancee's Republican mother today. She overheard me mentioning that after 4 years, Bush finally admitted his first mistake when he said "bring em on". Her mom butted in and said it wasn't a mistake at all - he was just talking like anyone else would. I asked her how she would have felt if her son were in Iraq at the time. She responded that she wouldn't let her son go to Iraq. I told her that anyone that supports this war should be in Iraq (her son doesn't, but I was trying to tell her as nicely as I could that I thought she should go).

    My point is - Bush's supporters are a bunch of pussies (sorry, I can't think of a better word) who act tough from their couches at home, but would die at the thought of their kids (or themselves) being drafted. I want a draft. I really do. I think if it happened, Bush's plan would instantly collapse. It would immediately force EVERYONE to think twice and thrice about whether they really believe in these wars enough to fight them themselves. No, this isn't sado-masichism - it's how it should work (ideally). If it's really worth fighting for, we should fight for it. If not, we shouldn't.

    now - watch this drive.

    by jmelli on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 07:14:14 PM PST

  •  I would rather see the Repubs bring... (none)
    a draft bill up. But as someone that could be affected by a draft I am hoping it passes. The only way people in America will understand the realities of war is if they are forced to make the decision of going to war or protesting and risk jail time.

    I would refuse the draft and accept jail time before I willfully allowed myself to be drafted. I have made that decision but I don't think most Americans my age (25) and younger have even thought about this possibility. They should because I believe it forces them to put their ass on the line either way.

    A draft would lead us to the quickest withdrawl possible.

  •  I support Rangel (none)
    I think his bill should pass.

    The all-volunteer army is very good at what it does.

    But we are stonger as a nation when everyone has to share the burden of protecting the nation.

    And, we would not be in Iraq right now if we had a citizen army.  Period.

    There should be national service.  IMO.

    The Oval Office: Because there are no corners, there is nowhere to make the President sit when he has shamed the nation.

    by BooMan23 on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 08:58:18 PM PST

    •  but we're already in iraq (none)
      and not even a kerry administration would have us out for years...

      people would be dragged off against their will to die if this bill was passed, and we have no guarantee it would affect policy on iraq (which is complicated beyond domestic discontent, believe it or not...)

      •  Boo Hoo (none)
        Are we at war or not?

        Why should you be exempt?

        Believe me, the draft would put a swift end to both the war and the GOP domination of the country.  It would significantly alter our foreign policy.

        Iraq is a problem that isn't going away just because we leave.  But that's not an issue we can control anymore.

        And if we have to go back, we have to go back.

        The Oval Office: Because there are no corners, there is nowhere to make the President sit when he has shamed the nation.

        by BooMan23 on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 09:38:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Draft as Payback (none)
    Among the iniatives being floated by the Pentagon is a "Skills Draft." Those with medical, linguistic or computer skills are high on the list.
    Now, not to deprecate our Red State brothers and sisters but, where are the largest concentration of those with such skills to be found? I would guess, at least for computing, the Blue States. Probably the same for linguistic skills and very likely so for medical skills.

    Seems like a classic Bushco ploy: Reluctantly announce a limited draft and make sure that it affects mostly those in the Blue States. Although drafted in a Skills Draft there's nothing to say that the draftees won't wind up on the front lines. If there's a protest the Red Staters will decry the unpatriotic liberal Blue State bastards. Bush will have his cake and eat it too - not to mention driving another wedge into America.

  •  Charles Rangel is wrong (none)
    and so is anyone who thinks that having a draft will stop a war. Vietnam eventually ground to a halt--but it still took years and 50,000 lives. And World War I, a similarly pointless war, took the lives of millions of young men before it ground down to a halt, too. People are far too enamored of the power of protests. But even mass protests are a double-edged sword. They are such a weak instrument--if the news media doesn't report them, or doesn't report them fairly, then they are as good as useless. And what's the chance that they'll do anything but zero in on a few kooks in any protest and dismiss it as a fringy sideshow? Look, I protested against Bush this summer during the conventions--took my teenage SON, the ones that some of you seem to be so eager to throw to the wolves. But I can't say it got me any kind of result I wanted to have been there. It's a hideous mistake to have any Democrat offer any support for the draft. The one power we have left is to withhold support for things Republicans want. We have to at least have the common sense to do that.
  •  Here's the thing (none)
    Some people here are assuming that if we had a draft, we wouldn't be in Iraq. Why the hell not? Bush would have even more soldiers to send. And he would send them. Why wouldn't he? Who's going to stop him? Soldiers have to go where they are sent. They are surrounded by people with guns who can make them go! Furthermore, military uprisings have almost never in history been successful. People are far more entrapped once they're in the military and living under military rules than they are when they're in civilian life. Look at the reality of life under Bush. Do most people want this idiotic No Child Left Behind?: No. But it is the law of the land. Did most people approve of the idiotic Medicare bill? No, but we're all stuck with it. Unless things improve, our Social Security is up in smoke. This guy is a drunk driver and we're all stuck in the back seat. We let all our children get drafted, and we;re all stuck in the TRUNK. Maybe it will happen despite our best efforts. But I don't think we should volunteer to victimise ourselves any more than we already do.
  •  How would the draft work? (none)
    The draft during Vietnam did nothing to combat racial or economic may have even made it worse.

    College students (and others) were exempt from the draft. So those who were drafted were young, poor, and often unemployed.

    The same thing would happen again.

  •  I agree with Rangel in principle... (none)
    ...and because I am too old to go. Actually, health problems have been my main problem most of my life, otherwise I probably would have joined the Air Force. Oh, and no I didn't have a cyst on my ass ;)

    Anyway, I am against it politically. Well, I should say, it could blow up in the Democrats faces. If the GOP accepted it, then when all of these families of right wingers kids were drafted, sent over, and maimed or killed, they wouldn't be blaming Bush over it. They would be blaming the Democrats. I can gurantee you everyone on the right and within the MSM would be blaming it on the Democrats as well.

    If the Dems had a "message machine" that could counter the right wings medias pulpit, then I would think we could pull it off. But we control so little of the media, this will just be another excuse to blame the democrats if it passes or to say they're against the war but for the draft. Democrats, as usual, want to be on both sides of the issue is what they'll say.

    Perhaps Rangel has something up his sleeve this time to avoid allowing the dems to look like fools, but I'm not betting on it.

    Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it. -Tom Paine

    by Alumbrados on Fri Jan 14, 2005 at 11:13:16 PM PST

  •  Rangel at it again (none)
    Rangel voted against his own bill last time. How can he even think of reintroducing that horrible bill again?  What about the 13th Amendment does he not understand?  He needs to redirect his constituents away from the military with special scholarships, financial aid, and job training with employers.
    If a draft is reinstated it will make criminals out of all peace-loving people who refuse to kill. They will try to escape this "freedom" loving country anyway they can. Some will say they are homosexual if that works, some will take drugs or fein illnesses if that works, some may try to take their own lives.  I've seen videos of the torture and brainwashing they put recruits through in bootcamp. I cannot imagine forcing that on someone.
    I also have the politically incorrect position that women should not be forced into the military.  In most of the history of humanity, there have been very few instances of women being FORCED into the military. The Israeli Army is hardly a role model. Is wearing a burka or a bayonnette more of an oppression?  There are other ways to serve one's country...ways of our own choosing.


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