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Monday, November 20

Senior Democrat renews call for military draft

An influential Democratic lawmaker on Sunday called for reinstatement of the draft..

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An influential Democratic lawmaker on Sunday called for reinstatement of the draft as a way to boost U.S. troop levels and draw a broader section of the population into the military or public service.

U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, the incoming chairman of the House of Representatives' tax-writing committee, said he would introduce legislation to reinstate the draft as soon as the new, Democratic-controlled Congress convenes in January.

Asked on CBS' "Face the Nation" if he was still serious about the proposal for a universal draft he raised a couple of years ago, he said, "You bet your life. Underscore serious."

"If we're going to challenge Iran and challenge North Korea and then, as some people have asked, to send more troops to Iraq, we can't do that without a draft," he said.

Rangel, who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, also said he did not think the United States would have invaded Iraq if the children of members of Congress were sent to fight. He has said the U.S. fighting force is comprised disproportionately of people from low-income families and minorities.

"I don't see how anyone can support the war and not support the draft. I think to do so is hypocritical," he said.

The New York Democrat had introduced legislation to reinstate the draft in January 2003 before the Iraq invasion. The Pentagon has said the all-volunteer army is working well and there is no need for a draft, and the idea had no traction in the Republican-led Congress.

Democrats gained control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 12 years in the November 7 election, and a wholesale change in the leadership of Congress is to be made in January. Rangel is to head the House Ways and Means Committee, which is charged with U.S. tax and trade legislation.

The draft was in place from 1948 to 1973, when the United States converted to an all-volunteer army. But almost all men living in the United States - including most male noncitizens - are required to register with the Selective Service upon reaching 18, and federal benefits, including financial aid for college studies, are contingent on registration.

Rangel said his legislation on the draft would also offer the alternative of a couple of years of public service with educational benefits.

© Reuters 2006. All Rights Reserved

by Jackie Frank


My daughter wrote the following on Saturday for a 'persuasive speech' assignment that she is giving this morning in class.
I just read it, and I hope she doesn't mind me pasting it here for my friends to see. We couldn't find much in the 'tubes' on Friday while searching the subject via google. She wrote her thoughts, read a few articles, and asked our opinions.

I just read the above Reuters story after I read hers. Wait til she wakes up and sees this!! I'm not sure what to say. I have no comment at the moment......(I'm just going to run a few copies of the Reuters story for her, ya know....kinda like a handout after her speech)

** How Would You Feel? **

Most of us in here are almost 16, and the war in Iraq doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon. So what happens next? There is a chance that the draft will be reinstated, and we are a mere 2 years away from possibly being drafted into the war, and also being of age to vote against issues such as the draft. Are Americans ready to accept the need to sacrifice their unwilling sons and daughters to be sent overseas to fight for who knows how long? I think that the military draft should not be reinstated.
My first reason why I think the draft should not be reinstated is because those teenagers about to be drafted may be unjustly impacted depending on the reasons for the war. Because once you’re in the military, you’re in the military and there’s nothing you can do about it, and it is not right to make somebody go do something without caring what they have to say about the issue, even if they oppose it. But the military draft doesn’t just draft men, women are drafted as well. According to the Chief of Selective Service System, “it has been proposed to register women for the draft and requires those registering to tell the government if they have any special computer or language skills, especially Arabic and Afghan dialects.” Wondering what the age limits for being drafted is? For women, the age intervals would extend from 18 to 34. This interval has been raised from the previous requirement of 18 to 25. As you probably know, one of the biggest enticements for getting people to volunteer for the military is a free college education. Although it may sound like a pretty good deal, by the time soldiers have come back from the war, they are frequently mentally ill, they are not always able to function correctly in society, and they are unable to concentrate on the thought of college. This is because many come back from the war with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) and have to deal with it for the rest of their lives.
Secondly, I am against the military draft because of the horrors of war. Young men and women should not have to go through that kind of experience. For so long we have been brought up to believe that it is our patriotic duty to support our country, and defend our country’s democracy. We don’t see what really goes on in a war. A big part of this is the fact that young kids playing war video games, or watching military commercials, think that going to war and killing people is a fun game. But just think of how you would feel after being forced into the war, having to fight, and then coming home, and everyday flashing back to scenes of people dying, innocent people being taken prisoner, and possibly your own friends being hurt. Those are the facts that people don’t realize actually happen, but they are the realities of a war.
Lastly, I am against the military draft because it is unfair. Nobody should be mandated to go off to the war without having a choice and a clear understanding of what we are fighting for. The military tries to tempt you and guilt you into joining by telling you that it will “accelerate your life ” and that you have “sense of duty to the nation”, and that if you don’t join you’re letting your country down. Realistically, you’re not letting your country down - you are simply making a choice of your own free will and of your own persuasion to not join the military and be sent off to war, and instead go to college, get a better education, a job, and maybe even have a family. Volunteering for the army is one thing, but you shouldn’t be left without a choice- bringing back the draft would take away that choice. America has spent hundreds of years following the principle of being free, and having a land that supports freedom for everyone. We will become a nation without the right of being free if the draft is reinstated and we don’t get to choose what we want to do with our futures, and our lives.
So let’s face the facts - the draft may unjustly impact young men and women, the horrors of the war they will face are too extreme to imagine, and it is unfair overall. Since this is an issue facing every teenager today, boys and girls, I urge you to get involved and start thinking of ways to stop this unjust draft from being put into action. If everyone stopped for a second and thought about if you wanted the draft back or not, then I predict that when we come of voting age in a short 2 years, we can put an end to the draft. And just think, how would you feel if it were you?

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