Monday, November 20, 2006

Rangel tries to force the issue

Charles Rangel calls for reinstating the draft. As I have said before, I think the belief that the draft would be political suicide is the one ray of reality that has ever shown in Bush/Cheney's darkened world.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told Congress in June 2005 that ''there isn't a chance in the world that the draft will be brought back.''
Rangel's primary argument is, roughly summarized, "fairness": the proportion of young men and women dying in Iraq who enlisted for much needed pay and training is not the same as their share of the total population of draft-age men and women in this country. That much I agree with. As a secondary or consequential effect, Rangel hopes that when the well off and the powerful think that their kids could be called up, we won't rush into wars on the basis of a little faked evidence.
Americans would have to sign up for a new military draft after turning 18 under a bill the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee says he will introduce next year.

Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Sunday he sees his idea as a way to deter politicians from launching wars.

That may be true. I would hope that as a prod to our electorate's present unrealistic notion that war is sanitary, this bringing of the war to each and every family in America could affect our choices. But other than congratulating Rangel for being less of a hypocrite than anyone else on this matter, I do not wish him success. If Bush has a draft, he will use it and as a lame duck, use it with impunity. Rangel's hope that a draft will simply reinstate the proper and now missing political consequences of warmongering is not a strong enough reason at this time. And, BTW, Rangel knows perfectly well how draft measures go over so maybe he is just making a statement?
In 2003, Rangel proposed a measure covering people age 18 to 26. It was defeated 402-2 the following year. This year, he offered a plan to mandate military service for men and women between age 18 and 42; it went nowhere in the Republican-led Congress.

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