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Thread: COMPULSORY MILITARY DRAFT

  1. #1
    Guest
    At the opening of the 108th Congress in January, Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York introduced legislation to reinstate the draft, a compulsory method of calling up men and women from ages 18-26 to serve in the military. His bill would require young Americans to enlist in the military or perform mandatory national service with no exemptions for higher education. The military draft ended 30 years ago when the U.S. armed forces pulled out of Vietnam. Since that time, the U.S. military has amassed its superior infrastructure, unparalleled weapons systems and advanced technology with a highly trained all-volunteer force. By no means is this the first time since 1973 that a proposal to revive the draft was floated in Washington. But this time, the congressional sponsors of the measure to bring back compulsory service also oppose military action against Iraq. They know it has scant chance of passing.

    The latest edition shows that DOD-wide, African Americans are certainly over-represented, making up 22.4% of the enlisted population, compared to 12.4% of the cohort of 18-44 year old civilians. Whites, in the majority with 62.5% of enlisted personnel, are underrepresented compared to the 69.5% of the general population. Hispanics are also underrepresented at 9.0% versus 13.1%, and other groups come in at 6.0% versus 5.0%. But within the services, the picture grows more complex. The Army has the highest percentage of enlisted African Americans (29.1%), followed by the Navy (20.6%). The Air Force has the largest percentage of enlisted Whites (72.8%, which is over-representative of society), and the Marine Corps comes very close to mirroring America's ethnic makeup. Among officers, the variance is extremely small: African Americans make up 8.1% DOD-wide, compared to 7.9% of the comparable college educated 21-35 year old civilian population. Hispanics and other groups are slightly underrepresented, and whites slightly over-represented.

    Ethnic groups are not distributed equally among military specialties. The report states that "whites [were] more prevalent in the occupational area that was most likely to deploy, tactical operations, while minority group members were somewhat more common in less frequently deploying occupations, such as medical and dental care, administration, and supply." A conscripted military would be more just. Rep. Conyers was a cosponsor of HC 368, introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R., Tex.), who has perennially put forward legislation to do away with the Selective Service system. The resolution expressed the "sense of Congress that reinstating the military draft or implementing any other form of compulsory military service in the United States would be beneficial to the long-term military interests of the United States and consistent with the values underlying a free society as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Conscription would force the children of members of Congress to serve, thus our elected officials would be less willing to authorize the use of force and place their families at risk.

  2. #2
    Guest
    At the opening of the 108th Congress in January, Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York introduced legislation to reinstate the draft, a compulsory method of calling up men and women from ages 18-26 to serve in the military. His bill would require young Americans to enlist in the military or perform mandatory national service with no exemptions for higher education. The military draft ended 30 years ago when the U.S. armed forces pulled out of Vietnam. Since that time, the U.S. military has amassed its superior infrastructure, unparalleled weapons systems and advanced technology with a highly trained all-volunteer force. By no means is this the first time since 1973 that a proposal to revive the draft was floated in Washington. But this time, the congressional sponsors of the measure to bring back compulsory service also oppose military action against Iraq. They know it has scant chance of passing.

    The latest edition shows that DOD-wide, African Americans are certainly over-represented, making up 22.4% of the enlisted population, compared to 12.4% of the cohort of 18-44 year old civilians. Whites, in the majority with 62.5% of enlisted personnel, are underrepresented compared to the 69.5% of the general population. Hispanics are also underrepresented at 9.0% versus 13.1%, and other groups come in at 6.0% versus 5.0%. But within the services, the picture grows more complex. The Army has the highest percentage of enlisted African Americans (29.1%), followed by the Navy (20.6%). The Air Force has the largest percentage of enlisted Whites (72.8%, which is over-representative of society), and the Marine Corps comes very close to mirroring America's ethnic makeup. Among officers, the variance is extremely small: African Americans make up 8.1% DOD-wide, compared to 7.9% of the comparable college educated 21-35 year old civilian population. Hispanics and other groups are slightly underrepresented, and whites slightly over-represented.

    Ethnic groups are not distributed equally among military specialties. The report states that "whites [were] more prevalent in the occupational area that was most likely to deploy, tactical operations, while minority group members were somewhat more common in less frequently deploying occupations, such as medical and dental care, administration, and supply." A conscripted military would be more just. Rep. Conyers was a cosponsor of HC 368, introduced by Rep. Ron Paul (R., Tex.), who has perennially put forward legislation to do away with the Selective Service system. The resolution expressed the "sense of Congress that reinstating the military draft or implementing any other form of compulsory military service in the United States would be beneficial to the long-term military interests of the United States and consistent with the values underlying a free society as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Conscription would force the children of members of Congress to serve, thus our elected officials would be less willing to authorize the use of force and place their families at risk.

  3. #3
    Guest
    What?

  4. #4
    Guest
    Service to America should be a 'shared sacrifice' says NYC Congressman
    --------------------------------------------------



    It's fair, it's equitable and it's the patriotic thing to do. For those privileged Americans who have been historically underrepresented in America's military, it's time for an affirmative action plan. Americans need to move beyond mouthing slogans and posting flag decals on their SUVs and pick-up trucks, and stand up for their country. I never thought I'd be saying this, but it's time to bring back The Draft. Everyone gets an opportunity to serve -- National Football League players, major league baseball players, Hollywood stars, the neighborhood butcher, hip-hop artists, Senators' sons and daughters, Cabinet Secretarys' youngsters -- no excuses, no special deals for cushy National Guard placements, no college deferments, no slithering out.

    This time around the draft will not only supply the armed services, but it will also create a cadre of community workers. Not community policemen. Not Operation TIPS wannabes. Rather, a genuine community service core to support child care projects and public education, senior citizen care, medical clinics, environmental clean-up, etcetera. Everyone will serve. Everyone will be paid a living wage to help make America a better place to live.

    Rangel's modest proposal

    I came to this position while watching one of New York City's most liberal Congressmen, Democrat Charles Rangel, boldly advocate the reinstatement of the draft during several television appearances the day before New Years Eve. With a *****le in his eye, Rangel, a decorated combat veteran of the Korean War, told talk-show hosts on MSNBC and the Fox News Channel that all Americans should share in the sacrifice necessary to pursue President Bush's permanent war against terrorism. And, he added, all Americans should have the opportunity to be real patriots, not bumper-sticker or sunshine patriots.

    In a New York Times piece on Tuesday, December 31, Congressman Rangel wrote: "I believe that if we are going to send our children to war, the governing principle must be that of shared sacrifice." Rangel, who intends to introduce legislation to reinstate the military draft, wrote "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."

    Drafting away

    Some of you may be old enough to remember the Draft. For most young men, turning 18 was marked by a letter from your local draft board advising you of the time and place to report for your Army physical. The draft became a flashpoint for protest against the Vietnam War and was abolished by President Nixon in 1973 to diffuse political turmoil. The draft was always inequitable. Most of those who actually wound up serving on the front lines in Vietnam were poor and working class -- and disproportionately people of color. Upper- and middle-class kids figured out any number of schemes to avoid being drafted. Many went to college and received student deferments. Others, when they showed up for their physical, said or did some mighty weird things to avoid being seen as acceptable; brought letters from psychiatrists; stayed up days on end so as to appear so messed up that no branch of service would want them in their ranks.

    Some, among the more privileged, while claiming to support the war, avoided the draft by signing up for spots in the Reserves. By now, we all are aware that numerous Bush Administration "chicken hawks" cleverly avoided service to their country. (For more on this see the comprehensive listing of right-wing draft dodgers at the Chickenhawk Database.) The words of folksinger/activist Phil Ochs' Draft Dodger Rag comes to mind:

    Oh, I'm just a typical American boy from a typical American town
    I believe in God and Senator Dodd and a-keepin' old Castro down
    And when it came my time to serve I knew "better dead than red"
    But when I got to my old draft board, buddy, this is what I said:

    CHORUS
    Sarge, I'm only eighteen, I got a ruptured spleen
    And I always carry a purse
    I got eyes like a bat, and my feet are flat, and my asthma's getting worse
    Yes, think of my career, my sweetheart dear, and my poor old invalid aunt
    Besides, I ain't no fool, I'm a-goin' to school
    And I'm working in a DEE-fense plant

    I've got a dislocated disc and a wracked up back
    I'm allergic to flowers and bugs
    And when the bombshell hits, I get epileptic fits
    And I'm addicted to a thousand drugs
    I got the weakness woes, I can't touch my toes
    I can hardly reach my knees
    And if the enemy came close to me
    I'd probably start to sneeze
    I'm only eighteen, I got a ruptured spleen
    And I always carry a purse
    I got eyes like a bat, and my feet are flat, and my asthma's getting worse
    Ooh, I hate Chou En Lai, and I hope he dies,

    One thing you gotta see
    That someone's gotta go over there
    And that someone isn't me
    So I wish you well, Sarge, give 'em Hell!
    Kill me a thousand or so
    And if you ever get a war without blood and gore
    I'll be the first to go

    Yes, I'm only eighteen, I got a ruptured spleen
    And I always carry a purse
    I got eyes like a bat, and my feet are flat, and my asthma's getting worse
    Yes, think of my career, my sweetheart dear, and my poor old invalid aunt
    Besides, I ain't no fool, I'm a-goin' to school
    And I'm working in a DEE-fense plant

    The Draft helped build the anti-Vietnam War movement on college campuses across the nation. Men over 18 were required by law to carry their draft cards at all times. Many anti-war protesters burned their draft cards. Some young men went to jail and some became expatriates.

    Getting represented

    Now, instead of a military of volunteers and conscripts, America has "the all-volunteer Army." Ironically, poor whites and minorities make up the bulk of these volunteers. As before, many enlist as a way out of dead-end joblessness and poverty. Cong. Rangel: "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."

    Our current all-volunteer Army allows most Americans to distance themselves from personally experiencing war. The war in Afghanistan, or looming war against Iraq or another "axis of evil" nation, plays out on the 24 hour news networks like giant video games or thriller movies -- and our sons and daughters aren't in harms way. As Cong. Rangel pointed out, as we approach going to war with Iraq and conflicts on a number of fronts, Americans appear to be rather blasĂ© about the whole thing. "We need,"ť Cong. Rangel wrote, "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."

    While Cong. Rangel's modest proposal doesn't stand a snowball's chance in the Iraqi desert, the stakes would be higher if all Americans were faced with the draft -- with family members at risk of being called up and forced to leave jobs and families to serve their country. If members of Congress were about to send their children or their constituents children off to the front lines, they too might think twice before sanctioning the president's war without end.

  5. #5
    Guest
    Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, sing it!

  6. #6
    Guest
    I think those going to Army, Navy, Marines and the like consider a honor serving this country; they get quite a few benefits as well...

  7. #7
    Guest
    It IS a honor to serve this country!

  8. #8

  9. #9
    Guest
    WOW!!!

  10. #10
    Guest
    I am all for the proposed draft. If you take the Bush administration's combined blood lust and elitism as a given, a draft is the only way that the ethnocentric murderers currently running this country have a prayer of being convinced to reconsider America's newfound imperialism. I can't imagine that the next version of the draft will be as prone to privilege as the one that gave George W. Bush a bye during the Vietnam War. That being the case, senators sons and heirs to industrial fortunes will not be able to avoid social scrutiny in their attempts to sidestep the draft this time around, leaving them just as likely to come home in flagdraped coffins as the rural poor and urban blacks that have been America's traditional cannon fodder throughout the last half of the last century.

    The more WASPy corpses that are rolled out onto the tarmac, the more likely it is that the Bush administration will reevaluate its jingoist status quo. With a volunteer army, the majority of new lambs to the slaughter are high school graduates and dropouts with few options beside the military. With an equitable draft, everybody gets a chance to have their face blown off, even soldiers with last names like Forbes, Rockefeller, Carnegie, and yes, Bush. As evidenced by last year's tax cut, the majority of which benefits the wealthiest one percent of Americans, the Bush administration possesses a disdain for the poor and middle class that borders on contempt. There is no more ideal scenario for an elitist warmongering government than a volunteer army. The combination of a downturned economy with a volunteer army corrals the poorest of the citizenry into military service. Add in a healthy dose of disregard, and all of a sudden, a craven administration has a near endless supply of expendable pawns for the takeover of sovereign nations.

    The exploitation of foreign nations' natural resources then becomes a cakewalk. When a right wing puppet government with an orientation toward a business-friendly relationship with the United States is installed into the enemy du jour, then the money really rolls in. Of course, as was the case with Ayatollah Khomeini and Saddam Hussein, once the puppet government accrues sufficient hubris to defy the United States, then subsequent military action is required, but the short term profits far outweigh such distant hassles. Besides, all an imperialist nation needs to do at that point is mount yet another military incursion. Provided there are enough urban poor and farm kids to man the artillery, that of course is no grave concern.

    The Bush administration doesn't care about anyone that isn't a campaign contributor, so if you can't afford to fatten those coffers, then perhaps the military is your eighteenyear old son's best option for building a future, or as the case may be, filling a grave. A truly transparent draft befuddles that whole dynamic. A fair and random draft makes it just as likely for Paul Wolfowitz's son to eat a slug as an Iowa farmboy or a Detroit homeboy. Until the blood of America's elite flows alongside the blood of America's downtrodden, the Bush administration will continue to shove the economically deprived into its front lines.

    America has always grudgingly entered into wars. World War II began in 1937. The United States did not become involved until the final month of 1941. It wasn't until after years of French involvement in Vietnam did we blunder into that booby trap. The neoconservative push toward creating wars where there aren't any is unprecedented, and they are counting on us not to notice. A draft that is blind to privilege and unbiased against the poor is not just the best way to create a downside for the wealthy chickenhawks that are orchestrating this unilateral series of invasions, it is the only way. These wars that are on the drawing board are of our own design, and unless some of the blood that will spill in these planned conflicts is blue, it will never stop pouring.

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