Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Draft Again

Okay, so this morning I was reading stories about Rep. Charles “Insanity” Rangel and his 2nd proposal for a military draft. I had read about it yesterday, but as the general consensus was that Rangel’s proposed legislation wouldn’t go anywhere, I was not inspired to write about it.

Then today I came across a story on ABC News about the current high school drop-out epidemic.

A recent study by the Department of Education found that 31 percent of American students were dropping out or failing to graduate in the nations largest 100 public school districts.

The article doesn’t mention the military as a consequence of dropping out of school; it discusses only poverty, crime and shortened life span in that context. But I can make that leap myself. The poverty draft has come up on these pages before. And it is well-known that the military will take recruits without diplomas and with the promise of a GED (high school equivalency exam).

This all got me thinking further. I remembered that the US confers citizenship as a reward for military service. And then I wondered if military service is ever offered as an alternative to jail time or criminal prosecution. It was easy enough to find an answer because it is a real issue. According to about.com, courts did sometimes offer the choice of jail or the military during the time of the Korean and Vietnam wars. But the military’s current recruiting regulations forbid accepting such cases. If they are following their own rules, which is doubtful.

“There’s no way to recruit within the rules and be successful.” – a recently retired army recruiting-station commander. (as quoted in Vanity Fair, September 2005, see Max.)

But “Insanity” Rangel says, “I don’t see how anyone can support the war and not support the draft.” And Senator John McCain wants to substantially increase the number of US troops in Iraq. And I am very sorry because I don’t believe in the incoming Democratic Congress and I do believe that the future is uncertain.

I found an interesting article on CNN, of all places. It’s all about how we are already ready for a draft. Of course, Selective Service. According to the article, 93% of men between the ages of 18 and 26 have registered, as required by law.

And then it’s all would we, wouldn’t we… well, this is how we’ll do it if… (kind of O.J. Simpson style, I thought).

Basically, if we do raise troop levels in Iraq or start a war somewhere else, we will need a draft. The only way to avoid a draft would be to significantly raise volunteer levels. Volunteer levels “surge” when The Amerika is attacked. Two examples: Pearl Harbor and 9/11 – both attacks that the government could have prevented, but chose not to. Hmm, makes you think…

For a detailed outline of “What Happens in a Draft”, see the Selective Service website.


spider said...

The only good thing about a draft is that it shares out the burdens of war equally. Virtually none of our politicians' kids are serving. Thus the 'deciders' can sit there all day saying "It's worth it." because they don't suffer the consequences.

They might think twice if it was their precious baby that might be maimed or killed on the battlefield, or asked to commit some acts that will land them in jail (like Pfc. Lynndie England). Imagine if that were one of Bush's daughters!

If war were ever necessary, then I say everyone ought to pitch in. No excuses. No Dick 'Deferment' Cheneys and no George 'AWOL' Bushes. Support the war? Then go on then - the front line is that-a-way my friend.

Anonymous said...

Scary last paragraph, Max - since we're living in a time when the unthinkable happens on a regular basis...

The only upside I can see to a draft is that it would wake Americans up like nothing else.

Even murmurs about war with Iran have barely raised an eyebrow with the majority of people I know. They are too comfortable and sedated by their ignorance.

And I admit there is a part of me that wants to see them suddenly jolted into horrified awareness.

AG said...

Recent developments include Syria in the war speculation. I think the Bush and Cheney children should volunteer first - don't you? A draft should include women as well as men. That should send the country reeling.

Rangel does not want a draft - Rangel does not want a war and is trying to make a point. I agree with him.