Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) has once again suggested that the United States reinstate a military draft, and plans to instigate legislation to that effect when Democrats take over Congress in January.
Rangel’s previously stated rationale for this position was that a disproportionate amount of Americans who see combat are minorities or low-income people. Chuck, I’m guessing that would be because a disproportionate number of people meeting one or both of those criteria have joined the military.
As for the reasons behind the disproportionate enlistment, well, let’s first determine then address them. I’m all for that. They could be a family history of enlistment. They could be a lack of viable alternatives for those who can’t afford college or find a decent job. Again, let’s determine and address – not draft indiscriminately (pun intended).
Rangel also feels that if members of Congress knew their own children might be drafted, they’d never vote for war. Um, Chuck, can I chat with you again? I agree, but why don’t you introduce a bill that specifically requires all non-minor children of lawmakers be drafted if a war is started? That way you address the problem directly.
On a side note, I once had an idea that, when a person who has been executed for a crime is later found to be innocent (it does happen), the sentencing judge should be executed. With regard to the draft issue, this is relevant in that it makes the person with power over the life and death of others think really hard about whether the execution/war is the right thing to do.
Over the weekend Rangel pointed out that conflicts we may be facing with Iran and North Korea underscore the need for a draft. In other words, he thinks we should accept, as official US government policy, that international diplomacy no longer exists. Just bulk up those troop levels on a permanent basis.
I’m not naïve about Iran and NK; they’re both run by kooks that should not be allowed to have nukes. Come to think of it… well, I’ll just hold that thought. So where do we get military personnel to deal with those problems, if need be? Right now I’m thinking the 100,000+ troops we have in Iraq – some having completed multiple tours of duty there – could have been better used.
OK, OK, shoulda coulda woulda. But to Rangel’s point about increasing US military involvement in the world, perhaps we shouldn’t keep getting ourselves into some of these situations. We didn’t ask for war with Afghanistan, we were thrust into it by 9/11. Iraq was an elective war, however. So inadequate US troop levels caused by commitments that should never have been made mean we need a draft? Chuck that. We need a change in policy.
The change is diplomacy first, pride aside. There are some countries we don’t talk to, and that will always lead to conflict. If we go to war, it must always be a last resort. Some would argue that’s the current US policy, but it’s simply not true.
Some countries can’t be reasoned with. But we need to be able to demonstrate that we have at least tried to do that before starting wars. Wars that require troops. Troops that are people who sometimes don’t sign up on their own, and therefore, as some suggest, need to be compelled into service.
To his credit, Rangel has said that as an alternative to compulsory military service, young people be allowed to choose some other kind of national service. We can debate that, as far as I am concerned; the former, hell no (we won't go!). I do think that if people are given a choice, they’re not going to take the military option. Certainly not when war is underway and/or another on the horizon.Chucky, let’s drop all this ridiculous talk about a draft, shall we? It’s stirring up the base (me, for starters) with thoughts of kids being forced to kill and/or die against their will, and for bad reasons. You know, morally unconscionable stuff like that. Relax, have a draught (pronounced "draft" – see what I did there?) on me, and take some time to think this thing through.