There’s a rumor going around that President George W. Bush has a secret plan to reinstate the military draft after he is re-elected.
Capitalizing on the fears of young people and their parents, Sen. John Kerry recently said in West Palm Beach, “If George Bush were to be re-elected … it is possible,” when referring to the draft.
CBS even had a report featuring a woman whom they described as a Bush supporter lamenting the fact that her sons may be drafted. The report also said, “The acting director of the Selective Service believes he could start drafting people quickly.”
The truth is that President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have all denied that there is, or will be in the near future, a need to reinstate the draft.
President Bush, at Thursday night’s debate with Sen. Kerry, emphasized in his closing statement, “The military will be all-volunteer army.”
Vice President Cheney said at a tow hall-style meeting in Iowa, ” I don’t know anybody in a position of responsibility who would advocate going back to the draft.”
Secretary Rumsfeld also said, “It’s absolutely false that anyone in the administration is considering reinstating the draft.”
So, given this, is there any truth to the rumor that there are moves by the Bush administration to reinstate the draft after the election? No.
It turns out that the woman whom CBS portrayed as a concerned Republican mom is actually an activist member of a left-wing-affiliated group called “Parents Against the Draft.” Also, the Selective Service says on its Web site, “Notwithstanding recent stories in the news media and on the Internet, Selective Service is not getting ready to conduct a draft for the U.S. Armed Forces.” Looks like CBS has decided to further enhance its new reputation of being, shall we say, less than accurate.
But are there moves by others to reinstate the draft? Yes.
There are currently bills in Congress that would do just that. Which legislators could it be who would want to force young people across the country to join the military and put their lives in harm’s way in some foreign land? Is it Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist? Perhaps Republican Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert?
It’s neither of these men. In fact, the legislators proposing the notion of forcing young Americans like me and you to die on foreign soil aren’t even conservative or Republican. The two who are willing to propose such legislation are, in fact, two liberal Democrats: Rep. Charlie Rangel of New York and and Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings of South Carolina, both supporters of Sen. Kerry.
Apparently, because of their opposition to the Iraq war and their belief that a disproportionate number of minority and lower-class families are having to bear the burden of fighting the war, these two members of Congress see the need to make the other young people – and their parents – realize the costs of the war. The theory is that if they are forced to go to war, there will be a large outcry to pull out from both them and their parents. Rangel said, “It’s a wake-up call as to the sincerity that people have to supporting the war.” So they’re doing this as an anti-war statement and not for any military need.
A lot of this comes from resentment many have with the fact that young men and women who voluntarily join the military – that’s right, I said voluntarily – are of a lower class than those who don’t. We see this play out in the constant drum beat of criticism against President Bush for his National Guard service and Vice President Cheney for his numerous deferments.
But they fail to understand the benefit of an all-volunteer military: the people in it actually want to be there. Because of this, they have more of a drive to excel than those who would be forced to join. Because of this, the United States of America has the best military in the world.
Let me be blunt: Would you rather have a military composed of those who want to serve, or a military composed of those who want to do anything they can to get out of serving?
Adam Fowler is a senior majoring in political science.