The Draft And Congressional Games
With the incoming new majority into the halls of the American Congress, talk of reinstating the draft has resurfaced.
Rep. Charles B. Rangel of New York first called for a draft in January 2003, when Democrats were the minority party in both houses of Congress. Now that his party controls Capitol Hill, he was asked yesterday on CBS' "Face the Nation" if he was still serious about the proposal.
"You bet your life. Underscore 'serious,' " he said.
"I don't see how anyone can support the [Iraq] war and not support the draft," said Mr. Rangel, alluding to Mr. McCain's call for increased troop levels in Iraq and to the need to combat threats elsewhere in the world. "If we're going to challenge Iran and challenge North Korea and then, as some people have asked, to send more troops to Iraq, we can't do that without a draft."
If one wants to see the viewpoints of current and former members of America's all-volunteer military forces, the best place to start is by visiting MilBlogs, in particular Greyhawk's brief response, where he says:
Rangel's goal, of course, is to create a military that (he thinks) no one would dare ever use, and he believes he's got a compelling argument: "I don't see how anyone can support the war, and not support the draft."
Be sure to follow Greyhawk's links to previous commentary on the issue of the draft.
I happen to take a somewhat different interpretation from Congressman Rangel's words. Rangel is not trying to 'create a military' of any kind. It's Congressional gamesmanship and nothing more. In no way, shape or form does he support instituting a draft, just as he in no way supports actually taking any steps "to challenge Iran and challenge North Korea and then ... send more troops to Iraq."
What he is doing is proposing legislation he knows will fail in order to bolster the position that the war in Iraq cannot be won and therefore we must withdraw. Just as he said, you must support a draft if you support the war (following his own logic). Rangel does not support the war, therefore it is logical to conclude that he also does not support a draft.
Just as the Republicans forced the opposition to 'put your money where your mouth is' with an immediate vote on immediate withdrawal when many elected leaders began to voice wide support for such a move, Rangel's approach is no different. The weakness is his view that only a draft can provide for taking action against Iran and/or North Korea, a view that is in the minority among those who support unspecified action against the two.
And again, Congressman Rangel does not himself appear to support action, whatever form it may or may not take. He also, therefore, does not sincerely support a draft.