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The Draft Myth
(This excerpt has been posted because of the increasing frequency of the Democratic strategy to fear-monger over the draft. Democratic Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards and other Democratic surrogates have now joined the chorus of email forwards and rumors. Democratic groups have even begun running ads on MTV targeting young people, including Rock The Vote and Alliance For Security (1)!
In a recent (9/22/04) AP story it has been reported that when asked about the draft, Democratic Presidential Nominee John Kerry said, "If George Bush were to be re-elected, given the way he has gone about this war and given his avoidance of responsibility in North Korea and Iran and other places, is it possible? I can't tell you." (3)
Of course, the media is happy to assist:
Are you Ready to be Drafted? (Shepard Express Metro WI)
The Issues: Reviving the Draft (CBSnews)
Kerry: Draft Likely to Return Under Bush (AP)
Prospect Of A New Military Draft Drawing More Attention, Concern (LA Times)
Rumors fly of military draft (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
Military Draft? Official Denials Leave Skeptics (NY Times)
The New Jersey Ledger reports on the growing panic:
The phones at the Selective Service System in Washington, D.C., ring more frequently these days. And some of the callers are nothing short of hysterical.
Officials at the once little- known federal agency responsible for running any future military draft say they have been receiving thousands of calls in recent months from people who are under the impression that mandatory conscription for men and women age 18 to 26 is imminent.
The calls keep coming even after repeated assurances from the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill that there is no desire, need or plan for a draft.
That may be because fears the draft will be resurrected after 31 years of dormancy continue to be stoked in Internet chat rooms and chain e-mails and most recently on the presidential campaign trail when surrogates of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry -- former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and former Georgia Sen. Max Cleland -- suggested the possibility of a draft if President Bush wins a second term. (6)
On January 7th 2003, Harlem Representative Charles Rangel (NY) and 14 other Democrats (mostly from the black caucus), sponsored legislation attempting to bring back the draft. Rangel said in a statement:
I truly believe that decision-makers who support war would more readily feel the pain of conflict and appreciate the sacrifice of those on the front lines if their children were there, too. I don't make too much of the fact that only four members of the 107th Congress, which voted overwhelmingly in favor of war with Iraq, had children in the military. (70)
(This false statement is rebuted later) On the same day, Democratic Senator Fritz Collins (SC) introduced similar legislation in the Senate. (2) Republican Senator Chuck Hagel (NE) has also made comments based on the same misleading premises as Rangel. (5) Both the Senate and House bills have no chance of passing and have not been taken up by their respective committees.
In fact, Rangel told FactCheck.org through his spokesman Emile Milne that even he isn't pushing for passage, let alone Bush:
Rep. Rangel: I'm not pushing this bill . It's up to the President to come to me when he needs it. (69)
In any case, despite it's origin, fear of the draft has been pushed by media reports and Democrats for political gain, often portraying either the Bush administration or Republicans as secretly driving the proposals and legislation. (69) (3) Secretary Rumsfeld, Republican congressional leaders, and all other administration officials have said there is no intention or need to bring back the draft. The Selective Service is understandably frustrated:
Richard Flahavan, a spokesman for the Selective Service System, said the people propagating the rumors apparently didn't realize that local draft boards have been in place since 1980 -- and the roughly 10,000 board members serve 20-year terms, which have expired.
Flahavan said the draft warnings also cite inaccurate government figures. Most of the Internet draft warnings say $28 million has "been added" to the Selective Service System budget this year. The $28 million figure was actually the total budget the agency requested this year. Congress actually cut the agency's budget by $2 million to $26 million. (6)
All services are fulfilling recruiting quotas and reenlistment. Moreover Secretary Rumsfeld has stated:
"We have in the active force about 1.4 million people. And in the Guard and the Reserve and if you include the Individual Ready Reserve, the people who are not training in ready units, we go up to somewhere over 2.3 million people." (65)
"The force is stressed and we’re only sustaining 200,000-plus in the Central Command region out of a total of 2 million. So the question is, well, why is that?" (65)
"We’ve got probably 300,000 military people who are engaged in tasks that could every bit as easily be conducted by civilians." (65)
Rumsfeld explained that the unionized civil servants were so unmanageable that military personal often had to be used. He said these problems were being addressed.
Asked about the draft Rumsfeld replied:
"....goodness no, we’re perfectly capable of increasing the incentives and the inducements to attract people into the armed services." (65)
On May 17, addressing the conservative Heritage Foundation Rumsfeld said,
I can't imagine our country going back to a draft. We don't need it. We're able to attract and retain wonderful people the way we're doing it as long as we provide the appropriate incentives. And certainly this is a country that's wealthy enough to do that. (69)
On the campaign trail in Sedalia MO, President Bush was asked, "If the war on terrorism continues, do you feel that there will be a need for the draft? And do you want to start the draft again?"
"The President. Yes, first of all, the war on terror will continue. It's going to take awhile. And no, we don't need a draft. .... What we need to do is to make sure our troops are well-paid and well-housed and well-equipped. . . ."No, I'm -- we don't need the draft. We don't need a draft at all." (4)
At a campaign appearance in Oregon last week, Vice President Dick Cheney said the all-volunteer military remains America's best option and it would take a crisis "on the scale of World War II before I would think that anybody would seriously contemplate the possibility of going back again to the draft." (6)
It is also notable that the military, due to cutbacks in the first Bush and Clinton years, is about one-third smaller than the one that existed just 12 years ago in the Gulf war. For example, the army was cut from 18 to 10 divisions. (73)
Kenneth J. Campbell, a University of Delaware political science professor who served as a combat Marine in Vietnam, said college students would weigh heavily in any political calculus of reinstating a draft. (6)
This is why irresponsible Democrats are pushing these rumors.
The President said in the 2nd Presidential debate:
I hear there's rumors on the Internets (sic) that we're going to have a draft. We're not going to have a draft, period. The all- volunteer army works. It works particularly when we pay our troops well. It works when we make sure they've got housing, like we have done in the last military budgets.
An all-volunteer army is best suited to fight the new wars of the 21st century, which is to be specialized and to find these people as they hide around the world. (8)
By a vote of 407-2 the House voted to kill the draft bill. Majority leader Tom Delay issued the following press release which I will post in it's entirety (7):
"Sometimes -- not always, but sometimes -- a bill comes to the floor of this House after a long, deliberate examination of the facts surrounding a difficult issue with compelling arguments on both sides, and we can all come together and find common ground.
"Sometimes, a bill is the result of hard-nosed political wrangling, and a party-line vote pushes a controversial measure over the finish line. And sometimes - on rare occasions like today - a bill is considered on the floor of the House as a practical exercise ... to expose a fraud.
"For months now, the American people have been subjected to -- and had their intelligence insulted by -- a manipulative, dishonest, and willful campaign of misinformation. This campaign, which started as a whisper but has since been given voice by the leading Democrats in the country today, asserts without any evidence whatsoever that there is a secret Republican plan to reinstitute the military draft.
"This campaign is a baseless and malevolent concoction of the Democrat Party, and everyone in this chamber knows it. It has one purpose -- to spread fear. To spread fear among an unsuspecting public, to undermine the war on terror, to undermine our troops, to undermine our cause, and most of all, to undermine our commander-in-chief ... in an election year.
"It is a lie. And to prove it, all we had to do was to look in the Congressional Record. And lo and behold, there it was. A plan, not secret, but public. Not hidden by Republicans, but openly touted by Democrats. H.R. 163 -- before us today -- is not the product of a Pentagon cabal, but is sponsored by six of the most liberal and vociferous critics of the war on terror.
"The vote on this bill won't be close, and it won't be party- line. Instead, it will be an opportunity for the American people to see who takes the national security of the United States seriously, who respects our armed forces, who wants to win the war on terror, and who just wants to win the next election.
"This bill is a fraud, and so is the pernicious campaign of deception that has brought it to the floor today. I urge all my colleagues to vote no, and expose to the light of truth the craven, partisan whisper campaign now poisoning the national debate." (7)
Representative Rangel, coauthor of the house bill, voted against his own bill...
The democrats have continued their fearmongering. On October 16th Democratic Presidential nominee Senator John Kerry said:
"With George Bush the plan for Iraq is more of the same and the great potential of a draft. Because if we go it alone, I don't know how you do it with the current overextension" (11)
Liberal New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote on October 19th:
This leads to the justified suspicion that after the election, Mr. Bush will seek a large expansion in our military, quite possibly through a return of the draft. (12)
Republicans are finally more forcefully denying these shameful deceptions. President Bush said on October 18th:
"My opponent seems to be willing to say almost anything he thinks will benefit him politically. After standing on the stage, after the debates, I made it very plain, we will not have an all-volunteer army. And yet, this week -- we will have an all-volunteer army. (Applause.) Let me restate that. (Laughter.) We will not have a draft. (Applause.) No matter what my opponent tries to tell people and scare them, we will have an all-volunteer army. (Applause.) The only person talking about a draft is my opponent. The only politicians who have supported a draft are Democrats. And the best way to avoid a draft is to vote for me. (Applause.)" (9)
On the same day, on the campaign trail, Mrs. Cheney said:
MRS. CHENEY: In response to your question, too, that as we get down to these closing days of the campaign, and I see the President really having momentum, and the Kerry folks not, I see a whole lot of this going on -- complete misrepresentation of the President's record. And two instances I wanted to just mention because they kind of make me angry. One is trying to scare people, trying to, first of all, scare young people by saying that if President Bush is elected, there's somehow going to be a draft. President Bush stood 10 feet from Senator Kerry and said that absolutely was not the case. And Senator Kerry knows that the only people who have supported the idea of a draft are in his party, that the Republican Party and -- (applause) -- and this President know that the all-volunteer army is working just as well as we could possibly hope. It has been great, and I've heard Dick talk about this many times, a great sea change from the days when we had a draft. It's the way our country should be defending itself. So you see him trying to scare young people. And then you see him trying to scare seniors. Doesn't this happen every time? It gets down to the end, the Democrats think they're losing, and sure enough, you hear about, well, Social Security is going to go away. Again, the President has said time and again, and is absolutely committed to the idea that we made a promise to people who are on Social Security, we're going to keep that promise. Social Security will be there for them and for those close to retirement age. (Applause.) (10)
But, it doesn't matter how many denials are given. Even with no evidence to back up their claims, certain groups will continue to fearmonger. Rock The Vote received a blistering letter from the the Republican National Chairman and they responded with this email:
We just received an outrageous letter from the Chairman of the Republican Party, demanding that we stop talking about the issue of the military draft. He said that the draft issue is just an “urban myth” and Rock the Vote’s effort is being conducted with “reckless disregard for the truth.”
The truth is that we still haven’t received acceptable answers from the candidates to real questions affecting our lives. The possibility of a draft is not a hoax. It’s a real issue that deserves real answers.
An attempt to silence us by any politician—Democrat, Republican, Whatever—is unacceptable. This is one of the most important issues affecting our generation. And that’s why we need to stand up and make our voices heard right away.
We’re not going to stop talking about the issue of a draft simply because it makes the politicians squirm. We’re not going to let Congress think that a phony vote against the draft settles the matter.
By sending thousands of email draft cards and talking to your friends about the possibility of a draft, you ignited a national dialogue. If you have any doubt, just look at the last two presidential debates—both of which included questions for both candidates on the draft. (13)
Unbelievable! They still try to pretend they are 'non partisansan' and are merely creating a 'national dialogue'.
The liberal group MoveOn.org is continuing to
push the rumor that if reelected, President Bush will institute a mandatory draft. CNSnews reports:
The group has established MoveOnStudentAction.org, which "will launch a nationwide campus 'Feel a Draft?' campaign to demand an exit strategy to end the war in Iraq from President Bush, as well as a specific plan to avoid the need for a draft," according to a press release.
The campaign kicked off Monday with an ad in the New York Times, which alleges that "poor planning for the occupation has overstretched our armed forces and put us on the road to a draft." (14)
It was amazing to discover that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was one of the first congressmen to oppose a draft back in the 60s! He has not only been a consistent staunch opponent of the draft throughout his career, he led the fight to keep the military a volunteer force! Would this not be an important fact to mention when reporting on this issue? Why was it that I had read many, many articles on this subject and never saw it come up once, yet when I read some of the Secretary's transcripts I see he regularly mentioned it? Here are three examples:
Q: Mr. Secretary, the
Bush administration has repeatedly stated it does not want a draft, but there are repeated claims
that there are plans in the works to draft certain specialties like doctors, language specialists
and computer experts. Do you need and, sir, would you support some sort of selective military
SEC. RUMSFELD: Absolutely not. This is a mischievous political effort that’s being made to frighten young men and women. The truth is we do not need a draft. We’re not going to have a draft. There is a law that exists on the books passed by Congress that requires that there be a selective service system and that it requires that they make assessments from time to time about various skill sets. But there is not a draft. There will not be a draft. I was one of the first people that opposed the draft back in the 1960s when I recommended we move to an all-volunteer service when I was a congressman from the state of Illinois and introduced legislation to achieve what we finally achieved in 1969 and 1970. We’ve got 295 million people in this country. We have 1.4 million on active duty and another 865,000 in the Guard and Reserve. And it is not a problem at all attracting and retaining the people we need to serve in the armed forces. Every one of them is a volunteer.
I just looked at the recruiting numbers here. The Army and the Navy are at 100 percent of their targets in goal; the Marine Corps is at 100 percent and the Air Force is at 101 percent. So the idea that we need a draft is false and mischievous and, in my view, nothing better than a scare technique.
Q: So, sir, you would
not even support a selective draft of, say, doctors, which is what came up today in The New York
SEC. RUMSFELD: Look,
go back and read that article carefully and then check it for facts. You’ll find we do not
have a draft. We do not intend to have a draft. There is no intention to draft doctors
or dentists or veterinarians or anything else I can think of…
Q: Mr. Secretary..
SEC. RUMSFELD: … not withstanding what The New York Times may have written.
SEC. RUMSFELD: Oh, my goodness, no. I‘ve seen a couple of people on Capitol Hill – Democrats in the House and Democrats in the Senate that have introduced legislation. I don’t believe there’s any Republican support for it out there and I’m dead set against it. There is no need for a draft in the United States of America. We have 295 million people in this country and we have an active force of 1.4 million. We have no problem – none -- in attracting and retaining the people we need. And my view is that anyone who’s talking about the draft, very likely, in this context may very well be making mischief. I just can’t imagine reinstituting the draft.
Q: Yeah. But it is amazing
that – and I think it’s pretty much because we’re in a full political season here, it’s a
tactic that is being used by the surrogates of one particular party to emotionalize people and these
conspiracy theories are running rampant, so it’s good to get that on record that you don’t
support it, the president hasn’t supported it, and the only people that have proposed it are
Posted 11/20/06 (By Travis)
Senior Democrat Renews Call For Draft
We wrote extensively about this during the 2004 election. Some retrospective reading for context may be in order. Another good opportunity to quote the late Milton Friedman
In his testimony before the commission, Mr. Westmoreland said he did not want to command an army of mercenaries. Mr. Friedman interrupted, "General, would you rather command an army of slaves?" Mr. Westmoreland replied, "I don't like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves." Mr. Friedman then retorted, "I don't like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries. If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher."
October 27, 2006 Heritage Foundation
Front-line troops disproportionately white, not black
1/21/03 USA Today
WASHINGTON — The American troops likeliest to fight and die in a war against Iraq are disproportionately white, not black, military statistics show — contradicting a belief widely held since the early days of the Vietnam War.
In a little-publicized trend, black recruits have gravitated toward non-combat jobs that provide marketable skills for post-military careers, while white soldiers are over-represented in front-line combat forces.
Posted 3/12/07 (By Dobber)
Bring Back the Draft?
An Open Letter:
(69) www.factcheck.org/article.aspx?docID=200 (debunks the draft myth)
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