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November 20, 2006


When I sought enlistment in the Air Force during Vietnam (1971), the recruiter told me every American citizen is expected by law to be ready to serve a mandatory two-years in government service, including the armed forces. Is this no longer true? I'm researching this, but if anyone has the facts -- let me know, please. (no opinions, please, I'm just looking for a government/legal citation on this)

Israel demands two years of military service from each and every one of its citizens. This really builds character and fierce loyalty to the state of Israel - everyone is personally invested in the safety and security of the country. I think this is a noble idea. If you truly loved this country, you would not have a problem with this. Are you an American or a squatter?

Israel demands military service out of need; smaller population and greater threat in proximity to their borders. The US population between 18-24yrs is approximately 30 million. Assuming an even distribution across those years, any two years would be about 10 million citizens assuming you could only serve two years and then move on... sounds like a rather large Army. Not even sure if we have enough money to buy the each a gun without a huge tax increase.

As for being an American or squatter? Applying a standard that one must agree to forgo free will when there is no need (beyond providing the government cheap labor and politicians like Charley Rangel an wedge for mining votes) is more in line with a communist or fascist mindset.

Sheesh ... I am as left as you get ... I think the war is wrong ... but Charlie Rangel is, as one of the trackbackers above put it, a jackass.

Compulsory military service is not a 'noble idea.' It is involuntary servitude, plain and simple. It is, in my opinion, a violation of the Thirteenth Amendment (though the Supreme Court has ruled otherwise).

Rangel is a lunatic. Democrats bring shame on themselves by not condemning him in the strongest way imaginable.


In 1971 the Selective Service law, otherwise known as "the draft" was still in effect so your recruiting office was correct. The draft was disbanded sometime around 1974-75. Being somewhat out of touch with the news of the day at the time, when I turned 18 in 1975 I tried to register for the draft and was sent a little post card by the Selective Service Administration saying they had gone out of business.

As far as Rangel's suggestion about reinstituting the draft, I suggest everyone refect seriously on the proposal rather than reacting negatively to the idea because it was evil Democrat Charles Rangel who suggested it. He is trying to make three points:

First, the current volunteer system unfairly places the burden of fighting and dying for the country on the poor and working class, especially African Americans and Hispanics. I do not know if this is, in fact, the case and would love to see some empirical data that breaks down the demographics of the armed services. However, I have a hard tme believing that it is a burden that is equally shared across communities and socio-economoic strata.

Second, it would be less likely that the US government would engage in wars of choice such as Iraq if law makers and citizens had a a direct stake in the conflict in terms of the possible sacrifice of life and/or limb of their immeidiate family. I doubt the reestablishment of some form of selective or national service would, by itself, produce Rangel's desired outcome. Both Germany and France had conscripted armies well before the First World War and that did not impede their march to mutual and senseless slaughter in the least.

Third, the health of the nation as a republic depends upon the willingness of its citizens to contribute to the common good through a period of national service. There is nothing inherently communist or totalitarian about this idea, Gina. Indeed, it is one of the core beliefs of a strand of Western political thought called "civic republicanism" (that's small "r" republicanism)that was widely shared by the Founding Fathers. The benefits of national service, as Lisa points out, are several: 1)shared sacrifice for the good of the nation; 2)enhancement of the character of our citizens as they personally expereince the shared fate of their selves and the nation; and 3)and the greatest defense any nation can have, the equal responsibility and shared committment of the citizenry to lay their lives on the line for their country.

Libertarians hate this idea because they view it as an intrusion upon individual liberty and choice. Well, it is. But the whole point of national service is that citizens have a moral obligation to something greater than their own self-interest.

There may not be anything communist or totalitarian about citizens contributing for the common good through national service, but that changes when the service is a condition of citizenship. Even if this were a good idea, 1) How do we plan to pay for the 10 million citizens who will be employed at any one time 2) Since we will have 10 million citizens forced into service, what do the career military types plan to do for a living, or are we planning to keep all of the career military types PLUS the 5 illion new recruits each year (for a total of 10 million since the new recruits will be in place for 2 years).

I really can't get over this. Does this mean you're going to burn your draft-card, like some 60s hippie?

What if Bush keeps us in Iraq until '09, and McCain is elected, and *he* keeps us in Iraq until who knows when? The services are already stretched thin, and their recruiting is way down. What happens when the war you believe needs to be fought, doesn't have enough volunteer troops to fight it?

Forget for a moment that Charles Rangel called for the military draft to be reinstated.

How serious is the threat of Islamic terrorism to the United States?

Many supporters of the Iraq war say it is very serious and that this could be a long war lasting decades.

Right now the U.S. military is sending its soldiers, including reserve units, back to Iraq for second and third tours.

One can argue the merits of a volunteer versus a conscripted army but if this will indeed by a long war, and President Bush is serious about winning the Iraq war, a military draft is inevitable.

it is my most humble opinion, that we are heading headlong into a second revelotionary confligration. when wiill we come to reason? that term limits must be put in place, so criminals such as these cannot establish a foot hold within the goverment!
no more than 2 terms in any office for any one position, a pocket watch, and a hearty hand shake for those who have forfilled their political asperations.
our forefathers and mothers would be getting very angry at this point.

While I oppose a draft of any sort (and I believe that the 13th amendment was adopted in part due to popular resentment to Lincoln's draft), there reason there is a shortage of people in the military in not because people don't want to be in the military.

There is a misconception. During WWII, less qualified people were accepted into the military than are accepted now. This isn't a slur on the people who served, it's just that the military had more relaxed rules than they currently do.

While the current military is stretched it's kept small because senior policy people (like Rumsfield) want a small military. From what I have been told, you cannot go active duty from the National Guard as an officer until you are a Major, so there isn't a shortage there (otherwise there wouldn't be such a restriction).

So what about the shortage of enlisted personnel? Once again, while the military wants more people to join, they are hampered by senior policy idiots who want a small military and would rather spend money on stuff that doesn't exist (and maybe never will).

There are contracts given to companies that never wrote commercial software, contracts given to companies to develop new rpg interception systems (rather than buying the one that Israel developed and tested) and other questionable products, meanwhile claiming that there isn't money for body armor, or personnel.

That's stupid.

But Rangel's proposal is insane. It puts people's lives at risk, I do not want some person forced to run around with live ammo and a grudge against authority. People will die if a draft goes into effect. Of course I doubt Rangel has a real conception of what people think, but heck a disconnect from reality is a requirement to be a successful politician.

Most of you guys sound like this development was unexpected.

You lack a healthy paranoia, possess a startlingly weak grasp of history, and suffer from the delusion that government isn't the avowed deadly enemy of all freedom-loving people everywhere.

It's frightening, really, because you are the steers that run fastest and longest and trample the most innocent when someone yells, "Stampede!"

The Thirteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution:

"Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

"Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

Charlie-boy is gonna need to repeal THAT obstacle, first...

I am all for the Draft being reinstated. It WILL curtail umpopular Warsa and it will institute a national pride on having served. It will benefit the nation as a whole rather a few. I served and I am proud of it.

Kommrad Rangel should do his two years of service first. Digging manure out of my barn at minimum wage and then tell everyone about his experience!

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