Are you ready for the draft? I hope so because the Bush White House and the Pentagon sure are. Even as the election draws near they are working day and night behind the scenes to make sure the draft is ready to go just as soon as that pesky election thing is over. At least that is what certain people would have us to believe.
You have probably seen the CBS report on draft fears or read an e-mail which details the plan to set the draft in motion by 2005. This supposed draft would, among other things, get rid of the exemptions of college students. More specifically you might have seen the reference to two pieces of legislation calling for a new draft, House and Senate bills HR 163 and S 89, respectively.
What you probably didn’t see was that both bills are sponsored not by Republicans but by Democrats -Rep. Charles Rangel of New York and Sen. Ernest Hollings to be specific. Neither democrat is pro-war and in fact both see the Draft as a means to curb the nation’s involvement in conflicts.
Their reasoning is stated very clearly by Rep. Rangel: “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.” Incidentally, the Senate version of the Bill does not even have a co-sponsor and the House version was defeated by a vote of 402 to 2.
As if being bombarded by bogus misleading e-mails weren’t bad enough, you also have credible news organizations adding fuel to the fire. If you watched the CBS report on draft fears then chances are you saw the interview with Beverly Cocco. Beverly Cocco is an everyday house wife who is worried about the possibility of a draft. If by every day, CBS means the she was the president of an organization called “Parents Against the Draft,” then I guess that description is accurate.
CBS has since changed their Web site to include the new information, but the old version is still available in www.google.com’s internet cache if you would like to view it. Why an organization like CBS would do a story based partially off bogus e-mails and then also leave out relevant information about the sources used in the story is anyone’s guess.
Coincidently, it is also anyone’s guess how a draft would be the quickest way to get new troops. While the e-mail is correct when it states that it would take Selective Service only 183 days from the time the order came down to until the first conscripts receive training. It fails to mention that after the initial 183 days to get the ball rolling, the new conscripts would be in training for many months before they would be field ready. It would be much, much faster simply to call up more National Guard units. So far only 3 of the 38 Nation Guard units have been called to active duty and only 4 are currently being mobilized. The e-mail and the CBS story both dutifully report that if there was a new Draft, college students would not be exempt, but for some reason both fail to mention that the exemption of college students from the draft was removed over 30 years ago.
One of the reasons the draft bill legislation was introduced was to make the general public more aware of Democratic opposition to using of military force against Saddam Hussein. The fact that the draft issue comes up almost every year is a good indicator that, until now, the two bills have performed their job admirably. It’s a shame to see them now being used to provide ammo for baseless scare tactics in order to sway an election.
Daniel Watkins is a senior computer information sciences student from Hepzhibah, Ga. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.