Home > military, politics > Do You Feel a Draft?

Do You Feel a Draft?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006, 05:03 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Desperate times call for desperate measures, and many people believe that the situation in Iraq has become desperate. But what U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel hopes to gain from reintroducing legislation to bring back the military draft is unclear.

Here’s what Rangel says he hopes to gain:

“There’s no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm’s way,” Rangel said.

If Rangel thinks the current all-volunteer services (adults from age 18 up to their 50s, not “kids” as Rangel condescendingly calls them) somehow shield “regular Americans” and the affluent from the dangers of war, he doesn’t know much about today’s armed services. For starters, enlistees are required to have at least a high school diploma or G.E.D.—something the poorest of the poor are much less likely to have—and officers almost always have a college degree. That is the general reality. If you look at the specifics, the individuals who have actually died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan really are a socioeconomic cross-section of America.

For example, 57 service members from my state of Massachusetts have died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. I was able to identify the home cities or towns of 53 of them. The median household income in those cities and towns runs the gamut compared to the median household income statewide, from 46% lower than the state median to 74% higher. Thirty of those deceased service members—more than half—came from communities whose median household income was higher than the statewide average.

Now perhaps this isn’t the way it is where Charlie Rangel lives. Maybe affluent New Yorkers really do sit on their pampered asses, expecting those less fortunate to do what they don’t have the stones to. But the rest of the country is much less selfish.

This little publicity stunt, of course, will go down in humiliating defeat, just as Rangel’s last attempt did. Even the leadership of his own party doesn’t support him.

Categories: military, politics
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