Now That Election Is Over, Expect to See Conscription

by Greg Szymanski | americanfreepress.net | Jan 29, 2005

Complete article: http://dailydraftdispatch.org/05_02/04_rangel.html

Within a matter of weeks, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), plans to try and re-institute the military draft, saying the present voluntary system places an unfair burden of war among lower- and middle-class Americans while giving the rich a free ride from military service.

Rangel’s statements are unpopular among most lawmakers and government watchdog groups. But they came on one of the bloodiest days of the Iraq war with over 35 Marines killed, bringing the total military casualties to more than 1,400 with over 10,000 injured or maimed.

Although the liberal Democrat has been an outspoken critic of President Bush’s war policies, he said this week “the burden of war should be shared among all social groups,” including the children of the wealthy and privileged.

“Sometime soon Rep. Rangel is preparing to reintroduce legislation to reinstitute the military draft since he strongly feels everyone should share the burden of war,” said Emile Milne, Rangel’s press representative and legislative director Wednesday from his Washington office. “He is essentially reintroducing legislation that failed to gain support last session. However, this time around, I think, it has a better chance of passing.”

To Chomsky & Rangel: Now is the Wrong Time to Advance the Draft

by Tom Kertes | draftfreedom.org | Jan 18, 2005

Complete article: http://dailydraftdispatch.org/05_02/01_moral.html

Part of the problem we face in defining and using the draft issue to advance our cause is that we're uncertain over what the principled position on the draft is. Noam Chomsky and Charles Rangel have raised the complexity of draft opposition in their own ways. Chomsky by repeating his opposition to an "all-voluntary" army on the grounds that a citizen's army will better reflect the will of the people over the will of the few. Rangel brings up the injustice of a "volunteer" army made up more Americans of color and more working class citizens than it would under a fair draft. Both Chomsky and Rangel's concerns point to the fact that the US military is a mercenary force. As such, it poses more of a risk to republican government than would a drafted-military, since the soldiers in the current force are economically dependent on following orders. Soldiers who face poverty if ousted from the army are hard pressed to stand against army command.

Even Homer Nods: Chomsky and Conscription

by JACOB LEVICH | CounterPunch | February 4, 2005 | People

Against the Draft

complete text: http://dailydraftdispatch.org/05_02/04_respond.html

Noam Chomsky is so rarely wrong about anything that it feels impertinent to correct him. But his recent remarks on the draft, printed in CounterPunch (Feb. 2) [link], are in need of scrutiny, especially since they might give false comfort to people who rightly worry that a revival of conscription is in the cards.

Chomsky says the US is unlikely to reinstate the draft because of "the Vietnam experience," which was "the first time in the history of European imperialism [sic; he must have meant to include North America] that an imperial power tried to fight a colonial war with a citizens' army." He continues: "I mean the British didn't do it, and the French had the Foreign Legion in colonial wars, civilians are just no good at it. Colonial wars are too brutal and vicious and murderous. You just can't take kids off the street and have them fight that kind of war. You need trained killers, like the French Foreign Legion."

Chomsky has been saying this a lot lately, and consequently the notion that conscripts can't fight dirty wars has taken its place among the Top Ten left-of-center myths about the draft, right alongside "the draft is fairer to the poor and minorities" and (don't laugh) "the Establishment wouldn't support wars of aggression if they thought their children might get drafted." Because Chomsky is usually so reliable, a lot of good people seem to be swallowing his argument uncritically, which is why it calls for correction.

Tom Kertes

Project Lead

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