First Order of Business for Democrats: The Draft

On January 8th of 2003, Congressman Charles Rangel [D—NY] began an extensive campaign to bring back the military draft. He repeatedly submitted legislative bills to begin a military draft and compel all American men and women up to the age of forty—two to serve two years of military service. Under the Republican—controlled Congress, such bills went down to defeat.

One of the few notable supporters of the draft was Congressman John Murtha [D—PA]. Congressman Murtha reportedly is preparing to campaign to take over the highly influential position of House Majority Leader. Congressman Rangel is set to take over the House Ways and Means Committee. Two proponents of a military draft will most likely take over two key leadership positions in the new Democrat—contolled House. Surely they were not lying to America when they proposed a draft? They would not make such a serious proposal for a mere political cheap shot, would they?

As recently as last February of 2006, Rangel once again introduced draft legislation. In a press release he stated,

"Every day that the military option is on the table, as declared by the President in his State of the Union address, in Iran, North Korea, and Syria, reinstatement of  the military draft is an option that must also be considered, whether we like it or not," Congressman Rangel said.  "If the military is already having trouble getting the recruits they need, what can we do to fill the ranks if the war spreads from Iraq to other countries?  We may have no other choice but a draft."   

Congressman Rangel says that the requirements of continued war in Iraq would necessitate a draft. Thus it is important to determine whether the new democrat controlled congress will continue the fighting or change course and withdraw US forces from Iraq.

Now that the Democrats are in control of the House and the Senate, a review of their previous policy decisions on the Iraq war will be an important indicator of  where the new Democrat Congressional leadership will take the direction of the war. Despite many promises among Democratic incumbents and Democrats to disengage in Iraq, in June of 2006 Senate Democrats overwhelmingly rejected a bill to lay a time table for troop withdrawal from Iraq.

The bill was written by Senator Kerry with only six Democrats voting for the withdrawal. It should also be noted that nearly half of the Congressional Democrats voted for the war in 2002. In late 2005, many Democrats in the House voted against proposals for both an immediate withdrawal and a time table. Considering recent history, the Democrats are unlikely to take a position of disengagement.

As such, it is possible that Congressman Rangel's latest draft proposal will come up for consideration in the House. With Murtha riding heard over the Democrats, he may well push them to approve Rangel's draft legislation submitted earlier this year. Rangel and Murtha both served in the military at time of war in Korea and Vietnam respectively. The draft was in effect at the time each man was in the military. Both have called for it publicly or submitted legislation. How long can it be until they get what they asked for now that they are in charge of the House?

According to a press release from the new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D—CA) we can expect an escalation in fighting in Afghanistan. Congresswoman Pelosi said in a press release just a few weeks ago,

 'President Bush's failure to finish the job against terrorism in Afghanistan before launching his ill—advised invasion of Iraq has made the lives of the Afghan people more difficult and the American people less safe.  The war against terrorism is in Afghanistan, and unless the President makes winning that war an immediate priority, the risks to the security of the United States will continue to grow.'

Clearly the new Speaker intends to increase troop strength in Afghanistan. She should find support in senior Senator John Kerry (D—MA) who stated in September of 2006,

"When did denying al—Qaida a terrorist stronghold in Afghanistan stop being an urgent American priority?" Kerry said. "How is it possible that we keep sending thousands of additional U.S. troops into the middle of a civil war in Iraq but we can't find any more troops to send to Afghanistan?"

Since no Republican voted for the draft when it was submitted previously it is likely President Bush will veto the measure the next time it comes up for a vote. It does not seem likely that the Democrats will be able to overcome a veto despite the calls to expand the war in Afghanistan and refusals to approve withdrawal from Iraq.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether the Democrats will bring to the table now what they called for under a Republican Congress.

Ray Robison is the proprietor of Ray Robison: Pointing Out the Obvious to the Oblivious, and an occasional contributor to American Thinker.

On January 8th of 2003, Congressman Charles Rangel [D—NY] began an extensive campaign to bring back the military draft. He repeatedly submitted legislative bills to begin a military draft and compel all American men and women up to the age of forty—two to serve two years of military service. Under the Republican—controlled Congress, such bills went down to defeat.

One of the few notable supporters of the draft was Congressman John Murtha [D—PA]. Congressman Murtha reportedly is preparing to campaign to take over the highly influential position of House Majority Leader. Congressman Rangel is set to take over the House Ways and Means Committee. Two proponents of a military draft will most likely take over two key leadership positions in the new Democrat—contolled House. Surely they were not lying to America when they proposed a draft? They would not make such a serious proposal for a mere political cheap shot, would they?

As recently as last February of 2006, Rangel once again introduced draft legislation. In a press release he stated,

"Every day that the military option is on the table, as declared by the President in his State of the Union address, in Iran, North Korea, and Syria, reinstatement of  the military draft is an option that must also be considered, whether we like it or not," Congressman Rangel said.  "If the military is already having trouble getting the recruits they need, what can we do to fill the ranks if the war spreads from Iraq to other countries?  We may have no other choice but a draft."   

Congressman Rangel says that the requirements of continued war in Iraq would necessitate a draft. Thus it is important to determine whether the new democrat controlled congress will continue the fighting or change course and withdraw US forces from Iraq.

Now that the Democrats are in control of the House and the Senate, a review of their previous policy decisions on the Iraq war will be an important indicator of  where the new Democrat Congressional leadership will take the direction of the war. Despite many promises among Democratic incumbents and Democrats to disengage in Iraq, in June of 2006 Senate Democrats overwhelmingly rejected a bill to lay a time table for troop withdrawal from Iraq.

The bill was written by Senator Kerry with only six Democrats voting for the withdrawal. It should also be noted that nearly half of the Congressional Democrats voted for the war in 2002. In late 2005, many Democrats in the House voted against proposals for both an immediate withdrawal and a time table. Considering recent history, the Democrats are unlikely to take a position of disengagement.

As such, it is possible that Congressman Rangel's latest draft proposal will come up for consideration in the House. With Murtha riding heard over the Democrats, he may well push them to approve Rangel's draft legislation submitted earlier this year. Rangel and Murtha both served in the military at time of war in Korea and Vietnam respectively. The draft was in effect at the time each man was in the military. Both have called for it publicly or submitted legislation. How long can it be until they get what they asked for now that they are in charge of the House?

According to a press release from the new Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (D—CA) we can expect an escalation in fighting in Afghanistan. Congresswoman Pelosi said in a press release just a few weeks ago,

 'President Bush's failure to finish the job against terrorism in Afghanistan before launching his ill—advised invasion of Iraq has made the lives of the Afghan people more difficult and the American people less safe.  The war against terrorism is in Afghanistan, and unless the President makes winning that war an immediate priority, the risks to the security of the United States will continue to grow.'

Clearly the new Speaker intends to increase troop strength in Afghanistan. She should find support in senior Senator John Kerry (D—MA) who stated in September of 2006,

"When did denying al—Qaida a terrorist stronghold in Afghanistan stop being an urgent American priority?" Kerry said. "How is it possible that we keep sending thousands of additional U.S. troops into the middle of a civil war in Iraq but we can't find any more troops to send to Afghanistan?"

Since no Republican voted for the draft when it was submitted previously it is likely President Bush will veto the measure the next time it comes up for a vote. It does not seem likely that the Democrats will be able to overcome a veto despite the calls to expand the war in Afghanistan and refusals to approve withdrawal from Iraq.

Of course, it remains to be seen whether the Democrats will bring to the table now what they called for under a Republican Congress.

Ray Robison is the proprietor of Ray Robison: Pointing Out the Obvious to the Oblivious, and an occasional contributor to American Thinker.