Slinging a smooth stone

by C.F. David

Oct. 20, 2004


You might feel a draft, if you're 18, and male

Both of the real candidates for president, (Ralph Nader only counts in his world) have been exchanging volleys about a possibility of reinstituting the draft.

Kerry swears President Bush will do it after the Inauguration, and the President denies it. But, what presidential candidate wouldn't? It's political suicide to have your name connected to the draft; unless you are Rep. Charles Rangel, (D-NY). Rangel, in Jan. of 2003 introduced a bill to bring back the draft with the idea of ...making the military more closely reflect the economic makeup of the nation.

I was drafted in 1966, and as I stood in that circle at the induction center, waiting to cough for a rubber-gloved medic, all I saw was faces much like my own, young men from rural areas of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma; there were Caucasians, Hispanics and Blacks, and we all looked nervous and apprehensive.

Rangel, a veteran of Korea, seems to believe that the rich should carry an equal load in military service. It's a noble thought, perhaps we just have the wrong war...or perhaps we just have citizens with a different sense of duty. Pat Tillman, an NFL football player joined the Army's Special Forces after 9/11 to fight the war on terror; he died in Afghanistan. But though a star safety, Tillman wasn't a super star on the level of Ted Williams, a Marine pilot in WWII and Korea, or actors James Stewart and Clark Gable. Where are the Williams, Stewarts and Gables today?

It seems that since WWII, we haven't been able to so readily unite behind our nation's military objectives; even with the horror of 9/11.

Much of that I assume has to do with what were, are and either were or perceived to be, wars of dubious cause and that were not sufficiently supported by our government itself. I never had the privilege to serve, though I tried but in the heat of the Vietnam peace movement had I been in uniform I would, I think, have been more upset by the apparent lack of support from my elected officials than from anything John Kerry or Jane Fonda had to say. The same goes for today. I could care less about Michael Moore and his little multimillion dollar movie. We are at war, that's for sure; like it or not. (And I think Iraq was a mistake, albeit a calculated one.) While we are there, those young men and women need all the equipment we can send. If they need a hammer, I don't really care if it costs $200, send it.

In my opinion right now, any congressman or senator who votes against a bill with military equipment in it is much more dangerous than Michael Moore, France or Germany.

As for the possible need for future troops, I have always felt a draft was a mistake. I favor an immediate two-year hitch for every citizen who graduates from high school or receives a GED (men and women). For those, such as myself who are considered unfit for military service; place them in the Peace Corps, or have them serve with the Red Cross; perhaps that service would satisfy Rep. Rangel.


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