Tuesday, October 05, 2004

What's This Whole Draft Business Anyway?

Very interesting how the rumor, widely spread over e-mail and on the Internet, that Bush will reinstate the draft in his second term just won't go away and is bedeviling Bush. Got to love it. Certainly Bush has denied that there would be a draft in a second term, but the fact that there are draft reinstatement bills currently lingering in both houses of Congress that no one seems to want to talk about married with the administration's tendency to treat the truth as an occasional plaything seems to be leading people to the conclusion that the reinstatement of the draft is secretly being planned by Bush & Co. Of course, the fact that Bush's brilliant Iraq plan is to "stay the course" doesn't help his cause since it is reasonable to question how he expects to maintain current troop levels when we constantly hear stories about how thinly the military is stretched, the redeployment of troops from around the world and allies dropping out of the coalition of the willing like flies. This draft issue is actually something that Kerry has managed quite well. He's subtly suggested that it would be an option under Bush and has stated unequivocally that under a Kerry/Edwards presidency there will be no reinstatement of the draft.

Kerry addressed the issue in Iowa today:
I've never said they're going to have a draft. I've said I don't know what they're going to do. I know what I'm going to do. I'm going to pursue a policy that guarantees we don't have a draft.
And thanks to the last two weeks, people know what Kerry's Iraq policy is -- he's the only one talking about bringing allies to the table to lighten our load AND he's the only one talking about an end to the war and getting our troops home. To listen to Bush, you get the sense that he envisions an indefinite significant troop presence. And according to the AP, the association with Bush has apparently fired up young people to get active, register and vote Democrat.

What's funny about all of this is that the House draft bill was sponsored by Charlie Rangel, a Democrat.

An outspoken critic of the war, Rangel originally proposed the reinstatement of the draft as a sort of protest against the fact that the armed forces are disproportionately made up of kids from the poor and minority communities. The idea being that if the rich white men who planned these wars had to send their own kids, how quickly the war would end.

The Republican leadership brought the bill to the House floor today to be voted on without any debate or hearings, hoping to quash the issue once and for all. There's no risk to bringing it up for a vote since nobody in their right mind will vote for it on either side of the aisle. Even Rangel is going to vote against it and urges all Democrats running for re-election to do the same. But it may be a little too little a little to late to repair damage done to Republicans. Could the teflon party finally have taken a bullet? Will this vote be the end of the issue or have Democrats finally outfoxed the foxes? Any other suggestions for mixing my metaphors are welcome.


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