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Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Rangel calls for draft: Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) writes in the NY Times today that Congress should reinstate the military draft. He says that neither the administration nor Congress would be in such a rush to go to war if their own children were likely to be involved (he says that there are only a few officers and one enlisted soldier currently in the armed forces who are children of members of Congress). Rangel is a dove who voted against the Iraq war resolution in October, so this is clearly a ploy to get the public more involved in opposing the war. I hope that it at least makes George W. Bush think about the prospect of having his twin daughters go through bootcamp: he wouldn't get any sleep at all! ("But Daddy, that awful man made me do pushups! (Sob.) And not only do I have to wear these horrible boots, I have to shine them! Do something, Daddy!") Six months stationed in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait might open their eyes a bit, too.

However, it's a high-stakes game. I'm guessing that the Bushies will downplay it, saying that "our all-volunteer military does a wonderful job and is quite capable of dealing with all of the challenges facing it." They might embrace it, though, thanking (i.e. blaming) the Democrats for introducing the idea, seeing it as a way to accelerate their plans for global empire. This would then put other Democrats in the awkward position that Rangel is trying to put Bush and the other Republicans in: seeming to be protecting their own children from military service by opposing the draft.

At this point, things are getting bad so quickly that this is probably a useful strategy: Rangel's bill will be hard to ignore, and if things go well it will mobilize a large portion of the country that has been either silent or stupidly flag-waving to this point.