WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An influential Democratic lawmaker on Sunday called for reinstatement of the draft as a way to boost U.S. troop levels and draw a broader section of the population into the military or public service.
U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, the incoming chairman of the House of Representatives’ tax-writing committee, said he would introduce legislation to reinstate the draft as soon as the new, Democratic-controlled Congress convenes in January.
Asked on CBS’ “Face the Nation” if he was still serious about the proposal for a universal draft he raised a couple of years ago, he said, “You bet your life. Underscore serious.”
“If we’re going to challenge Iran and challenge North Korea and then, as some people have asked, to send more troops to Iraq, we can’t do that without a draft,” he said.
Rangel, who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq, also said he did not think the United States would have invaded Iraq if the children of members of Congress were sent to fight. He has said the U.S. fighting force is comprised disproportionately of people from low-income families and minorities.
“I don’t see how anyone can support the war and not support the draft. I think to do so is hypocritical,” he said.
The New York Democrat had introduced legislation to reinstate the draft in January 2003 before the Iraq invasion. The Pentagon has said the all-volunteer army is working well and there is no need for a draft, and the idea had no traction in the Republican-led Congress.
Why did Rangel originally introduce legislation to reinstate the draft in January 2003? Via CNN:
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Rep. Charles Rangel introduced a bill in Congress Tuesday to reinstate the military draft, saying fighting forces should more closely reflect the economic makeup of the nation.
The New York Democrat told reporters his goal is two-fold: to jolt Americans into realizing the import of a possible unilateral strike against Iraq, which he opposes, and “to make it clear that if there were a war, there would be more equitable representation of people making sacrifices.”
“I truly believe that those who make the decision and those who support the United States going into war would feel more readily the pain that’s involved, the sacrifice that’s involved, if they thought that the fighting force would include the affluent and those who historically have avoided this great responsibility,” Rangel said.
“Those who love this country have a patriotic obligation to defend this country,” Rangel said. “For those who say the poor fight better, I say give the rich a chance.”
Now that the Dems have control of Congress, his reasons, of course, have ‘evolved.’ How convenient.