do you feel a draft?
"We need this and we are going to get it" - Paul Wolfowitz on Reinstating Draft, Fall 2003
"Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy." - Henry Kissinger
It has been 30 years since the lasttime an American entered the armed forces through the not-so-tender mercies of the draft, on June 30, 1973. The next time could be just around the corner, if President George W. Bush is re-elected.
No, no, no, a thousand times no, say the White House, the Pentagon and Congress. They insist they have no plans for a draft. In any case, take this to the bank: It will not happen before Nov. 2, 2004. Still, the rumors refuse to die, and it was the Pentagon itself that started the buzz.
Last month, on its anti-terrorism Web site, the Pentagon posted a plea for volunteers to serve on the draft boards and appeals boards that will decide whether men (current draft law does not affect women) can get deferments or exemptions. The law created the boards as an insurance policy, in case of an emergency need for more troops.
The Selective Service System - the civilian agency that registers men when they turn 18 for a possible future draft - had nothing to do with this announcement. But it did get a lot of applications for draft board membership as a result. (Hint: Opponents of war are also eligible to sit on these boards.) When the appeal created a flurry of stories, the Pentagon quickly took it off the Web.
There are currently bills in the Senate and in the House that, if passed, will make military service a requirement for all men, women (including college students) between the age of 18 and 25.
To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.
The Selective Service System has recently cranked up the local draft boards across America. In a notice that disappeared from a Defense Department Website after it started getting media attention [read more], the government asked citizens to join draft boards so that, in case military conscription returns, they can quickly start deciding that poor people go to war while children of the rich and powerful get to stay in the US.
"President Bush and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld won't go near the subject -- at least not on the record. But in November the Pentagon placed a notice on its Web site seeking "men and women in the community who might be willing to serve as members of a local draft board." Hmm. Why have draft boards if a draft is out of the question?"
"I found myself late this afternoon with my 15 year old son talking his learner's permit exam at the DMV. Imagine my surprise to see that all the examiner's cubicles have a hastily copied black and white sheet posted in them which reads: To All of our Customers Who are Male and Age 18 through 25: Effective November 3, 2003: ...Completion of this application will be considered as proof of your consent to be registered with the Selective Service System per the requirements of Federal and State Law. If you decline to register, your application for a driver license, learner's permit or ID card will be denied."
"Alaska men between 18 and 25, stand at attention: Selective Service registration will now be a requirement to get a Permanent Fund check."
Would a Second Bush Term Mean a Return to Conscription? Why Dodging the Draft Would Be Trickier Than You Think.
"Read this official budget carefully and you will see that Bush is gearing up the draft--there is no longer any doubt about it. Selective Service must report to Bush on March 31, 2005, that the system is ready for activation within 75 days. So on June 15, 2005, expect the announcement that the first draft lottery since Vietnam will be held for 20 year-olds."