Rantings of a Drunken Vet: Congressman Rangel is WRONG

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Excuse my absence as of lately, but a few days off from work and watching Charlie Rangel show up on the news again has gotten me over my writer's block. (Sorry Joe, I hate to see you fight alone, but I'm clueless until I get drunk and ticked off...)

Let me begin by saying Congressman Rangel is a Korean War Veteran who served America honorably in a time of war, and for that, he has my utmost respect. I don't intend my following criticism of his positions to degrade him personally, and especially not his service and sacrifice, in any way.

He's been in the news lately for his recent characterization of Saddam's hanging as a "lynching", and I've got plenty of disagreement on that, which I hope to get to later. What's been bothering me for a while now about Congressman Rangel is his calling for the reinstatement of the draft.

I'm split 50/50 on the draft issue. I've been in the Army almost 9 years now, with over 5 of that on active duty. I like being part of a volunteer force. Those who join us, for the most part, do so for the right reasons, and no one has twisted their arms to get them in. On the other hand, I think a draft would do America some good. I observe the American public every day, and I see that the majority of Americans have no understanding of the sacrifice that has been made for the freedom we enjoy.

Congressman Rangel has called for the draft as a matter of protest against the war in Iraq. He's wrong. I won't argue against a draft, but I will argue against a draft that is used to protest a war. The Congressman disagrees with the current action in Iraq, and he's made that no secret. I won't claim to know his true intent in calling for a draft, but his statements make me angry.

Here is the full text of Congressman Rangel's position on the draft.

Let me pick apart some of his words here:

I've been there, I've done that. I've had a Mountain Dew in the middle of a "combat zone".

BUT...here's what Congressman Rangel has to say about the whole thing.

Those who do the fighting have no choice; when the flag goes up, they salute and follow orders.

BULLSHIT. Come say that around me and my buddies and we'll see if "old age and treachery" really beats "youth and skill." Say what you want about the motivation for our service...leave my flag out of it.

So far, more than 2,800 have died and 21,000 wounded. They are our unrecognized American heroes.

Unrecognized by you, Congressman. Those of us who have had the privilege of knowing some of them will recognize them forever.

In New York City, the disproportionate burden of service on the poor is dramatic. In 2004, 70 percent of the volunteers in the city were Black or Hispanic, recruited from lower income communities such as the South Bronx, East New York, and Long Island City.

Dramatic? What does that mean? Why does it matter to you what color these Americans happened to be? Why would you degrade the honor these people have earned because of their ethnic or racial background? What the hell?! WE ALL BLEED RED. You, of all people, ought to know that, Congressman.

If Abizaid [General John Abizaid, US Central Command] is right, increasing troop strength will mean dipping further into the reserves and national guard units which are already carrying an unfair burden of multiple deployments.

Unfair burden, Congressman? What do you know about that? I'm a National Guardsman since 2000, I've done ONE overseas tour. One of my best friends from the 10th (an active division), is almost done with tour TWO. Another friend of mine got out of the 82nd (another active division) over a year ago. He did THREE tours. Tell me where the unfairness to Guardsmen and Reservists is, Congressman Rangel.

On a side note, General Abizaid is an American of Lebanese descent. Would that make him more underprivileged in your eyes, Congressman? Does that make his service less honorable? I've served under him twice, so don't even bother to answer that, you'll just piss me off even more.

These facts lead me to ask anyone who supports the war how can they not support the military draft when the growing burden on our uniformed troops is obvious, and the unfairness and absence of shared sacrifice in the population cannot be challenged.

Are these "facts" based on your asking of us uniformed troops who are reenlisting in record numbers? Is your opinion based on a poll of the military?

If this war is the threat to our national security that the Bush Administration insists it is, then the President should issue a call for all Americans to sacrifice for the nation's defense. If there must be a sacrifice, then the burden must be shared fairly.

I've chosen my past and future fate because I believe in America and I believe the President has acted honorably on America's behalf. As for a burden shared fairly? I've fought so that others wouldn't have to do so in my place. This has been MY choice.

That is why I intend to reintroduce legislation to reinstate the military draft, making men and women up to age 42 eligible for service, with no exemptions beyond health or reasons of conscience. I believe it is immoral for those who insist on continuing the conflict in Iraq, and placing war on the table in Iran and North Korea to do so only at the risk of other people's children.

Everyone up to age 42? No exemptions beyond health or reasons of conscience? Sorry if I'm misunderstanding you, but it sounds to me like you are suggesting those of us already in the service cannot complete the job.


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Had Enough said:

Since the draft ended and clinton make massive cuts in the military along with dozens of base closures I have believed it was a mistake. Rule One: Never let your guard down.

Now bush has lowered the standards for enlistment which allows people who would have never been considered in the past. We have non-citizens joining (quick path to citzenship in a year) and there have been some illegal aliens who successfully joined. However, many illegals are turned away daily. Illegals are supposed to register with the selective service at 18 years old, service would be voluntary if they are called

To lower the standards which includes criminal records, medical, etc. to meet quotas is a disgrace to the qualified and over qualified that must work side by side with these people. As it stands you have top tier and bottom tier, nothing in between.

Alot of the young people of this generation have a sugar-coated, materialistic and in some cases spoiled and selfish have everything, want more, we owe them something life and attitude. I also believe that a few years of service, discipline and a different view of the world other than looking through rose-colored glasses while driving daddy's BMW or playing computer games may give them a sense of appreciation for everything they take for granted. If the doctor, fireman or neighborhood cop in the reserves can be called, their peers should also serve along side them.

This country was not in this shape through the years including WWII or Korea, for the most part we were a country of responsible, hard-working people who looked out for each other and the country. Viet Nam was different, nixon, scandals, and there is not enough time for the rest.

As a country we should have never down sized our military and put national security in jeopardy. bush never should have lowered the standards which in turn puts our service members in jeopardy. We need to get back strength, confidence, security and structure in this country. We should not be sending the mothers of infants to war zones with M-16's.

Finally, I believe that China is a greater threat to this country than Russia ever was. So when China takes us over economically and in other ways and they team up with India who is taking us over technically and writing all of our computer programs (takes just a code or two) to sabotage the country and iran meeting in south america. Thousands of people from all over the world pouring over our borders daily attempting to blend in for whatever reason they came or were sent here, our troops are guarding the borders of a country that we never should have been in war with to begin with. mexico is filling us with drugs so that alot of us don't even know what the hell is going on . How disturbing and sad.

It is time to get back to the basics.

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man said:

Jesus, is it ever a bad idea to go to war?

No Relation said:

Poofy- I don't believe I said anything about what's a good war and what's not.

H.E.- I agree with you a draft would do America some good. I won't argue for or against a draft...but I really have a problem with Congressman Rangel's motivation in calling for it.

Dean Settle said:

I am not Jewish, nor do I have a stake in anything Israeli...but I do have to admire a country that has mandatory 2 year service for every member of the population regardless of sex.
EVERYBODY there has a proper understanding of what is entailed in defending their country...because they've done exactly that.

Instead of hanging out somewhere in NYC or Hollywood and running their mouth about things they could never possibly understand.

This is a great post, NR ( and by da way, congrats on da Bears).

I feel the exact same way about Rangal's very cynical proposal. Not necessarily a bad idea ... but for his reasons a very bad idea.

But, I can't really talk on the topic because I never served. I can't give a specific reason except to say in 1979 the possibility never appeared on my radar. My concept of war at the time was guys sitting behind desks pushing buttons and blowing up continents, and it's only relation to me was whether I decided to live in a lead-lined hole in the ground or not.

I have read that the draft, versus the volunteer military, created a number of problems that many of those currently in the service would not like to revisit. At the same time, it seems pretty amazing that with a population the size of the U.S., the size of our armed forces is so small relative to other countries' (like North Korea).

As H.E. notes, we are spending a LOT less on our military than we did in 1990. I think this has much to do with the personnel shortage we keep hearing about.

Jack said:

Joe, there is a difference between a draft, such as the U.S. had, and mandatory service, as in Israel and Switzerland. A major problem with the draft was the randomness and unfairness of it. With mandatory service, there are no deferrments -- you may go to college AFTER you serve.

Jack, good point, thanks for clearing that up.

No Relation said:

I would also like to add that millions of draftees have served America honorably in the past and deserve every bit of thanks that a volunteer does, if not more.

Yes, definitely.

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