Rantings of a Drunken Vet: Congressman Rangel is WRONG
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.
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.
CONGRESSMAN CHARLIE RANGEL, YOU ARE WRONG!
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