Congressman calls for mandatory military service
Recruits at the Marine Corps training facility in San Diego are part of the country’s allvolunteer military, which is being challenged by a proposal to reinstate the military draft.
WASHINGTON-Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., introduced a bill in Congress that would reinstate the military draft, saying he was concerned that “the burden of military service was being borne disproportionately by members of disadvantaged groups.” According to Rangel, who voted against a resolution supporting a war with Iraq, most members of Congress find it easier to vote for war when they know that their own children and loved ones won’t have to fight.
“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,” says Rangel, a Korean War veteran. “Those who love this country have a patriotic obligation to defend this country. For those who say the poor fight better, I say give the rich a chance.”
Most military representatives and members of Congress oppose the bill, which would make men and women ages 18 to 26 eligible for the draft. Exemptions would be allowed for high school graduation, but college students would still be drafted. Those deemed physically unfit for service would be asked to perform community service.
“We’re not going to re-implement a draft. There is no need for it at all,” says Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. “The disadvantages of using compulsion to bring into the armed forces the men and women needed are notable.”
Sources: cnn.com, The San Francisco Chronicle
Do you think military enlistment should be voluntary or mandatory? Explain. How would you feel about being drafted? Does the thought of you or one of your friends or siblings fighting in a war change your ideas about whether we should go to war with Iraq? Explain.
Do you agree with Rep. Rangel’s argument that the rich and powerful are all too eager to go to war because they know their sons and daughters won’t have to fight? If so, do you think that reinstating the draft would increase resistance to the war? Explain. If we did have a draft, who should be eligible? Men and women? What age range? What should qualify as an exemption? Are philosophical exemptions acceptable? For example, if someone is a committed pacifist, should he or she still be drafted and forced to fight a war? How might the government determine who qualified for philosophical exemptions?
Do you or any of your friends plan to enter the military? Why do you think young people join the armed forces? because of strong patriotic beliefs? because they can’t afford college? because it provides training and experience?
Scripture links: Numbers 1:2-3; Deuteronomy 20:5-9; 24:5; 2 Chronicles 25:5-8; and 2 Corinthians 10:1-5.
Copyright Group Publishing, Inc. Mar/Apr 2003
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