FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Notes on Charlie Rangel, Shared Sacrifice and the Draft

 

Democrats head toward the 2004 election facing any number of problems. Various factions of the party jostling for the Presidential nomination. A House majority leader described by one of my readers as “having had the Botox take hold of her brain.” As senior a figure as Representative Rangel believing that advocating military conscription will somehow result in a poll bounce.

On the surface, the recent Rangel media blitz seems almost purposefully disingenuous. The phrase “shared sacrifice” brims with such schmaltz that Tom Brokaw would dismiss it as overdone were he still alive. Given that virtually everyone willing to speak on the record crafts coherent arguments against Rangel’s proposal to reinstate the draft, it seems just a tad suspicious that Rangel has gotten as much face time as David Frum and the Raelians combined in the last couple of weeks. Why so much play for a proposal dismissed by Rumsfeld and others as unworkable and directly counter to what is widely touted as an increased specialization in the armed forces?

Still more questions. Assuming that Rangel’s proposal were to pass, and the nation was blessed with another million or two active duty soldiers, what tasks would they undertake? Increased collaboration between the military and civilian law-enforcement in police actions? Occupation of Burkina Faso? Rangel demurs from addressing specific applications of this increased federal manpower. It’s telling that no one interviewing him, to my knowledge, has asked the Congressman what all these young, strapping lads and lasses are intended to do with their munitions.

So, why the Rangel push for bringing back the draft, when it’s so repellent to both the Defense Department and members of his own party such as Senator John Edwards? Even as a Swiftian reaction to the so-called poverty draft that stocks the military with folks lacking better career options, the New York Democrat’s proposal falls flat. It’s impossible to accept Rangel’s suggestion that conscription would lead to a more humane, less war-mongering foreign policy. Conscription is what it looks like on the surface; yet another blatant attempt to increase federal power.

Does Rangel hope to outflank the Defense Department to the “right” on this issue? That would be a dangerous game, if it weren’t so quixotic. Rangel will take fire for a draft proposal that is unworkable in the current climate, allowing Rumsfeld’s gang to come off as moderate voices of reason. The real fun on this issue will be seeing which of the Congressman’s colleagues will support this initiative. Imagine the irony when Corrine Brown, a Florida Congresswoman who once told SPY magazine how we could improve our foreign policy toward Freedonia, comes out in favor of this draft. Never mind what country we’re going to invade with these “sacrifices”. Just get them into the service and let boot camp sort them out.

ANTHONY GANCARSKI’s first published book is UNFORTUNATE INCIDENTS [2001, Diversity]. He welcomes emails at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com.

 

More articles by:

ANTHONY GANCARSKI is a regular CounterPunch columnist. He can be reached at Anthony.Gancarski@attbi.com

Weekend Edition
February 15, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Matthew Hoh
Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies
Chris Floyd
Pence and the Benjamins: An Eternity of Anti-Semitism
Rob Urie
The Green New Deal, Capitalism and the State
Jim Kavanagh
The Siege of Venezuela and the Travails of Empire
Paul Street
Someone Needs to Teach These As$#oles a Lesson
Andrew Levine
World Historical Donald: Unwitting and Unwilling Author of The Green New Deal
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Third Rail-Roaded
Eric Draitser
Impacts of Exploding US Oil Production on Climate and Foreign Policy
Ron Jacobs
Maduro, Guaidó and American Exceptionalism
John Laforge
Nuclear Power Can’t Survive, Much Less Slow Climate Disruption
Joyce Nelson
Venezuela & The Mighty Wurlitzer
Jonathan Cook
In Hebron, Israel Removes the Last Restraint on Its Settlers’ Reign of Terror
Ramzy Baroud
Enough Western Meddling and Interventions: Let the Venezuelan People Decide
Robert Fantina
Congress, Israel and the Politics of “Righteous Indignation”
Dave Lindorff
Using Students, Teachers, Journalists and other Professionals as Spies Puts Everyone in Jeopardy
Kathy Kelly
What it Really Takes to Secure Peace in Afghanistan
Brian Cloughley
In Libya, “We Came, We Saw, He Died.” Now, Maduro?
Nicky Reid
The Councils Before Maduro!
Gary Leupp
“It’s All About the Benjamins, Baby”
Jon Rynn
What a Green New Deal Should Look Like: Filling in the Details
David Swanson
Will the U.S. Senate Let the People of Yemen Live?
Dana E. Abizaid
On Candace Owens’s Praise of Hitler
Raouf Halaby
‘Tiz Kosher for Elected Jewish U.S. Officials to Malign
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Deceitful God-Talk at the Annual National Prayer Breakfast
W. T. Whitney
Caribbean Crosswinds: Revolutionary Turmoil and Social Change 
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Avoiding Authoritarian Socialism
Howard Lisnoff
Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Anti-immigrant Hate
Ralph Nader
The Realized Temptations of NPR and PBS
Cindy Garcia
Trump Pledged to Protect Families, Then He Deported My Husband
Thomas Knapp
Judicial Secrecy: Where Justice Goes to Die
Louis Proyect
The Revolutionary Films of Raymundo Gleyzer
Sarah Anderson
If You Hate Campaign Season, Blame Money in Politics
Victor Grossman
Contrary Creatures
Tamara Pearson
Children Battling Unhealthy Body Images Need a Different Narrative About Beauty
Peter Knutson
The Salmon Wars in the Pacific Northwest: Banning the Rough Customer
Binoy Kampmark
Means of Control: Russia’s Attempt to Hive Off the Internet
Robert Koehler
The Music That’s in All of Us
Norah Vawter
The Kids Might Save Us
Tracey L. Rogers
Freedom for All Begins With Freedom for the Most Marginalized
Paul Armentano
Marijuana Can Help Fight Opioid Abuse
Tom Clifford
Britain’s Return to the South China Sea
Graham Peebles
Young People Lead the Charge to Change the World
Matthew Stevenson
A Pacific Odyssey: Around General MacArthur’s Manila Stage Set
B. R. Gowani
Starbucks Guy Comes Out to Preserve Billionaire Species
David Yearsley
Bogart Weather
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail