Letter: Pathetic scaremongering

By The Daily Illini

Wednesday’s issue of The Daily Illini featured a nauseating editorial by Eric Naing concerning the military draft. I’m certain that part of the motivation for this article originated from the “non-partisan” political hacks at Rock the Vote who egregiously spread this fallacy.

First of all, the article propagates the ludicrous notion that President Bush could institute the draft at his whim. Let me mention some facts for Mr. Naing’s edification: a draft bill must go through both Houses of Congress and cannot be proposed by the President. Are there such bills under consideration in Congressional committees? Yes, there are. One draft bill was introduced in the Senate by Democrat Senator Fritz Hollings, while the other was submitted by the always-bilious Chuck Rangel, House Democrat from New York, who introduced the bill in 2003 out of partisan motivations because he felt the burden of military service was not being spread evenly among the social classes. Both bills were politically motivated in part to rekindle the emotions of the Vietnam War. What happened to that House bill? While the bill managed to linger in the House for the past year and a half virtually unnoticed, it was justly crushed in the House of Representatives this week by a 402-2 vote, with Mr. Rangel voting against his own bill. Mr. Hollings’ bill also went unnoticed in the Senate and has absolutely zero chance of undergoing serious consideration. In reality, any bill advocating a military draft now or in the future would come under immediate and intense criticism by both Democrats and Republicans and would suffer the same fate as the House bill, never reaching the President’s desk.

I especially take issue with Mr. Naing’s “clarity” that “the possibility of a draft becomes almost certain” under a second Bush administration. Pathetic. Administration officials including the President and Secretary Rumsfeld have emphatically advocated only using volunteer troops to execute the war on terrorism. But since Mr. Naing has a natural distrust for this administration, his only substantive justification for his prediction is that the military cannot “continue at this pace” of troop deployments. But that argument operates under the invalid assumption that we will be operating at those levels because it neglects the fact that the U.S. and its allies are training Iraqi troops to do the jobs of American soldiers. To not even take this into consideration is negligent on his part. Also, with exception to the National Guard, the military has had no problem meeting its recruitment goals. This is certainly not a crisis to warrant draft talk.

What bothers me about editorials like Mr. Naing’s is that they pander to fears and not to reality. Because college kids immediately associate the draft with its most recent and controversial implementation during the Vietnam War, this is all part of a concerted effort by the anti-war crowd to turn the Iraq War into another Vietnam, which it is not in the least. Furthermore, by posting articles crafted in scare rhetoric and devoid of anything that represents reality, The Daily Illini helps poison the debate over the contentious Iraq issue.

Brett Lill

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