Monday, November 20, 2006

"It may just be me, but I think I'm feeling a draft." - If we are to take the MSM at it's word, as exemplified by today's Chicago Sun-Times, Democratic Rep. Charles Rangel is making a full-throated call for reinstating compulsory military service. As the incoming chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, more attention is being paid to this particular call for the draft as opposed to when Rep. Rangel has done so in the past. Beyond the objections of most senior military and civilian officials, Mr. Rangel's interest in a draft seems to be directed, as the Sun-Times put it, to the end of "deter[ing] politicians from launching wars."

"There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way,'' Rangel said.
Surely Mr. Rangel is not possessed of a generic concern about all of the scion of the wealthy and powerful having the obligation of military service; one suspects that he is less concerned about Chelsea Clinton having the opportunity to serve as opposed to Jenna Bush.

Mr. Rangel's comments on the subject reveal much as to his motives.
They speak to a peculiar class consciousness that suggests that all war is illegitimate if the racial and socioeconomic makeup of those who fight are not proportionate to the population as a whole. This argument has always been a red herring. To begin with, of American institutions, it is the military that is most diverse in its recruitment and promotions - certainly more so than left-wing bastions such as academia, the media or the Congress itself.

But more significantly, this whole argument itself is undergirded by hypocrisy. Indeed, if any disparity exists between the composition of the military and that of the greater society, it is as much due to the actions and attitudes of the Left as it is to any sort of imaginary schemes on the part of right-wingers to oppress the poor. Simply put, the Left, as expressed by its favorite standard bearer, "loathes the military." A recent example of this antipathy is brought to us courtesy of the San Francisco Chronicle. In defending the San Francisco school board's rejection of JROTC, Sandra Schwartz
of the American Friends Service Committee commented, "We don't want the military ruining our civilian institutions." She went on to say, "In a healthy democracy ... you contain the military. You must contain the military."

The decision of the San Francisco school board is of a piece with the Ivy League's refusal to provide ROTC to students on their campuses, as well as counter-recruitment efforts taking place at high schools nationwide. All of this appears designed to reduce the appeal of the military as an option for high school and college students. But if young people with the wherewithal to choose from a menu of career paths are discouraged from military service, the military will be increasingly made up of people with fewer options.

By both resisting on-campus JROTC and ROTC and bemoaning the composition of America's military, the Left reveals its true agenda: namely, to negatively impact the military's ability to defend the country through attrition. Rather than worrying about "backdoor drafts," Americans should be troubled by a creeping backdoor pacifism.

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