EDITORIAL- Draft would ensure fairness &Peace

A Military Draft is mandatory to rebuild our shattered military

Do we really support the troops?

by Dave Patterson, SD Vet for Peace
Nov. 21, 2006

Once again Rep. Charles Rangel has demanded that we institute a military draft in America. As a member of Veterans for Peace I support this idea. Regardless of how Americans look at the war in Iraq , our troops are being crushed by a lack of manpower. The Army has had to lower it's recruiting standards to meet low numbers . Troops who have fulfilled their obligations are being forced to stay and return to Iraq. Citizens who have served their time and been released are being forced back to war. I met a marine last week who is being sent back to Iraq for his fourth tour of duty and I wonder how we can ask such a thing of our solders while we enjoy our football games and turkey dinners as if nothing has happened? Even in Vietnam a conscript was obliged to to go to war only once.

Where has the support for our troops gone? Three years ago Michael Moore, the movie producer, stood on a street corner in Washington D.C. facetiously asking the Congressmen if they would encourage their children to join the war in Iraq. Today he could be on any street corner in America asking any parent the same, and from most he would receive the same disdain that the Congressmen gave him. Real support for our troops does not consist of broken and oxidizing magnetic ribbons long since fallen from the bumpers of cars and not replaced. Many Americans who cheered for the war have now turned their backs when asked to personally sacrifice through military service or a war tax.

Despite the fact that I have 2 children, both of conscription age, I give Congressman Charles Rangel big points for stepping forward with the reality that we are destroying our volunteer military to wage a senseless war in Iraq. Fewer and fewer are joining because they know that Iraq is a mistaken war of choice. I challenge anyone who lends support for the Iraq war to backup their beliefs in one of three ways. First, if under the age of 27 join the military; your country needs you. Second, if over 27 demand that Congress enact conscription. Third, demand your congressional representative vote for a war tax. Even if those who supported the war have had a change of opinion, we are all still obligated to support our troops and pay for it.

Our military and our National security are weakening at an exponential rate, and we have little time to waste. We cannot expect executive leadership from the alleged "Commander in Chief" President Bush as he has never done more than pay lip service to supporting the troops and paying for the war. That is why our military does not now have the means necessary to maintain a viable force in the long term. Peace through strength will slip away unless we all demand change and commit ourselves to the task.

This is how Martin Luther King framed the issue. "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that".

In our haste for vengeance we have loosed the dogs of hell, and we cannot continue to ask a diminishing few good patriots to fight them alone.

Dave Patterson, President
The San Diego Veterans for Peace

"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," said Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.

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