Draft rumors threaten both parties on election day 2004

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“If our nation is to go to war, it is only right that all Americans share in the sacrifice of war.” These were the words of Congressman Pete Stark of California on behalf of a bill that was introduced to the Senate and House involving a military draft. The purpose of this bill was to reinstate the draft as early as spring of 2005.

The bill stated that it was “to provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.”

It was presented to the House of Representatives as the H.R. 163, and to the Senate as the S89. The bill was titled the Universal National Service Act of 2003. The bill was first introduced and sponsored on January 7, 2003 by Sen. Ernest F. Hollings of South Carolina to the Senate Committee and was cosponsored by 14 other congressmen. It was read twice and then referred to the Senate Committee on Armed Services.

On the fifth of this month, the bill was defeated 402-2 in the House.

Rumors have been spread continuously throughout Washington D.C. and the rest of the nation that the Bush administration has been trying to push this bill through legislation. The Democratic campaign of Kerry and Edwards has told the public that there is a possibility of the draft being reinstated if Bush were re-elected.

Although when asked about the draft, Defense Secretary Ronald Rumsfeld said, “It’s absolutely false that anyone in this administration is considering reinstituting the draft.” President Bush said at the Okaloosa-Walton College in Niceville, Florida that “no, we’re not going – we don’t need the draft. Senator McCain and I agree on this issue for certain, the all-volunteer Army works.”

It has been a war of words between the Republicans and the Democrats involving this issue, let alone the upcoming election. Rumors, lies, and plans of deception have triggered a round of accusations toward the Bush administration concerning the draft. Representative Jim McDermott, Washington Democrat, told The Washington Times, “This issue is not going away. Nobody trusts them. …It’s pretty clear, if George Bush is re-elected, there is going to be a draft.”

Majority Leader Tom Delay, Texas Republican, told The Washington Times that the Democrats have started “rumor campaigns” that Republicans are planning to restart the draft and have “used the draft as a fear tactic to get people to vote against George W. Bush.” Kerry has mentioned several times on the campaign trail that “the possibility of a draft” under Bush is among his reasons that voters should support him.

After the House voted on the bill with a tremendous landside victory against the draft, Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, California Republican, told Democrats, “You’ve been caught in your own trap”, and told The Washington Times that the vote “may be the only way to put that to bed.”

Yet the Democrats still insist that it is the Republicans and the Bush administration that are trying to reinstate the draft. The Washington Times reported Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas Democrat, saying, “There is a secret plan for a draft.”

If the Republicans do have a “secret plan” for this draft, then why are the Democrats the only ones involved in trying to pass this bill. Rep. Ernest Hollings and all 14 of the congressmen who sponsored the bill were Democrats. After the vote was taken in the House, the two who voted for it were also Democrats.

Sen. John Cornyn, Texas Republican, told The Washington Times, “I hope that the president’s opponents who are now spreading such rumors will take this vote as a rebuke, and that it will bring an end to the unsubstantiated specter of a draft.”

Quite possibly the most disturbing fact of this issue is that Sen. John Kerry, who has lambasted Bush on his policies with Iraq, agrees with Congressman Pete Stark when he told WLVI’s “Keller at Large” during an interview that “if we had a need for a general mobilization at some time in the future, then I think [a draft] that’s the only fair way to do it.” On the other hand, Sen. Edwards, running mate of John Kerry said, “There will be no draft when John Kerry is president.”

Between the Republicans and the Democrats, as of right now, it is no longer a question of who is going to reinstate the draft, but rather who is making any sense during this controversy. How much sense does it make for the Democrats to say that the Republicans are for the draft, yet none of them voted for it and continue to oppose it? Even worse, how much sense does it make to say that your party is not for the draft yet they are the only ones who are sponsoring this bill and the only ones voting for it?

The Democrats seem to be having a difficult time lining up the facts between who is for the draft and who is against it. There seems to be a plague of indecision hovering over the Democrats, or maybe it’s just a simple case of the “flip-flops”.