On Jan. 7 New York Representative Charles Rangel (D.) introduced
a bill to Congress to reinstate the draft. Under this bill,
the draft would apply to men and women ages 18 to 26. Current
high school students would be allowed to finish school, while
those in college would be forced to drop out and serve. Those
who cannot perform military service due to medical conditions
would be asked to perform community service instead.
According to CNN, Rangel’s proposal is focused on making Congress
reconsider military action against Iraq, as the draft would
include all able-bodied Americans, a group which contains the
children of congressmen and other government officials. He believes
that reinstating the draft would cause Congress to reconsider
strikes against Iraq as their own loved ones would be placed
The United States used the draft between 1948 and 1973. The
draft required all able-bodied men to serve their country in
times of war. It was most controversial during the Vietnam War
which lasted from 1964-1975. The fear of being drafted caused
a number of men to leave the country, particularly to Canada.
The Selective Service was activated in 1980. All young men between
the ages of 18 and 26 are required to register. This gives the
government a large list of names to call on should the United
States find itself in a state of emergency.
When the draft ended in 1973, the United States created the
all-volunteer military, which is still operating today. To draw
more interest in joining the military, the government has offered
many options such as money for college which can range to $30,000.
The military also offers job training in the technical, administrative,
and medical fields which has also helped to keep the numbers
of enlistees high.
The military also has a large pool of people to pull from,
which would make the draft unnecessary. Tours with the military
usually last between 4 to 8 years. This is followed by the same
number of years of inactive service called the Inactive or Individual
Ready Reserves (IRR). During the IRR phase of one’s military
contract, military personnel are released from active duty to
return home and may be called up again to serve in the case
of a national emergency.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld responded to Rangel’s
proposal by stating that the draft will not be re-implemented.
Rumsfeld went on to tell reporters that the military has had
no problem with attracting interested and qualified personnel
and the draft simply would not be necessary.
Sources: CNN.com, story.news.yahoo.com