Ran­gel vows to in­tro­duce draft bill as calls for troops rise

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Eric Pfeif­fer

The in­com­ing Demo­cratic chair­man of the House Ways and Means panel says he will in­tro­duce a bill to re­in­sti­tuteamil­i­tary­drafti­norderto pro­vide the U.S. with more troops, while Sen. John McCain con­tin­ued his call for in­crease of troop lev­els in Iraq.

Rep. Charles B. Ran­gel of New York first called for a draft in Jan­uary 2003, when Democrats were the mi­nor­i­ty­par­ty­in­both­hous­esofCongress. Now that his party con­trols Capi­tol Hill, he was asked Nov. 19 on CBS’“FacetheNa­tion”ifhe­wasstill se­ri­ous about the pro­posal.

“You bet your life. Un­der­score ‘se­ri­ous,’ ” he said.

“I don’t see how any­one can sup­port the [Iraq] war and not sup­port the draft,” said Mr. Ran­gel, al­lud­ing to Mr. McCain’s call for in­creased trooplevelsinIraqand­tothe­needto com­bat threats else­where in the world. “If we’re go­ing to chal­lenge Iranand­chal­lengeNorthKore­aand then, as some peo­ple have asked, to send­moretroop­stoIraq,we­can’tdo that with­out a draft.”

Mr. Ran­gel said his bill, which he will in­tro­duce again early next year, woul­dal­lowAmer­i­cansturn­ing18to choose be­tween sev­eral forms of na­tional ser­vice, in­clud­ing air­port se­cu­rity,or­job­sin­school­sand­hos­pi­tals.

Sen. Lind­sey Gra­ham, South Carolina Repub­li­can, said in his own “Face the Na­tion” ap­pear­ance that mil­i­tary con­scrip­tion was un­nec­es­sary.

“I think we can do this with an al­lvol­un­tary ser­vice, all-vol­un­tary Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy. And if we can’t, then we’ll look for some other op­tion,” said Mr. Gra­ham, who also serves as a re­serve judgetotheAirForceCourtofCrim­i­nal Ap­peals.

Re­peated polls have shown that about­sev­enin10Amer­i­can­sop­pose re­in­state­ment of mil­i­tary con­scrip­tion, and the Pen­tagon has long op­posed any draft. Out­go­ing De­fense Sec­re­tary Don­ald H. Rums­feld told Congress in June 2005 that “there isn’t a chance in the world that the draft will be brought back.”

Mean­while, Mr. McCain, Ari­zona Repub­li­can, con­tin­ued to call for in­creased U.S. mil­i­tary pres­ence in Iraq­tosta­bi­lizethe­coun­tryand­pre­vent what he de­scribed as a dire threat to U.S. na­tional se­cu­rity.

“You’ve got to ask your­self some ques­tions.One,arewewin­ning?And Ithink­thean­swerisno,”he­said­dur­ing an ap­pear­ance on ABC’s “This Week.” “The other is, what are the con­se­quences of de­feat?”

“Ibe­lievethe­con­se­quence­sof­fail­ureare­catas­trophic.Itwill­spreadto there­gion.YouwillseeIran­moreem­bold­ened,”saidMr.McCain,whotwo weeks ago formed an ex­ploratory com­mit­teeinad­vance­o­fa­likely2008 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. “We leave this place, chaos in the re­gion, and they’ll fol­low us home. So there’s a great deal more at stake here in this con­flict. In my view, a lot more.”

Mr.McCain­said­he­based­his­judg­ment partly on the writ­ings of Abu Mus­abZar­qawi,thealQaedainIraq lead­er­whowaskille­d­i­naU.S.air­raid in June, and of Osama bin Laden.

“The con­se­quences of fail­ure are so se­vere that I will ex­haust ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity to try to fix this sit­u­a­tion. Be­cause it’s not the end when Amer­i­can troops leave. The bat­tle­ground shifts, and we’ll be fight­ing them again,” Mr. McCain said. “You read Zar­qawi, and you read bin Laden. [. . . ] It’s not just Iraq that they’re in­ter­ested in. It’s the re­gion, and then us.”

ButMr.Ran­gel,aKore­anWarvet- eran,said­he­hope­d­his­mil­i­tary-draft bill would dis­cour­age law­mak­ers from vot­ing to au­tho­rize fu­ture mil­i­tary con­flicts.

“There’s no ques­tion in my mind that this pres­i­dent and this ad­min­is­tra­tion would never have in­vaded Iraq, es­pe­cially on the flimsy ev­i­dencethat­wasp­re­sent­ed­totheCongress, 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,” he said.

Mr. McCain, a Viet­nam War vet­eran,al­so­hast­woson­sin­mil­i­tary­ser­vice. His son Jack is cur­rently in the U.S. Naval Academy, while an­other son, James, en­listed in the Marine Corps this year.

In­com­ing House Ma­jor­ity Leader Steny H. Hoyer said there are in­suf­fi­cient troops avail­able for Mr. McCain’s sug­ges­tion.

“As­aprac­ti­cal­mat­ter,thereareno troops to in­crease with,” the Mary­land Demo­crat said dur­ing his ap­pear­ance on “This Week.” “Our ob­jec­tive was to re­move Sad­dam Hus­sein and cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment in which a democ­racy could be es­tab­lished. That has been done.”

Mr. Hoyer added that Democrats will con­tinue to fund the war de­spite their doubts.

“That’s not an op­tion, of not sup­port­ing our troops in the field and mak­ing­surethey’re­as­safeaswe­can make them,” he said.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Rep. Charles B. Ran­gel

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.