In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist
What Does Charlie Want?

I think he wants either Bush out or the draft in.

Frank Schaeffer's most recent book is Baby Jack a novel about class, politics, service, God, the military, and the America of today---where a few are asked to give their lives while most are asked to sacrifice nothing. Here's what he has to say about, Charlie Rangel, the Draft, And Bush:

Charles Rangel is right to call for a draft. The present system is unfair. We don't really have an "all-volunteer" military. We have a recruited military and the recruiting is mostly done where it works, in other words in middle class and working class neighborhoods and from "legacy" families where someone is already in the military. Where recruiters usually don't bother going---and often aren't even allowed to go---is to elite private high schools and colleges.

The spirit of the Vietnam-era deferments has carried into the all-volunteer era. There is a subtle unstated, unplanned but nevertheless real collusion between the upper middle class, the military and the civilian government. Everyone is happy to leave things the way they are. The upper classes aren't asked to serve. The government doesn't have to spend money on expensive ROTC programs in top schools or fight to get recruiters on anti-military campuses.

No one has done more to perpetuate the recruiting status quo than President Bush. After 9/11 he asked our military to go to war. He asked the rest of us to travel, go on vacation and shop.

Following 9/11, like most Americans, I rallied behind our president. And I had a very personal stake in the success of the "war on terror." My youngest son was a Marine. I desperately wanted to believe in the man who held my son's life in his hands. My response to friends who spoke against Bush was basically; "Go to hell, how dare you criticize my son's commander while my beloved boy is in harm's way?"

Bush said we were in a "global war" then sent fewer soldiers to Afghanistan than there are cops in Manhattan. He let bin Laden get away with murder and let jihad-funding Saudi Arabia off the hook. Bush called two-faced, terror-sponsoring Pakistan an "ally" and then attacked Iraq. The Commander in Chief changed his "reasons" for war from eliminating weapons of mass destruction to "building democracy." Then---by not sending enough troops to Iraq, for the post-war "reconstruction" phase---he showed himself to be one of the most incompetent war leaders in American history. And throughout Bush has never asked his own class, the most privileged Americans, to step up.

Do you remember after 9/11 how we were so ready to do whatever was asked of us? What did President Bush NOT ask?

My fellow Americans we are at war. I am calling on every American of military-service-age to consider volunteering including those of you fortunate enough to be in our best private colleges or employed in highly paid jobs. The spirit of defending our democracy requires that Americans of all classes fairly share the sacrifice we must now make.

. . . . Our response to unprovoked aggression must involve every American. So I'm proud to tell you that my military-age children walked to a military recruiting office this afternoon and volunteered. We are all in this war together. . . .

Rangel was quoted as saying*:
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.
I think he is right.

We are now so used to the anti-democratic and immoral status quo where we ask some to give everything while most Americans are asked to give nothing, that I'll bet Rangel's bill doesn't stand a chance. If the leaders of both parties haven't even asked their own children and their own class to volunteer why would they support a draft?

The Democrats and Republicans are as frivolous in wartime as the nation they represent. Today the Democrat's idea of a good potential Commander in Chief is Barack Obama, a man who never served, has no international experience and whose "qualification" for the presidency is that he's spent about as much time in Congress as he has on Oprah. And the Republicans have given us Bush, a president who is so incompetent a war leader that tolerating his "leadership" is an immoral act. If the Republican Party cared about our troops they would be asking President Bush to resign.

And the rest of us are little better. We prove every day that we are unworthy of the sacrifice our troops are making. We're still driving terrorist-funding gas guzzlers. And we're still playing "red-state" "blue-state" gotcha-political games. If 9/11 didn't get our attention what kind of cataclysm will it take?


Vigilante said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Lil'Bill & Badger!!!

On Thanksgiving Day, I will feel in a thanking and giving mood because I will be surrounded my family and friends. The day after Thanksgiving, I will no longer feel thankful because it will be Bush's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI) that surrounds me and my family. . .

But I will still be in a giving mood. I'll be wanting to give Bush all the hell I can summon.

Indicted Plagiarist said...

The new Marine commandant, Gen. James Conway, has warned that it could take years to adequately train and equip the Iraqi security forces — longer, perhaps, "than the timeline that we probably feel ... our country will support."

He also suggested that the current stress on the Corps has adversely affected its future mission to serve the nation.


Recidivist said...

Tell Rangel there should be no deferments for Bush voters!

pekka said...

I love your thoughts! Of cource, it might have something to do that I share them with you often and in this instance completely.

Cyberotter said...

I think Charlie wants to enguage some of these yellow elephants on a parental motivation level. If they know their children have a part to play in this illeagle war they just might decide to end it before they have to pay the ultimate sacrafice. And I think its a smart move on his part.

LittleBill said...

What really galls me is that Bush is positioning himself as the noble and courageous leader who had the foresight to realize that we were surrounded by evil enemies, so he led us into a horrendous war, and he will ride triumphantly off into the spreading hell in 2008, maintaining that he had never surrendered, and that he hopes the president who follows will have the strength of will that he had.

LittleBill said...

I decided I haven't finished.

Of course, the evil enemies we are surrounded by were created by Bush himself. Just think of yourself in their position, and how different would your response be?

As for the casualties of these various and sundry Bush wars, just try to absorb the numbers currently roaring past us like a flood, both of our forces and of the enemy. The enemy forces have families also, and die just as horribly. The toll as described by the Bush Bunch is obviously hundreds of thousands more than they claim.

I heard most of his Thanksgiving speech today, so I want to catch the rest of you up on it if you unfortunately missed his golden words. In the words of Shakespeare, it was laden with great pith and moment. It was all about freedom and liberty (I'm not educated enough to catch the nuance of difference here) and the freedom and liberty to worship in freedom and liberty. Sorry if you missed it.

Indicted Plagiarist said...

Spare me.

Beach Bum said...

I would love to see a the draft restarted yanking in all the college age kids in my area that still support the "Global War on Terror". Local radio talk had plenty of them calling in whenever the topic is the war. Funnying thing is that I see no rush at the various recruiting stations in my area.
While many others in the armed forces have done more for this country than I did in my 21 years a far greater number in this country have done nothing but yet are very gung-ho to send others to fight. Given that, my family's obligation is done for a couple of generations and my son and daughter will sit the next few wars out. Call us if the Chinese are landing on the west coast though, other than that when the Frist, Bush, Cheney, Hannitiy kids to name a few start serving leave us alone.

Vigilante said...

A great statement!

Blogging4Food said...

Do something real for World Peace!

LittleBill said...

Beach Bum, you couldn't have said it better!

This is Sunday, 12/3/06. I understand that Nancy Pelosi is against a draft. I'm behind on my papers, but I'll be interested to find out why.

Messenger said...

Neal Brandvik relates the draft to peak oil :

"There are legitimate reasons for our false perceptions about terrorism. It may be thousands of years since we hunted dangerous, large beasts to survive but our fight or flight instincts still drive our fears. We are biologically wired to respond to immediate threats. Peak Oil and Climate Change are long-term, abstract threats while the constant danger of terrorism is immediate and instinctually feels much more urgent."

If the draft is to resemble a lottery, he suggests re-reading Shirley Jackson's The Lottery, but he will summarize it for you if you don't have time.