Monday, November 20, 2006

Charlie Rangel Attacks Your Civil Liberties

When I first heard about it about a year and a half ago, I thought this miserable idea of Charlie Rangel's was a ploy based on his party being in the opposition, and Rangel's personal opposition to the war in Iraq- reinstate the draft.

I thought he meant to do this at that time because the draft is so unpopular and wrong as a spiterful means to ramp up opposition to wound Republicans.

No, it turns out Rangel thinks having a draft will deter politicians from waging wars. From the AP report:
"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," Rangel said.

Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War who has unsuccessfully sponsored legislation on conscription in the past, has said the all-volunteer military disproportionately puts the burden of war on minorities and lower-income families.

Oh, just like how the draft succesfully kept the poor and minorities out of Viet Nam, right?

Volunteerism is the only just method of forming a military. If the people judge a conflict to be unjust, they withhold their participation. Rangel's plan would take those who have no interest or inclination for military action and thrust them unwillingly into it. What kind of social justice is that?

When running for Secretary of State, I talked about how voting Democrat on the basis of having your civil liberties defended was a waste of your vote. Here's the proof.

It's so ironic for me, because I was a Democrat as a young man because then the Dems were strident in their opposition to the draft. On the trail, I also spoke about how the Republicans had moved away from their smaller government principles. Same is true of the Dems on this issue. Amazing that they can't even wait until they actually take the leadership before the alienate those who gave them a chance again. I'm sure this is only the first of many affronts.

Protect your civil liberties. Vote Libertarian!

Update: I changed the title of this post from Democrats Fail To Protect Your Civil Liberties after an exchange with Jeff Pruitt. Jeff showed me that Rangel's on an island on this one... which is a good place for him... and that's it's not fair to lump all Dems in with Rangel. He's right, so I changed it.


Andrew Kaduk said...

I love how the likes of Rangel are willing to look at a cigarette tax and call it a "poor tax" just based on the number of poor people that smoke. Now mind you, the percentage of poor people that smoke is roughly the same as the percentage of rich people who smoke, but since there are so many more poor people than rich ones, an increase in smoke taxes has always been coined a "poor tax" since by numbers alone, poor people would shoulder the majority of the tax. The fact that Rangel et al are willing to disregard this exact philosophy with respect to a military draft is comical at best. The odds of poor folks getting drafted would be much higher than those of their more affluent across-town neihbors simply by virtue of volume.

Rangel's draft-dragnet would pull in literally 100 poor kids for every "privileged" one...sounds like a lot of collateral damage just to prove a point if you ask me.

What a small, shallow man Rangel must be.

Jeff Pruitt said...

Why do you lump Rangel in with all Democrats? Yes, he is a member of the party but I'm not sure a single other congressional member agrees with him on this. I think it's unfair to lump the party in with Rangel on this issue...

Mike Kole said...

Two reasons I think it is fair:

1. Rangel is a leader among Congressional Democrats, having been named to a committee chair. Leaders speak for their party.

2. Unless and until another significant Democrat speaks against this idea, why would I draw any conclusion other than that the party agrees on a broad level?

For comparison, Mike Pence talked on about restraining spending, and Tom DeLay took him to the woodshed. We all knew right away that the Republican Party was not about restraining spending. Unless Nancy Pelosi wants the Democratic Party to be perceived as pro-draft, she should speak out against it.

Jeff Pruitt said...

That's ridiculous Mike. You KNOW the party doesn't support this. You could've found Nancy Pelosi's opposition if only you would've looked...

Mike Kole said...

Jeff- Thanks for pointing out the CNN article where Pelosi's opposition was actually the lead over the Rangel proposal.

Please consider this- If there's anything I learned after two years on the campaign trail all across the state, it's that Democratic and Republican candidates tend to say what plays at home, and party leadership keeps its trap shut until it feels it has to cut the loose cannon loose.

Good for Pelosi! That's gives me hope! Now- what can we do about Rangel?

Mike Kole said...

On a related issue, Pelosi talked about Rangel's draft position not being about the draft, but about 'shared sacrifice'.

Well, that's a bit of doublespeak. A draft is a draft is a draft. But my opposition to the draft, as a young man and through today, is the forced nature of it. The competing idea of conscripted national service, championed by both Ds & Rs, is involuntary, and therefore wrong.

Shared sacrifice is fine if it is chosen. But as for me, I will oppose involuntary action every time.

Doug said...

So what other mechanisms could we put in place so we don't get into idiotic wars like this in the future?

I think the draft is an inhibitor to stupid wars, though obviously not foolproof. And, perhaps its costs outweigh its benefits.

How did the talking point go? Something like "At least Rangel has an idea. Where are the Republicans ideas for keeping us out of wasteful, unnecessary wars?"

Mike Kole said...

The mechanism has always been in place. It's in the Constitution that the President is supposed to gain the approval of the Congress for a declaration of war.

But, we've been sloppy as a people. We don't demand Constitutionality. We haven't had a Constitutional war since FDR went to the Congress for a declaration of war on Japan, and then Germany and Italy. We've had generations of things like 'police actions' and 'advisors' under Ike & JFK, executive orders under Carter and Reagan, etc., etc., and it's gotten to the point that Bush simply declared war on Iraq in disregard of the Constitution. Outcry from the Democrats or the media on Constitutional grounds? Crickets. It isn't on the radar anymore, and hasn't been for years for Republicans or Democrats, so they try to play tricks with themselves.

The Rangel plan is a poor substitute for an active, awake population, and for respect for the Constitution, and has a huge unintended consequence (or, is it intended?) in taking choice out of the matter and substituting force.

Andrew's point is interesting, speaking of unintended consequences. Even if exemptions were not part of the Rangel draft as they were in Viet Nam, there would still be 100 poor kids drafted for every rich one or two.

It just think it stinks every which way.

Jeff Pruitt said...

I don't believe Rangel really wants a draft any more than I do. I believe he wants to shed light on the idea that military service is more of a middle and lower class choice than an aristocrat one. Yet the aristocrats are the ones who ultimately decide WHEN these soldiers go to war.