Originally created 11/22/06

Democrats showing their true colors



Republicans, cheer up. It may not be long before the just-elected Democratic Congress' honeymoon with the American people heads for divorce court.

Since their victory Nov. 7, various Democratic leaders have been showing the party's true colors - calling for defeat in Iraq, higher taxes and now - can you believe this? - one of their leaders is calling for a universal military draft.

He's the soon-to-be House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel of New York City's Harlem district.

The last we heard about the draft was in 2004, when Democrats and their parrots in the national media spread phony rumors that, if President Bush were re-elected, he would institute a draft.

Actually, the only real move that year to get a draft going was a bill introduced by Rangel, which was widely regarded as a joke.

But this time he says it's no joke. He's serious. Fortunately, no one else is. The Pentagon is totally against the draft. Even Rangel's left-wing Democratic colleagues, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, realize a draft bill is over the edge.

It has no chance of passing, but give the draft its due. At one time it did serve as a vehicle to bring discipline and order to many unstructured young lives - and often turned out respected, in some cases even heroic, young men. But that's not what Rangel's draft bill is about.

He's not pushing the draft to enlarge or improve the U.S. military - that's apparently the last thing on his mind. He's doing it because he says the volunteer system attracts only poor people and ethnic minorities. In short, he's playing politics with national security.

He says the nation would be less likely to get into wars if children of the rich and powerful had to serve. That's debatable. Many military volunteers do come from middle- and upper-middle-income families.

Under Rangel's bill, the draft would apply to men and women between the ages of 18 and 26. Exemptions would be allowed until kids graduated from high school, but not college. Those who are physically impaired or are conscientious objectors would be required to do community service.

The military is a fighting force, but Rangel seems to think it's an instrument of social engineering. He's wrong. The all-volunteer military is doing a magnificent job, and a draft simply isn't necessary. Besides today's high-tech army needs people who will make long-term commitments. Draftees serve only two years, so by the time they're properly trained, it would be time for them to leave the service. That's totally impractical.