My friend Garin Hovannisian, a student at UCLA, has a wonderful op-ed in today’s Christian Science Monitor. In it, Garin exposes many of the faults — indeed, the deep immorality — of Charles Rangel’s call to reinstate conscription. Here’s a clip, with emphasis added:
“[Had] members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm’s way,” they would have rejected the war, Rangel says. But in the same breath, ostensibly to make the idea more palatable, he admits that draftees could opt out of the bloody streets and register at “our seaports, our airports, in schools, [and] in hospitals” instead.
So, had Bush’s daughters been forced to read Dr. Seuss to kindergartners, maybe their father wouldn’t have been so quick to the trigger. That logic seems suddenly less glamorous – indeed, almost tragic – considering that both women are already meeting the draft’s standards; Jenna Bush is an intern at UNICEF and Barbara Bush volunteers with African AIDS patients.
But even if the draft forced old Washington’s young aristocrats to share symbolically in a national burden, it would relieve their warmongering parents of an even heavier burden: the job to prove and advocate a case for war. If wars are manufactured by rich white men, then an all-volunteer force at least gives poor black men the choice not to buy in.