Meaningful Distinction:

Patrick S. Lasswell Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise.
pslblog at gmail dot com
Friday, January 05, 2007
Representative Blumenauer Responds

It appears that someone from Rep. Blumenauer's office has taken the time to respond to my earlier mail and post opposing a draft. Here is the response:

Dear Mr. Lasswell:

Thank you for writing to me about H.R.4752, the "Universal National Service Act of 2006."

I have great respect for my colleague from New York, Congressman Charles Rangel, and what I think he's trying to get at with his bill to reintroduce the draft. I personally don't think that now is the time to abandon our volunteer military. The reinstatement of the draft is just simply not going to happen, nor is it necessary.

It does underscore two items. The first is that a lot of the enthusiasm for a more aggressive military-only response comes from people who themselves have never been involved in combat, like the President and Vice President, while great reservations have been expressed by current and former generals in the Pentagon, who have been there. Rep. Rangel is also a veteran who was wounded in Korea and has reservations about a military only strategy to deal with the threats we face. Second, very few people in positions of power will be putting their own sons or daughters in harms way. The point is well taken, but we don't need to reinstitute the draft to make it.

I do feel that there should be more opportunities for national service - whether it's military service, Peace Corps or Americorps - that would provide young Americans a way to be involved. There is more and more sentiment for this concept of a more comprehensive approach to national service. The bottom line is that Rep. Rangel is making a point that he is singularly qualified to make. We're not going to be reinstituting a draft, nor do we need to but I do think that we need to be more sensitive about the use of force and the consequences on young Americans, while at the same time we ought to be more ambitious about opportunities for service to America and people around the world.

Thanks again for writing.


Earl Blumenauer

Member of Congress

I appreciate the Representative responding to my correspondence. I must fault the logic of the response in several particulars. Getting drafted and getting hit doesn't make you an expert on strategy, it makes you an expert on getting drafted and getting hit. The Iraq war is the largest insurgency the US has ever fought or contemplated fighting, which makes the input of generals whose career was focused on dueling with Soviet tank corps in the Fulda Gap less compelling.

Finally, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney have been under threat of death for better than two decades due to their proximity to power. Every day a horde of nutbars is contemplating ways to kill these two, and we'll never know how many times they've almost gotten lucky. I've only been through three war zones in the last year, and only been around anything resembling a shot fired in anger while in uniform once, but I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have placed themselves and their families at risk more than most soldiers ever will. Rep. Rangel's exposure to fire more than fifty years ago does not grant him absolute moral authority or even a pass with an idea this flawed.

Patrick S Lasswell
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