“Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Friday said he plans to introduce legislation that would bring back the military draft and extend it to women for the first time,” The Hill reports today.
But when isn’t Charlie calling for the draft to be reinstated? If they ever make a sequel to Groundhog Day and Bill Murray balks at reprising his film about eternal recurrence, perhaps Rangel could nab the role:
● “Charlie Rangel Renews Call For Military Draft On Pearl Harbor Day 2011” — The Huffington Post, 12/7/2011.
● “This week marks the 8th anniversary of the War in Iraq, and Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel commemorated the occasion by asking Congress to reinstitute the military draft.” — the New York Observer, March 7, 2011.
● “Rangel eyes draft return” — the New York Post, July 8th, 2010.
● “Rangel to reintroduce military draft measure” — the Hill, January 14th, 2009.
● “Amid Uproar Over War, Rangel Renews Call for Draft” — the Washington Post, November 20th, 2006.
● “Rangel introduces bill to reinstate draft” — CNN, January 8th, 2003.
The real hook here is his idea for an alternative to the draft: Instead of being forced to serve your country militarily, you’d have the choice of being forced to serve your country in some other “public interest” capacity instead. Involuntary servitude in the form of conscription used to be justified as warranted only in urgent matters of national defense, but the master planners of tomorrow like Charlie Rangel and Scarborough and a palpably enthusiastic Carl Bernstein see a lot of compulsory nation-building here at home that can be done by America’s 18-year-olds. Bernstein specifically mentions infrastructure work as a possibility and goes so far as to suggest using currently inoperative military bases as … barracks to house the public-service conscripts, I guess? Not sure. (Reason’s Matt Welch once described the idea of mandatory national service as a “militaristic conception of citizenship.” He didn’t know the half of it.) But if you’re a high-school senior who’s thinking about premed or whatever, good news — you might get to spend two years jackhammering bridges as part of some sort of stimulus plan before getting on to that. For all the heat our side produces about infringements on liberty from gun control, the casualness with which the idea of forced youth labor for the greater good is kicked around here strikes me as much creepier.