Capitol Hill Murmurs: Reinstate Draft?
A senior Republican senator has said that the deteriorating security in Iraq could force the United States to reinstate the compulsory military draft, reports the AFP Worldwide news service. "There's not an American...that doesn't understand what we are engaged in today and what the prospects are for the future," Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on post-occupation Iraq. "Why shouldn't we ask all of our citizens to bear some responsibility and pay some price?"
Sen. Hagel's argument: Restoring the draft would force "our citizens to understand the intensity and depth of challenges we face." Hagel believes compulsory military service would spread the burden more equitably among all social strata. "Those who are serving today and dying today are the middle class and lower middle class," he said. The military draft ended in the early 1970s just before the end of the Viet Nam War.
Hagel cites two reasons why the country may need a draft: The military is stretched too thin in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, the war on terrorism could last 20 years or more. In an interview with NBC's "Today," Hagel stopped short of calling for a resumption of the draft and instead urged that some sort of "mandatory national service" be considered for all citizens. Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), who is also member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told NBC that while America's standing army isn't large enough, he doesn't think a draft is necessary now.