Friday, December 12, 2003

The Joke Is No Longer Funny

By Wayne Sneedon
Editorial - The Ticker
Baruch College - City Universtiy Of New York

Our professors have joked about it. We joke about it with our friends. But it's just a joke, a relic from the "bad old days." The draft is gone forever, isn't it? Think again.

Become acquainted with the Universal National Service Act of 2003, H.R. 163, introduced on January 7, 2003. This act, can be found on the website of the U.S. Congress at (http://www.congress.gov).

This act as seen on the website states: Universal National Service Act of 2003

Title: A bill to provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.

It declares that it is the obligation of every U.S. citizen, and every other person residing in the United States, between the ages of 18 and 26 to perform a two-year period of national service, unless exempted, either as a member of an active or reserve component of the armed forces or in a civilian capacity that promotes national defense. Requires induction into national service by the President. Sets forth provisions governing: (1) induction deferments, postponements, and exemptions, including exemption of a conscientious objector from military service that includes combatant training; and (2) discharge following national service. Amends the Military Selective Service Act to authorize the military registration of females.

Let's take a look at the contentions in this bill for a moment. First, we notice that it becomes the "obligation" of every person in the United States between 18 and 26 to serve two years in the military. "Obligation," means no choice in the matter. In addition, the Military Selective Service Act is amended to include women. It would appear that this also extends to non-citizens and immigrants, based on the phrase, "every other person residing in the United States." ...

H.R. 163 also teams with its sister bill, S. 89. These are two separate bills, written with the exact same lingo. The difference? One sits with the House, the other with the Senate. ...

When will this happen? Both bills are on the floor of the Congress, waiting to be picked up and voted on. It is unlikely that we will see this before the election in 2004. No president seriously seeking reelection would dare try to impose a mandatory draft and military service. However, once Bush ends up with a second term, he is basically free to do anything he wants. Look for this in 2005, according to the Selective Service System fiscal year 2004 plan (sss.gov/perfplan_fy2004.html).

President Bush is spending $28 million (see plans 1-3 at the above website for dollar amounts) to have the Selective Service system ready to report to him on March 31, 2005, and then to have the system ready for activation within 75 days. This would make the approximated date of the return of the draft June 15, 2005. All of these numbers can be figured out by reading the above link. ...

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