Saturday, June 05, 2004

Pending Draft Legislation Targeted for Spring 2005

There is pending legislation in the House and Senate
(twin bills: S 89 and HR 163) which will time the program's initiation
so the draft can begin at early as Spring 2005 -- just after the 2004
presidential election. The administration is quietly trying to get
these bills passed now,while the public's attention is on the elections, so
our action on this is needed immediately.

$28 million has been added to the 2004 Selective
Service System (SSS)budget to prepare for a military draft that could
start as early as June 15, 2005. Selective Service must report to Bush on
March 31, 2005 that the system, which has lain dormant for decades, is
ready for activation. Please see website:
; to view the sss annual
performance plan - fiscal year 2004.

The Pentagon has quietly begun a public campaign to
fill all 10,350 draft board positions and 11,070 appeals board slots
nationwide. Though this is an unpopular election year topic, military
experts and influential members of congress are suggesting that if
Rumsfeld's prediction of a "long, hard slog" in Iraq and Afghanistan [and a
permanent state of war on "terrorism"] proves accurate, the U.S. may have no
choice but to draft.

Congress brought twin bills, S. 89 and HR 163 forward
this year,
entitled the Universal National Service Act of 2003, "to provide
for the common defense by requiring that all young persons [age 18--26] 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." These active bills
currently sit in the committee on armed services.

Dodging the draft will be more difficult than those from the Vietnam

College and Canada will not be options. In December
2001, Canada and the U.S. signed a "smart border declaration," which
could be used to keep would-be draft dodgers in. Signed by Canada's minister
of foreign affairs, John Manley, and U.S. Homeland Security
director, Tom Ridge, the declaration involves a 30-point plan which implements,
among other things, a "pre-clearance agreement" of people entering
and departing each country. Reforms aimed at making the draft more
equitable along gender and class lines also eliminates higher education as a
shelter. Underclassmen would only be able to postpone service
until the end of their current semester. Seniors would have until the end of the
academic year.

Even those voters who currently support US actions
abroad may still object to this move, knowing their own children or
grandchildren will not have a say about whether to fight. Not that it should
make a difference, but this plan, among other things,
eliminates higher education as a shelter and includes women in the draft.

The public has a right to air their opinions about such an important

Please send this on to all the friends, parents, aunts
and uncles, grandparents, and cousins that you know. Let your
children know too -- it's their future, and they can be a powerful voice for

Please also contact your representatives to ask them
why they aren't telling their constituents about these bills -- and
contact newspapers and other media outlets to ask them why they're not
covering this important story.

No comments: