Rumsfeld Speaks to Draft Rumors

Fox News aired Rita Cosby's recently taped interview with Donald Rumsfeld tonight. She asked him about rumors that there were plans to reinstate the draft. "Oh my goodness, no," he said.

She asked if it is possible that we may have to increase the number of troops in Iraq. "Sure, sure" he said, meaning it's a possibility.

Rumsfeld said the draft bills pending in Congress were introduced by Democrats and as far as he knew there was no Republican support for these bills.

He said he is dead set against a draft, there is no need for a draft in the United States of American and we have no trouble getting the help we need.

He sounded less sure about whether there would be a reduction in the number of months that army ground forces spend in Iraq. He said it is one of the things that has been discussed, but it almost seemed like his memory had to be jogged on this issue, so it's probably not a change that is going to come soon.

Why does no one want to acknowledge the Republican-sponsored "Universal Military Training and Service Act of 2001", H.R. 3598, introduced in the House by Republicans Nick Smith (MI) and Curt Weldon (PA) and co-sponsored by Roscoe Bartlett. It was introduced in late December, 2001 (after 9/11). Rangel's bill (H.R. 183)and its Senate counterpart (S. 89) were introduced on January 7, 2003. All three bills were referred to the Committee on Armed Services. No action has been taken on them since.

TalkLeft wrote about the Republican bill here. University Wire contains several articles on it. The Humanist, March 1, 2002, (available on Lexis.com)reported on the bill:

Military recruitment may not be necessary if H.R. 3598 passes. That's the Universal Military Training and Service Act of 2001, introduced in the House of Representatives by Republicans Nick Smith of Michigan and Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania in an attempt to reactivate the draft. The bill's goal is "to require the induction into the Armed Forces of young men registered under the Military Selective Service Act, and to authorize young women to volunteer, to receive basic military training and education for a period of up to one year." Those forced into service would be all able-bodied males between the ages of eighteen and twenty-two. There appear to be few deferments: high school students to get a high school diploma, members of the various military academies, and legitimate conscientious objectors (as determined by a local draft board in a manner similar to the procedures of the early 1970s). Inductees are to be paid at 35 percent of the rate of regular members of the armed forces of equal rank.

Other news sources that reported on the bill, all available on lexis.com:

February 12, 2002, Tuesday, BC cycle The Associated Press State & Local Wire,

Last fall two Republican congressmen, Nick Smith of Michigan and Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, introduced a "Universal Military Training and Service Act." It would require all males aged 18 to 22 to "receive basic military training and education as a member of the armed forces" for "not less than six months," with possible extensions and a continuing "call-back" obligation.

Marine Corps Times March 4, 2002 Monday Dom Edition;
Orange County Register (California) February 3, 2002;
Gannett News Service, February 01, 2002, (which noted that Smith was to appear on Fox New's Hannity and Colmes talking about the need for his bill, although there is no transcript which may mean his segment may have been canceled for any number of reasons.)

Update: The New York Times analyzes the need and likelihood of the return of the draft. Bottom line: We may not need it now, but one more intervention...either Korea, Iran or another terrorist attack, and all bets are off.

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