|Pending bill to reinstate the draft.
$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. SSS must report to Bush on March 31, 2005 that the
system, which has lain dormant for decades, is ready for activation.
Please see website: www.sss.gov/perfplan_fy2004.html
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 H.R. 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
era remember. College and Canada will not be options. In December
2001, Canada and the US 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 US Homeland Security
Director, Gov. 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.
*This article by Adam Stutz is from the "What's Hot Off the Press"
column of the newsletter of Project Censored, a media research group
at Sonoma State University that tracks the news published in
independent journals and newsletters.