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© 2004 The Beast

The Lottery Nobody Wins

Except for the Bastards Running it, of Course

by Eric Gauchat

" As Americans, we must share in the sacrifice when Washington sends troops into harm's way."

--Senator Fritz Hollings, South Carolina

Perhaps you've noticed, strolling around town, or watching television, that the military isbolsteringtheir recruiting efforts. Millions have been spent recently in order to advertise nationwide, coaxing young men and women to fight the wars on terrorism and enemy oil producers. Current servicemen and women are being forced to continue their tours, leaving their families without them for even longer. Even retired soldiers are being lured into reenlisting. Hefty signing bonuses are being dangled before former combatants—and steadfastly refused by a good many. Reservist forces have already been activated for full tours of duty. But without more recruits, our military-minded administration is growing dissatisfied with its level of manpower.

Unfortunately for America’s youth, our President and military leaders are confident about the need not only to “stay the course” in Iraq, but to be able to fight several other wars at the same time. The gaps are starting to show, however; forces are stretched too thin. The planned continuing involvement of our military assets overseas is leaving the strategists with a problem: Who to send to battle? The answer: everyone.

In 1973, after years of protest and civil disobedience, the government closed the doors on the draft and Selective Service, a dormant bureau that's been moldering away in Washington for three decades. All of that is changing now.

This year, $28 million has been handed over to this dinosaur organization, and selective service is planning on opening its doors once again. Washington has begun to fill the 10,350 draft board positions, and 11,070 appellate board positions, setting up 56 state headquarters and over 1,900 local offices, all to be operation within 75 days of an executive order. Along with these budget dumps, 2 identical bills sit festering on their committee desks in Congress that, if passed, will allow not only for a nationwide draft system, but also requiring all young men and women to serve outside of war time. Don’t take my word for it though, read them yourself [info follows article]. You'll find soon enough that our country plans on filling the gaps in their military stratagems with forced conscription.

The proposed new system is different from its Vietnam-era counterpart. For instance, women as well as men in the 18-26 age bracket will be included in this lottery. College students will not be exempt. High school students will not be exempt. The sole authority to determine how many are drafted, and how they are drafted, rests squarely on the shoulders of the President. The Selective Service Commission is already targeting computer specialists and linguists for their own special draft due to the heightened demand for their skills. Health care professionals will have their own draft as well, with age requirements ranging from 20 to 44. And even those lucky individuals that don't get sent off with an olive drab rucksack and an assault rifle will be required to act on the behalf of homeland security in their own neighborhoods. As far as I can tell, there has never been a mandatory service requirement in the history of our free land.

If the neocons aren't capable of running their own wars, they should keep their detractors out of it. But it is hard to blame this plot on Republicans, as the two bills were both introduced by longstanding Democrats. One of them, Charles Rangel of New York, a long time supporter of the War on Drugs, has remarked that the passing of this bill will lead to peace, as the drafting of our people will "sober" our nation into reconsidering. I'm sorry, Mr. Rangel, but that seems a bit out of the picture; it is NOT our people that need to sober up. Our ranking administrative politicians seem to have borne a crusade, one which will not end until they see fit.

There’s a factor they may not be considering: it’s bad enough when a family finds out their son, daughter, mother or father have died in war; but imagine if they were dragged there kicking and screaming? The outrage will be tenfold when our fallen “heroes” are found to have been unwilling participants in their own martyrdom. Perhaps when waves of protest and disobedience again wash over or country, and the nation wonders collectively why the hell we're fighting in the first place, our leaders will pull their heads out of their asses long enough to strike this madness down.

Next winter, when the new (or incumbent) administration takes office, who knows how far they will wish to 'stay the course'? Will it require millions of our boys and girls? Will they accept gays and lesbians? Who will be the first to go, and where? Korea, again? Afghanistan? Syria? The supposedly liberated and soon to be sovereign Iraq? Will there be a foreseeable end to these and other wars? If George W. is serving his last 4 years, without an election to follow, will he use this lottery as an excuse to continue the rampage of America across the globe?

Our hope rests solely with our voices between now and then. We can’t let our representatives send unwilling men and women overseas in furthering their conquest, not without a fight. There is a responsibility that rests with every dissenting American now, to try and stop this war machine. Will you be the next to grease the wheels with our blood? I should hope not. Bills slip through congress all the time with hardly any scrutiny, but these cannot. Now more than ever, we each need to challenge our politicians to face this issue and treat it for what it is: a tremendous step in the wrong direction, away from freedom and toward fascism.

Bills referred to above are:

Sen. 81 [Sen Fritz Hollings, D - SC]

H.R. 163 [Rep. Charles Rangel, D - NY]

Information on these bills, as well as all bills presented in Congress can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov


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