Rep. Charlie Rangel has no doubt that bringing back the military draft will make America safer.
He just hasn’t had any success convincing other lawmakers that he’s right.
“It would take a lot of courage for people to vote on this,” the 84-year-old New York Democrat said in an interview with Military Times last week. “We wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in if [Congress] knew their kids might be drafted.
“I know this is the right thing to do.”
Earlier this month, Rangel reintroduced legislation that would reinstate the military draft for all men and women ages 18 to 25, arguing that “if war is truly necessary, we must all come together to support and defend our nation.”
It’s an argument he has made year after year, with little progress. Since 2003, Rangel has introduced similar legislation seven times. The closest the idea came to a full chamber vote was nearly 12 years ago, when the measure failed a procedural vote on the House floor.
But Rangel — a Korean War veteran who volunteered to serve in the Army — keeps bringing it back.
“If we’re going to get into wars, we have to be prepared to make sacrifices,” he said. “It shouldn’t just be poor-ass kids volunteering to do the work.”
In past years, when the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were at their peak, his pitch was fueled by the carnage and casualties of those conflicts. Now it’s the possibility of extended military action in Iraq against Islamic State fighters.