Oh, how I remember the draft. It was that law that rounded up many of my friends and relatives and took them off to fight for the military industrial complex. Many came back in coffins while others came back with physical and mental scars that would haunt them and their loved ones for a lifetime.
The draft was racist and totally unfair, and those with money and connections could finesse their way around it.
Gays are not officially allowed in the military, but the draft grabbed them as fast as anyone else. Communists and militants like the Black Panthers were not allowed in the military, but the draft rounded them up and forced them in as well.
I and my group of unfortunates almost faced a big double cross. We were college graduates with low draft numbers lured to apply for Officer Candidate School, in lieu of the normal enlisted status via the draft that was certain. Once we got in, they declared the officer school class cancelled, and we would have to do three years of enlisted service as opposed to the two years via the normal draft.
However, we got lucky. One of us was connected to Sen. Barry Goldwater — his mother was his secretary. He called her, and Goldwater got on the line. This was one senator you could trust. By 11 the next morning, we were back on track to Officer Candidate School. This was my first experience with political power. I never forgot or underappreciated it.
Such was the trickery of the draft that fueled the fires of the Vietnam War. It is a mechanism that pumps the manpower and makes it easy to create enough military personnel. It is tempting to Congress to go to war when it knows it has enough troops to go into battle. If there were a draft going on now, we would also be in Iran or Syria or both. The faces of battle would be basically Brown and Black, as the upper- and middle-class Whites would create deferments.
When Rep. Charles Rangel, D-NY, wrote a bill to restore the draft, the above flashbacked into the minds of most members of the House of Representatives, and they voted against it 400-2. It was a pure stomping. But the old draft isn't what Rangel is talking about.
This nation is seriously deep in debt. There are two simple options that no one will face:
1) They can tax us out of it. But no American public is going to take that pain without voting out the entire Congress and,
2) We can seriously cut down our spending. But no pork barrel-addicted Congress is going to bring itself to face up to this. You can't make a "crack head" voluntarily put down a crack pipe.
So here is Rangel's new option: Let's have a nouveau draft. Let's force young Americans to work in our airports, highways, borders, national parks, etc. at very low wages and still have a heavily populated military ready for Halliburton and "the boys" when they need more non-bid contracts. We can work our way out of this humungous debt by hiring able-bodied men and women to work for "peanuts" on government jobs. Replace the lucrative GS pay schedule (grade scale for federal employees) with the super cheap E-Pay schedule (enlisted troops). This is so slick and cunning.
America, please wake up to this scheme and call it what it is: a plain old evil and despicable draft that is no better than the previous one. There are no merits. Our youth did not get us in this debt mess, and shame on us to stick them with the bill.
Harry C. Alford is the president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.