Last week, a desperate John Kerry intimated that a second Bush Administration might re-institute the draft:
Answering a question about the draft that had been posed at a forum with voters, Kerry said: "If George Bush were to be re-elected, given the way he has gone about this war and given his avoidance of responsibility in North Korea and Iran and other places, is it possible? I can't tell you."The campaign says Kerry opposes the draft.
The draft "buzz" isn't just from Kerry:
- Senator Edwards used same scare tactic--aimed at young voters--according to MSNBC.
- former Democratic Senator Max Cleland said "America will reinstate the military draft" if Bush is re-elected and continues the Iraq War, Cleland predicted.
- Howard Dean is shrill as ever: "I think that George Bush is certainly going to have a draft if he goes into a second term, and any young person that doesn't want to go to Iraq might think twice about voting for him."
- Last night, CBS News--those objective, neutral, Kerry fans--claimed the Administration has targeted Spring 2005 for re-instituting the draft.
- Finally, some group with plenty of dough is nailing up draft warnings on every vertical surface at colleges across the nation.
- The President never proposed, and does not support, the draft.
- The President can't re-start the draft alone--the Administration would need Congressional approval.
- Although legislation pending in Congress would re-start a draft, the bills were introduced and sponsored by Democrats!:
Both bills, S-89 and HR-163 do not have a single majority Republican member as a sponsor or co-sponsor. The House bill was introduced by Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) and has 14 co-sponsors, all of them liberal Democrats. The Senate bill has no co-sponsors--a sure sign of its unpopularity--and was introduced by Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) The non-partisan group FactCheck.org notes that Rangel is not even pushing for his own bill.Talkleft and Snopes argues the draft initiative is bi-partisan, but cite only Republican Senator Chuck Hagel. Hagel, who the WaPo calls "an independent-minded conservative with a penchant for provocative comments," floated a trial balloon, and almost immediately backed down.
- Kerry's position is, well, nuanced. His website currently doesn't address the issue. But, Kerry previously favored re-instituting compulsory national community service--then deleted it from his official web site. As archived, Kerry promised:
As part of his 100 day plan to change America, John Kerry will propose a comprehensive service plan that includes requiring mandatory service for high school students and four years of college tuition in exchange for two years of national service.So it was the Democrat, not the President, who wanted to draft the young (though not for military service). Kerry's flipped-flopped--and assumed, as he has so often, he wouldn't get caught.
- CBS's story is an atrocity of bias. Only weeks after slandering the President with forged documents, CBS falls for another hoax, according to Ratherbiased.com, mirrored at Rathergate.com. Law Professor James Lindgren explains on the Volokh Conspiracy:
[L]last night on the CBS Evening News reporter Richard Schlesinger used fake documents to spread an internet rumor that has been long debunked. The document, which CBS showed on the screen much as it had the phony Burkett Guard documents, purports to be an email from someone in the Department of Defense, but it is actually a chain email hoax letter.RatherBiased has a screen view of the phony email.
Just a mistake? Explain why CBS apparently never consulted the Bush Administration--such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld--before airing this nonsense. Some fact-checking!--especially because the network had only to read Friday's Washington Post:
Rumsfeld again publicly knocked down persistent rumors that the Bush administration is considering a reinstatement of the draft to boost the military's numbers. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said a constituent contacted him recently to inquire about such rumors, and there have been countless e-mail and Internet claims that a draft plan is in place for after the November elections.Moreover, and despite recent chagrin when CBS's unnamed source for the forged memos (Bill Burkett) turned out to be anything but "unimpeachable," CBS used a partisan source, without disclosure:
"I'm not supposed to get in politics, but it is absolutely false that anyone in this administration is considering reinstating the draft," Rumsfeld said, his voice rising. "That is nonsense."
The person at the center of Schlesinger's piece is a woman named Beverly Cocco, a Philadelphia crossing guard who is "sick to my stomach" that her two sons might be drafted. In his report, Schlesinger portrayed her as an apolitical (and even Republican) mom worried about the safety of her children. . .Sounds like "reckless disregard of the truth." See New York Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254, 280 (1964).
Beverly Cocco seems nice enough on camera, but she is hardly the "Pennsylvania voter" that CBS News wants you to believe she is. In fact, the apolitical mother of two is a chapter president of an advocacy group called People Against the Draft (PAD) which, in addition to opposing any federal conscription, seeks to establish a "peaceful, rational foreign policy" by bringing all U.S. troops out of Iraq. Like Schlesinger's Cocco, the group portrays itself as "nonpartisan" although its leadership seems to be entirely bereft of any Republicans.
- So who's behind the scary draft signs? I dunno--a well- funded anti-Bush 527s? A "non-advocacy" youth voter registration group? Or an anti-military organization like ominous-sounding Central Committee on Conscientious Objectors, who claim "most people seem to think that George W. Bush is plotting to draft your children after he wins the election this November."
More (more CBS bias!):
CBS's cover-up has begun--ineptly! Charles Johnson's Little Green Footballs spotted CBS retroactively "correcting" the last night's transcript. Command Post has a good summary.
Simply put, the transcript as broadcast (and cached here) used to say:
What worries the Coccos is the continuing need for more troops in dangerous places. And the machinery for a draft is already in place: all men have to register when they turn 18. The head of the Selective Service believes he could start drafting people quickly.The transcript on CBS's web site now says:
What worries the Coccos is the continuing need for more troops in dangerous places. And the machinery for a draft is already in place: all men have to register when they turn 18. Beverly Cocco is so concerned she is involved with the organization "People Against the Draft."Of course, CBS hasn't invented time travel. So falsifying the transcript doesn't change yesterday's broadcast (watch the captured screen video here), nor the archived contemporaneous comments on Command Post. Next up--CBS discovers an 18 1/2 minute gap in last night's newscast.
The head of the Selective Service believes he could start drafting people quickly.
Reckless indeed. And stupid too. Which is consistent with the three rules of scandals:
- Few recall the crime.
- Most remember the cover-up.
- Everyone forgets rule # 2.
Kerry and CBS aren't going to like today's NY Post's editorial on the draft scare-tactic and non-story:
[T]here isn't the faintest hint of evidence to support such claims [about re-starting the draft].
So, if there is any legitimate story here, it is that Kerry & Co. are blowing smoke.
Instead, Dan Rather runs with what amounts to an unpaid ad for the Kerry-Edwards ticket.
Is he a moron, incapable of learning anything from the forged-memo fiasco?
Or just a Democratic shill?
On reflection, what difference does it make?