Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Oh, For God's Sake.

In Monday's edition of the Guardian, a breathless story warned:
They are going to reintroduce the draft in the US. [...] There is pending legislation in the American House of Representatives and Senate in the form of twin bills - S89 and HR163. These measures (currently approved and sitting in the committee for armed services) project legislation for spring 2005, with the draft to become operational as early as June 15.
Yes, it's our old friends, S 89 and HR 163, still jumping out at people and scaring them. It has now been sixteen months since there was any action on either bill. They are still sitting in committee. They will never move out of committee. They have no support among the leadership. They have no Republican sponsors. They are dead bills.

The Guardian sure doesn't make them sound that way, though, does it? "There is pending legislation [...] these measures, currently approved..." sounds as though the bills have passed and are ready for implementation. There's no way the Guardian can really be that ignorant about the American political process. You don't have to be a Constitutional scholar to understand the difference between a bill - stuck in committee, no less, with not a single vote cast - and a law. But of course, if your goal is just to sensationalize matters and scare people, that hardly matters.

If you want to be indignant about the prospect of involuntary military service, be indignant about this: soldiers won't be allowed out at the end of their enlistment terms anymore. That applies to everyone currently serving in Iraq, Kuwait, or Afghanistan, and everyone within 90 days of deploying. Soldiers who expected to retire, to go to college, to get back to their families and their normal lives at the end of their hitch will now be expected to stay in for the duration of the conflict... however long that takes.

I wonder how many of those soldiers know that Bush got out of the National Guard eight months early because he wanted to go to business school.

(Guardian story via Kevin Drum.)