A Libertarian candidate for president is spearheading a petition drive on his website to put a stop to legislation that would re-institute the draft in the U.S. – for both men and women.
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Aaron Russo began his effort against S.89 and H.R.163 last month. The petition – addressed to President Bush, Vice President Cheney and members of the House and Senate – states: “We, the undersigned, being citizens of the United States, protest against this infringement upon our personal freedoms and reject this idea of a new draft.”
S. 89, the Senate version of the legislation, indicates its purpose is “to provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes.”
The bill was introduced Jan. 7, 2003, by Sen. Fritz Hollings, D-S.C.
Says the text of the bill: “It is the obligation of every citizen of the United States, and every other person residing in the United States who is between the ages of 18 and 26 to perform a period of national service as prescribed in this Act unless exempted under the provisions of this Act.”
This service, which would be for a minimum of two years, can be either in the military or “in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the president, promotes the national defense, including national or community service and homeland security.”
Under the bill, “conscientious objectors” may request a deferment from military training, but must still provide service “that does not include any combatant training component.” Alternatively, the objector can be transferred to a civilian service job.
The House of Representatives version of the bill, H.R. 163, is sponsored by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.
The bill differs from an earlier attempt to re-institute the draft. As WorldNetDaily reported, the “Universal Military Training and Service Act,” introduced in December 2001, applied only to men and only those from 18-22 years of age. Also, the earlier bill required just six months of service.
Russo’s petition says the government is hoping to re-instate the draft because “we have troops scattered throughout 130 countries around the world, and the ranks of our military must be increased to continue the current pursuit of empire building.”
Last fall, media reported on the fact the Selective Service System had posted a notice saying the agency was looking for people to serve on local draft boards. Since then, the appeal has been changed to assure the public that “there is NO connection between this ongoing, routine public outreach to compensate for natural board attrition and current international events. Both the president and the secretary of defense have stated on several occasions that a draft is not needed for the war on terrorism, including Iraq.”
Libertarian commentators claim the government is getting things prepared so if the draft is re-instated, conscription can begin as quickly as possible.