WASHINGTON - MARCH 17: U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) speaks during a news conference on AIDS March 17, 2010 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. About 50 church leaders gathered on Capitol Hill to pushed for approval of the National Black Clergy for the Elimination of HIV/AIDS Act of 2009 which with proposals for the government to fight against the deadly epidemic. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A bill introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., would reinstate a compulsory military draft during wartime and require U.S. citizens not selected for military duty to perform a “national-service obligation” – as defined by President Obama – for a minimum of two years.

Rangel introduced the Universal National Service Act, or H.R. 5741, on July 15. The measure was referred to the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel on July 23.

Rangel introduced similar bills in 2003, 2006 and 2007. His current bill does not have a co-sponsor.

Rangel took to the floor of the House to reintroduce H.R. 5741, stating, “I have introduced legislation to reinstate the draft and to make it permanent during time of war. It is H.R. 5741, and what this does is to make everyone between the ages of 18 and 42 – whether they’re men or women, whether they’re straight or gay – to have the opportunity to defend this great country whenever the president truly believes that our national security is threatened.”

According to an announcement released by Rangel’s office:

  • The bill provides for a national-service obligation – either military or civilian – for every citizen and permanent resident, male and female, of the U.S., aged 18 to 42.
  • Persons may be inducted to perform military service only if a declaration of war is in effect, or if the president declares a national emergency necessitating the induction of persons to perform military service and immediately informs Congress of the reasons for the declaration.
  • Defines “national service” as either military or civilian service as defined by the president that promotes national or homeland security.
  • Gives the president the authority to establish the numbers of persons to be selected for military service and the means of selection.
  • Requires those not selected for military service to perform their national-service obligation in a civilian capacity for a period of two years.
  • Directs the president to prescribe the regulations necessary to carry out the act.
  • Deferments for education are only permitted through completion of high school, to a maximum age of 20.
  • Deferments may be made for physical or mental disability, or under claims of conscientious objector.

“What troubles me most about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is the total indifference to the suffering and loss of life among our brave young soldiers on the battlefield,” Rep. Rangel said. “The reason is that so few families have a stake in the war which is being fought by other people’s children.

“The test for Congress, particularly for those members who support the war, is to require all who enjoy the benefits of our democracy to contribute to the defense of the country. All of America’s children should share the risk of being placed in harm’s way.”

Prison Planet writer Rob Dew referenced the following video posted on YouTube and noted, “This echoes the sentiment of President Obama who asked Congress in February 2009 to send him a bipartisan bill in the spirit of national service.”

Likewise, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel advocated for similar universal civilian service in a 2006 book, “The Plan: Big Ideas for America,” he co-authored with Bruce Reed. The following is an excerpt from pages 61-62 of that book:

As first reported by WND during Obama’s presidential campaign, Obama himself called for a “civilian national-security force” July 2, 2008, in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national-security objectives that we’ve set,” he said. “We’ve got to have a civilian national-security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”

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