Rep. Rangel’s proposal: Reinstate draft, include women

Women in combat
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U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Friday that he plans to submit legislation to re-introduce the military draft, something he has advocated for years. The fact that former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered that women be eligible for combat service in January hasn’t deterred the congressman.

“Now that women can serve in combat they should register for the Selective Service alongside their male counterparts,” Rangel said in a statement, according to The Hill. “Reinstating the draft and requiring women to register for the Selective Service would compel the American public to have a stake in the wars we fight as a nation. We must question why and how we go to war, and who decides to send our men and women into harm’s way.”

The Hill’s Geneva Sands reported:

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed an order rescinding the ban on women serving in combat units last month, potentially opening up as many as 237,000 positions to female service members.

The move raised a number of policy issues, including whether women will now be required to register with the Selective Service. The Pentagon is required to report on how changing the ban effects the constitutionality of the registration being males only.

In an interview on MSNBC, Rangel said the draft should be reinstated because the majority of Americans make “no real sacrifice” when the country goes to war.

“The Congress never gets a chance to vote up and down on these war questions,” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Every president just puts our kids in harm’s way, and we just foot the bill, but there’s no real sacrifice in what’s going on. Less than 1 percent of American families are involved in the military, and they really pay the price for it.”

That’s the argument military draft proponents have been using for years — that it spreads the sacrifice throughout the population.

Those opposed to the draft assert that a fully volunteer service results in a vastly superior recruit as opposed to one conscripted against his will.

Read more at The Hill.

The full “Morning Joe” interview follows.

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