A bill introduced in Congress would not only bring back the draft but also make it co-ed.
Rep. Charlie Rangel introduced legislation last Friday that would reintroduce the draft and require all women to register for the Selective Service. The two bills aim to challenge the decisions that are made to send troops into war.
“Now that women can serve in combat, they should register for the Selective Service alongside their male counterparts,” said Rangel. “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 National Universal Service Act (H.R 747), also known as the draft bill, would require 30 million people in the United States between the ages of 18 and 25 to perform two years of national service in either the armed services or in civilian life.
Rangel’s All-American Selective Service Act (H.R. 748) would require women to enroll in the Selective Service System, which would double the number of registrants. The current law requires only men ages 18 to 25 to register, and there are approximately 13.5 million in the registry.
The bill, according to Rangel’s office, would build upon the community service infrastructure already in place such as the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps, as well as local initiatives such as NYC Serve. The National Universal Service Act was first introduced in 2003 at the height of protest against going to war with Iraq, and was reintroduced in 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011.
“I served in Korea and understand that sometimes war is inevitable,” Rangel continued. “However, military engagement should be our last resort.”
Rangel has taken his bill around the nation with strong advocacy. This week, he was making the rounds on the television circuit, appearing on CNN and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Rangel is also getting support and help in spreading his message from hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons.
“If we must go to war, every American should be compelled to stop and think twice about whether it is worth sending our brothers and sisters and sons and daughters to fight. Currently, less than 1 percent of America’s population is unfairly shouldering
the burden of war,” Simmons said.