The Draft, The New York Times and an Editorial Oil Spill

Written November 21, 2006

Finding a drop of ignorance in a New York Times editorial is not a commonplace occurrence. Finding an editorial oil spill in a New York Times editorial is so staggering an event I want to find some editorial scientists (if there are such a thing) and ask them to confirm the discovery. I say this because there was a major spill in today’s editorial criticizing New York Representative Charles Rangel’s proposal to bring back the draft. I’ll show you exactly where in a moment.

News reports say a primary reason behind Mr. Rangel’s proposal is his accurate assessment that the all-volunteer army, as currently designed, leaves most of the fighting (and dying and suffering) to the underprivileged and their families and friends while the well-heeled and well-connected get a pass. The editorial oil spill in today’s Times is this; “While there are plenty of underprivileged in the current force, at least they are there by their own choosing.” Maybe so. But what the writer does not understand is this. When you are underprivileged in this country (or any country for that matter) you do not have as many choices as the more fortunate. Not even close. It is not uncommon for an underprivileged man or woman to choose the service because there they will get food, clothing, shelter and healthcare.

The New York Times editorial page has a well-earned reputation for extraordinary marksmanship when it come to human rights and equal treatment for all. But again, there is no perfection, not on any editorial page.

Now I don’t know if Mr. Rangel’s call for the draft is, in fact, the best choice. But bless him for having the courage to propose it because there is one thing I do know; something must be done that requires all young men and women to serve their country in a time of war. Perhaps if all had to answer the call, there would be less war. Now that’s not a bad idea at all.

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