Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Lawrence O'Donnell has been on a tear recently. Namely, he's tired of all those talking heads who advocated (and continue to advocate) the war in Iraq yet have never once lifted a gun and stood a post. His recent appearance on Joe Scarborough's MSNBC show was the stuff of legend (despite Scarborough's inability to comprehend O'Donnell's point) and now his ranting continues over on Huffington Post:

[Incoming House Ways and Means committee chairman Charlie] Rangel [D-NY] announced on Sunday that he wants to reinstate the draft. He said the same thing a few years ago but quickly let on that he wasn't serious. He's playing it straight this time and has already introduced a bill. Local New York TV news has given Rangel saturation coverage. You can see his anger and frustration building each time he answers another reporter's question about the draft. The point he keeps repeating is: "There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way."


Advocating war is easier when you and your family are not endangered by it. I've reached a Rangel-like breaking point with my TV pundit colleagues who championed the Iraq war and now say we can't leave even if we went there for the wrong reasons. For every one of them, I have a simple question: Why aren't you in Iraq? Or why did you avoid combat in your generation's war? The one unifying characteristic that all of us men in make-up on political chat shows share is fear of combat. Every one of us has done everything we can to avoid combat or even being fitted for a military uniform. Just like George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Dick Cheney, we are all combat cowards. It takes a very special kind of combat coward to advocate combat for others. It's the kind of thing that can get you as angry as Charlie Rangel.

Though I am probably past the age of acceptability for a draft (alright, I'm not that old, but like Indiana Jones said, 'It's not the years, it's the mileage,' so figure the Army'd take one look at me and laugh me out the door), I would consider supporting Rangel's (futile) move, because he and O'Donnell certainly have a point. After all, how many members of Congress or the Bush administration have family members serving overseas in Iraq? It's easy to ask someone else to stand in harm's way for your freedom; try sending a loved one.

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