The National Annenberg Election Survey (NAES) reported recently that 51% of 18 to 29-year-olds believes this rumor, compared to only 8% of those thinking the same about Kerry, and 7% thinking both will! 1
Both Kerry and Bush have repeatedly denied any intention of bringing back a draft, most recently in the Oct. 8, 2004 debate at Washington Univ. in St. Louis. "I hear there's rumors on the Internets (sic) that we're going to have a draft. We're not going to have a draft, period...Now, forget all this talk about a draft. We're not going to have a draft so long as I am the president," remarked Bush during the debate. 2
How did we get to this point? A little history...
House of RepresentativesOn January 7, 2003, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) introduced H.R. 163, named "Universal National Service Act of 2003." Its official title was "To provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes."
The cosponsors were all Democrats: Rep Neil Abercrombie (HI), Rep Corrine Brown (FL), Rep Donna Christensen (VI), Rep Wm. Lacy Clay (MO), Rep John Conyers (MI), Rep Elijah Cummings (MD), Rep Alcee Hastings (FL), Rep Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL), Rep Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX), Rep John Lewis (GA), Rep Jim McDermott (WA), Rep James Moran (VA), Rep Pete Stark (CA), Rep Nydia Velazquez (NY), Rep Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC) (withdrawn - 6/21/2004). The bill failed on October 5, 2004 by a vote of 402-2. The only representatives who voted for the bill to bring back the draft: Pete Stark (D-CA) and John Murtha (D-PA). 3
SenateAlso on January 7, 2003, Sen. Ernest Hollings (D-SC) submitted S.89, comparably named "Universal National Service Act of 2003" and officially titled "A bill to provide for the common defense by requiring that all young persons in the United States, including women, perform a period of military service or a period of civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, and for other purposes." The bill had no cosponsors. It's currently still awaiting approval in the Committee on Armed Services before it can be voted on in the Senate. 4
Both the Senate and House versions of the bill were introduced by Democrats, not because they wanted to reinstate the draft, but to make an anti-war statement. This is obviously a terrible use of taxpayer dollars. Senators and Representatives should never introduce bills with the intention of voting against them, just to make a political statement. This is juvenile and unprofessional. You are encouraged to send emails or letters to the Senator and Representatives mentioned to voice your disgust with such selfish, partisan, political tactics.
Email HoaxThe introduction of these two bogus bills triggered a slew of email hoaxes convincing people a draft was eminent. These emails were obviously intended to scare voters into opposing President Bush, going so far as to claim the fictitious draft was set to "begin as early as Spring 2005 -- just after the 2004 presidential election" and the Bush Administration "is quietly trying to get these bills passed now." 5,6
This is, of course, false, but it doesn't stop gullible internet newbies from propagating a lie. You know the type. They've only found the internet in the past 5 years. They receive these email hoaxes all the time, but instead of deleting them like the rest of us, they read them carefully and believe them. These things look official. They're written like official news stories. They are formatted perfectly and have no editing or spelling errors. They even have references to some web links, most of which don't exist. But it doesn't matter. The lie is out there.
Even as recently as October 8, CNSNews.com reports that Democrat Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe is repeating this lie, "'I know it's controversial to say it, but don't think for one second that if George Bush gets re-elected and we have another conflict in some other theater of the world, we're going to have to reinstitute the draft.'" 7
An official response debunking the hoax can be found on the U.S. Selective Service System web site.
Sources1 NAES 04 Press Release: October 8, 2004, National Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
2 Transcript & Video: Debate #2, FoxNews.com.
3 H.R. 163, Library of Congress.
4 S.89, Library of Congress.
5 Urban Legends Reference Pages: Politics (Draft Fear), Snopes.com.
6 Urban Legends and Folklore: Congress Is Planning to Reinstate the Military Draft, UrbanLegends.About.com.
7 McAuliffe to College Dems: Bush Will Reinstitute Draft, CNSNews.com.