Hence his support for the draft. If even our volunteers are there involuntarily, why shouldn’t everyone be?

I want to make it abundantly clear: if there’s anyone who believes that these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment. If a young fella has an option of having a decent career or joining the army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.

This won’t get as much attention as what Lurch said (or was understood to have said) a few weeks ago. Rangel’s neither as prominent nor as unlikeable as Kerry, nor do vets bear him a grudge the way they do Waffles for his Winter Soldier testimony. But they’re both talking out of the same ass. In the Kerry/Rangel worldview, American troops aren’t the guy who crawls into a lion’s cage to rescue the kid inside; they’re the guy who’s forced into the cage at gunpoint by the gangster who wants something valuable that’s in there. Both are sympathetic, but only one’s a hero. Since they’ve already decided that Bush is a gangster and the Iraq war a criminal enterprise, they have to find a way to exculpate our all-volunteer military for their role in it; blaming them, however obliquely, is politically unviable, which is why even Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore insist they support the troops. Solution: deny their autonomy. Pretend that they’re either too stupid or too lazy or too poor to do anything but enlist. Harsh, but better to be called that than a neocon, right?

If Rangel’s serious about addressing economic inequality in the military, there’s an easy way to do it without imposing a draft. Simply repeal all major economic incentives to enlistment. Per RangelLogic, let the morality of every war be judged by the number of patriots willing to volunteer for it. “Bad” wars will attract few enlistees and end quickly in defeat as we run out of troops; “good” wars, just the opposite. He’d never accept that proposal, of course, because it could conceivably require him to admit that certain wars he opposes are “good” and, worse, that the troops who signed up for them are morally culpable in their execution.

Exit question: does being a trader at Goldman Sachs qualify as “a decent career”?

Tags: unemployment