Thursday, 28 October 2004
Pelosi begs my question on the draft
Tonight's live national call-in simulcast on Link-TV and Pacifica Radio, FAQs: The Politics of the Draft , seems to have been intended much more as a forum for Democratic Party electioneering than as a way to elicit actual answers to any of the Frequently-Asked Questions about the draft .
But it did give me a chance to ask the House Minority Leader, who is also the person who claims to represent my district in Congress, why she, Senator Kerry, and the other Democrats haven't actually done anything to put their purported oppostion to the draft into effect.
Here's the exchange, in full, beginning at 8:45 of the audio/video stream (MS-Windows Media):
Peter Laufer [moderator]: Now we can say hello to Edward. Edward is in San Francisco, which is appropriate for our first call. Welcome to the program, and say hello to Congresswoman Pelosi.
Edward Hasbrouck: Hello, Representative Pelosi.
Nancy Pelosi [U.S Representative from San Francisco, and House Minority Leader]: Good evening, Edward.
Edward Hasbrouck: Hi. I was one of the 20 nonregistrants who were picked out [for prosecution] as draft resistance organizers in the early 1980's. I spent 6 months in a Federal prison camp for refusing to agree to fight on the side of the people who would become the Taliban and Al Qaeda, who were the people we were then backing in Afghanistan. And it seems to me that the current debate about the draft has been oddly detached from the reality of ongoing draft registration , which President Bush could end with the stroke of a pen, which Senator Kerry could have introduced legislation to end, or could have pledged to issue a proclamation ending on [his] Inauguration Day. My question for you as my Representative from here in San Francisco, and more broadly to the Democratic leadership, is why you have not called the Republicans' bluff, and put the pressure on them to actually end draft registration and abolish the Selective -- ?
Peter Laufer: That's a terrific question. Let me stop you there just for a second there, Edward, so that we can get the response from the Congresswoman.
Nancy Pelosi: Well, I'm not unsympathetic to your point of view, Edward. It is necessary for us to have a force. And I think most young people don't realize that when they become 18 years old they are under law required to sign up for the draft -- uh, not for the draft but under the Selective Service. I think this is something that we should subject to some scrutiny to see why this is still necessary and why there's a penalty if you don't. I mean, it can be held against you in your college applications, your job applications and the rest. So I think it's a debate that we should have as a country. Long before the draft was over I was opposed to the draft, so you know, I'm not, again, unsympathetic to your point of view that, I guess, you want to eliminate the Selective Service System altogether, or at least the mandatory sign-up. But, I think it's worthy of attention.
Peter Laufer: Thank you, Edward, for bringing that up, and thank you for the call....
The only mention of draft registration or draft resistance was my question and Rep. Pelosi's response, as above. (There was no mention at all of the possibility of a draft of health care workers .) Luke Hiken from the National Lawyers Guild's Military Law Task Force, who was in the studio, gave an excellent presentation about the strength of the legal challenges to the "stop-loss orders", the illegality of the current war(s), and so forth.
Pelosi's "not unsympathetic" and "worthy of attention" response isn't exactly a statement of support, but it goes beyond anything I've heard from a national leader in either party since draft registration was reinstated in 1980, and indicates the window of opportunity we have right now to lobby against draft registration and Selective Slavery.Link | Posted by Edward on Thursday, 28 October 2004, 21:46 ( 9:46 PM) | TrackBack (0)