Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday morning renewed his call for a mandatory military draft to ensure that the demands of the U.S. armed forces are not met only by lower-income Americans who are more likely to join the military to earn a paycheck.
Rangel spoke on the anniversary of Pearl Harbor bombing, and after Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) lauded the actions of U.S. troops in Afghanistan who are working to protect Afghans from terrorist elements within that country. Rangel said he was moved by Kinzinger's remarks, but said the burden that the U.S. military bears must be borne by all.
"If America is going to take this position, all Americans should be prepared to make the sacrifices as the gentleman before me has," Rangel said after Kinzinger spoke. "It's abundantly clear that everybody does not assume the same sacrifices, whether we're talking about taxes or loss of life.
"I submit that we have to have a draft … not a plea for those people who for economic reasons have to protect themselves," Rangel added.
A draft, he said, would ensure that all Americans participate in decisions to go to war, not just those who "for economic reasons find themselves in communities with the highest, the very highest unemployment."
Rangel recounted how his brother volunteered for the military before World War II, and that he volunteered before the Korean War broke out. He said he was motivated to join in large part because his family needed the money.
"I would like to walk away saying how patriotic we both were, but really what motivated me was the excitement my mother would get in receiving a check for my older brother," Rangel said.