The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Chuck Hagel in 2004: Reinstate the Draft


Here’s a fun question for Chuck Hagel’s confirmation hearing: does he still support reinstating the draft, as he suggested in 2004?

Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on post-occupation Iraq, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., said, “There’s not an American … that doesn’t understand what we are engaged in today and what the prospects are for the future.”

Hagel, a member of the committee, says all Americans should be involved in the effort.

“Why shouldn’t we ask all of our citizens to bear some responsibility and pay some price?” Hagel said, arguing that restoring the draft would force “our citizens to understand the intensity and depth of challenges we face.”

The senator also argued re-instituting the draft, which ended in the early ’70s, would cause the burden of military service to be spread among all economic classes of people.

“Those who are serving today and dying today are the middle class and lower middle class,” he claimed.

While the Iraq war is over, what Hagel described at that hearing remains in place today — those in the military are middle class and lower middle class, and they are serving and dying in Afghanistan.

Hagel later said he wasn’t directly advocating reinstating the draft but that he wanted a national debate on the subject, contending he’s “not so sure it’s a bad idea.” He also supported the idea of “mandatory national service” for all Americans.

Tags: Barack Obama , Chuck Hagel


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