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Rhetorical question

Asha forwarded to me an email from one of her colleagues; the email contained an article calling out for action to stop companion bills in the Senate (S89) and the House (HR 163):

Mandatory Military Draft 06-15-05

Mandatory draft for males and females (ages 18-26) starting June 15, 2005, is something that everyone should know about. This literally affects everyone since we all have or know children that will have to go if this bill passes.

The article further asserts that:

The administration is quietly trying to get these bills passed now, while the public's attention is on the elections, so our action on this is needed immediately.

This sounds like a straight-up clarion call to get people writing their Senators and Congressmen to stop a sneaky Republican attempt to reinstate the draft. Except that it's not. The bill was defeated in the house on Wednesday (10/5) on a vote of 402 to 2.

The sole Senate sponsor of the bill was Ernest Hollings (D) from South Dakota. In the House the sponsors were "Mr. RANGEL (for himself, Mr. MCDERMOTT, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Mr. STARK, and Mr. ABERCROMBIE" -- all Dems, and only one of them (Stark) actually voted for the bill when it came up on the 5th. There's not a single Republican fingerprint on either of these bills. Both bills were introduced in January of 2003 (at the start of the 108th Congress) and which have languished until the House started cleaning house at the end of the 108th Congress.

So, this assertion from the piece "The administration is quietly trying to get these bills passed now, while the public's attention is on the elections..." is plainly bunk.

The panicked tone of the email twigged my Internet hoax senses, and the fact that I hadn't heard a peep about this bill in the news made me think that something just wasn't right. I mean, c'mon, any bill that would institute a mandatory male and female two-year national military service should be grabbing headlines, right? So, ten minutes online yielded all the information I presented above. The bill was a "statement" by some urban black Democrats, it never stood a chance of passing, and the Administration never had anything to do with it. Yet, someone thought that it was a good idea to start a Chicken Little email blowing around the 'net. Why? What is it with peoples' desire to raise false alarms and spread rumors?

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
britgeekgrrl
Oct. 7th, 2004 03:57 pm (UTC)
Because they're bored and can't be bothered to do research. Running around in a froth of alarm is MUCH more fun.

Gotta admit, I was a tiny bit worried when I first heard about the bills (via LJ, not panicked email) but I did much the same as you and realized the bills were a non-event. Phew.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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