August 12th, 2007
11:18 AM ET
16 years ago

Edwards critical on talk of draft

Edwards critcized the administration's comments on the draft

(CNN)–Former senator John Edwards blasted a Bush administration official Saturday for saying it makes sense to consider a military draft.

"Enough is enough," the Democratic presidential candidate said. "Let there be no doubt that the Bush administration's new talk of a draft is a profound measure of how much this President has failed our brave men and women in the military, and the American people. This is exactly the wrong way to go. Our all-volunteer force has helped make America what it is today."

On Friday, Lieutenant General Douglas Lute, President Bush's new war adviser, told National Public Radio that the military draft “has always been an option on the table” but said that’s more of a political policy issue.

"Maybe now, in light of Lute's dangerous words and the apparent steps the Administration is taking towards a draft," Edwards said, "Congress will once and for all stand up to this president and end this war."

"The President believes an all volunteer military serves the country well and there is no discussion of returning to a draft," said Dana Perino, Deputy White House Press Secretary on Sunday. "General Lute's comments are consistent with the President's stated policy."

- CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

Filed under: Iraq • John Edwards • Race to '08
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Chris

    They are motivated, but not really professional. Some of them are really sick people. My time in the military was one of fear. I had to get out of the military just to worship God again.

    August 13, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. Terry, El Paso, TX

    So then, what responsibility does a citizen have if the country is involved in a war he (or she) supports and fellow citizens are spending extended time on the battldfield? Is the $2.95 we all spent for a yellow ribbon decal for the trunk of the car back in 2002 sufficient or should we be forced to buy a new one every year – it is the only expression of patriotism by most of us? Is posting a comment here sufficient action for the patriot to do his duty for the nation? Is opposition to the draft anything but the self-serving rhetoric of a bunch of arm-chair soldiers who are willing to let others make all the sacrifices while he (or she) reaps all the benefits?

    I note that young women seem peculiarly silent about gender discrimination when it comes to the draft.

    Do not get me wrong. I did not enjoy being drafted in 1970 and I did not enjoy my two years in the Army. However, I did feel sorry for the poor bastards who went to Viet Nam while I, by pure good luck, drew an assignment at Ft. Benning GA.

    As for those who support the war but prefer the "volunteer" Army to conscription... Many of the men and women in Iraq have had their duty term be extended involuntarily. They serve there against their will, while we shop in the mall and listen to our iPods. That makes even me feel guilty. Though I am a veteran, no one ever shot at me and no one ever threatened to extend my tour of duty.

    I think the nation should consider enlisting healthy men and women between the ages of 18 and 60 for selective service. Exemptions could be granted to single parents and combat veterans. We need a hundred thousand patriots to go into uniform and relieve those who have fought for us for so long. I'm willing to take my chances with the draft because I initially supported this war though I now think I was wrong. We may have been stupid to do so, but our nation has broken Iraq into many pieces. Innocent Iraqi children are suffering now because of us, and we need to stay there until the situation is fixed. It's as if we ran a red light and totaled someone else's car. We can't argue now that we used poor judgement and therefore should not be held accountable for the consequences.

    August 13, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. AJ, Montpelier, VT

    A Bush lover calling John Edwards an idiot. Hmmmm...Ironic isnt it?

    August 13, 2007 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. Chip Celina OH

    Tom from Portland writes: "Fact is, politics is no longer about bringing ideas and policy to the table, it's about job security and money, and the best way to get both is to make others look worse than you."

    Bravo! Tom.

    This year there's just more of the same in the current crop of "top-tier" contenders. Everyone has a plethora of plans or programs that will be so beneficial to ALL, but are the same tired mantras we've heard about for years. We've heard about every one of these things forever but there have been no results and it's always the other side's fault. Republicans hate poor people, so they won't enact health care, Dems hate big-business so they think everything that happens is due to some big conspiracy theory. Frankly, I'm tired of having to choose from among a field of candidates that always have an excuse. Look for the candidate that doesn't cast aspersions on their foes to make them look better, and I'll show you someone with the will, backbone and ideas to get it done.

    August 13, 2007 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. HJ, Pittsburgh, PA


    As a tax-paying (my taxes support the military, so I feel as though I serve my country, not only in this, but in many ways, thank you), voting American citizen, my opinion on military conscription (pro or con) does and SHOULD count, despite the fact that I am NOT a member, past or present, of the Armed Forces. It may surprise you to learn that many veterans (including my parents who were both in the Marine Corps during WWII) do not support a draft. Their reasons are varied and space prohibits my sharing them in detail. However, your assertion that only veterans should have any say in this matter does a disservice to to the right to free speech and public discourse that every American is guaranteed by the First Amendment – a freedom our troops (you included, thank you) have historically fought to preserve, by the way. So if this is the case, why would you advocate limiting the debate to the voices of a select few?

    August 13, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Jeff, Boston, MA

    if they every do bring back a draft, they should make it so if you oppose the war, you don't have to leave the country...then when everyone suddenly seems to oppose the war (what a coincidence that'll be), it will hopefully finally end....for those who do not wish to fight or leave, there could be plenty of other ways to serve in the homeland....being 18 myself and hearing talk of this stuff honestly scares me because it seems that you can't take this president for his word any longer....the way we are trying to get every middle eastern country to act like we do leads me to believe that it may return eventually, but probably not in the near future....bush himself has said he envisions his "war on terror" to be like the Cold War, which, everyone knows, lasted for a very long time...

    August 17, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
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