By Jack Minor
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York) has proposed a bill that would require every citizen to serve two years in the military or some form of government service to be chosen by the President with no exemptions for conscientious objectors.
Rangel, who has recently been convicted of multiple ethics violations, sponsored HR 5741. The bill would require all persons “between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service.” The bill goes on to define national service as “military service or service in a civilian capacity that, as determined by the President, promotes the national defense, including national or community service.”
The President would have the power to order induction into the armed forces if he declares a national emergency, providing he simply notify Congress of the reason for the inductions. The two-year requirement for all citizens will be extended by the number of days a person is taken ill or is recovering from injury in the line of duty. The President would also have the ability to end any individual’s enlistment before the two-year mark at his discretion.
Conscientious objectors would be exempted from front line combat units, however, they will still be required to serve in some type of community service designated by the President.
The bill is in keeping with the President’s desire to create a national security force separate from the military. WorldNetDaily reported that during the 2008 presidential campaign Obama said, at an appearance in Colorado Springs, “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”
To this day the administration has not made clear what the purpose of such an organization that is “just as strong, just as well-funded” as the military would be. It does appear as if compulsory service has been a goal of the Obama administration even prior to the election.
Obama’s former chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel, coauthored a book in 2006 called “The Plan: Big Ideas for America.” In this book he called for three months of compulsory civil service for all Americans aged 18 to 25.
The Obama/Biden campaign website change.gov proclaims Obama and Biden have “set a goal that all middle and high school students do 50 hours of community service a year.” HR 1444 called for a study to determine whether “a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people” should be developed across the United States.
Another bill, HR 1388, which Betsy Markey voted in favor of and was signed into law by the President, originally had a section listing prohibited activities during the period individuals were fulfilling their community service requirements. Among the prohibited activities were attempting to influence legislation, organizing in protests, petitioning boycotts or strikes, activities designed to influence the outcome of an election for public office, participating in religious instruction and being forbidden to engage in any form of religious proselytization.