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CONGRESSMAN CHARLES RANGEL ON 'INVOLUNTARY' "READY RESERVE"

June 30, 2004 – “Many people know that I have advocated a universal draft because the burdens of war should be fairly shared across all segments of our society and not fall disproportionately on poor communities as they do now. What people who oppose my bill do not seem to realize is that a military draft has already been taking place – a draft of those in disadvantaged areas who for economic reasons must join the service. A draft already exists for those currently serving and subject to stop-loss orders and involuntary extensions.

”Now , the Bush Administration is resorting to the absolute worst kind of draft it is forcing those people who have already honorably served and been discharged back into the service.

”The soldiers, who make up the so-called Ready Reserve have already served their complete active duty commitments of four to six years. They have proven their allegiance to this country in a way that few others have, And yet, due to the need for more troops to go and fight in allegedly sovereign Iraq,

the Bush Administration is yanking thousands of these heroes from their homes, jobs, communities and families and placing them in harm’s way yet again. I cannot imagine the pain, disappointment and fear that these families will suffer due to this unfair order to place the burdens of military service others who have already served.

”Even those accused of crimes are to subject to double jeopardy, but these heroes who have fought for their country are! Many of these former soldiers now serve their communities as police officers, fire fighters and other first responders. But, instead of protecting their own communities and serving their own families, they will be sent to bolster the Iraq operation.

”It’s time for a President who never served in war to stop asking the real heroes of our society to serve twice, He should at least show political courage and find a way for the burdens of service to be fairly shared.”



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