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February 14, 2005

Posted 1:00 AM Eastern

Mothers against the draft (MAD) launches their nationwide effort to inform American about their organization and why they are against conscription of America's sons and daughters on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2005. Due to concerns over the branches of the military unable to meet recruitment quotas and the "back door" draft method now being used to keep soldiers beyond their separation time, mothers and grandmothers alike decided to put their time and talent in an organized effort they named Mothers Against the Draft. According to their web site's mission statement:

"Mothers Against the Draft was started by a group of mothers and grandmothers from the left, the right, and everywhere in between, all united in opposition to reinstituting the draft or any other form of mandatory national service. Our goal is to make sure that Congress understands that if they move to violate the God-given rights of our children and grandchildren through mandatory national service or an outright military draft, they WILL come to a very real and personal understanding of the meaning of the old saying...."When momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!"

While the organizers of this movement honor and support those who serve, they are dead set against a new mandatory draft and cite the following reasons:

"By nearly all accounts, the following facts seem to be clear. Our military is seriously over-stretched and in spite huge signing bonuses and other enlistment incentives, there simply aren't enough new recruits and re-enlistments to keep pace with current military demands.

"As a result, the Pentagon has taken extreme measures to stop the hemorrhage including issuing "stop-loss" orders, lengthening tours of duty, increasing the number of rotations, and unlawfully placing women into combat positions. Given these facts, the threat of a new draft is far more real than most would like to admit. Either Congress must immediately re-evaluate our foreign policy and reduce our overseas military commitments, thereby decreasing the number of troops that are needed, or conscript our sons and daughters. There simply aren't any other choices.

"Unfortunately, there is no sign from Congress that they intend to reduce our military entanglements and the President's inaugural address brings little hope for a less aggressive or expansive foreign policy. Now is the time to stand-up and tell Congress that a new draft is NOT an option!"

For months before the November 2004 elections, the Internet was rampant with rumors that a long sitting bill in Congress would be passed and signed into law by Bush that would create a new, mandatory draft for both young men and women. However, in what many saw as nothing more than the Republicans pandering for votes, the GOP controlled Congress defeated HR 163 introduced by Charles Rangel (D-New York) mandating two years of military service. The vote was 402 to 2. While the Democrats made accusations of political shenanigans by the Republicans during an election year, most Democrats also voted to defeat the bill in hopes of bolstering John Kerry's run for the presidency.

"If President Bush is re-elected, he will be more cautious than he has been about preemptive warfare," said Boston University International Relations Professor Charles Dunbar and U.S. ambassador to Yemen from 1988-1991. Dunbar went on to say, "There is no need to have a military draft because this country is not on a war footing, and is unlikely to be so in the next presidential term."

One mother against a draft with an 18 year old son and 22 year old daughter finds Dunbar's statement disingenuous, "Bush is a lame duck president and doesn't have to answer to the voters again. This war monger and his cabinet won't be happy until they have enough troops to wage war against the world."

Others maintain that the Bush administration is already conducting an illegal conscription program by forcing soldiers to stay in the military past their lawful separation date known as the "stop-loss." Back in December 2004, eight soldiers from around the country sued claiming they were being prevented from returning home from their current deployment in Iraq and Kuwait even thought their terms of enlistment had already run out. These soldiers maintain that they fulfilled their required time in service and should not be held against their will.

You should know I'm not against the war," said David W. Qualls, who is one of the plaintiffs in the aforementioned lawsuits. Qualls is a former full-time soldier who signed up in July 2003 for the Arkansas National Guard. This sign up was for one year, but has been forced to stay in service in what is being called a "back door draft." Qualls went on the say, "This just isn't about that. This is a matter of fairness. My job was to go over and perform my duties under the contract I signed. But my year is up and it's been up. Now I believe that they should honor their end of the contract."

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For months before the November 2004 elections, the Internet was rampant with rumors that a long sitting bill in Congress would be passed and signed into law by Bush that would create a new, mandatory draft for both young men and women.