October 20, 2004

The Kerry Draft


Charles Johnson and other bloggers have tried to call attention to a contradiction in John Kerry's presidential campaign. Though Kerry and other Democrats keep raising the fake spectre of a Bush military draft, it is Kerry who has promised a plan for mandatory national service in the form of a community service requirement for high school students.

His proposal was touted during the Democrat primaries, but you will no longer find evidence of it on Kerry's web site. In Kerry's Vanished Draft Proposal, Johnson provides links to a deleted Kerry web page and its replacement. The former said (all emphasis below has been added):

As part of his 100 day plan to change America, John Kerry will propose a comprehensive service plan that includes requiring mandatory service for high school students and four years of college tuition in exchange for two years of national service.

Though no longer on Kerry's web site, for while the above quote could be seen on a Kerry page archived online at Way Back Machine. If you click on that link, you'll find that the page is no longer available there either. But since the proposal was part of speeches and at least one press release from Kerry, traces of it are found elsewhere on the Internet.

A web site called Bank of Knowledge archives Democrat campaign speeches. In a May 2003 speech on National Service, John Kerry said:

So I propose that all high school students should also be required to do community service before they graduate.

A New Hampshire political news web site reported on the speech: Kerry pushes mandatory national public service.

Speaking to veterans and to students at his former high school, Sen. John Kerry proposed a $3.5 billion national effort to involve more Americans in public service building on the framework of other programs and mandating that all high schools incorporate service requirements for graduation.

Slate magazine reported in July 2003 that The Agenda of John Kerry includes:

3. Institute mandatory and voluntary national service. Kerry would provide four years' tuition at a public university to any American who performed at least two years of national service. He would make some sort of community service a prerequisite for graduation from any U.S. high school. The high-school programs would be state-designed but federally funded.

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia contains this line from their entry on the John Kerry presidential campaign:

Kerry supports supplementing national service in nearly all aspects of American life, including requiring community service for high school students to graduate [...]

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Gazette posted a press release from the Kerry campaign dated November 20, 2003: Kerry Presents Vision of 100 Days to Change America. "As part of his Action Plan for the First 100 Days, Kerry vowed to ..."

Make national service a way of life by requiring mandatory service for high school kids and giving Americans the chance to earn four years of college tuition in exchange for two years of service.

Using Google, I found a dead link for the above press release at the Kerry web site. But if you look at the first entry in this Google search, you can still see what used to be on Kerry's site: "... national service a way of life by requiring mandatory service for high school kids and ...".

John Kerry and some of his supporters continue attempts to scare up votes by saying that Bush will institute a military draft, even though Bush has unequivocally rejected conscription as an option, and even though a recent Democrat draft proposal was overwhelmingly defeated in Congress (2 votes for, 402 against).

The truth is that John Kerry has publicly promised a special draft of his own, and it now appears he wants to hide it. The immorality of a draft does not arise from the fact that it is military service. A draft is immoral because it is involuntary service, and involuntary servitude is a violation of individual rights whether it occurs in fox hole or a soup line. And it is exactly involuntary servitude that Kerry has planned for high school students.

John Kerry's use of a trumped-up draft scare is sleazy enough as it is. Turns out it's hypocritical, too.

UPDATE I -- October 22: A reader named Marj has directed us to an online archive that contains both the missing Kerry page and the press release.

Posted by Forkum at October 20, 2004 07:48 PM