Obama calls for US military mobilization (draft)

Dandelion Salad

By Patrick Martin
13 September 2008

National service forum at Columbia University

In remarks that clearly pointed toward the restoration of the military draft under an Obama administration, the Democratic candidate said Thursday night that his job as president would include demanding that the American people recognize an “obligation” for military service. “If we are going into war, then all of us go, not just some,” Senator Barack Obama declared.

Obama’s comments came as he and his Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, took part in a forum on national service at Columbia University in New York City. Earlier in the day, both candidates joined in a memorial service at the site of the World Trade Center, commemorating the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

While “national service” encompasses more than the military, including such government-run programs as the Peace Corps, Americorps and Teach for America, as well as private and religious programs, both McCain and Obama focused on expanding the US Armed Forces as a major goal of the next administration, whether Democratic or Republican.

In an indication of the bipartisan support for the increasing militarization of American society, McCain jokingly offered to name Obama his coordinator for national service if the Republican were to win the election, and Obama reciprocated.


National service forum at Columbia University Obama calls for US military mobilization.


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14 thoughts on “Obama calls for US military mobilization (draft)

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  4. HI Bob, I didn’t mean to take anything out of context, just posted the beginning of the article and left the link for my readers to read the rest of the story on the original source.

    Still don’t believe we should have a draft, though.

  5. You take the quote out of context. Here is the whole passage that leads up to it.

    OBAMA: Well, first of all, as commander-in-chief, my job is to keep America safe. And that means insuring that we’ve got the best military on Earth. And that means having the best persons in uniform on Earth. We have that right now, but as a consequence of these wars, they have been strained incredibly. I think it’s important for us to increase the size of our Army and our Marines so we can reduce the pace of tours that our young men and women are on.

    I think it’s important to work towards increasing military pay. I think the passage of the G.I. bill was extraordinarily important as a message to our men and women in uniform that when you serve our country, we will stand by you.

    I think about my grandfather, who served in Patton’s army in World War II. He joined after Pearl Harbor. And we were talking off- camera about where did I get this sense of service. I think about my grandparents’ generation.

    My grandfather, after Pearl Harbor, joined the military. My grandmother, who had just had a baby at Fort Leavenworth, stayed back and worked on a bomber assembly line. There was a total mobilization.

    OBAMA: And when my grandfather came back, he came back to a G.I. bill that was going to pay for his college education and FHA loans that would help them purchase a home. There was that sense of sacred obligation that, frankly, we have lost during these last two wars.

    I want to restore that.

    But it’s also important that a president speaks to military service as an obligation not just of some, but of many. You know, I traveled, obviously, a lot over the last 19 months. And if you go to small towns, throughout the Midwest or the Southwest or the South, every town has tons of young people who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s not always the case in other parts of the country, in more urban centers. And I think it’s important for the president to say, this is an important obligation. If we are going into war, then all of us go, not just some.

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  11. Thanks for your commentary, Natureboy. I do hope you and Davis and the others who are predicting a McCain victory are incorrect. Although, I don’t see Obama being all that much different on most issues, I am more frightened of McCain/Palin!

    I have mixed feelings on having a draft, on the one hand, perhaps it would finally get the majority of people who are against the wars to actually do something to end them. But like you said and I agree, teaching/training young people to kill is against everything that I taught my 2 sons. I wouldn’t want them or anyone else’s children being forced to enter the military.

  12. I was wondering if that’s what he meant. I turned off the interview when he started in on ‘service’ and the military, etc. (he had been talking about encouraging other forms of ‘service’– clearly the best ‘service’ we could do this nation is to turn off the war industry and re-invest those funds into society– we’re already paying enough ‘service’ to the pentagon and VA with over half our tax revenue).

    The point is to demilitarize the world, not further embroil people in the militaristic mindset.

    Charlie Rangel was for the draft because he felt it would (ostensibly) lead to dissent of gratuitous deployments (i.e. the reason goppers are opposed to the idea, they know people would all of a sudden pay attention tot heir twisted foreign policy if people not only had to pay for these wars, but if they were obligated to kill and die in them– this way only psychopathic militarists who are pre-primed to kill do the killing and dying, rarely do they resist illegal orders to commit atrocity and war-crimes for personal pleasure as we’ve seen in the last half-century of illegal invasions by the USA. Anyone who would enlist in an illegal war of aggression of a nation of no threat to the USA at the obvious expense of vast civilian deaths is simply sick in the brain, and that’s what the warmongers want, not conscriptees).

    Anyone who claims to be progressive yet speaks of mandatory military service simply has no idea what basic training does to the minds of the youth. One need only meet any random group of Israelis to know… Training already aggressive, impressionable youth to kill is about the worst thing you can do to their developing minds. To learn to follow orders to deploy unquestiongly, and use weapons of war engenders the addictive derangement of a violent mindset that can likely never be cured.

    What the heck is Obomba thinking? Is this some new way to be counterract the warmongering mania of McBomb? People would vote for a draft-monger just as soon as they’d vote for a tax-hiker.

    Anyway, I’m still with Davis Fleetwood from 6 months ago– Mcbomb will win, and we’ll have far worse than the somewhat progressive Obama. The nation is fairly foaming at the mouth to install a genuinely deranged militarist at the helm of its horrible war machine, but that is apparently what the people want…

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