Monday, November 20, 2006

Rangel and Friedman on the Draft

The Associated Press reports today:

Americans would have to sign up for a new military draft after turning 18 under a bill the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee says he will introduce. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said Sunday he sees his idea as a way to deter politicians from launching wars. Rangel, a Korean War veteran who has unsuccessfully sponsored legislation on conscription in the past, has said the all-volunteer military disproportionately puts the burden of war on minorities and lower-income families. Rangel said on CBS' "Face the Nation" he will propose a measure early next year.
It might be worth repeating this old story about Milton Friedman and General William Westmoreland, who was once commander of U.S. troops in Vietnam.

In his testimony before the commission, Mr. Westmoreland said he did not want to command an army of mercenaries. Mr. Friedman interrupted, "General, would you rather command an army of slaves?" Mr. Westmoreland replied, "I don't like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves." Mr. Friedman then retorted, "I don't like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries. If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher."
Who will play Friedman against Rangel's Westmoreland?