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Are Draft Rumblings Real?, Prof. Ken Bode Asks in Weekly Op-Ed

October 1, 2004

October 1, 2004, Greencastle, Ind. - "On the evening before the first Bush-Kerry debate, NBC Nightly News reported that all over the country college students and their parents are receiving letters and e-mails warning that the administration has a secret plan to restore a military draft," writes Ken Bode, Eugene S. Pulliam Distinguished Visiting Professor of Journalism at DePauw University, in today's Indianapolis Star. Both presidential candidates deny they're even considering a draft, "So why is the issue forcing itself into the national dialogue? Well, most immediately, it does come from the Internet. College students everywhere are getting e-mails. Some assume these are designed to scare them out of lethargy and into voting against President Bush and the war in Iraq. Others argue that this is just another 'Internet myth,'" Dr. Bode writes.

The former senior political analyst for CNN says young Americans are "skeptical and worried," and for "the parents of today's college students, most of whom grew up in the Vietnam era, the issue has had a slow and steady germination. They, especially, are alert to the possibility that the government may also not be telling the truth about how we will raise manpower for Iraq and future wars... In a dozen different ways the Army has admitted it is seriously shorthanded," an issue that was discussed thoroughly yesterday on the DePauw campus in a Gertrude and G.D. Crain Jr. Lecture by military sociologist Charles Moskos (read more here).

Bode notes, "in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the Selective Service System released the outlines of what a new draft would look like. It would include women as well as men and the age of eligibility would be extended from age 25 to 34. It would require young Americans to inform the government if they had niche specialties (computer and language skills.). Does that sound like college campuses might be prime targets for recruiting?...Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation took a poll and found that only 43 percent of draft age Americans say they would comply if a draft were reinstated. If you polled their parents, I suspect the proportions would not be much different. Internet myth or prime subject for a presidential debate?"

Read the complete column at College News.org.

Ken Bode's other recent op-eds can be accessed by clicking here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Last month, Bode appeared on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews to discuss the controversy at CBS. Read more, and access video and audio clips, here.

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