Thursday, November 30, 2006

The War on Peace

A couple in Colorado was threatened with daily fines from their homeowners association for displaying a holiday wreath shaped like a peace symbol. The fines were dropped and the three-member board resigned, but it's a staggering statement of the world we live in when a gesture of peace can be met with so much hostility.

Residents apparently complained to the association that the peace symbol was "politically divisive." One person even complained that it represented the devil. Has this become such a nation of sheep that a mere display representing tranqulity brings about calls of divisiveness? Must we again get explain that those who don't support the war are not being unpatriotic?

Homeowners associations are notoriously undemocratic. These are the groups that decree that homes in places like gated communities must look the same, with no special ornamentation on the lawns or windows. It must raise the blood pressure of these associations when someone has an individual thought.

Let's hope no one in these communities is planning on raising doves.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Draft: Mr. Rangel's Dangerous Game

Ten days ago, Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) made a splash when he suggested that the United States reinstate the draft. He argued that having a draft - and thus, more of a shared sacrifice among all Americans - would make politicians like President Bush and outgoing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld more responsive to the people and more likely to avoid unecessary conflicts. Really, what Rangel is saying is that Bush would have been less likely to start a war in Iraq if he felt the political consequences of doing so would have hurt him more.

While I can see what Rangel is trying to do -- and it might work once to stop a president from going to war -- I don't think Bush & Co. would have hesitated if they had a draft. Everything in their history and their performance in office suggests that they'd see more soldiers as more resources. If there was a draft in place, it is possible they would have waited until after the 2004 election to go into Iraq, but it seems they still would have done it. Moreover, with a larger force, they may have attacked other countries too, as the hawks in the administration have suggested over the years, implying that a military solution was what was needed in Iran and Syria, among other nations.

Having a draft didn't stop the Johnson and Nixon administrations from continuing to escalate in Vietnam. Why should we believe this president would be more responsible with more lives?

Lastly, there is objection to the draft in principle. A truly free society doesn't conscript its people into service. We should honor those who choose to serve, and we should see to it that they are treated fairly and responsibly, and not thrust into harm's way unnecessarily.

So while we thank Mr. Rangel for the effort to hold the Bush administration politically accountable, we reject the idea of playing Russian roulette with our brothers and sisters and sons and daughters. It's a dangerous game Mr. Rangel is playing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The First Post

Welcome to the first post of the Uncle Sam Wants You blog. A couple of things: First, the title comes from the 1984 song by Little Steven titled "Vote," which was an attempt to encourage people to vote Ronald Reagan out of office. We agreed with that sentiment, and find the song still relevant in 2006 (when, thankfully, it seems to have been heeded, albeit 22 years later).

You will find no romanticizing of the Reagan administration here. Having lived through that time, it is our firm belief that the era and breed of conservatism that came to power in 1980 has been a disaster for the country and the vast majority of its people. That's a conclusion reached by decades-long analysis of issues and events. We're not just rooting for a favorite team here (and you will find we disagree with the Democrats on some matters as well - see above), we're instead concerned with what is best for the country, based on our shared history, the principles of freedom and democracy and the needs of the many.

Join us as we examine our place in history and attempt to make sense of the events of our time.