James Baker Backs Reinstating the Draft

The former secretary of state says it's unpopular but it would raise the stakes.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Rep. Charlie Rangel, Congress's lone champion of reinstating the military draft, can count on another Korean War-era vet for support: Republican James Baker, a soldier in the Reagan and Bush administrations. Baker, secretary of state during the first Gulf War, visited a private girls' school in Virginia, where he was asked how to attract kids into some kind of service that gives them a stake in the country's future. "This is a very unpopular thing that I am about to say," he warned. "But one thing that makes it harder to go to war is to have a draft, because when you have a draft, then everybody's got a stake in it, and the costs of war are brought home much more vividly and vigorously to the American people. I think national service is a wonderful idea." But unlikely, he conceded: "You get killed if you support a draft, politically, but it sure would raise the stakes. Everybody would understand a lot better what we have at stake when we go to war."

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