By Brad Friedman on 4/23/2004, 5:47pm PT  

Charlie Rangel called for it over a year ago - before we sent 700+ to die in Iraq.

His point, as I took it at the time, was that perhaps this country would be a lot more judicious when it chose to wage Optional Wars if everyone in America had a real stake, or was likely to know someone who did.

As the death of Pat Tillman yesterday in Afghanastan finally helped remind us, these "wars" are real and there are real Americans who are getting killed over there every single day. Not simply numbers, but real Americans dying.

The notion that a bunch of men - all of whom exploited opportunties to opt out of putting their own life on the line to serve our country in war when they had a chance to do so - are now so cavalierly willing to send off the sons and daughters of others to fight a war that needn't have been fought is nothing less than appalling.

As well, it is my understanding that there is only one - that's right just one - sitting member of the US Congress (including 535 members of both the House and Senate) who has a child in the active service.

As the curtain has been drawn back to expose the real reasons for the War in Iraq (hint: it didn't have much to do with a "War on Terror") and as the faulty premises on which it was sold to the Congress and the American People come to light (hint: there were no WMD's as everyone else in the world told them), it seems time to take another look at the resources America and it's (mostly) Elected Officials are so willing to expend so quickly on dubious and deadly military excursions.

When Dubya's daughters Jenna and Barbara are forced to serve the country in the military, perhaps George won't be as quick to pull the trigger before attaining a true level of certitude that such action is truly warranted to defend our country and it's interests.

Bring back the Draft and perhaps the real consquences and costs of War will become real again. Not just another ratings bump for Fox News.

When everyone in America has a son, a daughter or a next door neighbor that might be shipped off to fight and die in one of these things, perhaps it'll become as real as it became for just a few minutes this morning, when someone that more than just a few Americans actually had heard about was killed in the bargain.