military draft bill
The Democrat says his support
for the bill is not a political issue
Republican congressional candidate Dalton Tanonaka is accusing his opponent, incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie, of playing politics with America's young adults.
Abercrombie is among 15 co-sponsors of a bill introduced in the U.S. House last year that would reinstate the military draft for citizens ages 18 to 26.
"If he's trying to make a point to President Bush, this is the wrong time to do it," Tanonaka said, "You don't mess with this kind of stuff. This is war."
Tanonaka said he does not believe the co-sponsors are serious about bringing back the draft and want to scare people.
Abercrombie said he expressed his concern to President Bush and previously to then-President Clinton that the country's armed forces were being stretched too thin.
"This is not a political party issue. This is an issue about the security, the strength and the strategic interests of the United States," Abercrombie said, "And I was joined by Democrats and Republicans on the Armed Services Committee."
However, only Democrats sponsored the bill.
South Carolina Sen. Ernest Hollings introduced a similar bill in the U.S. Senate. Neither bill received a hearing.
If President Bush does not increase the authorized number of troops in the Army and Marine Corps, the nation may have to consider a draft because the National Guard and Reserves are also being stretched to their limits, Abercrombie said.
He said he agreed to co-sponsor the bill to reinstate the draft after then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki told lawmakers prior to the invasion of Iraq that the United States would need hundreds of thousands of troops to keep the peace following the war, a number much higher than estimates by the Bush administration.