A Menagerie of Outspoken Opinions on Science, World Politics, and Geek Culture

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Banned by “Enjoy the Draft”

I’ve been posting comments to BBSs and blogs for well over three years now, and I’ve been a blogger myself for about six months. Today is the first time I’ve actually been banned from a web site. I thought it would be worth interrupting my hiatus to tell everyone about what happened.

Enjoy the Draft is a new site that turns the “Bush is gonna draft us!” hysteria up to full volume, drowning out reason, logic, and truthfulness with one flick of the rhetorical dial. When I discovered the site (through a blog ad over at IMAO, of all places) I posted a few civil – if fierce – rebuttals to the shrill nonsense they’re passing off as information. One of the EtD bloggers obviously didn’t like all of those annoying facts I kept dropping on him and his readership, so he decided to ban me from posting. He also went ahead and deleted all of the posts I made after a certain point, making it appear that he got the last word in each thread. This didn’t bother me too much, as I’d said my piece in most of the threads pretty early on; he couldn’t get rid of too much without rendering his own responses meaningless.

There was one post, however, that he obviously deleted to get a lot of inconvenient facts out of the conversation; I imagine he took one look at the reply and thought “Answering this is impossible without admitting I’m wrong on at least two counts, so I’d better just delete the comment and ban this troublemaker”. Well, I bring you the exchange as best I can remember it. His words, since he left them posted, I have copied exactly … mine I’ll have to write over again (so no guarantees of an exact reproduction):

And Sandor, as for the "vote" in Congress. You do realize that that vote was a political ploy, right? I mean you do read the papers? The Republicans brought that vote up so they could quickly vote it down in order to try to squash the legit concern over the draft.

First of all, the entire issue of a draft was raised by Democrats, not Republicans. It was Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D – NY) and Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (D – SC) that “introduced the legislation in January 2003 in an effort to highlight what [they] saw as an ill-prepared and ill-advised Iraq policy”. In other words, two Democrats tried to use draft legislation to promote an anti-war, anti-Bush agenda (or, as GOP leaders put it, “Rangel and Hollings introduced the bills with the sole intent of scaring people in an election season”). The measure was brought to a vote not to squash discussion, but to reveal just how little support the measure had: It was crushed in a blistering bi-partisan vote, 402-2.

Furthermore, Rangel himself said the bill was “devised to arouse more controversy and debate about the war in Iraq, which was only in the planning stages when the bill was introduced … [and] that the threat of a draft could move public support away from the administration's Iraq policy.”

There’s never been real talk of re-instating the draft … just intentional scare tactics by Democrats to score points off the President. And now you guys are aping them here at Enjoy the Draft.

Did they vote on a bill to kill the draft? No. Did they fund the Selective Service for another year? yes.

The vote itself – and its tremendously lop-sided result – was a procedural motion intended to get the bill’s sponsor to pull it out of consideration. Only Rangel himself can do that, and that he hasn’t only shows that he’s still hoping this issue can undermine President Bush’s Iraq policy.

As for funding selective service, it’s been funded every year since WW II (as far as I know). Such funding is no more indicative of a draft in 2004 than it was in 1994 or 1984.

Are they paying gobs of money to public relations firms in DC this year to secretly plan how to implement a draft? Yes. So why is all that happening if there is no way, no chance, no how that there will ever be a draft? That's a lot of money to waste for something that we will NEVER do. Not to mention, why are they doing it all secretly?

First of all, if all of this is happening secretly how do you know about it? The problem with accusing your enemies of secret evil plans is that if they were really secret you wouldn’t know about them, would you (unless the CIA is beaming the information into your head with their orbital mind-control lasers, hmmm)?

I’d personally like to see your evidence for all of this money being spent on PR for the draft. (And why do they need PR? Isn’t the draft mandatory?) This last part of your argument amounts to a conspiracy theory – if even that. If you want to have a serious discussion, bring facts … not silly theories about the draft board laying in wait on the grassy knoll for America’s young people.

So, there you have it. The post that got me banned from Enjoy the Draft’s blog comments. Maybe I should have been meaner … it would’ve been nice to at least deserve my first banning ever. Sigh.

Mom is still in the hospital, politics and blogging are still on the back burner. Hope things get back to normal quickly, and my best wishes go out to all you fine readers.