Posted November 24th, 2008 at 11.59am in First Principles.
There has been a small uproar around Obama’s call for a “civilian national security force” especially one “that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded” as the military. But many have said that these words were taken out of context. If you read the whole speech, they argue, it is clear that he just wants to expand the Peace Corp a little bit.
Similarly, there was a mild uproar about his call for mandatory service from students, but many said that the programs were never intended to be mandatory. The college program was optional community service in exchange for a larger education credit, and the high-school one was no different from adding an art class or something to the public high-school curriculum. Obama initially called both mandatory on his change.gov website, but after the buzz began he changed the wording and removed several sections of the site.
But now there is new evidence that the critics are right. He does favor mandatory service and it might be worse than we thought. He has chosen Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff. Rahm Emanuel wrote a book called The Plan in 2006. On page 60-65 of the book Rahm calls for universal conscription of 18-24 year olds for civilian service in order to prepare for a potential terrorist attack.
All Americans between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five will be asked to serve their country by going through three months of basic training, civil defense preparation and community service.
In a 2006 radio interview Rahm explains more about the program. He speaks about the dangers of a chemical attack and about the wonderful common experience that all Americans could have by being drafted for 3 months into a civilian national security force training program. He seems to be using the fear of attack to justify drafting all youth into a militaristic civilian security force – something more reminiscent of a dictatorship than a democracy. And all of his calls to unity and common experience only confirm his preference for nationalism or collectivism over individualism and freedom.
That Obama has chosen this man as his chief of staff should give anyone pause. This man has a “Plan” for the country that involves training our youth like soldiers, and calls upon “a new patriotism that brings us together again in a common mission” for his plan which will “unite us in a higher national purpose.”