Apparently, Gravel's a liar

Any takers for this guy's comments / references ?

Jason Steck said,

August 18, 2007 at 5:08 am:

For the last several months, I have been writing a dissertation chapter on the end of the draft. I have not seen any reference to any role played by Gravel in the process. He does not even appear in the indexes of either of two comprehensive accounts of the legislative process that led to the end of the draft. And there is no record of a “one-man filibuster” playing a role in the end of the draft either. In fact, it was a story of remarkable legislative coalition-building initiated by President Nixon in fulfillment of a major campaign promise. The major legislative players were names like Stennis, Kennedy, and (!!) Rumsfeld. No Gravel. When combined with taking credit for the Pentagon Papers also, I’m wondering if this isn’t an “Al Gore moment” with Gravel exaggerating his role. I’m about to read a book on the Pentagon Papers and I will be interested to see what role, if any, Gravel really played. Even the intro of the Democracy Now forum puts him in a pretty passive role, though, saying only that he was an intermediary in the release. If I run across information which changes this, I’ll gladly update this thread with it.


 Steck is a Moron.  He


Steck is a Moron.  He needs to do  research.

Gravel and the end of the draft

As I said, I welcomed details about what Gravel's role was in ending the draft. I thank the commenter who provided the relevant reference information. I think some of the rest of you overreacted just a touch, eh? Chill.

There was no intent on my part to "swift boat" anyone. Those who hope that my comments indicate some kind of plot to respond to Gravel's "traction" are giving me credit for way too much influence. My reaction was one of surprise, not opposition, as I had not run across any reference to Gravel in my research into the end of conscription in the United States. As promised in my original comment, I will update the original comment thread (it wasn't even in an actual post, just a comment thread) to reflect the information that was provided.

no problem ;-)

!-- forestyan --!

Who the hell is Jason

Who the hell is Jason Steck?! And why would I care about his comment anyway.

Gravel ahead in the ABC

Gravel ahead in the ABC poll.  Lets keep him there!

Give'im hell - vote Gravel

Obviously Mr. Steck doesn't...

Obviously Mr. Steck doesn't have access to the congressional documents. Either way, here's what happened.

"It was the end of January 1971 when Richard Nixon sent Congress a military draft bill conceived as an interim step toward his 1968 campaign goal of building an all-volunteer military force. Nixon wanted a two-year extension of conscription and a substantial pay increase for the men in uniform. The President got what he asked for, and more.

The draft bill (HR 6531—PL 92-129), which was cleared for Nixon's signature Sept. 21, 1971, after eight stormy months of debate, extended the draft two years—through June 30, 1973—and increased military pay and other benefits by $2.4-billion annually. The bill when passed was a ploy by the administration and its congressional supporters to undercut pending draft repeal bills with the promise that a volunteer force was in the works, while assuring opponents of the all-volunteer concept that no rash moves were contemplated." (from CQPress: see citation at the end)

Basically, what happened in between the first Nixon proposal and HR 6531 was debates and delays triggered by Mr. Gravel's filibustering tactics. From the same source:

"The Senate by a 72-16 roll-call vote June 24 passed HR 6531 and sent the bill to conference.

The measure as passed by the Senate also contained a controversial amendment by Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D Mont.) setting a national policy of withdrawing troops from Indochina nine months after the bill's enactment. During consideration of the bill the Senate acted on 60 amendments. Major proposals rejected by the chamber were a bid by Mansfield to reduce by one-half the number of U.S. troops in Europe, attempts to eliminate or shorten the draft authorization and a 1971 version of a 1970 McGovern-Hatfield “end the war” amendment. (Foreign Policy chapter)

The Senate considered the bill from May 6 to June 24 during which time it was the subject of vigorous debate and lobbying. And passage of the bill came only after the Senate had voted to end the debate on a 65-27 cloture vote.

Mike Gravel (D Alaska) announced during the first day of debate that he intended to talk the draft to death if proposed amendments to do the same were rejected. Gravel, the first senator on the floor, said that the President's “induction power...will expire June 30.” He asked for support to filibuster the bill, but none was forthcoming.

John C. Stennis (D Miss.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, was the first to rise in opposition to Gravel's tactic. “I believe that failure to renew this induction authority, whether by vote or by the inaction resulting from extended debate, would be calamitous”, he said."

So there you are: January through June 1971. Back in the early days of the Nixon administration, the Gates Commission had already established that an All Volunteers Army was feasible and Nixon just wanted to buy time. In those pre-neocons days, government was still bowing to public pressures, or at least pretending to. I don't think that Mr. Gravel ever claimed that he single-handedly ended the draft: what he said was that he made sure that the conscription wasn't going to be extended forever (which is just as good, right?).



Draft law of 1971: Interim step toward volunteer army. (1973). In Congress and the nation, 1969-1972 (Vol. 3). Washington: CQ Press. Retrieved August 18, 2007, from CQ Electronic Library, CQ Congress Collection, Document ID: catn69-0008168396.


!-- forestyan --!



Well, it looks like you've

Well, it looks like you've pointed him in the right direction.

He's updated his comments accordingly.

What happened to the concept of honor?

If Mr. Steck or anyone else wants to question Sen. Gravel's record, I suggest they meet with the Senator and make their accusations directly to Gravel's face. If Mr. Steck or any other critic is unwilling to do that (and I'm betting we won't hear anything from him after this), then I see no reason to waste my time thinking about my Steck's charges.

In this day and age of Youtube! instant filming and broadcasting, there's no reason that candidates can't confront their would-be Swiftboaters, and ask them to repeat their charges on camera, on record, and to their face. I have a feeling that would sort out the cowardly slanderers from the courageous whistleblowers in a hurry.

What happened to the concept of honor, anyway? Just because you have access to the internet, "Mr. Steck", doesn't mean it's OK to backstab someone by questioning his record from afar in a weasely way such as this. If you've got anything to talk about, take it directly to the Senator and tell him your concerns man-to-man before making slanderous speculation to the whole world.

Honour ? It's 2007, get with

Honour ? It's 2007, get with the times why don't you. It's about money these days. Money and publicity.

Irresponsible and pathetic..

Jason Steck also runs this blog which is titled "Militant Moderate".

"For the last several months, I have been writing a dissertation chapter on the end of the draft. " he writes. If I were his professor, he'd be flunked.

Posting accusatory statements with absolutely no attribution to back them up is a pathetic and irresponsible act.

A tiny bit of googling revealed a number of articles referenced during the period.

If Steck needs a more contemporary source, here's one:

If Steck had any scroat, he'd show up here to make such a claim. Does he think a US presidential candidate would outright lie about his background and accomplishments? Does Steck not realize that the "moderates" that he supports have millions of dollars invested in such enterprises as researching the backgrounds of other candidates in order to find falsehoods and to smear them?

If Steck is going to "swift boat" Mike Gravel, he needs to become a bit more creative.

So I guess Daniel Ellsberg is a liar too

According to this guy Daniel Ellsberg is a liar too. 

Pentagon Papers

When it comes to the Pentagon Papers Jason Steck should keep in mind that while Senator Gravel was in an intermediary role, without him those papers couldn't have been ever released. Gravel being the only one in the Congress with the guts to take up this task.

A Sure Sign that Mike has Momentum

Apparently, there are now those who believe that Mike is getting traction.  So the empty charges are now thrown about.   In response, this from Tom Wells book, "Wild Man: The Life and Times of Daniel Ellsberg" at p. 431 re: the Pentagon Papers and the filibuster of the draft:

         "Ellsberg had not relinquished his goal of getting a member of Congress to release the Papers and thereby provide him legal cover.  On June 18, someone phoned Democratic Senator Mike Gravel of Alaska and asked him if he would be interested in using the Papers in a filibuster that he was planning against the draft. 'From all evidence known to me, he was simply the only person in the Senate willing to do it,' Ellsberg recalled.  The 41-year-old Gravel said he would . . . ."   Emphasis supplied.  The book was written in 2001.

          Members of Team Gravel need to be prepared to respond to the inevitable charges that now will be flying fast and furious because Mike is taking on the establishment and the people recognize a principles champion of change!  Mike's creating more than a ripple!!!  And that is a good thing -- unless, of course, you support politics as usual.