McCain Speaks of Military, Gambling
Aug. 03, 1999
FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) _ Republican presidential candidate John McCain says he would oppose reviving a military draft even though enlistments are down.
The modern military requires technical skills to operate today's sophisticated weapons, and it takes a long time to acquire those skills, the Republican senator from Arizona said Monday during the last leg of a bus tour through South Carolina.
``In the old days, you would spend six weeks showing a recruit the right end of a gun and send him on his way,'' said McCain, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Defense analysts say the services could be forced to return to selective conscription if they can't fill the ranks with higher pay and improved benefits.
McCain blamed Congress for the shortage, saying it has failed to provide the necessary funding to raise military pay and benefits.
The military is not seen as an attractive option, he said.
McCain told the local Rotary Club here that there are 11,000 military personnel on food stamps.
``That's a national disgrace,'' he said.
On another issue, McCain urged everyone to read the latest national report on gambling, which warns of its consequences.
McCain is a longtime defender of American Indian tribal casinos and supported legislation in 1995 that paved the way for gambling ``cruises to nowhere.'' While he defended the rights of the Indians to set up their own casinos, McCain said he also warned of the consequences associated with gambling.
And state-run lotteries aren't any better, he said.
``Who buys lottery tickets?'' he asked. ``When I'm in a Circle K, I know who buys lottery tickets. The lowest income.''