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Republican Guest Suggests Implementing "Universal Service" to "Put Us On a War Footing"

Reported by Marie Therese - August 24, 2006 -

William Cohen, a Republican and former Secretary of Defense under Clinton, appeared on this morning's FOX & Friends First. They gave him two segments ostensibly to speak about the Middle East and to plug his new novel. However, at the end of the second segment, host Brian Kilmeade asked a question and got an answer that made me wonder about the Bush administration's next steps in its ongoing fear mongering campaign.

WILLIAM COHEN: "... What we need in this war against terror - which I would prefer to call it (sic) 'a long twilight struggle' to use John Kennedy's phrase - a long twilight struggle against terrorism - you need better intelligence, better police work, covert activity, special forces, if necessary, ultimately military. But it's going to be through police work and the sharing of intelligence, that we'll be able to help defend us against attacks which are inevitably going to come."

BRIAN KILMEADE: "Hey, Mr. Secretary, finally, do you think in the next ten years we're going to be looking at some type of draft because we seem to need - have so many conflicts to cover?"

WILLIAM COHEN: "I'm not sure there'll be a draft. I think there should be a commitment to universal service. I think that only a few people are really committed to this war against terrorism and called. I think the American people have to be - understand - that we're all in this together. We ought to have a real call to national service to commit ourselves to some form of public service ...."

STEVE DOOCY (off screen): "Got ya'."

COHEN: "... helping out at homes, health care, nurses, etc. But something has to be done ..."

KILMEADE: "Something's got to be done."

COHEN: "... to put us on a war footing mentality. We're not there."

DOOCY: "Alright."

Was FOX News acting as a White House surrogate, floating a trial balloon in an attempt to get feedback from FOX viewers on how the Republican base would react to the idea of a draft?

Or were the F&F co-hosts expecting a different response from Cohen and caught off guard by his answer?

Whatever the correct interpretation, the draft - oops! - "universal service" - has certainly been moved to the foreground by this exchange.