"There's not an American ... that doesn't understand what we are engaged in today and what the prospects are for the future," Senator Chuck Hagel told a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on post-occupation Iraq.
"If that's the case, why shouldn't we ask all of our citizens to bear some responsibility and pay some price?" Hagel said, arguing that restoring compulsory military service would force "our citizens to understand the intensity and depth of challenges we face."
The Nebraska Republican added that a draft, which was ended in the early 1970s, would spread the burden of mililitary service in Iraq more equitably among various social strata.
"Those who are serving today and dying today are the middle class and lower middle class," he observed.
The call to consider a imposing a draft comes just days after the Pentagon moved to extend the missions of some 20,000 US troops in Iraq.
Some critics of the US-led occupation complain that military planners used too few troops to subdue Iraq, and insist that more military muscle will be needed to restore order.