Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Acadamia Nut wants Draft

At Captain's Quarters, Captain Ed takes a New York Times opinion peice apart after it calls our volenteer armed services "mercinaries." After referring to it as a problem, the article's author then presents his "solution" : a draft.

Some will find it offensive to call today's armed forces a "mercenary army," but our troops are emphatically not the kind of citizen-soldiers that we fielded two generations ago - drawn from all ranks of society without respect to background or privilege or education, and mobilized on such a scale that civilian society's deep and durable consent to the resort to arms was absolutely necessary. ...

The life of a robust democratic society should be strenuous; it should make demands on its citizens when they are asked to engage with issues of life and death. The "revolution in military affairs" has made obsolete the kind of huge army that fought World War II, but a universal duty to service - perhaps in the form of a lottery, or of compulsory national service with military duty as one option among several - would at least ensure that the civilian and military sectors do not become dangerously separate spheres. War is too important to be left either to the generals or the politicians. It must be the people's business.

It is the peoples business. The downfalls of a draft are vast and numerous. Just let the people who want to serve, serve.

Captain Ed rips this up well:

Once again, we have academics attempting to transform our military from history's most efficient and effective armed forces into a social program. We learned thirty years ago that compulsory service creates more disciplinary problems, law enforcement issues, and greater social stress. We spent a decade transforming our services into a highly motivated fighting force, one that could fight anywhere and anytime with high speed, superior logistics and production, tactical supremacy, and tightly coordinated strategic planning.

Instead of appreciating that outcome while allowing Americans a free choice to serve their country -- upholding our basic traditions of freedom by avoiding conscription -- Kennedy instead wants us to strip people of their freedom to choose and force them into uniform so that he can feel better about the balance of economic strata in our military services.

Jack Kelly at Irish Pennants (and a brilliant columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) has a solution for Professor Kennedy. If he wants better socio-economic representation in the services, he can start by "telling your students at Stanford that they should enlist." At the least, he can campaign to get places like Stanford -- which also hardly represents the socioeconomic composition of America -- to stop blocking ROTC programs and recruitment efforts. That might address the problems that Kennedy decries and allow more exposure for young men and women to the "noble calling" of serving this country.

Well said, Captain.


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