Would Conscription Put the Brakes on War?

Andrew Bacevich's new book offers a powerful critique of U.S. foreign policy—but the solution it proposes is no remedy.

Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, by Andrew Bacevich, Metropolitan Books, 238 pages, $26.

War critics sometimes argue that modern militarism isolates Americans from the action, keeping the general population unaware of intervention's bloody costs. This theme is aired extensively in Andrew Bacevich’s Breach of Trust. Bacevich, a veteran Army officer and Boston University historian, has penned many critiques of U.S. foreign policy, and his newest contains many valuable insights. But those of us who prioritize individual liberty will disapprove of many of his conclusions, particularly his endorsement of conscription.

In the past, Bacevich argues, the United States maintained a "neat division of labor," comprising "a smaller regular army for everyday needs while mobilizing a much larger citizen-army in time of great emergency." Then Vietnam-era politics culminated with the end of the draft. After the public withdrew from the traditional "arrangement" with the military, Americans "disengaged from war, with few observers giving serious consideration to the implications of doing so."

In the new era, Bacevich continues, military service is no longer a shared national sacrifice but an elective personal choice. This shift coincided with Americans’ general desire to keep war remote. In the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration solidified the new American way, which Bacevich calls the "three no’s": Americans refuse to change their way of life, to pay the financial costs up front, or to share in the blood sacrifice. The "nation did not mobilize," he writes. "Congress did not raise taxes, curtail consumption, or otherwise adjust domestic priorities to accommodate wartime requirements."

Bacevich makes many good points as he tells this story. He thoughtfully questions U.S. Middle East policy, from the 1953 CIA coup in Iran to Washington's tilted relationship with Israel. He warns against excessive anti-Islamism, faults Obama for continuing the Bush doctrine, and laments the liberal establishment’s lack of antiwar stalwarts. The book entertainingly chronicles the conservative pundit David Brooks’s triumphant tone in the early Iraq war, his prose failing to waiver until he changed his mind entirely.

Most important, Bacevich discusses the hyper-militarism that followed Vietnam: "Since the draft ended, along with Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan, U.S. ground forces have intervened for stays ranging from weeks to years in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo," plus many lesser interventions. He harshly appraises the popular Persian Gulf War of 1991, which "plunge[d] the United States more deeply into a sea of difficulties for which military power provided no antidote," as well as taking on post-9/11 policy.

For Bacevich, the core problem is that most Americans do not share war’s burdens. Borrowing some Occupy rhetoric, he casts soldiers as victims and everyone else as perpetrators: "the 99 percent who do not serve in uniform...ruthlessly exploit the 1 percent who do." His proposed remedy is unlibertarian and not exactly original: coercive national service including a military track. Some antiwar figures, such as Noam Chomsky, have advocated such a plan to deter war, but Bacevich knows it’s not so simple: "Conscription hadn’t dissuaded Harry Truman from intervening in Korea in 1950 or stopped Johnson from plunging into Vietnam in 1965," he writes. But he does think that citizens would have “skin in the game” and that the distance between the populace and military would shrink, encouraging more public deliberation on war’s costs. The author condemns the modern "proclivity for wars that are, if anything, even more misguided and counterproductive than Vietnam was"—and yet 58,000 Americans and millions of Asians died in that brutal, futile bloodbath, so perhaps the national revulsion at broad war mobilization was indeed a blessing.

Bacevich’s relative approval of past conflicts guides his assessment. He labors to distinguish America’s historical wars from its activities around the world today, writing favorably of the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and the World Wars. Bacevich does not fully acknowledge that the military-industrial complex he devotes a chapter to criticizing is not new. He warns that where "profit-and-loss statements govern, devotion to duty, honor, and country inevitably takes a hit," and he favorably cites Smedley Butler’s famous pamphlet War is a Racket. But Butler was not writing recently—his booklet focused on the profiteers of World War I. Bacevich’s suggestion that past wars were less commodified or politicized, or their costs more fairly distributed, is not substantiated. Bacevich condemns the reliance on reserve troops in Iraq: "The military...voided the implicit contract that had defined the terms of service for these part-time soldiers—that the nation would call upon them only in extreme emergencies." Yet whatever "extreme emergencies" prompted deployment in Cuba, World War I, Korea, and Vietnam, a consistent anti-interventionist easily finds as much fault in the wars before 9/11 as in the decade following.

Once, Bacevich writes, "Americans accepted fighting for freedom as their job; today, with freedom still their birthright, they expect someone else to do the fighting." The problem might not be that everyday Americans avoid combat, but rather that they regard U.S. wars as necessarily advancing freedom—a misconception Bacevich clearly does not hold himself. If the wars are misguided, perhaps we should discourage people from fighting rather than force the entire nation to share the costs.

Rather than reinstating the draft, a less drastic proposal exists, one more consistent with human rights, more conducive to peace, and more respectful of those on the front lines: a truly voluntary military. Today, unlike most any other U.S. institution, the armed forces practice indentured servitude: Employees agree to a term of service and face imprisonment or even execution should they quit. We do not consider it a "voluntary" job if a warehouse or factory forcibly prevents workers from quitting at will. Those who wish to honor the humanity of America’s soldiers should agitate not for conscription but for the freedom to resign. The remaining soldiers would be there by choice, and if they continued fighting unjust, counterproductive wars, it would be harder to regard them as victims of bad leadership and an apathetic populace.

Of course, many troops would have chosen to resign honorably before returning to Iraq or Afghanistan for a third or fifth time. True freedom for soldiers would foster peace.

Breach of Trust's remedies do not obviously follow from its critique—not if the goal is less war. Bacevich attempts to reconcile a critique of modern interventionism with a call for an even more entrenched and ubiquitous militarism, one with little chance of tempering the belligerence of the political leaders he criticizes. Libertarians must oppose this idea from first principles: Nothing would compromise American liberty more than a national slave army. Instead, we need to nurture a culture of war-weariness, anti-militarism, peace, and individual liberty.


Find this and hundreds of other interesting books at the Reason Shop, powered by Amazon.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • SIV||

    A shorter review: "Fuck Off, Slaver"

  • Robert||

    Slave off, fucker.

  • ro2nn3||

    Start working at Home with Google. It’s the most financially rewarding I ve ever done. On Saturday I got a gorgeous Ariel Atom after earning $6292. I began this six months/ago and right away began to make at least $80 per-hour. Official site, www.Pow6.com
    WORK LESS EARN MORE

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "intervened for stays ranging from weeks to years in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo"

    Interestingly, these interventions were very short-term and resulted in little loss of American soldiers' lives. In contrast, the conscription-oriented wars like the Civil War, the world wars and Korea, involved meat-grinder-style destruction of human lives, under what we may call the Potato Chip Principle - sacrifice all you want, we'll draft more.

    Indeed, in this era of the volunteer army, interventionists tend to whine that the public has such a dangerously low tolerance of US soldier deaths that it deters policymakers from stroking their war-boners with lengthy, bloody conflicts. The whining about Iraq under Bush - "there are far fewer casualties than WWII, but these protesters keep whining about it!" - shows what I mean.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    PLUS - who is pressing for these recent wars? Does Bracevich think that citizens are inundating the phone lines with demands like "bomb Syria now!" On the contrary, this is strictly a Beltway fixation - press for a war somewhere, then try and work up the public into a frenzy against the latest Worse than Hitler enemy. Public support for these wars is triggered once the war starts, when many in the general public say things like, "once we're in a war, we should be in to win!" But that doesn't mean the public was pressing for war before the intervention began.

    So, yeah, fuck off, Dorkovich.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And, oh yeah, in Iraq the relatives of soldiers often made a lot of noise about staying the course. These were not people with no skin in the game, but proud mothers, etc. wishing the public would support their soldiers *more* - support meaning supporting the war they were in.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Thank you! Reinstating conscription is one of the stupidest ideas out there in a world of stupid political ideas -- there is no proof whatsoever for the notion that conscription reduces the number of wars fought or casualties resulting -- certainly this planet's most destructive wars were fought with conscript or levy armies. The professionalization of the military over the centuries and the volunteer nature of armies in the west are incredibly positive trends, trends which are undone with mass conscription.

  • Number 2||

    History shows how having armies of conscripts forced the belligerents in World War I, World War II, the American Civil War, etc., to negotiate compromise peace instead of engaging in years of bloody conflict costing the lives of hundreds of thousands or millions of soldiers.

    Hey wait a minute...

  • Paul.||

    I would agree that conscription doesn't keep us out of wars, but there's some evidence, although I admit that it's mostly anecdotal, that it can terminate an ongoing conflict when the general public gets tired of it.

    Afghanistan, Iraq etc., are ongoing occupations of soil because of terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic, not an army, not a country-- therefore you can't win Terrorism, but yet we occupy soil until this tactic is beaten.

    I don't personally believe conscription is the answer, even though I understand Chomsky's semi-serious point about it.

    The skin-in-the-game argument should never be discounted out of hand-- we libertarians use it all the time.

    But as much as forcing America's children to join every conflict around the globe might be effective-- or produce a desired outcome, it's wrong and therefore cannot seriously be contemplated.

  • pan fried wylie||

    But as much as forcing America's children to join every conflict around the globe might be effective-- or produce a desired outcome, it's wrong and therefore cannot seriously be contemplated.

    Just think, we could eliminate all disease if we just killed off the human race. 100% Effective.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Terrorism is a tactic, not an army, not a country-- therefore you can't win"

    You do realize that the war on terrorism euphemism is used because the political do not want to directly call out the ideology we are fighting against?

  • Dweebston||

    Well said. I would add that I'm confused about what my putative role in the lives of soldiers is, and how I've failed them. Like most public servants, I'm not actively hostile toward soldiers who haven't earned it; but I disavow any notion that soldiers deserve my support, any more than the surly bitch processing my license renewal deserves my support beyond paying for the service.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Indeed, and it is a complete role reversal. Soldiers tasked with a mission by civilian leadership should be well-supplied and supported in the context of the mission, but generalized "support" from civilians is not part of that obligation. It is the other way around: soldiers need to be conscientious of their role as executors of what civilian leadership deems a public policy objective abroad (and for the most part, they are).

  • Robert||

    You know who else was worse than Hitler?

  • Swiss Servator, Bow to Bern||

    Radioactive Zombie Hitler?

  • SomeGuy||

    you do realize more marines die in the rear compared to being deployed? It is actually a magnitude difference in deaths. Soooooo pathetic

  • ||

    The proverb "Evil shall with evil be expelled" comes to mind. While I think conscription would create incredibly popular discontent with wars of choice, it certainly does not justify slavery.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And I question the very premise - see above.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The last major war that the US fought with conscript forces (Vietnam) lasted for at least ~9-10 years (about 20 years if you want to include Eisenhower/Kennedy escalations), about the same number of years as Iraq and much more destructive in terms of both military and civilian casualties. The premise is false.

  • Number 2||

    Hell, after its first few months, the entire First World War was fought with conscripts by all its belligerents, and it was the greatest butchery of troops in human history - and civilian populations barely raised a peep, even in the alleged democracies of the time. Christ, the Italian Republic even revived the Roman practice of Decimation - punishing one's own troops by summarily executing every tenth man.

    The suggestion that conscription equals peace is unsupported by even a cursory study of human history.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The Russians raised a bit of a peep against the czar, didn't they?

  • Pathogen||

    Largely at the behest of Bolshevik agitators, and then, oddly enough went silent after the Bolsheviks came into power... something about the Checka and their summary executions seemed to cool their jets...

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The Bolsheviks withdrew Russia from WW1, didn't they?

  • Pathogen||

    Essentially, yes.. but prompted a civil war and wholesale slaughter using conscripted forces as well..

  • Number 2||

    Not over the killing of troops, but over the lack of food and harsh conditions at home.

    Ironic that the only even arguable public opposition came from the most repressive autocracy among the belligerents and not the democracies. Which tends to prove my point, not refute it.

  • Mickey Rat||

    After how many years and how many dead?

  • ||

    OT: Social justice advocate has no idea what slavery actually is

    Today is my day off. I got a late breakfast at McDonalds. I'm sitting in a booth, and there's a couple in front of me at a table.

    I'm not paying attention to them until I hear the man spill his drink. I still don't look up... until I hear the unmistakable sound of liquid pouring off a table onto the ground. For 20 seconds. Neither of them is moving.

    The guy says: "Don't clean it up. That's what these people get paid to do."

    Instead, they move two tables down and leave the entire mess -- wrappers and unfinished food and bags and the still-dripping spill. A total mess.

    I quickly got pissed. "These people" make minimum wage and even McDonalds has acknowledged workers would have to do two jobs to get by on what they're paid.

    (the author asks the manager for a mop and cleans up the mess himself)

    It doesn't matter your station in life: You do not get a pass on being considerate to others. Don't be that person who gets publicly embarrassed because you were a jerk.

    Of course he took away that employee's job and seems to want everyone else to do the same by cleaning up their tables themselves.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The point of this article is that the author is a wonderful guy who Cares.

  • Dweebston||

    and even McDonalds has acknowledged workers would have to do two jobs to get by on what they're paid

    If only someone would artificially price McDonalds employees out of one of the diminishingly few markets in which their services are sought after. Better they work no job than work two jobs.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I liked that story.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    (the author asks the manager for a mop and cleans up the mess himself)

    Yet another entry into the "Shit That Never Happened" codex of SJW reported anecdotes.

  • SomeGuy||

    i have done that before....Why do you think he never did it?

  • pan fried wylie||

    I got a late breakfast at McDonalds.

    Proof that this douche has never been to a McDonalds.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The part about the original occupants saying "they get paid to clean that up" is quite believable as I've eaten with those kinds of jerks before, and they are indeed jerks. The employees aren't paid to clean that shit up, they're forced to delay the job they're actually getting paid for to clean up your mess.

    While going to the mgr for a mop is pretty excessive -- and I seriously doubt the mgr would have let him use a mop, given the potential liability issues -- I have cleaned up said jerks' spills (and my own) with napkins as much as possible in the past.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    And, oh yeah, as summarized in the review, Bonkersbitch (in paraphrase) calls not for a conventional draft, but "coercive national service including a military track."

    So people won't even be forced to serve in the military. When Congress and the bureaucrats get through with the program, it would give young (wo)men the option of typing, filing and fixing coffee at some nonprofit.

    And even under a real draft, history shows how people can game the system, assuming of course they're from a well-off family. It's like what they said to Pat Robertson: "You're in the Army now, soldier, so your Congressman-Daddy is having you assigned to the secretarial pool in Tokyo, which is almost as dangerous as the Korean front if you don't watch for paper cuts!" Or "you're in the Army now, Al Gore, and we won't give you any special favors just because you're a Senator's son, so we're going to assign you to...let's see...oh yes, military journalism. So hop to it!"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Don't get me started on the Civil War draft. Not only was there the right to hire a substitute (a holdover from the militia laws), but *as a favor to poor conscripts* they allowed a draftee to pay a $300 commutation fee in case the cost of a substitute got too high. The poor didn't appreciate that "favor." But in reality, there were a remarkable number of "medical exemptions" - overwhelming the other kinds of exemptions. I think this often had as much to do with sympathetic physicians as with real ailments.

  • creech||

    I believe the number of actual conscript soldiers in the North was about 10% of all who donned the uniform.
    Studies show that the rich and professional did not get out of serving in any great miss-proportion to skilled and unskilled laborers (many of whom just disappeared or were hidden from the provost marshals assigned to round them up.)

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Conscription and its attendant harms was more severe in the CSA (especially in the latter part of the war) than the Union. IIRC about 2% of Union armies were conscripts and ~6-8% were substitutes; something like 10-15% of CSA armies were made up of conscripts (or substitutes), with as much as 30% conscript armies by the end of the conflict.

    I am not convinced that conscription is necessary for almost any conflict in the modern world. Most people recognize when a conflict is worthy of their support, and will respond accordingly. Indeed, the only war I can think of where conscription in the US was the bulk of army recruits was during WWI.

  • Paul.||

    So people won't even be forced to serve in the military. When Congress and the bureaucrats get through with the program, it would give young (wo)men the option of typing, filing and fixing coffee at some nonprofit.

    Progressives aren't universally against conscription. This has been proven repeatedly with the calls for 'National Service' by many a card-carrying progressive. Sure, it's not military service, but you'll be weeding a community garden somewhere, and that's a good thing, right?

  • Irish||

    Progressives aren't universally against conscription. This has been proven repeatedly with the calls for 'National Service' by many a card-carrying progressive.

    Yeah, this also goes back to the vile prog notion of a 'moral substitute for war' so that we can organize society on a war footing without the actual violence.

    Of course, they never bother mentioning that all of the countries that actually tried to have non-military conscription ended up also being heavily militaristic countries.

    A nation that's willing to have its young drafted into slavery tends to have its pro-liberty opinions eroded, at which point those in power can wage war and rest assured that patriotic sentiment will result in widespread support.

    Progressives have a difficult time realizing the corrosive unintended effects their policies have on the morals of the people. Go check out anywhere in this country where people are dependent upon government and you'll see exactly what I mean.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    all of the countries that actually tried to have non-military conscription ended up also being heavily militaristic countries.

    I see the philosophical argument that you're getting at, but that is not accurate. The post-war Scandinavian and Germanic states in Europe have had some form of national non-military conscription, without being militarized.

    That said, I don't know how much the special case of Europe under the protection of the US lends itself towards comparison to independent countries; certainly it was easy enough for countries in interwar Europe to transform their labor conscript programs into military conscription programs.

  • Paul.||

    Europe outsourcing it's military to the U.S. cannot be understated. If we can outsource our military to say, China, imagine the cradle-to-grave welfare benefits we could enact.

  • Irish||

    That said, I don't know how much the special case of Europe under the protection of the US lends itself towards comparison to independent countries; certainly it was easy enough for countries in interwar Europe to transform their labor conscript programs into military conscription programs.

    I think this is the important issue. There were various attempts at non-military conscription during the World War era and they were always done by heavily war like countries.

    When Europe fielded larger independent armies the non-military conscription lent itself to militarization. I think the post war, American hegemony period is far different than how things will be as America continues to decline and play less of a role internationally.

  • Mickey Rat||

    They are not for a draft, they are for forced indentured servitude. That is so much better.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Bacevich, a veteran Army officer and Boston University historian,

    ...and a fascist pig, who apparently subscribes to the obscene notion that people's lives are the property of the government to use as they will.

    The only appropriate response to anyone advocating military slavery is tell him to fuck off. If he won't fuck off, then our right to keep and bear arms for our self-defense comes into play.

    -jcr

  • Swiss Servator, Bow to Bern||

    I'll add my "fuck off, slaver" too.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    OK, I'm just getting warmed up.

    Some extra points:

    1) I presume that they'll be drafting young women in the same of "equal rights." Bracebitch sure is a chivalrous motherfucker - if it's a real draft, he'll be shoving women into the line of fire. Maybe that would give the Jezzies an erection, but most women won't be pleased.

    2) Dealing with conscientious objectors is a perennial problem. There will always be people with religious or philosophical objections to military service, yet the law discriminates as to which of these people get a break and which ones are punished as criminals. And the method of adjudicating CO claims leaves a lot to be desired from the standpoint of due process.

  • Dweebston||

    3) You mentioned bureaucrats being more elective about the wars they involve us in given a steady stream of soldiers coerced into service, but also the use of interventions as a form of unemployment relief. Rather than jobs being pushed unconvincingly as a benefit to massacring dirt farmers and brown folks abroad, massacring dirt farmers and brown folks abroad would help unpopular presidents shore up a moribund economy. Yeah, no thanks.

  • Killazontherun||

    I've never understood the link between religion and conscientious objection. As a human being, I'm an end in itself, not a means to one. My decisions as they effect my actions are not arbitrary, they are absolute. Sure you have the physical means to curtail my choices but I would sabotage and betray you every waking minute of my life until you were forced to either kill me or set me free. That is what 'conscientious' means, following the instruction you believe to be the writ of a deity is entirely something else.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Today the regulations for all practical purposes include philosophical, nonreligious objectors, so long as it's a deeply-held belief about Life, the Universe and Everything (I'm paraphrasing the legal standard).

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    As far as the "link between religion and conscientious objection," historically is was heroic Quakers, Mennonites and some other "religious nuts" who made clear they'd rather undergo great suffering and persecution rather than take up arms. Basically, the authorities were (a) shamed by their own mistreatment of the objectors and (b) convinced that punishing them was a waste of time since they wouldn't yield. So they developed exemptions which got broader as time went on, until finally nonreligious objectors were covered.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    They figured that by officially recognizing COs, at least they'd get some kind of noncombatant labor out of them rather than spending precious resources prosecuting them, hanging them up by their thumbs, and other amusements.

    In WWII, the COs worked in such places as insane asylums, parks, or even in some cases volunteering for human experimentation.

  • Killazontherun||

    I agree their actions were praiseworthy and shouldn't be forgotten, they pushed for their liberties and made us all a bit more freer for it; it's still a misnomer though that underlines the commonly held presumption that morality itself springs from religion.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I wasn't arguing that particular point, and in fact I don't think morality comes from religion.

    It comes from God.

  • Killazontherun||

    Even from the religious standpoint, free will is the nut that even God can't crack, or else we would all be saved.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Arguably to the religious libertarian free will is less a "nut to crack" than a high virtue which God Himself, being virtuous, will not compromise for the sake of a good outcome.

    At least, that is my view.

  • Killazontherun||

    That goes back to my original argument, the state can use physical force to limit my actions or kill anyone detected to have obstructionist thoughts, God could have built a world consisting only of ant colonies, in either case it is a limit on their power.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Even from the religious standpoint, free will is the nut that even God can't crack, or else we would all be saved.

    That's assume God wants us all to be saved. Calvinists and Muslims, for example, believe the contrary.

    Sinners in the hands of an angry God, indeed.

  • Killazontherun||

    I was thinking more on the lines of Zeus punishing Prometheus, I'll have to adjust the rest of my discussion to the various flavors of Jahavohism you guys are coming from. Use to be easier to get a point across back in the day when all you had competing with your were Horusians, Setites, drunk Dionysian Indo-Orgypeans and Phoenician murder cults for your esoteric belief system competition.

  • Killazontherun||

    Woops, Jehovahist, didn't mean to offend anyone.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I just thought you thought we were all Rastafarians.

    My Dad is, I ain't.

  • Killazontherun||

    [Killaz makes a note not to repeat the highly offensive joke about the Rastifarian and Rosicrucian who walk into a bar. At least until he comes up with a funny punch line for it]

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Paul.||

    Sure you have the physical means to curtail my choices but I would sabotage and betray you every waking minute of my life until you were forced to either kill me or set me free.

    For modern governments, this is an easy choice.

  • Wind Rider||

    The term "fuck off slaver" has never been more literally appropriate. This guy shouldn't be in charge of anything besides not urinating himself in public.

  • Killazontherun||

    Anthony Gregory, now that's a name I've wanted to see on this site for several years now.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Agree. Pretty cool to see him here.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    In addition to the incredible violation of individual liberty such a policy would entail, fielding a conscription army would be wildly inconsistent with our military advantages. U.S. forces have the advantage in many conflicts because they're very well trained and bring a massive technological advantage to bear. That entails a significant level of motivation on the part of the soldier as well as a significant degree of trainability. Conscript armies are not particularly gifted with either.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Gone are the days where a country can turn a bunch of Ford plants into a factory churning out tanks -- the machines and tech are too specialized and advanced, and wars fought too quickly, to facilitate the conversion of a peacetime economy to a wartime economy.

    So, too, the peacetime civilian cannot be turned into a modern soldier at the turn of a dime without a degradation of standards and an inversion of the strengths of the US military. Sacrificing the edges that we have (high morale, great training, and technological supremacy) for a dubious gain in manpower is foolish.

  • Killazontherun||

    Another day, another set of good points. It's just what you do.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Thanks, but conscription I think is a no-brainer for anyone who is even vaguely pro-liberty to argue against. It is one of my trigger issues, that is for sure.

  • Killazontherun||

    Joe Haldeman, Vietnam vet, product of the New Left said that he and Heinlein corresponded after the publication of the Forever War. There wasn't much politically they agreed on, but the pernicious nature of conscription in undermining the rights of citizens, the productive economy, and the professionalism of the military was one of them. Funny, how the New Left has morphed back into an older form of progressive ideology espousing the Total State after that generation's flirtation with libertarian anti-fascism.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It is truly strange and disgusting.

  • Killazontherun||

    Here's a clip from an old Firing Line episode where Friedman schools Buckley in this very matter (though Buckley's idea is a much softer version, Federally backed student loans with national service as a requirement):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QZmQfb6tA

    The segment was titled Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. "What Do We Owe Our Country?" I need to find the rest of it. Friedman did what he did there in the first 5:30 minutes for the entire segment.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Friedman was sharp as a tack, even up to his last years. I remember reading an account of him meeting privately with GWB and figures in his administration, which was described as a "hostile" meeting. Would have liked to be a fly on the wall of that particular argument...

  • Irish||

    In one of his books, Christopher Hitchens actually points out that some of his best allies when he was opposed to conscription in the '60's and '70's were libertarians, objectivists and anti-war conservatives who tended to have more sway in government than young counter-culturalists like Hitchens.

    He specifically mentions Greenspan and Friedman going before congress and absolutely obliterating a general that was arguing in favor of conscription.

    I can't find a video, but here's a transcript.

    In the course of his [General Westmoreland’s] testimony, he made the statement that he did not want to command an army of mercenaries. I [Milton Friedman] stopped him and said, ‘General, would you rather command an army of slaves?’ He drew himself up and said, ‘I don’t like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves.’ I replied, ‘I don’t like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries.’ But I went on to say, ‘If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher.’ That was the last that we heard from the general about mercenaries.

    I bolded the one sentence because all I can say is FUCKING OWNED!

  • General Butt Naked||

    You get these rich bastard "conservatives" like buckley and his affirmative action retard of a spawn that have ideas as pernicious and tyrannical as the reddest of progressives. How the hell can anyone, in good conscious, take a blue collar kid and take a year out of his earning life to clean libraries.

    It's fine if your dad's an oil baron to take a year in peace corps, or whatever, but some of us need to earn money to fucking eat. What a hideous piece of shit this man was and his ideological descendants are.

    The east-coast, progressive strain of conservatism cannot die soon enough.

  • Irish||

    Buckley was a pretentious shithead. I do like that he turned against the war on drugs later in life, but the way the National Review crew deifies the man is pretty grotesque.

    I was reading on National Review the other day because I like to read Steyn's and Goldberg's pieces since they're the only National Review writers who are both good writers and relatively rational people. National Review now has pop up ads on that site that literally just consist of pictures of William Buckley and various quotations about how great he was.

    National Review is just as bad with hero worship of Buckley as the progs are with Roosevelt or the Obama cult is with the Light Bringer.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    They wouldn't have to fill their site with asinine quotations of Chairman Buckley if they could hire writers who could write interestingly and about subjects that normal human beings could relate to. They could start by firing Kathryn Jean-Lopez.

  • Irish||

    They could start by firing Kathryn Jean-Lopez.

    Goddamn right. She's probably the worst.

    Personally I think the only people on staff with National Review that are worthy of keeping around are Goldberg and Steyn. I'd fire the rest, try to wrest P.J. O'Rourke from the Weekly Standard cesspool and start over from there.

    They should also bring back Levin who hasn't written for them for years. Levin is unbelievably annoying on his radio show and has an unhealthy neo-con streak, but he's very popular on the conservative right and is at least an interesting writer with original ideas. Liberty Amendments sold unbelievably well so you know he's got a fan base.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It'd be worth their time to grab Balko, if they could. Someone along the lines of Iowahawk with some talent at humor would be good. Get Walter Russell Mead, Krauthammer, and some of the more interesting social democrats to write for them.

    The problem is that a) there aren't too many interesting people on the right anymore since most of the important observations have been made and conservatism is more of a broad tendency, anyways, and b) most of the genuinely interesting people broadly on the right aren't really party line Republicans, and NR would have no idea what to do with itself once those people started carping on the next Republican administration.

  • Irish||

    I think your second point is more valid than your first. I find that there are more interesting people on the right than the left simply because the modern right has more intellectual disagreements. The left has become an almost lockstep totalitarian belief system, with noted exceptions like the late Hitchens and various disagreements they have over drone policy or spying. Read any Slate article and you know exactly how they are coming down.

    If you look at the right though, there are not only massive disagreements among different publications, from libertarians at Reason to neo-cons at Weekly Standard to Rockefeller Republicans at National Review to the moderate right at City-Journal, but there are also differences of opinion within those magazines themselves. Reason writers often hold vastly different opinions from other people writing for the same magazine. This makes the right a far more interesting intellectual movement than the modern left.

    I do think that NR would hate having someone like Walter Russell Mead there since he'd lay into the Republicans over certain policies. The same is true for someone like Glenn Reynolds. NR is desperately trying to make itself the go to magazine for establishment Republicans, and I think that's to their detriment. Their most interesting pieces tend to be the ones where Goldberg breaks from Republican orthodoxy, and they'd do well if they had more of that.

  • General Butt Naked||

    The spawn comment was referring to William Kristol not Buckley's obama voting for waste. I get assholes mixed up all the time.

  • Swiss Servator, Bow to Bern||

    Anyone in any unit I ever served in knew better than to say "conscription" within earshot of me...unless they really did want a rant to start.

    F'ing slave armies need to remain buried in the past. With a stake in their stony hearts.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I'm the same way. Don't talk to me positively about conscription unless you enjoy conversations where you are compared to Hitler, heh.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Exactly my point. And much more eloquently put. Conscription is a relatively low-tech military methodology. It basically works on the notion of the soldier as cannon fodder. But, given the lethality of modern military technologies, throwing cannon fodder at the enemy is pretty much an exercise in futility.

    The funny thing is, even the modern military brass gets this. When they address the notion of military conscription, they consistently seem to find euphemistic ways of calling it a retarded idea.

  • creech||

    Exactly - gone are the days when a green regiment at, say, Gettysburg could acquit themselves well because they could wheel from column into line and fire three shots a minute in the general direction of the enemy.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Indeed, haven't we learned our lesson from Vietnam, where the lifespan of your average 2nd Lt. was like 2 weeks due to one of their men "fragging" them because he ordered them to take out that machine gun nest, and the draftee didn't feel like dying in a war they didn't sign up for?

  • Swiss Servator, Bow to Bern||

    I think "fragging" is well over estimated/overcounted. Lots of LTs got it because they were taught to lead - first off the bird, track, etc.
    I know when I was an LT, I was young, eager to show I was worthy...you know, not too wise about things.

  • Redmanfms||

    one of their men "fragging" them because he ordered them to take out that machine gun nest, and the draftee didn't feel like dying in a war they didn't sign up for?

    Yeah, we can look that up in the wiki under the "Shit that didn't happen" entry. There may have been a tiny handful of incidents, but the life expectancy of LTs wasn't 2 fucking weeks and fragging is urban myth horseshit cooked up by lefties.

    Fragging stories are bullshit, primarily because most frontline troops were volunteers. Voluntary enlistment was higher during Vietnam than it was during WWII.

  • califernian||

    Luckily the military leadership already knows this. It's only the slaver politicians who advocate this nonsense. The generals are pros and know what thye're doing, generally.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    In the new era, Bacevich continues, military service is no longer a shared national sacrifice but an elective personal choice. This shift coincided with Americans’ general desire to keep war remote. In the wake of 9/11, the Bush administration solidified the new American way, which Bacevich calls the "three no’s": Americans refuse to change their way of life, to pay the financial costs up front, or to share in the blood sacrifice. The "nation did not mobilize," he writes. "Congress did not raise taxes, curtail consumption, or otherwise adjust domestic priorities to accommodate wartime requirements."

    This is so wrong-headed it's difficult to know where to begin. First, there is nothing wrong with a nation which has its military bear the brunt of the cost for war, since that is the point of national defense. There is nothing noble about a nation which forces its citizens to change their lifestyle when such is not necessary.

    Second, military service should definitely be an elective personal choice, preferably a profession. It is ennobling of the primacy of choice upon which this nation was founded, keeps morale high, and allows for disciplinary and other measures which preserve chain of command, limit atrocities against civilians, and allow for better training.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Third, national mobilization does very little in a modern, conventional war -- we had no problem with toppling Iraq's forces or with the initial invasion of Afghanistan; our problems were the result of some bad decisions in occupying and also the result of our military not being used according to its strengths, which are generally not in the fields of counter-insurgency and policing/occupying a country. How "national mobilization" helps shore up either of these problems is beyond me.

    What a POS.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    OK, summing up: Not only is Bacevich's vision of an egalitarian draft philosophically wrong, it will never be adopted. Any draft which gets adopted will be about as non-egalitarian as previous drafts. And then he'll either suck it up and pretend it's what he wanted all along, or he'll wring his hands and whine that this isn't what he meant at all - that his idea was fine, but politicians messed it up!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Classic bait and switch. First they drum up support for a draft with all this song and dance about how it will be egalitarian and prevent war, and when it actually reinforces inequality and encourages war, they'll shrug their shoulders, say "close enough for government work," and the program will be maintained indefinitely.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    One thing overlooked is the exact matter of service while conscripted. There are 1.4M military right now; presumably that would drop down to 1M without the wars. There are 4M births every year. If you assume that all those born survive to draft age, that would require each draftee be in the military for 3 months only. In other words, boot camp only.

    Boot camp and out does not a soldier make. I volunteered for the navy and had a blast with knot tying class and marching around in synchrony, but it took the navy itself to turn me into a sailor. Especially if they were mostly draftees, the slackoff rate would be tremendous. Good luck trying to discipline them; you really want to put even 10% of them in the brig or give them a criminal record?

    He proposes military just be a small part of it. Suppose you lengthened the military term to one year. You'd have to put 3M people somewhere else -- changing bedpans or picking up litter or building park trails or houses for the poor. At that point your choice is to piss off the unions with cheap labor or trash the budget with pay that would attract volunteers and make the draft pointless.

    So no, got to be military only if you want low pay and conscription. And that's almost certainly going to require a huge manpower-intensive military, with no room left for R&D or high tech weapons which have reduced the body count, not to mention making it even more enticing for politicians to make sure it doesn't sit around idle and unused.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    You see, you're using a bunch of reasoned arguments based on the facts of real-world experience. The conscription guys are invoking gooey feelings about equality and peace. They win!

  • John||

    All good points. You have to pay soldiers and train them. That costs a fortune.

  • John||

    Only a moron who has no idea how military justice and discipline actually work could think the draft is a good idea. With a draft, you cant' threaten people with being kicked out the way you can with a volunteer army. That means that to get people to do what you want you have to threaten them with prison and all sorts of other brutal punishments. The military discipline was by necessity brutal during the draft years. No way would our candy ass Oparah watching society tolerate such again. But without it, a draftee military would be nothing but a criminal mob. The draft is the quickest way to destroy the military.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It cuts against military professionalism. You either have to spend lots of time and money babysitting and disciplining draftees, or accept degraded standards. As Scarecrow points out above, there is no effective way to do the former (or really, do anything useful) with a draft system that conscripts literally every male of a certain age; there simply aren't enough voluntarists in the army to accomodate the deluge of new recruits. What ends up happening in practice is what happens in the Euro countries where the draft is still in place: make-work programs of the "we are the world" variety, or camps where 20-somethings go to goof off for a few months.

    What it is really about is that leftists want the sort of unity around the government that the nation had in WWII as a means of establishing and expanding the state as the centerpiece of national consciousness -- it's not dissimilar from what Mussolini argued for in his own manifesto.

  • Derpetologist||

    Hasn't the military been letting thousands of guys each year on moral waivers?

    I think it's fine just to oppose the draft on principles. If you try to justify on the basis of effectiveness or being a temptation for war-mongers, it falls flat. Has the all-volunteer military made the US more reluctant to fight? No. Has the US done better in war with an all-volunteer military? No.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Has the all-volunteer military made the US more reluctant to fight? No.

    That has never been the contention of supporters of the volunteer military. The contention that a certain form of military will make the US more reluctant to fight has, at least in modern times, come from supporters of conscription -- this contention does not have basis in fact. All else being equal, is it not preferable to have a military where all soldiers are there of their free will.

    Has the US done better in war with an all-volunteer military? No.

    Your question as constructed is too broad to answer with surety either way, but in the narrow categories I am aware of (differences between draftees and volunteers in morale, training, retention, and various "professional" attributes of soldiering such as proper treatment of civilian populations and adherence to chain of command), the volunteer army has unquestionably been better than the conscript army.

    The better question to ask (as it gets to the point of discussion) is something like, "would the US have done better in the conflicts it has participated in since moving to a volunteer army, if it had instead used a significant draftee component?"

    I don't know how anyone could answer that question in the affirmative.

  • Derpetologist||

    I agree that a draft would not have changed the outcomes of most of the wars fought since Vietnam. I do think a draft might have fired up the antiwar movement enough that we wouldn't have spent 7 years in Iraq and 12 years in Afghanistan.

    As I said before, I think it's best just to oppose the draft on principles. If you try to argue it on outcomes, it gets way murkier.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I do think a draft might have fired up the antiwar movement enough that we wouldn't have spent 7 years in Iraq and 12 years in Afghanistan.

    This is speculative. We have evidence regarding the length of war and casualties that have been taken in past conflicts where we instituted conscription; it does not seem to support this contention.

    I like arguing principles and outcomes, and conscription is one area where -- like the war on drugs -- the pro-liberty side unquestionably has the better evidence/outcomes and where ceding those arguments provides our opponents with an unwarranted advantage.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Has the US done better in war with an all-volunteer military?

    I was in the navy at the tail end of the Vietnam War. There was so much deadwood! People who had joined the navy only to avoid the infantry, and they had zero motivation for anything other than liberty.

    I will give you some examples of how much deadwood there was and how eager the military was to get rid of it.

    A friend could wiggle an eyeball and make it blood shot; probably not particular healthy, but a great party trick. At some point, he decided he'd had enough, and went down to sick call several mornings in a row with that bloodshot eye, out at seas, obviously not drunk, and rather than diagnose it or charge him with malingering, he hot a medical discharge.

    We pulled into Karachi (1975?) and they warned us to not bring any drugs back on board: bend over and spread 'em strip searches for everybody except senior officers. They busted 40 people for bring a kilo or more of hash back on board out of 5000 in the crew, and we understood they weren't even prosecuted, just discharged for the good of the service or something not dishonorable.

    Which is also why I believe that Bush got away with desertion from the National Guard; they just wanted rid of the deadwood, not worth prosecuting and publicizing what a huge problem they had.

    If you want a military, conscription sucks. It leads to exemptions and corruption and bloated budgets and discipline problems out the wazoo.

  • Derpetologist||

    Interesting story, but I've heard similar ones from my brother about alcohol in Afghanistan.

    Allow me to paraphrase you final remark:

    If you want a military, it leads to corruption and bloated budgets and discipline problems out the wazoo.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    No, it doesn't. There aren't 2nd Lieutenants getting fragged left and right by their own soldiers in Afghanistan.

    Soldiers will always misbehave to some degree, but the degree to which such behaviors must be tolerated in a conscript army is much higher than is the case with a volunteer army. Hell, in at times irregulars were superior to conscript armies precisely because they were selective about recruitment and didn't have the morale problems of the armies they were attached to.

    You don't have the same flexibility with a conscript army as you do with a volunteer army. Generally speaking, you only want to conscript if you cannot reach your manpower targets any other way -- and even then you should reconsider your manpower target before instituting conscription. Probably the two biggest errors a nation makes when embarking on war are instituting mass conscription and raising taxes upfront to pay for the war.

  • Derpetologist||

    I though fragging was mainly the result of the war nearing its end and soldiers not wanting to get killed by glory-hound officers.

    I agree that volunteers would behave better than conscripts since they signed up for it. Although countries like Israel do not seem to have huge discipline problems with their conscripts.

    The biggest mistake nations make when embarking on war without knowing how to win.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Israel has huge problems with its conscript army. I am not what you would consider a pro-Palestinian partisan, but it's unquestionable that the IDF has committed all sorts of violations of Palestinian rights in their duties which would be intolerable in the US military. The Israeli military is better trained and better armed than its neighbors, but they come to train with the US simply because our army is much better than theirs at training and other aspects of professional soldiery, in part on account of their conscription policies.

    The difference between the US and Israel is that Israel needs the manpower to maintain parity against countries with much larger population bases and larger armies, and for the policing duties to which they are often assigned. The US doesn't have that problem.

    The biggest mistake nations make when embarking on war without knowing how to win.

    I was going to say that this is trivially true, but tragically it does not seem to be a truth (trivial or otherwise) to many of the relevant policymakers so I will sadly have to agree.

  • Derpetologist||

    That should read "is embarking on war". Jeez, Today is not my day for catching typos.

    I remember listening to an FDR radio address where he asked the listeners to a get a globe or a map so they could follow along as he explained where the US was fighting and how they were advancing to Tokyo. I think Nixon was the last president who used a map and a stick to explain the progress of a war to the American people.

    There are only a handful of ways to win a war against a country: capture the capital, capture or kill the key leaders, or gain an overwhelming advantage like a new ally or weapon.

    With terrorist groups, the only way to defeat them is to capture their strongholds and capture/kill the leaders.

    Holding territory does not win wars. Maintaining a high kill ratio does not win wars. The only way to win is to take it to the leaders.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Holding territory does not win wars. Maintaining a high kill ratio does not win wars. The only way to win is to take it to the leaders.

    I'm not sure any of those three statements are true. Denying terrorist orgs bases of operations and safe havens is huge; and given their relatively small numbers, maintaining a high kill ratio is huge.

    And we've killed or captured pretty much every major al-Qaeda leader, from OBL down, yet we're really no closer to "victory" than we were in 2003.

    The way to "win" against terrorists is not to fight them unless they pose an immediate, definable threat, and to disrupt their recruiting by giving their "talent base" hope of a good life in this world. That last part is very hard and not even clear how to do most of the time, but it's huge. Terrorism feeds off despair and anger.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    at times irregulars were superior to conscript armies

    We should have learned that lesson back in the revolution -- it was the militia who won Saratoga, and it was the militia who harassed the redcoats so much in the Carolinas that they had to ship literally everything but water from Britain -- foraging parties were routinely sent back to their forts with less than they came out with.

    Standing armies are only useful for minding other people's business. Even defending against invasion is usually a poor excuse -- the US hasn't stood any real danger of invasion since the revolution, and even the burning of the white house was in retaliation for our burning the Canadian parliament during our invasion. Belgium, Holland, Poland -- their standing armies barely slowed down the huge German and Soviet armies. I bet their militia after surrender did more damage to the invaders.

    The alleged quote by Yamamoto, that behind every blade of grass stool a rifle, shows a much better deterrence than a standing army.

  • Derpetologist||

    Indeed, the French Resistance and the Soviet partisans put up more of a fight than the regular armies did.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Standing armies are only useful for minding other people's business.

    I'm going to disagree with this slightly: standing armies are useful for taking the fight to the enemy, and ideally (even in a defensive war) you want to fight any conflict on the enemy's soil, not your own so as to conclude it on your terms. I don't see how hunkering down in Fortress America would have been an appropriate response to Japanese aggression.

    That said, it is definitely true that our Navy and Air Force are more of an impediment to invasion and aggression than our Army has been.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Ah, you mean how the racist imperialist Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in response to the racist imperialist US policies?

    Are you one of those arithmetic-deficient people who think the Japanese were actually a threat to the US? They couldn't even have invaded Hawaii, much less held it. They had just enough commercial shipping before the war to maintain a destitute civilian economy, They could have gotten troops to Hawaii only if they had skipped all the other invasions of profitable imperial colonies like the Dutch East Indies; their two raids on Pearl Harbor, cost something like 1/4 or 1/3 of the attacking planes in total, including ones so damaged they were a total loss; they could not have maintained air cover over an invasion. They did not have enough shipping to maintain even an occupying army, let alone the civilian population; did you know that Hawaii did, and probably still does, import food to survive?

    The Japanese deserved to lose the war for stupidity alone, but they would never have attacked if we hadn't had imperial colonies. It's circular logic to say that the military was needed to protect the colonies which provoked the war.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Are you one of those arithmetic-deficient people who think the Japanese were actually a threat to the US?

    I'm one of those people who thinks that an armed, intentionally aggressive attack on a naval base on US soil (which included civilian casualties, BTW) is an act of war and should be responded to accordingly. I don't think that a thief is necessarily a threat to my continued existence, but I am absolutely justified in seeking recompense for my property -- or in a state of anarchy, in pursuing the thief and forcing him to heel, with lethal force if I deem it necessary to do so.

    What you are (accurately) arguing is that Japan had no capacity to invade the US, much less hold it -- that only means that they were not an existential threat to the US. The imperialism issue is no more relevant than would be our annexation of Mexican territory if California were ever attacked, since Hawaii by the 1940s was a territory of the US and, like PR, one over which the US had been recognized as sovereign by international law. By the 1940s, US laws were in effect and the citizenry comprised HI's population.

    At any rate the comparison was meant to establish a principle on which a standing army can be justified, not to debate the particulars of 19th-century colonization.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    No, that is not my point. The Japanese attack was stupidly unnecessary on their part, but they did it precisely because we had the Philippines as an imperial colony.

    That's the circular logic. We used the military to grab booty, which provoked an attack, which is justification for having a military. If we had not had an expansionist imperial military, we never would have gotten into a war which required the military.

  • Derpetologist||

    The US violated the naval treaty for neutrality by sending weapons etc to the Chinese. The embargo on Japan forced them to choose between pulling back or trying to use force to get the US to lift the embargo.

    They chose poorly. I guess they figured the US would surrender as easily as many of countries of Asia.

    The US could have easily destroyed Japan's ability to make war with just submarines and air power. After Midway and the Marianas, the Japanese navy was toast. The only islands the US really needed to capture were the Marianas so the home islands could be bombed.

    And the push for unconditional surrender dragged the war out longer than needed. There was talk of surrender in March 1945- before the really destructive bombing began. Japan was ready to disarm and retreat and would have if the surrender was negotiated.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I've participated in this discussion enough times that I'll decline this time around, heh. I'll just say that IMO unconditional surrender was a reasonable war aim given the circumstances.

  • Derpetologist||

    The main thing the Japanese wanted was a promise that Emperor would stay on the throne.

    After the unconditional surrender, the US let them keep the emperor anyway. So what was the point of pushing for the unconditional surrender?

    Just sayin'...

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Unconditional surrender was because of the bad memories from no such thing in WW I. The German army then had not been militarily defeated to the point that the country was occupied, which fed the nonsense about being stabbed in the back and made the Germans think they had been cheated out of victory by Jew Marxists.

    And so on.

  • Derpetologist||

    Parts of Germany were occupied after WW1 and Germany lost a great deal of territory.

    Germany didn't fight WW2 because the allies were too soft on them- quite the opposite I'd say.

    The Nazi rise to power was mostly fueled by anger over the Versailles treaty.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Unconditional surrender came about directly because the media had a conniption fit that Eisenhower negotiated a conditional surrender a with Vichy French Admiral who had Nazi sympathies during Operation Torch (North Africa invasion). The press decided that the Admiral retaining his command after surrendering was a moral breach. FDR announced Unconditional Surrender as a war aim to appease the press. It was not a terribly well considered policy.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The main thing the Japanese wanted was a promise that Emperor would stay on the throne.

    Umm, no. Even after the Hiroshima bombing, that wasn't enough for most of the Japanese cabinet to accept surrender. They still wanted no war crimes prosecution, no occupation of the home islands, and control of their own demobilization.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It's a good day to die, when you know the reason why.

    Would you like to know more?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Ha, I nailed it - Starship Troopers.

    Wow, they're up to Part 3. That's understandable, there are so many different kinds of giant insect aliens. There's the Planet of the Giant Dung Beetles, the Planet of the Giant Centipedes, the Planet of the Enormous Daddy Long-Legs, and the Annoyingly Loud Planet of the Giant Crickets.

    And there are so many weapons to use! The Giant Shoe, the Space Fly-Swatter, and I hear they're working on a Giant Radioactive Bug-Eating Lizard. Some wussy scientists are expressing skepticism about the wisdom of deploying that last one, but they're just deniers.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    A citizen accepts personal responsibility for the safety of the body politic, a civilian does not.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Derpetologist||

    This would make a great patch in the "why foreign aid is a bad idea" quilt.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    I wonder if the government bureaucrat who thought putting "USAID" on the makeshift tent fabric to promote our involvement in humanitarian missions has committed seppuku yet.

  • Derpetologist||

    I read a pretty good book by a former Peace Corps and USAID guy named Michael Maren. It was called the Road to Hell. He had a front row seat to the chaos fueled by foreign aid in Somalia.

    Between that and my own experience in the Peace Corps, I take a dim view of foreign aid.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Where did you do Peace Corps, if I may ask?

  • Derpetologist||

    Tanzania 2007-2009. I was a math teacher in a village called Kibosho near Moshi.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Oh, and in case someone thinks that's just one of the "moderates" with a hipster beard, notice that the guy in the center and they guy on the right have their pants pulled up like they were expecting a flood.

    That's what AQ fighters and other bat-shit insane Islamists do because in the Sunnah, Muhammad and his homeboys wouldn't wear their pants below their ankles.

    The More You Know

  • Derpetologist||

    Pants below the ankle- haram

    Mouse cursor trailing fairy dust on Islamist website- halal

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Thou shalt not wear thy pants below thine ankles except when thy imam asks thee for a 'special favor.' Allah be praised!"

  • Boisfeuras||

    Most important, Bacevich discusses the hyper-militarism that followed Vietnam: "Since the draft ended, along with Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan, U.S. ground forces have intervened for stays ranging from weeks to years in Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo," plus many lesser interventions.

    And in a comparable time period with conscription, the Progressive Era, the United States was involved in:

    1898 - Spanish-American War
    1898 - Samoan Civil War
    1899-1902 - Philippine insurrection
    1899-1901 - Boxer Rebellion
    1898-1922 - Cuba
    1903 - Panama
    1903-1925 - Honduras
    1910-1919 - Border War with Mexico
    1912-1933 - Nicaragua
    1915-1934 - Haiti
    1916-1934 - Dominican Republic
    1917-1918 - World War I
    1918-1920 - Intervention in the Russian Civil War

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -And in a comparable time period with conscription, the Progressive Era, the United States was involved in:

    1898 - Spanish-American War
    1898 - Samoan Civil War
    1899-1902 - Philippine insurrection
    1899-1901 - Boxer Rebellion
    1898-1922 - Cuba

    Am I to understand that the McKinley administration is now considered 'progressive?'

    -in a comparable time period with conscription

    Were the soldiers who fought in all of the actions you list conscripted, or do you mean they occurred when conscription was possible?

  • ||

    World War I was the first US war that involved a large-scale conscripted force being sent to fight.

    Although the first US draft was in the Civil War only 2% of the men in the Union Army were conscripted, the rest being volunteers or already enlisted in their state militias.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Anyone to the left of Attila the Hun is considered "progressive" here.

  • Boisfeuras||

    The Progressive Era was a time period from 1890 to 1920, as I stated in my post. And it is actually shorter than the 40 years since abolition of the draft from which Bacevich is drawing his list of foreign interventions.

    Were the soldiers who fought in all of the actions you list conscripted, or do you mean they occurred when conscription was possible?

    The latter. (In 1898, Congress declared all males aged 18-45 were subject to military service, but the state militias were used to provide manpower for the Spanish-American War). However, the actual use of conscripted soldiers is apparently irrelevant to Bacevich's premise, because he argues that having a small military with conscription during larger wars would restrain interventionism:

    In the past, Bacevich argues, the United States maintained a "neat division of labor," comprising "a smaller regular army for everyday needs while mobilizing a much larger citizen-army in time of great emergency." ... In the new era, Bacevich continues, military service is no longer a shared national sacrifice but an elective personal choice ... Bacevich discusses the hyper-militarism that followed Vietnam

    This was the case during the period I cited.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -The Progressive Era was a time period from 1890 to 1920, as I stated in my post.

    That is a fair point, but when we are talking about the use of federal troops under President McKinley, or, for that matter, President Taft, it is quite a stretch to talk about 'progressives' making such decisions.

  • Redmanfms||

    That is a fair point, but when we are talking about the use of federal troops under President McKinley, or, for that matter, President Taft, it is quite a stretch to talk about 'progressives' making such decisions.

    Which, notably, he didn't do dipshit.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Remember this - Pat Tillman was killed by US special ops. They claimed the friendly fire was by mistake, of course.

    The Bushpigs went into full cover-up mode after it was revealed that Tillman was keeping a diary that would expose their use of him as a war draw card.

    Tillman's diary was burned the day US soldiers killed him.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The lack of mention of Whitney Houston's murder leads me to believe that you're in the pay of the lizard people. Them or the Joooooos.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Tillman was shot three times in the head at close range by US special ops.

    http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/.....han.probe/

    Obviously, the Bushpigs wanted him dead.

  • ||

    You left out the part where Bush then fucked Tillman's wife as a part of his secret conspiracy to bring back primae noctis.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Why do you love Big Government?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Is your retardation congenital or did you 'earn it'?

  • Irish||

    I think he's joking here but I can never be sure.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I hate cocksuckers who tell people like the Dixie Chicks they are anti-American scum for DARING TO QUESTION the Bushpigs.

    And then Obama is elected and scumbags like this Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc go ballistic because a (D) is outperforming their GOP lackey.

    Bush KILLED 4500 US Soldiers for NOTHING. And he should rot in Hell for it but Hell does not exist.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|9.28.13 @ 8:55PM|#
    "I hate cocksuckers who tell people like the Dixie Chicks they are anti-American scum for DARING TO QUESTION the Bushpigs."

    Yes, you slimy turd, people not paying brain-deads for their idiocy is really horrible, isn't it?
    Go fuck your daddy.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    The DC's didn't question shit, they just took a cheap shot at the prez in front of a foreign audience.

    I wouldn't expect to be lauded for going up on stage in Barcelona and saying I'm ashamed to be from IL because of Obama.

  • Irish||

    You're off your meds, huh PB?

  • Swiss Servator, Bow to Bern||

    I'll say...Tillman stood up out of his vehicle to yell at the friendlies blazing away at the other end of a pass and got by fire coming from that way. Typical Ranger mentality led them to crap their collective pants and try to hush the fact it was friendly fire... I was one province up north, and we knew what had happened, for reals, within 48 hours. By the time I got home it had finally leaked out....morons. Just tell the truth at once.

  • Derpetologist||

    He was behind a rock- here's a pic of the scene: http://msnbcmedia3.msn.com/j/m.....medium.jpg

  • ||

    And then Obama is elected and scumbags like this Rt. Hon. Serious Man, Visc go ballistic because a (D) is outperforming their GOP lackey.

    So you're angry that Bush attempted to cover up the death of an American overseas?

    Hmmm, you're right, Obama has outperformed Bush in that area since he did the same thing for the death of four Americans in Libya.

  • Irish||

    PB should explain his theory about Reagan selling WMDs to Saddam Hussein again.

    This is what little I remember:

    1. Rumsfeld and Reagan secretly colluded so that Saddam would have chemical weapons

    2. ???

    3. EVIL REPUBLICAN SCHEME ACTIVATED!

  • Sevo||

    "Hmmm, you're right, Obama has outperformed Bush in that area since he did the same thing for the death of four Americans in Libya."

    There are a couple of differences:
    Tillman was killed by friendly fire; Bush could do absolutely nothing about that, and given the way FF deaths are reported by the military, Bush had no choice about a 'coverup' either. He would have had to ask for an extremely detailed investigation to get under the military's typical report of 'lost in action' for FF deaths.
    By comparison, Obama could have done something about it; he could have dispatched US forces to prevent the deaths, and that lying pile of shit didn't do so, since it might have affected his re-election chances.
    Further, Obama was under no such disadvantage as happens with FF. In fact, he or one of his admin folk *ORIGINATED* the coverup.
    He and shreek are lying piles of shit. And the lying pile of shit shreek will repeat the same lies next week in the hopes no on saw this. Right, lying pile of shit?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Are you kidding, Sevo? Why don't you explain why Bush didn't teleport himself into Afghanistan and throw his body in front of the bullet, thus stopping his intentional murder of Tillman? Oh, you can't?! Thought not.

    FACTPWNED

  • Derpetologist||

    Bush didn't kill them. They were killed in war which they all knew was a possibility when they signed up.

    Secondly, Team Blue supported that war too.

    Open your eyes- they both suck.

  • SIV||

    Bush was to busy forcing the troops to eat a plastic turkey for a photo-op.

  • Swiss Servator, Bow to Bern||

    +1 Tim Blair

  • Swiss Servator, Bow to Bern||

    "Bush KILLED 4500 US Soldiers for NOTHING."

    Odd that....I remember being shot at by the HIG, Talib, AQI, Jaish al-Mahdi and the IRGC, but never by BOOOOSH. Maybe he was busy burying IEDs?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I thought it was a conspiracy to make the Arizona Cardinals suck for another decade.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|9.28.13 @ 8:38PM|#
    "Tillman was shot three times in the head at close range by US special ops."

    It's no surprise that you're willing to use a tragic death or your purposes.
    It doesn't take more than a cursory read of about any conflict before it becomes obvious that 'friendly fire' is the cause of many battlefield deaths. The US has gotten better, but there is no way to prevent them entirely.
    But that's not about to stop you from waving a bloody shirt to push your slimy agenda.

  • Derpetologist||

    Friendly fire is a lot more common in war than the military likes to admit. The fact that so-called special forces were involved is irrelevant. SF are not supermen- they're just above-average infantry.

    Tillman was about 150 ft away from the guy who shot him- here's a pic of the location. The soldiers are standing at the rock where Tillman died and the Humvee is parked at the location the shooter was. http://msnbcmedia3.msn.com/j/m.....medium.jpg

  • Sevo||

    Derpetologist|9.28.13 @ 9:24PM|#
    "Friendly fire is a lot more common in war than the military likes to admit."

    I'm not going to look, not because your link is bad, but simply because regardless of how it looks now (or when the pic was shot), it did NOT look that way when people were shooting at you.
    You are absolutely correct about FF being less than rare, and in all the reading I've done, unless it is even possibly by intent, it is reported as 'lost in action'.
    For the very good reason, that unless you're there when someone is shooting at you, you have no right to judge those who were.
    This is in no way comparable to Obama's choice to allow those deaths for his political advantage.

  • Swiss Servator, Bow to Bern||

    "Friendly fire is a lot more common in war than the military likes to admit."

    That is not fully the case anymore - lots of training and talk about it. As far as the Rangers with Tillman - they didtry to silence that talk, and should have been smacked down harder for doing so.

  • DJF||

    If you want to restrict war by conscripting you need to draft people for the front lines as privates who have some power to decide wars. So draft the Congress and top administration officials, plus the editorial board for the NYT.

    If its worth going to war then its worth sending our best and they think they are the best.

  • np||

    Want to be patriotic fight for your country? Here's a gun and off you go. Congress members, politicians, pundits, etc voicing support should all be conscripted.

    This is the only way the "skin in the game" argument works.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    totally agreed

  • Robert||

    I was afraid Stripes would kill the AVF.

  • Sevo||

    OT:
    "No. 2 nuke commander suspended amid casino probe"
    "The No. 2 officer at the military command in charge of all U.S. nuclear war-fighting forces is suspected in a case involving counterfeit gambling chips at a western Iowa casino and has been suspended from his duties, officials said."
    Not sure how it directly affects his job, but a guy who gambles enough to cheat makes me nervous.
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/pol.....852460.php

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    If you make civilian life hopeless and miserable enough, you won't need a draft.

  • Irish||

    Vanity Fair is all over the important stories:

    OH MY GOD! OUR TEEN GIRLS ARE BEING TURNED INTO FILTHY WHORES BY SOCIAL MEDIA!

    As quickly as new social media appears, teens seem to find ways to use it to have sex, often sex devoid of even any pretense of emotional intimacy. There’s sexting, and there’s Snapchat, where teenagers share pictures of their bodies or body parts; on Skype, sometimes they strip for each other or masturbate together.

    You should be deeply afraid because teenagers might do this sometimes. I like the word sometimes because if it's happened once you get to say sometimes and make it sound like it's far more common than it is.

    I also like that the question of this article is 'What's this doing to American women?' as if they're the only ones involved in the sex. How condescending is it to women that every sex scare involves the assumption that women are nothing but mindless and easily manipulated victims?

    Also, this being Vanity Fair, they have a picture of a scantily clad Kate Upton literally two inches from the title of this story. Nothing hypocritical about whining about the sexualization of young women while a hot 21 year old is showing gobs of cleavage on the same page.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    As quickly as new social media appears, teens seem to find ways to use it to have sex, often sex devoid of even any pretense of emotional intimacy.

    It's almost like it's a biological imperative or something!

    All they have to do is replace social media with flappers and Skype with telephones and they'd fit right in with the turn of the century Victorians.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Whatever, dude. I care about the sluts. Want me to show you how much?

  • Pathogen||

    Sooo, you saw female members of your family naked, you might have sexualized that experienced, and you're concerned about it because they are now sluts Americans? I'm not following you here...

  • Ted S.||

    I figured Tulpa cares the same way Warty cares.

  • Swiss Servator, Bow to Bern||

    Thanks for that, Ted. I am going to go drip bleach in my ear, hoping some will run into my brain and clean that thought out...

  • Ted S.||

    Come on. I can't be the only person to have been thinking that. Even on a Saturday night.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I'm sorry that you feel so threatened by my sexual expressiveness, Swiss.

  • Sevo||

    I think this is a sock, since 'Mercan (under his first handle) has gotten the ban-hammer long ago.

  • Sevo||

    "OH MY GOD! OUR TEEN GIRLS ARE BEING TURNED INTO FILTHY WHORES BY SOCIAL MEDIA!"

    Damn it! Why didn't this happen when I was a teen?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    When I was their age, if I wanted to bate to a nude woman's picture I had to hang out with random creeps in private AOL chatrooms and wait an hour for a crudely Photoshopped image with Deanna Troi's head on some skank's naked body to download through my 300 baud modem.

    Damn kids don't know how good they got it.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I also like that the question of this article is 'What's this doing to American women?' as if they're the only ones involved in the sex.

    Sometimes they are the only ones involved in the sex...

  • Irish||

    “What happened at the time of the invention of the printing press was very similar to what’s happening now with the Internet,” Alliston said. “With the printing press you had porn suddenly made available through technology. At the same time you had women getting more rights; there was more literacy and freedom for women. I see the spread of porn in part as a backlash to women’s increased independence.

    My favorite part. The printing press was invented in the 1440s. Did women really get more rights in 1445? It seems like she just asserts that women were getting more rights around the time of the invention of the printing press so that she can shoehorn that into her porn thesis regardless of how untrue it actually is.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    She's probably conflating the penny dreadful era (which arose from technology that made printing and distribution much cheaper) with the invention of the printing press.

  • Irish||

    Shut up, American. Just because you think women are delicate flowers in desperate need of protection by big strong men doesn't make it so.

    I love that dipshit rightwingers and dipshit leftwingers come together as one and are equally insulting and patronizing towards women.

    Yet more proof that the only time bipartisanship exists is when both sides are colluding to do something evil.

  • Irish||

    That's not even the issue. My point was that they are explicitly saying that our precious little girls need to be protected while ignoring any possible effect this has on men. That is sexist by literally any definition of the word. When people invariably freak out about illusory sex scares, it is always the WOMEN they talk about the need to protect, as if females are just natural dependents that must be saved from the rigors of the world. If you don't see how this is sexist, then you're beyond hope, beyond reason, and possibly beyond sanity.

    Again, would you care if it was a female member of your family doing this?

    Again, this is unbelievably rare. I was in high school about 7 years ago and the sort of things that are described in that article are UNBELIEVABLY RARE. That's because this isn't a serious epidemic, it's a moral panic ginned up by morons with too much time on their hands and too little intellectually ability to sift through the facts.

    How is it evil to care about people other than your family?

    It's not evil to care. It's evil to pretend you're caring to sate your sick, psychopathic desire for social control. That's what you're doing.

    You pretend you care so that you can force women into the traditional gender roles that a chinless dunce needs to keep intact so that you can delude yourself into thinking that a neutered mindless racist like you is still a man.

  • Sevo||

    "Liberals who talk about how great sluttiness is talk about how great it is for everyone else, not for their family. Just like racial diversity if good for everything except their neighborhood."

    Anyone care to parse that pile of innuendo?

  • Irish||

    He thinks that I'm saying sluttiness (sic) is great, but what I am actually saying is that the original article picked a small number of anecdotes and made them seem to be indicative of a far larger problem than they actually are.

    He doesn't seem to understand that mocking a ridiculous moral panic is not the same as saying that indiscriminate sex is a good thing.

    This is because he is a simple man who has only two desires: That women go back to the kitchen and blacks go back to the chains. I really do wonder if he's just a sockpuppet since he is such a stereotype of racism and sexism.

  • Sevo||

    American.|9.28.13 @ 10:24PM|#
    "...But I do care about my country..."

    Oh, how...
    Hey, dipshit, did you ever hear that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel?
    Did you think your sleazy attempt to wrap yourself in the flag would go un-noticed?
    Fuck you with a rusty flagpole, asshole.

  • Irish||

    Who says I'm not already? I find that burning an American flag is a nice way to end an evening of forcing teenage girls into sexual bondage and refusing to acknowledge the moral superiority of everyone in a military uniform.

  • Derpetologist||

    It's code for "I hate nonwhites".

  • Irish||

    I'm sure if a female member of your family was doing it you would care a hell of a lot more than if a male member of your family was doing it.

    Nope. Try again.

  • Derpetologist||

    Male dolphins and lions simply rape females. I could give many other examples of rape in the animal kingdom.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Since animals can't consent, isn't all animal sex rape?

  • Derpetologist||

    When they run away and fight, it's hard not to call it rape.

    [insert STEVE SMITH joke here]

  • STEVE SMITH||

    WHEN THEY RUN AWAY AND FIGHT - IS CALLED "FOREPLAY" TO STEVE SMITH!

  • Derpetologist||

    From wiki:

    "It's a system of rape. But the females don't take things quietly. They evolve counter-weapons." Cited mating behaviours include males suffocating females underwater till exhausted, and allowing only occasional access to the surface to breathe for up to six hours (to prevent them breeding with other males), and females which have a variety of body shapings (to prevent males from gaining a grip). Foreplay is "limited to the female desperately trying to dislodge the male by swimming frantically around."

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Maybe the dolphins feel the same about asphyxiation as Keith Carradine did?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Flipper? Nooooooo!!!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I get the feeling that American knows far, far more about that subject than is healthy for the animals inhabiting his hometown's zoo.

  • Derpetologist||

    +1 quivering sheep

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    baaa means NO!

  • Irish||

    Because we are mammals, and in all mammals, the females control the access to sex. Did you ever take a biology class, Irish?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! What?

  • STEVE SMITH||

    HA HA - ALSO NOT APPLY TO SASQUATCH!

  • Irish||

    Because we are mammals, and in all mammals, the females control the access to sex.

    Seriously, I don't even know what this means. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. If a man doesn't want to have sex with a woman, the woman won't have sex. That means that both men and women control the access to sex.

    What are you even trying to say?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It means that Bo the Sheep has been more, ah, receptive to his advances than Agnes.

  • Sevo||

    Irish,
    The common biological trope is that the female holds the veto (absent what humans call rape).
    True enough in that the female gets selective since she (not he) deals with the pregnancy and the birth.
    Birth control has changed that to the point where that trope has the validity regarding humans as do Ehrlich's 'rats-in-a-maze' Malthusian predictions.
    Your view is now the realistic one.

  • Sevo||

    "It hasn't changed how our minds have evolved. Yet."

    I have a feeling that your evolution is, oh, several hundred years in the future.
    Some of us are capable of dealing with reality rather than responding to emotion.

  • Sevo||

    American.|9.28.13 @ 10:18PM|#
    ..."the fit in our society consists of those who are too stupid to figure out how it works."

    That'd be you, obviously.

  • Sevo||

    "The key phrase here is "if a man doesn't want to have sex with a woman." But I bet this happens a lot with you, right?"

    I'd say you're admitting more than you'd like.
    Bad breath? Drunk? Widdle-bitty weenie?

  • Irish||

    The key phrase here is "if a man doesn't want to have sex with a woman." But I bet this happens a lot with you, right?

    Are you seriously saying you can't even imagine turning a woman down? I actually have had some women come onto me that I didn't think were attractive at all, so I turned them down. Hence I denied them access to sex.

    Just because you're so desperate that you would never turn anyone down does not mean that the rest of us are that pathetic.

  • ||

    Oh yeah, shove that goalpost ever deeper into your ass. That's the way to do it, Merkin you big pussy.

  • SIV||

    Naughty leopards grow up to be 'hos.

  • Derpetologist||

    The US pays more for retired military personnel than for active duty ones. They spend more on pay and bennies than they do on weapons and training.

    Logging and commercial fishing are also dangerous but I don't hear them complaining about their pay.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Our veterans are still getting a raw deal. We need to dramatically increase the benefits and pay that they get.

    No, they need to be given the benefits they were promised (which they are being shafted on) and no more -- especially the flag officers, who we have too many of to begin with.

    If they don't want to do the job, they don't have to join up.

  • Derpetologist||

    The whole half-pay after 20 years is a terrible idea.

    The ones who suffer the most from war are usually out way before then.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Agreed.

  • Irish||

    You do realize they don't have to join the military right? If people didn't want to join the army at the current pay rate, pay would increase so that the military could be staffed. The fact that the army gets plenty of recruits at the current rate tells me that soldiers are perfectly willing to do that job at that pay.

    You're also ignoring the generous benefit packages, the fact that they'll pay for college, etc.

  • Irish||

    This isn't just some job that's gotta_get_done. These are American heroes.

    Why? Why is it heroic to go fight in a far away country that often doesn't pose a threat to us?

    I respect service men, but the idea that service men are just naturally heroes by virtue of being in the military is the sort of insane and unthinking patriotism that results in needless warfare.

    There are plenty of people on this board who are ex-military and most of them would probably agree that joining the army does not grant you some magical moral standing.

  • Derpetologist||

    But but but Greatest Generation something something!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    No one on this thread has blamed the wars on servicemembers, you halfwit.

    The point is that we shouldn't just shower military members with benefits -- we should give them what was promised when they signed up, and those benefits should be tied to manpower targets that make sense for the military.

  • Agammamon||

    Yes we *do* have a say - 2 says actually.

    We can get out.
    We can refuse to fight.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Struggling veterans are not the result of current pay/benefits for active servicemembers being too low. It's the result of a crap VA, bad VA policies, and a whole series of broken promises about what a soldier would get upon retirement.

  • Swiss Servator, Geneverific!||

    "These are American heroes."

    GODDAMMIT, I HATE THAT!

    There are/were well over a million of us when I was in - I knew exactly one hero, personally. There are some examples of others (check your nearest MoH citation) out there - but putting on a uniform DOES NOT CONVEY HEROISM.

  • Agammamon||

    Oh wow, look arsehole, I *am* a veteran - a retired one at that, so let me set you straight on a few things.

  • Agammamon||

    1. The only people on active duty 'struggling' are those who are living way above their means - either they spend their money on stupid shit or they're trying to raise a family as an E-3. And before you get all 'they should be able to' keep in mind that unless you're a total load you'll be an E-5 within 4 years in 90% of the MOS/rates. So figure that if a service-member can't wait until they're 22 and have sufficient rank to afford to raise a kid - fuck 'em.

    An O-1 grosses $3,600 a month *plus* housing allowance ($1-3K depending on where he's living)
    An E-5 grosses &2,500 + housing allowance ($500 - $2k depending on where he lives, pluse another $350 for food, $400ish a year for uniforms)

    If you can't make ends meet on that salary then there's no hope for you.

    2. Guys deployed in warzone are making bank - HFP/DP *plus* they're paycheck for each month spent in the zone is tax free.

    3. They *are* getting what's promised them, 3 hots and a cot and a paycheck every 2 weeks plus full medical and dental, and then some because a lot of states in addition to the federal government are throwing bennies at military who've left the service (even if they leave before retirement).

    4. 'Veterans' aren't suffering any more than the general population and are often doing better. If you're hearing about struggling veterans then its probably hyperbole being used to drum up sympathy (and money/votes).

  • Agammamon||

    5. We aren't 'heroes' - the vast majority of us are just doing a nasty job at worst and aren't in any danger at all. There's a lot of *brave* people at the pointy end of the stick, but not a lot of actual 'heroes'.

    6. none of us *need* to be paid more - I ain't gonna turn down a pay raise, but I don't feel the need to ask for one and never did while I was on AD. Military are paid extremely well - if they weren't, most of us would have gone on to do other jobs. Patriotism, to the point of losing money, isn't that prevalent among service-members.

  • Swiss Servator, Geneverific!||

    Nonsense. We got paid just fine - benefits were OK too. We all knew what we signed up for, and times are tough - if anything, the spending on "veterans" is going to have to tighten up. The bills are a pilin' up and the Treasury is empty.

    I didn't sign up for retirement benefits and VA goodies...leave well enough alone.

  • Sevo||

    Guys,
    The handle was retired long ago; the posts are archetypal in the extreme; sure you aren't being socked?

  • Derpetologist||

    But if we ignore the trolls and the socks, who will we play with? The spambots?

  • Sevo||

    The trolls can be fun; the socks get boring.

  • Swiss Servator, Geneverific!||

    TondoJondo beckons, below...

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    American didn't used to have a period, so that's my supposition too.

  • Guy LaGuy||

    are you say 'mercan is "riding the cotton pony"?

  • TondoJondo||

    Sometimes man, you jsut have to roll with it.

    www.Got-Privacy.com

  • ||

    United States Navy Vice Admiral suspended from duty after being implicated in casino fraud scheme

    The No. 2 officer at the military command in charge of all U.S. nuclear war-fighting forces is suspected in a case involving counterfeit gambling chips at a western Iowa casino and has been suspended from his duties, officials said.
    Navy Vice Adm. Tim Giardina has not been arrested or charged, Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation special agent David Dales said Saturday. The state investigation is ongoing.
    Giardina, deputy commander at U.S. Strategic Command, was suspended on Sept. 3 and is under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, a Strategic Command spokeswoman said.
    The highly unusual action against a high-ranking officer at Strategic Command was made more than three weeks ago but not publicly announced at that time. The command is located at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Neb.

    If he's guilty of that, it makes you wonder how do people like that make it so close to the top?

  • Derpetologist||

    Mhmmm! Ahem! *CoughCough* Assorted throat noises!

    http://www.johntreed.com/tournament.html

  • Pathogen||

    "..If he's guilty of that, it makes you wonder how do people like that make it so close to the top?"

    Lots and lots of strategic ass kissing?

  • Ted S.||

    I'd never heard about this before! ;-)

  • ||

    Apologizes to Sevo, who posted this in between the Esquire story about social media turning our women into whores and PB's schizophrenic ranting about the Bushpigs.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    a high-ranking officer at Strategic Command was made more than three weeks ago but not publicly announced at that time. The command is located at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha, Neb

    Oh, so he's a Nebraska admiral then.

  • Agammamon||

    I want to laugh and cry at the same time.

    The nuclear navy has soooo many problems with integrity nowadays. Its funny - I was going to be a nuke but I kicked out of school for falsifying a study-log entry - not enough integrity they said. But nowadays commands get caught cheating on reactor exams every couple of years.

    And now this, from the nuke upper brass - so much has changed from the days when Rickover personally interviewed potential nuclear officers (Jimmy Carter was one of 'em).

    Rickover would be tearing the CoC apart if he were alive today

  • mike771||

    Start working at home with Google. It’s the most-financialy rewarding I've ever done. On tuesday I got a gorgeous BMW after having earned $7439 this last month. I actually started five months/ago and practically straight away was bringin in at least $74, per-hour. visit this site right here www.Pow6.com

  • Pathogen||

    Why must you turn this thread into a house of lies?

  • Swiss Servator, Geneverific!||

    +1

    He had to up the ante, after TondoJondo got his spam in.... you know how it goes around here.

  • Derpetologist||

    This thread is not complete without the strangest tale of conscription in history:

    "Yang Kyoungjong (c. 1920 – April 7, 1992) was a Korean soldier who fought during World War II in the Imperial Japanese Army, the Soviet Red Army, and later the German Wehrmacht."

  • Sevo||

    Ambrose has it that the D-Day forces needed translators for Korean, along with some SE Asian languages IIRC.

  • Guy LaGuy||

    if Arcade Fire had any more members they'd need a mayor.

  • BMFPitt||

    Of course, many troops would have chosen to resign honorably before returning to Iraq or Afghanistan for a third or fifth time.

    Hey, even letting them go once their tour of duty has ended rather than stop-lossing them would be an improvement.

  • OBD2 Scanner||

    even letting them go once their tour of duty has ended rather than stop-lossing them would be an improvement.

  • Anders||

    The military is entirely against the idea of conscription and it was THEY that pushed for an all volunteer, PROFESSIONAL warfighting organization.

    Also, no disrespect intended but conscripts tend to be shit soldiers. Part of the massive body counts in Korea, Vietnam was directly attributable to using conscripts. Ditto Russia's Afghanistan adventure which was also a blood bath - they got their asses roundly whipped by a bunch of goat raping 6th century cavemen.

  • Sevo||

    "it was THEY that pushed for an all volunteer, PROFESSIONAL warfighting organization."

    That would be news to quite a few people:
    "In the course of his [General Westmoreland's] testimony, he made the statement that he did not want to command an army of mercenaries. I [Milton Friedman] stopped him and said, 'General, would you rather command an army of slaves?' "
    http://washingtonexaminer.com/.....le/2503588

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Back in the days when govt officials got called on their bullshit once in a while.

  • Anders||

    Good article. Not surprised that McChrystal likes the idea of conscription. I am sure Wes Clark would like it too.

  • JFree||

    Bacevich is wrong. The draft is not the answer. The answer - per our Constitution and our experience back in the days when Congress actually did declare wars is the state militias (aka National Guard). And yes -- militia service requires universal service. The only exception has always been conscientious objection - in which case service is STILL required (see Mennonites during WW2).

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Militias worked just fine until we actually had a war against a country with a professional army. If Britain wasn't in the middle of fighting a European war and dependent on us for foodstuffs and cotton we would have been assraped in the War of 1812.

    We learned our lesson then, let's not unlearn it.

  • JFree||

    Your history is not correct. Reality is that militias work exceeding well on defence - even if poorly trained. And the reason why militias haven't worked well in other situations is because the states/feds simply refused to muster/train militias as a matter of course -- ie in peacetime. We let it go - we get lazy - we "save a few bucks" - and then find out that when war comes we have nothing but a bunch of untrained useless soldiers. Switzerland does it right - even if their militia is federal rather than cantonal.

    And the War of 1812 is quite instructive. re the Northern/Canadian stuff, the militias beat the Brits and forced them out of the "Northwest territory" (Ohio/Michigan/etc). They failed in invading Canada - not because of professional British soldiers but because of Canadian militia on defense. re the DC/Chesapeake stuff, that was mostly pure logistics - navies could move faster in pre-railroad days. re New Orleans/Mississippi river stuff, the militias won and prevented the Brits from de facto claiming navigation rights in the Mississippi River.

  • nina.Malik||

    my best friend's sister-in-law makes $74 hourly on the computer. She has been laid off for 5 months but last month her pay was $14134 just working on the computer for a few hours. have a peek at this website....

    http://www.Works23.Com

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement