Europe

Austrians Vote to Keep the Draft

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Sixty percent of Austrian voters decided yesterday to continue forcing 18-year-olds to perform six-month stints in the military. Some 22,000 men are conscripted each year. Thousands more do nine months of compulsory work in ambulances, senior centers, and other civilian-service jobs.

Via Reuters:

"I'm happier having people of all psychological types in the army, not just people who are really into it," said Andreas Gorbach, a 53-year-old advertising consultant who voted for the draft despite saying he did not enjoy his own time in the army.

…Many voters were swayed by warnings from emergency services organizations such as the Red Cross, who had said they would not be able to cope without the 14,000 young men who opt for community service each year.

Petra, a 39-year-old lawyer casting her vote in favor of ending conscription in Vienna on Sunday, disagreed.

"Community service clearly borders on forced labor," she said. "We should pay for this work more fairly and should only let it be done by those—men and women, and of whatever age—who actually want to do it and are interested."

Perhaps the Red Cross could contact its offices in Germany, Sweden, or Italy—which have all recently scrapped conscription into military and civilian service—to see how they are coping without coerced labor.

Other voters were concerned that moving to a professional army would be expensive. But, says Reason columnist Steve Chapman:  

The draft doesn't reduce the cost of carrying on a war. It merely shifts it from taxpayers at large to able-bodied males, a saving for the federal budget but an enormous burden on conscripts. That's why the journalist Nicholas von Hoffman once urged, "Draft old men's money, not young men's bodies."

[Moreover] it's a colossal waste to cycle large numbers of people, many of them poorly suited to military service, through the ranks for a couple of years just so they can bail out at the first opportunity. The all-volunteer force provides a far bigger return on training dollars, while enlisting men and women who want to do what soldiers do—including combat.

Voters in Switzerland will decide whether or not to keep the draft later this year. Click here and here for more Reason coverage of mandatory service.

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205 responses to “Austrians Vote to Keep the Draft

  1. You know what other Austrian conscripted people into military service?

    1. Franz Josef?

    2. Every Austrian PM since the Fifties?

    3. Major “Dutch” Schaeffer

  2. Draft is not so bad when you’re not perpetually in a state of war.

    1. It’s still involuntary servitude, so I think it’s pretty damn bad.

      1. No, they get paid, so it’s not involuntary :rolleyes:

        1. If it’s not involuntary, don’t show up for it.

          My father had 18 months stolen from his life courtesy of the peacetime draft.

          1. No, he was paid, so it wasn’t stolen.

            Also, now that the sexes are completely legal and women don’t have any special rights like not having to register for Selective Service, it will be much better next time around.

            1. Well then it wouldn’t be Selective Service, duh…

            2. Women don’t have to register for Selective Service in the US and never did. You’re full of crap, WG.

              1. His posts are dripping with sarcasm. Try not to slip on it.

                1. Gettin’ so’s a man caint walk ’round here without steppin’ in sumpin. 🙂

              2. Women don’t have to register for Selective Service in the US and never did. You’re full of crap, WG.

                Welcome to Hit & Run.

            3. Ah, eminent domain. Splains all.

        2. No, they get paid, so it’s not involuntary :rolleyes:

          Definition of INVOLUNTARY

          1: done contrary to or without choice
          2: compulsory
          3: not subject to control of the will : reflex

          Look, I get it; you want to defend slavery as being socially necessary. But do you really think we are so stupid that we are going to fall for your attempt to redefine language? :rolleyes:

          1. I don’t think you understand why the rolleyes was there…

            1. Shit! My sarcasm detector is broken isn’t it?

              1. Sometimes they blow in the presence of excessive quantities of sarcasm. Try getting it recalibrated before going ahead and replacing it.

                1. Its like using a voltmeter – make shure you have it set to the correct range before hooking up the leads.

                  And never, ever use a megger on a copier.

          2. I’m completely and utterly against the draft, just to be clear.

            The :rolleyes: was because it was an idiotic argument.

            1. Sorry… I’m having a really bad day and can’t light into the person who really deserves it.

              1. No worries, and sorry about your day. Hope it gets better!

                1. Glad you guys hugged it out!

                  1. I just hope they don’t start making out.

                    1. We don’t believe you.

              2. Sorry… I’m having a really bad day and can’t light into the person who really deserves it.

                Marriage is tough that way.

          3. A professional army is paid for from your taxes, which are also not voluntary. A professional army is more expensive as well (or so they tell us in Austria). It’s really a question of how the burden is distributed. Older people in Austria feel like they put in their time already, the hell if they’re going to pay more taxes to let young people enjoy themselves.

            1. I’d be pretty skeptical about those savings. Who’s a more efficient soldier, a nerdy kid who should be studying computer science on an 18-month stint or a jock who’s been enlisted for 6 years because that’s what he always wanted to do. It’s hard to believe you’re really getting more bang for your buck.

              1. You’d be correct if you were referring to an army with a purpose – like the US or Israeli, or even the French army. But since the Austrian army doesn’t actually do anything, increasing efficiency is probably not worth the money.

            2. It’s a far cry from having to pay taxes to being sent out to get your ass shot off for a bunch of old fuckers’ stupid, goddamned wars.

    2. Slavery is still slavery – I $#&*@ing hate “conscription” or “draft” – call it what is is, slavery.

      1. See your not taking into account the “social contract”

        1. I’m altering the bargain. Pray I don’t alter it further.

        2. Get them to sign on the line which is dotted! does not exist!

        3. See your not taking into account the “social contract”

          Externalities!

      2. It’s not slavery, it’s a tax.

        1. Penaltaxery?

        2. And the tax will be multiplied into three times as much GDP as the money would have produced otherwise!

          Oh wit, that’s Keynsian military service, not Austrian.

  3. Well I guess as long as it’s still only men, we don’t have to worry about IFH getting drafted.

    1. they need me in the kitchen making struedel

      1. I thought you called it kangaroodel.

    2. Austrians, Australians… it’s all the same.

      1. Those Austrians, always putting another shrimp on the barbie! The Klaus Barbie!

        I’m here all ze veek.

  4. “Community service clearly borders on forced labor,”

    Borders?

    1. Borders from the inside. Like how Montana borders on the United States.

  5. The best argument for the draft that I’ve seen is that it broadens the impact of wars so that the whole electorate feels it. This is supposed to make wars harder to join and sustain. Of course, I don’t see that effect looking at history, and it’s still a form of slavery where they pay you a pittance to risk your life and spend two years or so effectively stripped of many important rights.

    1. The fact that so many people volunteered for military service after 9/11 and during Iraq suggests to me that any war that doesn’t generate enough volunteers is a war that doesn’t have enough support from the American people to fight.

      I hope the argument that “Gee, we didn’t even need the draft during the Iraq War” has legs. It should. If even the Bush Administration with all their fury didn’t need the draft, then why will any other administration ever need it again–except to wage an unpopular war?

      1. To continue the indoctrination of its citizens beyond primary indoctrination? Especially for the ones too stupid or lazy to make it to secondary indoctrination.

      2. That’s what Heinlein said, more or less:

        I also think there are prices too high to pay to save the United States. Conscription is one of them. Conscription is slavery, and I don’t think that any people or nation has a right to save itself at the price of slavery for anyone, no matter what name it is called. We have had the draft for twenty years now; I think this is shameful. If a country can’t save itself through the volunteer service of its own free people, then I say : Let the damned thing go down the drain!

        1. And it took another decade and a half (?) from when he said that to get rid of the Mameluke/Janissary slave force. Funny how we managed to become a much better force without hauling people in against their will.

          1. How do you figure, we haven’t won a war since we got rid of the draft.

            1. The U.S. has never gotten rid of the draft. It’s called “Selective Service” and merely requires the authorization of Congress to be activated.

            2. Didn’t exactly win Viet Nam either.

              1. We lost to another conscript army.

                Also, 5-1 is better than 0-3 or 0-5 depending on what you count.

            3. I’m willing to count Desert Storm as a win; I think achieving the status quo was the objective.

            4. We won the wars. We didn’t win the occupations.

              1. I can only go by the record books. Replacement refs or not, the games still count.

                1. By the Howard Zinn-ist record books, every war we were in was a “loss”.

                  1. I only have a few exceptions to that as a general rule.

                  2. I only have a few exceptions to that as a general rule.

                    1. we’re pretty good at the war-making part. It’s the aspects that involve coats and ties where things go awry.

            5. I would disagree – I think we’ve won every conflict since the end of the draft.

              Of course, unlike The Gambler, we don’t know when to walk away and so get bogged down in post conflict shit against guerillas.

          2. I think we should probably limit ourselves to comparing the draft to slavery. Your metaphor requires far too much background knowledge.

            1. Your metaphor requires far too much background knowledge.

              Speak for yourself.

          3. I’m not sure that can be conclusively said yet. I’ve experienced significant levels of professional pride both personally and in my comrades, but there’s still plenty of (warranted and not) cynicism and identifying with those conscripts of the past. The AVF hasn’t really been tested in a traditional war yet, and the results of the lower-level conflicts we have joined have been mixed at best.

            One effect that does seem to be real is the stratification of the force, with the result being something like the beginning of a new hereditary class. Military service seems to run in families. Flag officers enjoy the perks of other countries’ nobility. Etc.

            1. We’re at the same time starting to look like a mercenary force given the combined incentives of citizenship and college/post-grad education.

              1. As (pretty much) a mercenary, you say that like it’s a bad thing.

                1. The same thing happened to Rome. I’m not sure whether that’s a cause or a symptom of the decline, but either way it’s not good.

                  1. Rome was a slave state. I mean there’s only three choices for armies:

                    1. Slavery
                    2. Jingo
                    3. Pay

                    The first one is immoral, the second one is unreliable, so you might as well just go with the third one and formalize it.

                    1. I’m not suggesting people serve for free, but material incentives can grow so much as to unbalance the motivations. I don’t have a solution.

                    2. Pay them and don’t start wars?

                    3. National Guard and Reserve service making up so much of the force prevents too much stratification. The flags don’t get near what they used to as far as perks (we don’t have officer’s clubs anymore, etc). Nothing screams perk like watching a BG in the National Guard drive himself to and from events or drill, stay in a modest hotel and get $25 a day in per diem, heh heh.

                      However, there are still too many flags for our smaller force.

                    4. What do you call Stavridis taking “business trips” to the Bordeaux wineries?

                    5. What do you call Stavridis taking “business trips” to the Bordeaux wineries?

                      Fraud.

                    6. Excuse me… Waste, Abuse and Fraud.

                    7. The IG disagreed.

                    8. Well of course but in practical terms it only matters what they think of the matter.

                    9. I can only comfort myself that this is still furtive behavior instead of going to the mess, being served on fine china by Filipino mess boys in white jackets, etc.

                      Still want those guys to share the same conditions as the rest of their people.

                    10. Also, a typical four-star gets paid more to retire than to work.

              2. That and, you know, hiring actual mercenaries – ie companies like Blackwater or whatever name they’re using to distance themselves from their latest scandal.

            2. The AVF hasn’t really been tested in a traditional war yet

              By this point, fighting insurgencies has become traditional warfare.

              1. Perhaps. Let’s wait and see what happens post “world financial meltdown” before scrapping the ships and tanks.

      3. “If civilization has got the better of barbarism when barbarism had the world to itself, it is too much to profess to be afraid lest barbarism, after having been fairly got under, should revive and conquer civilization. A civilization that can thus succumb to its vanquished enemy must first have become so degenerate, that neither its appointed priests and teachers, nor anybody else, has the capacity, or will take the trouble, to stand up for it. If this be so, the sooner such a civilization receives notice to quit, the better. It can only go on from bad to worse, until destroyed and regenerated (like the Western Empire) by energetic barbarians.” – John Stuart Mill

        1. Energetic Barbarians would be a cool band name

      4. The fact that so many people volunteered for military service after 9/11 and during Iraq suggests to me that any war that doesn’t generate enough volunteers is a war that doesn’t have enough support from the American people to fight.

        And since the War of 1812, according to the powers-that-be, therein lies the problem. Interestingly enough, Madison’s and Monroe’s attempt to instate a draft match up nicely with their establishment of the 2nd Bank of the U.S. to fund any war they wished without the indignity of having to go cap-in-hand to the States. (Madison was against the 1st National Bank, but had a change of heart after running the country into debt during the War of 1812.)

        1. Madison was against the 1st National Bank, but had a change of heart after running the country into debt during the War of 1812.

          I’m endlessly fascinated by the changes in heart leaders display when faced with challenges to their chosen course of action. It’s one of the components to the old saw that “power corrupts”, I think.

      5. “The fact that so many people volunteered for military service after 9/11 and during Iraq suggests to me that any war that doesn’t generate enough volunteers is a war that doesn’t have enough support from the American people to fight.”

        America needed a draft for World War II.

        Here is a pretty good pro-draft page: John T. Reed’s “Should There Be A Draft?”. Though to really understand it in full, you need to read most of his other military pages, where he talks about institutional incompetence within the military.

        1. America needed a draft for World War II.

          It needed one for the Civil War and for WWI as well. I don’t know that any of those wars were particularly popular ones, but after Pearl Harbor was attacked in WWII, many men volunteered and there was more willingness on the part of the public that the US become involved in the war in Europe.

          1. I should also add that if you want public support for a war, it is easier to achieve and maintain it if people feel that the process for determining who fights it is a “fair” one – that “everyone must do their part.” Thus the draft – even in World War II.

            1. Great. So young men’s “part” is to do the dying while everyone else gets to do more or less exactly what they would have been doing otherwise. I’m glad you put the word “fair” in quotes.

              1. @ MD:

                Yes, it was in quotes for ironic effect. Your comment reminds me of an exchange I had on talk radio many years ago, with an older woman who supported the draft. She was castigating a couple of teenaged brothers for refusing to cut their hair and for their opposiition to registering with Selective Service – bitterly refered to them as “little punks” and as cowards, as I recall. I called in to challenge her right to criticize any man for resisting the draft by asking “how much blood she, being a woman, had ever shed for her country. Subsequently another woman called in to inform the audience that the woman in question was a mother who had lost her only son in Vietnam, and to say what an insensitive beast I was for having dared ask such a question in the first place.

                Naturally I was not able to call back in to respond. But the episode illustrates what I was getting at: The attitude seems to be that as long as all mothers’ sons get an equal chance to have their asses shot off (usually for nothing) – well then the draft is okay…it’s “fair”.

                Btw, I still stand by the validity of my question even today: What right do women, or anyone else not ever subject to it, have to criticize a man for objecting to or resisting the draft? Yes, I know that women have shed their very own blood and even lost their lives in service to our country in wartime – that isn’t the point. The point is that they weren’t forced to serve under threat of incarceration.

    2. The best argument for the draft that I’ve seen is that it broadens the impact of wars so that the whole electorate feels it. This is supposed to make wars harder to join and sustain.

      Based on this logic, the draft for the Vietnam war was started to help sway the public away from it, by making more people feel it.

      The draft just helps the ruling class wage unpopular wars and ruin other people’s lives. But hey: we voted, so it can’t be wrong.

      1. Like I said, it’s a nice idea but I don’t see it in practice.

      2. But hey: we voted, so it can’t be wrong.

        All rights are subject to debate in a democracy, just as they should be.

        /Tony

        1. Except the constitution did not establish a democracy.

          1. It must have changed it’s mind. It’s alive, you know.

            1. Yeah, so was Frankenstein’s monster.

          2. The constitution did not establish rights, either. If you’re whipping out the constitution to discuss rights, you’ve already compromised.

            1. That’s true – it did not establish rights – not even with the first ten amendments. It recognized pre-existing ones – or at least, the language of the Bill Of Rights implied that the rights were pre-existent.

      3. “The draft just helps the ruling class wage unpopular wars and ruin other people’s lives. But hey: we voted, so it can’t be wrong.”

        By this logic, the lack of a draft should have helped curtain the second war in Iraq.

      4. Based on this logic, the draft for the Vietnam war was started to help sway the public away from it, by making more people feel it.

        It’s been argued that the reason there was such a strong backlash against the Vietnam war was because of the draft, and the reason we don’t see the backlash against modern wars. I mean, the paier mache head industry took a complete dive after Obama was elected.

    3. While I by no means support conscription, my observation is that with a professional force there is no impetus to win the war and get the fuck out. At least for these last two. There was plenty of “support for the troops”, but there was no buy in from the general public like there’s been in the past.

      In WWII there were blackouts, rationing, victory gardens… In Vietnam they were sending kids off the street to get shot at. The general population was affected. In the last two fiascoes, most were not, and therefore no one was screaming to get it over with and here we are 12 years later…

      1. Guard and Reserve never had trouble meeting recruiting – most places at least had a Guard or Reserve unit there or nearby deploy. I’d say there was an effect (less so in very large urban areas, to be sure).

    4. and it’s still a form of slavery where they pay you a pittance to risk your life and spend two years or so effectively stripped of many important rights

      They pay you in prison, too.

  6. “Many voters were swayed by warnings from emergency services organizations such as the Red Cross, who had said they would not be able to cope without the 14,000 young men who opt for community service each year.”

    When these 14,000 men “opt for community service each year”, they’re given the “option” to go into community service rather than the military?

    Are those who refuse to do either one “opting” for prison? I don’t think so.

    1. Are those who refuse to do either one “opting” for prison? I don’t think so.

      Sadly, I think there are plenty of people who would make that argument. David Frum comes to mind.

  7. “…men and women who want to do what soldiers do?including combat.”

    Yikes. The only sane people this describes are ones who havent been in combat.

    1. The only sane people this describes are ones who havent been in combat.

      Or Gurkhas. Jus’ sayin’

      Jai Mahakali, Ayo Gorkhali!

      1. Gurkhas aren’t sane in any way we could understand. Their awesomeness pushes them beyond such ordinary human concepts

        1. Or how about this Gurkha – bleeding, blinded, right hand blown off, and that’s when he turns into a four foot eleven killing machine

          1. No I meant Suthenboy.

            Also every gurkha I know showers with his shorts on, so I don’t know if I’d put them on the ‘sane’ side of the equation.

            1. I’ll go on a limb and say Suthenboy believes anyone who has seen actual combat is not salivating at thought of seeing more of it.

              1. I wouldn’t have any co-workers if that was the case.

                Hell I would be in another job.

                Then again, while I feel like I am completely sane, others may not.

            2. Also every gurkha I know showers with his shorts on, so I don’t know if I’d put them on the ‘sane’ side of the equation.

              *looks around nervously*

      1. “How do you figure?”

        I am not sure if this is directed at me or not, but I will answer as if it is.

        Most people imagine combat to be a glorious adventure where everyone else gets shot and they dont.

        In reality it, if you have a shred of empathy or decency, it just feels dark, ugly and terrifying; it doesnt feel like patriotic duty, it feels like murder.

        Dotn get me wrong, I am no pacifist, I know that the world is a violence place infested with monsters. I can fight as hard as anyone, but I prefer to avoid it if the price isnt too high.

        1. *violent*

          I am alternating reading here and splitting a trailer load of firewood I cut yesterday. My fingers arent typing very well.

        2. In reality it, if you have a shred of empathy or decency

          Ah, well there’s your problem.

        3. “it feels like murder.”

          Not when I have a bunch of Jaish al Mahdi blasting away at me, and getting pretty damned close too. I don’t like hurting anyone (more than making a really good tackle on the rugby pitch) but I sure don’t feel like a murderer when someone is trying their damnedest to kill me and they fail.

    2. I’ve met a couple of soldiers that like combat – they don’t want to be hurt or killed, but they are kind of like the extreme sport types – you live so fiercely and in the moment, when it is over, everything else seems bland/tame. I guess.

      Me, on the other hand, I don’t miss it at all. I just want to be warm in winter, cool in summer, have enough to eat and drink and watch my kids grow up. Oh, and whisky.

      1. We’re jolly green giants walking the earth with guns. These people we wasted here today are the finest human beings we will ever know. After we rotate back to the world, we’re gonna miss not having anyone around that’s worth shooting.

        Damn I love that film

      2. I miss my friends and my youth – not the getting shot at part.

        1. “…not the getting shot at part.”

          It is funny to me that one of the darkest feelings is realizing that another person hates you so much that they are trying to murder you.

          Darker still is the realization that every moral you hold, everything you believe is sacred doesnt amount to jack shit. Churches blow up, girls are raped and killed, babies are murdered and their bodies thrown in the street. People just step over them and the birds still sing, the sun still rises. It doesnt mean shit.

          1. I blew up zero houses of worship, raped nobody, killed no babies (or toddlers, children, tweens or teens. No women either).

            Dude, you must have some heavy stuff on your mind right now.

            1. When wars start there is often a code of honor amongst the combatants.

              As the war drags on and the reality of what is at stake sets in that code gets shed. Combatants become animals that stop at nothing to exterminate their enemies.

              Thats war.
              Maybe I am overstating things a bit. That is my perception anyway.

              1. I think that is overstating it a bit. We rotate folks in and out, people retire or leave after their obligation – this is not a draft into a four or five year, inescapable WWI or WWII scenario where people wear down and finally lose it, perhaps.

                We still have some folks lose it and do some bad stuff, but we aren’t raping churches and burning babies. Well, POTUS is droning homes with one bad guy inside and 28 innocents, be he would have to answer for himself.

                1. I think that is overstating it a bit. We rotate folks in and out, people retire or leave after their obligation – this is not a draft into a four or five year, inescapable WWI or WWII scenario where people wear down and finally lose it, perhaps.

                  I think this is part of the reason we’re still there. The focus is on finishing your tour and going home, rather than ending the war and going home.

                  1. I was in the first Gulf War. We knew that when Kuwait was liberated and the Iraqis beaten, we would be on our way home.

                    Give our troops in Afghanistan an similarly achievable goal and it will happen.

                    We are still there because our goals in Afghanistan are nothing but vague bullshit.

                    1. Completely agree. The point where we went wrong in Afghanistan was when we decided that not only Al Qaeda needed killing, but also the Taliban.

                      When we switched from killing terrorists to nation building, without achievable goals, was where we doomed ourselves to failure.

                      Bush Senior understood the necessity of having an exit strategy, BEFORE going in. His son did not.

              2. “When wars start there is often a code of honor amongst the combatants.”

                The only code the Talib and HIG had was “we will try to kill you, anyone who teaches girls, or doesn’t obey us in everything we command.”

                The Jaish al Mahdi code and AQ was similar. More fealty to the IRC for the JAM, more rapekillsteal with the AQ types.

          2. That is quite the vivid imagination. Most of what was shot at me was heavy artillery. I bet the Iraqi who loaded the tube and pulled the lanyard put as much emotion into it as my garbage man does when he dumps my trash into his truck.

      3. I always thought a good book would be how the black ops types move into normal, civilian jobs after their time ends. It’s sort of like professional athletes who have difficulty finding something that replaces the rush, the intensity, and the camaraderie that comes with measuring your skills against someone else’s, without the death and dying part, of course.

        If you have been a SEAL, or a Delta, or a chopper/fighter pilot who has been in the shit, how does selling insurance, teaching History, and managing finances keep you interested?

        1. I work with a bunch of ex-South African special forces types, and they are all pretty well settled. None of them drink anywhere near as much as I do, but none of them are tee-totalling wierdos either. They do all have rather involved hobbies (one makes his own furniture continually – gives away old stuff and makes new stuff every time, things like that), but otherwise they’re pretty normal until it’s time to gear up.

          NB: I was not any kind of black ops or Special Forces.

          I don’t know any American ex-SF types, but seriously all the other countries that are here with my firm are kind of normal. Then again, we’re not exactly selling insurance or teaching history, so I don’t know.

          1. maybe your firm has enough action to be a suitable outlet, and the demands are less rigorous on aging bodies. I am still curious about the mental aspect.

            Folks who embrace high-risk things; how do you adjust to a post-risk world? And I draw a distinction between the type person who actively pursues an MOS with a high danger factor and one who is tossed into hostility because the country involved itself in something.

            Maybe I’m the only guy interested. Probably comes from having been around too many of those guys for too long. It is difficult to imagine many civilian endeavors that challenge you mentally and physically to that extent. Could be they get worn out and want a 180-degree change. Still curious.

            1. Not sure I’d put fighter pilots on that list anymore. Just isn’t THAT dangerous when compared to what the SF guys do. And the killing is at a distance, which makes a difference. More clinical.

              I was an AF pilot (bombers and trainers) for 20 years. And to answer you question, at least in my experience… It gets old. You need to pump yourself up every time you go to work, so you can force yourself to perform. It’s cool when your 25. When your 45 it becomes exhausting. At the end, I was ready to be done with it. Haven’t flown since I got out. Don’t miss it.

              Not sure if everyone is like me, but that was my experience.

        2. I’ve worked ex-SF types. Some in very mundane full-time National Guard jobs, some in the civilian world. All I’ve known are well-adjusted.

          1. Not what I saw when I lived around some. I liked them, but well-adjusted isn’t the term I’d use.

            Can’t say it had anything to do with their service, though. I mean, normal well-adjusted people don’t make it through BUD/S in the first place.

      4. Whiskey is good.

        also fried chicken.

        1. …and the company of women.

      5. Honestly, what’s the casualty rate these days? Less than 1% I’d bet.

        1. Last time I looked, the death rate for American military personnel was lower than that of the general population in the same age groups.

          1. We’ve made it so un-messy that there is no reason not to do it.

            I invoke Kirk:

            Death, destruction, disease, horror. That’s what war is all about, Anan. That’s what makes it a thing to be avoided. You’ve made it neat and painless. So neat and painless, you’ve had no reason to stop it.

  8. Sometimes dude, you jsut gotta roll with the punches, thats all man.

    http://www.AnoTimes.tk

  9. I had to look it up. Austrians are trained for six months, then do 60 days training over the next 10 years or so.

    I hope the Austrians never have to fight with that army – that isn’t close to enough for even a decent Reserve component.

    1. Um… they never will have to fight. Who the fuck gives a fuck about Austria?

      1. Turn back the clock a couple of hundred years and tell me about nation that didn’t have to fight. (Other than the Swiss – who haven’t had to fight in part because of their extreme preparedness to actually fight)

        1. Yes but we live in this century. What war could Austria possibly get into?

          1. How many people have said the same through the ages?

            1. I have a much higher chance of being correct because war among nation-states has been decreasing for a while. Technology, culminating with nuclear proliferation, has developed as a huge deterrent to war among nations, while at the same time emerging economic globalism provides a large incentive for peace.

              1. And the Cold “War” is ample proof of this.

                1. the Cold War involved belligerents who saw death as a bad thing. There is a new front in which death is embraced, at least in rhetoric. This is the same mentality that uses civilians as shields and targets as its MO.

                  1. Well not exactly. On the one hand we have the emergence of international terrorism, which is not the same thing as war. On the other we have guerrilla warfare, which would probably require Austria to invade some underdeveloped country.

              2. In the long run, you have zero chance of being right.

                1. In the long run, you have zero chance of being right.

                  …if Austria goes on forever. So no.

                  1. Actually even if Austria continued forever, there is no reason to believe war would be inevitable. So there is no reason to say my chance of being right would be 0. It would have to be above 0.

        2. Austria

          Current conflicts

          Since the conclusion of the Austrian State Treaty in 1955, neutrality remains a guiding principle of Austrian foreign policy in that Austria does not belong to any military alliance, does not host foreign troops on its territory and that does not participate in armed conflicts.

          Austria’s 2001 Security and Defence Doctrine recognises, however, that Austria’s neutrality has been fundamentally altered through Austria’s full participation in the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, so that Austria can no longer be considered a permanently neutral state in the sense of international law.

          Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

          Linky

    2. Oh, it’s not for fighting – it’s just to remind them who their asses really belong to.

  10. One advantage of an all-volunteer force is that they never have to waste their time training somebody like me.

  11. “I’m happier having people of all psychological types in the army, not just people who are really into it,” said Andreas Gorbach, a 53-year-old advertising consultant who voted for the draft despite saying he did not enjoy his own time in the army.

    Or maybe Gorbach just thinks that since he had to suffer through it, these kids should also. Austrians are some of the most petty people I’ve ever met. Small country with a small mindset.

    1. I would never propose a return of the American draft – but there may be something to say for a small population sharing a common experience.

      1. That is why I think the Swiss will vote to retain their forced reserve participation.

      2. If nations stuck to fighting wars only in self defense and when attacked, then the experience would be a shared one usually – small population or no.

  12. OT: Michael Winner (director of Death Wish, The Mechanic, all around fairly cool dude until New Labour) died.

    1. Winning!

      1. He ate steak tartare four days in a row once. I guess he should have had the tiger blood.

  13. That’s one way to get your 18 year old out of the house.

  14. I’ve never heard of this guy before, so he may be all kinds of awful, but he may be the coolest guy in the world right now:

    Lupe Fiasco, Rapper, Thrown Off Stage At Inaugural Concert

    Lupe Fiasco reportedly created a bit of a row on Sunday by insulting President Obama during an inaugural event.

    Although Fiasco was booked as the headliner for the StartUp RockOn concert in celebration of Obama’s reelection, the 30-year-old Chicago rapper apparently had no plans to cheer the current administration. Instead, after taking the stage at The Hamilton in Washington, he reportedly announced that he didn’t vote for the president in the 2012 election and spent more than 30 minutes performing an anti-war song.

    1. Well, I was hoping it would have been an anti-drug-war rant, but still gg, Lupe, whoever you are.

    2. It gets better. According to WashPo

      It shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. In 2011, Lupe called Obama “the biggest terrorist.” On his latest album, he explained that claim, referring to drone strikes in Afghanistan. Last year he described the president as “someone who is a great speaker, but kills little children.”

      1. so after four years, one segment of the anti-war left comes out of hiding and is promptly yanked from the stage. Because it’s okay when Dems call in strikes.

        1. He is lucky he was just pulled off the program – could have a Hellfire greet him in the dressing room…

  15. Basically all the old people, and Austria has a lot of old people, voted to make the young people do the same bullshit they had had to do. It’s coercive, but so is a volunteer army because a volunteer army is funded with your taxes. The opponents of the professional army basically scared everyone over 35 into believing that their taxes would have to be raised to pay for a more expensive professional army. Since the current army is chronically underfunded and mostly paid for by the time young people are forced to give up, the opponents were probably right about that. The fact that no one could really explain why Austria needs an army at all also helped the supporters of thcompulsory service. No one wants to pay for a professional army that has no obvious use. At least compulsory service has a “use” from the perspective of old people – it forces young people to be “patriotic” and learn discipline. While a compulsory army for Austria is a joke, I have to say the supporters of the professional army did a horrible job making their case.

    1. Re: granite state destroyer,

      Basically all the old people, and Austria has a lot of old people, voted to make the young people do the same bullshit they had had to do.

      Indeed! Talk about generational warfare.

      1. Here the old people just vote against entitlement reform.

        1. Re: KPres,

          Here the old people just vote against entitlement reform.

          Either way they get their pound of flesh.

      2. Just wait till the young here start realizing what the old have done to them…

        1. They won’t until they’re no longer young and it’s too late. For a similar reason it’s always the young that get sent off to fight wars – they haven’t learned to visualize their own deaths yet. Nothing as dangerous as a teenager who doesn’t know he can die.

  16. In the Second Amendment, being well-regulated means being well-trained. That would seem to me all able-bodied males (of sound mind) should be able to report for duty with their own weapon as necessary. But no, we don’t have that. We had to give in and have a standing army.

    1. Having a very armed populace is certainly a poison pill for any would-be conquered. During WWII, the Japanese knew they would have a supply-line nightmare if they ever tried to land on mainland.

      1. Re: Drake,

        During WWII, the Japanese knew they would have a supply-line nightmare if they ever tried to land on mainland.

        Yamamoto said as much. He knew America pretty well and harbored very little false hope when it came to a war against her. He knew that any attempt to invade America would mean finding a gun behing every shrub, rock or wall.

        That in itself places in a very clear context the reason why Progressives want to totally disarm the population: It would be extremely difficult to round-up the 250,000 dissidents (into “reeducation camps”) that Bill Ayers was talking about if those 1/4 million people are armed to the teeth.

        1. If you’re only talking about only 250,000 dissidents scattered through the US then guns aren’t going to help much. The government could just kill them for “resisting” and not need camps at all, a la Waco. Guns are useful for resistance, but organisation and co-ordination plus weapons will trump weapons alone any day.

    2. Re: T.Walls,

      In the Second Amendment, being well-regulated means being well-trained.

      I was having a conversation with my wife yesterday about the reason for the preamble to the 2nd Amendment, and one thing that came to my mind was the double purpose of the amendment: It is not just normative in nature – when indicating that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed – it is also informative: it serves to tell people, in no uncertain terms, that having weapons is not only your right, it also gives you the responsibility to defend your state and community from armed aggression. The State will never take your weapons, but having them also means you have the tools to help your fellow patriots in time of war or attack. And, clearly, during the time the Constitution was ratified, the armed members of the community helped, through the formation of militias, to defend the communities from either Indian attacks or their British enablers.

      Again, the above is merely informative; most people already knew this, but being reiterative was important to instruct future generations about their responsibilities as part of a free and armed society: you cannot have one without the other.

      1. I can’t see the first part as anything other than an explanation or justification, for the second. INOW, the people have the right to bear arms, and the reason why is so that they can form an effective (well-regulated) militia if need be. I’m not a constitutional lawyer, but it seems pretty fucking simple and explicit to me.

    3. “In the Second Amendment, being well-regulated means being well-trained.”

      The statists deliberately hijack constitutional language as descriptions for their various authoritarian controls so that later generations would read all this intervention into the constitution. Thus, new laws get called “regulation” and wealth distribution gets called “welfare”.

  17. Friedman had a discussion with (I think) Westmoreland.
    Westmorland, defending the draft, said he didn’t want an army of mercenaries.
    Freidman asked if he preferred an army of slaves.

    1. And we’re bound for the border, we’re soldiers of fortune
      We’ll fight for no country but we’ll die for good pay
      Under the flag of the greenback dollar
      Or the Peso down Mexico way

      “Vive la mort, vive la guerre, vive le sacr? mercenaire”

    2. Westmorland was a complete idiot.

  18. The younger folk on this board cannot imagine the effect that a looming draft had on a high-schooler during the draft. It was a constant Sword of Damocles that had to be taken into account for whatever post-HS plans that one had. Any project (other than school; and don’t flunk out!) might have to been suddenly stopped while you carried a rifle through a swamp on the other side of the world.

    My uncle said that when he was in Vietnam you could tell the draftees from the RA guys. I can well imagine; I don’t think that slaves are ever willing workers.

    Fuck the draft.

    … Hobbit

    1. I hear ya – but there is a hell of a difference between a Vietnam combat tour and six months of peace-time militia training.

  19. Could you imagine a plausible way to staff a military or civilian enterprise which would be less efficient than cycling people thru every 6 or 9 mos., even if they weren’t conscripts?

  20. services organizations such as the Red Cross, who had said they would not be able to cope without the 14,000 young men who opt for community service each year.

    You know who else worried that without forced labor, their business venture wouldn’t be able to cope?

    Hint: Clothes on your back probably contain some what they produced.

  21. That picture for this article has a serious “Mr. Bean” vibe going on.

    1. Lol! It sure does!

  22. Part 1/2

    As a Swiss and long-time reader of Reason Magazine, I will vote in favour of keeping the draft under a militia system in Switzerland.

    Here is why.

    Switzerland is a “European” exception: while kings prohibited their citizens to bear arms across Europe, the opposite was, and still is, true of the Swiss Confederation. From the late fifteenth century onwards, the cantons (that is our states) compelled their citizens to arm themselves under penalty of fine. (1) Today, the Swiss government gives you a rifle and the training alongside the weapon and, once you are done, you go back home with both.

    Interestingly, it is the Swiss Socialist Party who has been *relentlessly* attacking our version of the “right to bear arms” by trying to suppress our militia system in order to ? believe it or not ? obtain a professional army.

    Paradoxically, there is no other institution in Switzerland which, temporarily, puts 18 year olds on an equal basis, empowering them, not only with the right to vote, yet also with a rifle and, more importantly, the training going alongside the weapon.

    So why, out of all political parties, the left would want to get rid of such an institution? The answer is simple. Despite its rhetoric, the left, never, ever, has been about The People.

    Indeed they realised that, an armed and trained citizenry, free to make its own choices, is the worst nightmare of any form of imposition.

  23. Part 2/2

    On the other hand, here is what a professional army entails:

    . A population with no control over “its” army whereas, under a militia system, the army, de facto, remains under the control of The People. (2)

    . A government (and its sponsors?) which can use its army as it pleases, at home or abroad, be it against the will of its citizen, or against its citizens.

    . The facilitation of interventionist policies in the name of different political ideals, whether left or right.

    . The hypocrisy of a society where its members are paying others to fight and die on behalf of their ideals.

    . Armies where the lower social classes and minorities or fighting for the others. (3)

    Above everyone else, American readers of Reason ? pun intended ? should know that they do not have control over “their” armed forces. Indeed, most of the above is happening, right now, in the “United” States.

    Last but not least, if one might think that American citizens could always defend themselves in the case of “their” professional army turning on them like it happened in Austria before the arrival of National Socialist Germany, think again.

    Your 2nd amendment is under attack ? like it never has been before. And while some of your citizens might be armed, they are not trained; not to fight a professional army.

  24. Notes

    (1) http://www.hls-dhs-dss.ch/textes/f/F24641.php

    (2) Remember before going in Iraq for the second time??
    Democratic control of professional armies is dubious at best. If one imagines that a legislative body necessarily needs to approve the use of military force in Western societies, the reality may be surprising. Indeed, while Germany and Spain have such a prerequisite, Italy and the United Kingdom have none. As to France and the United States, both have such prerequisite, however, in the case of France, it has been “rarely applied” before and “never applied” since the 5th republic (i.e. 1958). Last but not least, in the case of the United States, the President has to inform the Congress within 48 hours of any military engagement or situation which might lead to one. Without an authorisation for the aforementioned use of force or a declaration of war by Congress, the armed forces will have to be withdrawn within 60 days with a possible 30 days extension for security reasons. That is a three month leeway to wage war!

    (3) See http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG265.html

    1. So its OK to make people your slaves as long as you give them a weapon and teach them how to fight?

      And there is no reason to expect that a drafted army will disobey the government more than a professional army. The whole point of a draft is you are forced to do what the government tells you to do. If not following orders was a choice, the people who did not want to be in the army would simply walk away.

      1. Given the temporary nature of the servitude and the gains it entails, yes, it is better.

        That being said, I will grant you that a militia system is a very peculiar ? if not downright paradoxical ? system of civil-military relations.

        However, one can play with political correctness all they want, a militia system allows the people to have a direct control over their armed forces and stand in direct opposition to a professional system with all its aforementioned issues.

        This leads me to your point of the draft being forced onto people. You are correct, a militia system does require from the people to temporarily put aside luxuries and self-interests, yet, given the benefits it entails, many accept it, albeit grudgingly.

        Finally, in terms of obedience, forcing people to serve is one thing, forcing them to fight and die is another.

        Accordingly, mobilising an unwilling population will threaten to drive a wedge into society and lead to civil war?

        You could bring up government propaganda as a counter-argument but, in this day in age, it is unlikely to work as well as it did in the past, if at all.

        Ultimately, if worst came to worst, the oppressed will at least have the tools — i.e. weapons and training — to fight their oppressor.

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