CDR S on James Fallows

It's a thoroughgoing response to that Atlantic piece about America being a 'chickenhawk nation,' so I'll just post the conclusion up front.
1. Fallows needs to get over the draft guilt he's been working on a long time. Enough. You were an arrogant, selfish, physical coward as a youth. You've got a lot of company. You're absolved, so carry on and don't burden younger generations with your generation's sin. From all indications you've led a good life and are a patriotic American doing your best to serve your nation in the way you believe is correct, that is good enough and more than most.
2. We are a representative republic that has no natural need or desire for a large standing army. Neither you nor I would want to live in a republic that used the police power of the state to randomly put its citizens (due to the small numbers needed and that could be afforded, a draft would be far from universal, and an exceptionally arbitrary lottery) under bondage without an existential threat just to make a socio-political point - or as Mike Mullen puts it - force pain on the population by intentionally keeping the nation weak until crisis. Let me be clear; a draft in peace is an anathema to a free society and is tyranny without an existential threat breathing at the door. Full stop.
3. If you don't like professional politicians and their habits, then work for term limits so more people, including perhaps those with military experience, have openings with a realistic opportunity to win a seat.
4. If, rightly in my mind, you find the senior military leadership lacking, then root and branch work to change the system that produced them. Decimate the Beltway bureaucracy and nomenclature of the Department of Defence. Let Goldwater-Nichols go in to the dustbin of history and replace it with a new, modern system that best fits the needs of this century.
5. Lastly, go to Harvard, Columbia, and the other deepest blue parts of the country where those who have gained the most from our nation live and educate their children. Help build a culture there that expects much from the elite, where wearing the uniform is the price they must pay, we expect, and the duty they want, to justify their high position in society. Shame the selfish who, like you in your youth, let others do the work for them - made excuses so others would go in their place. Reward those who, however short in time or modest of service record, chose to add their name to the roster.
Discuss, if you like.


Texan99 said...

A lot of valuable ideas. I take issue a bit with the usual advocacy for term limits. To my way of thinking, we already have term limits, consisting of the ballot box. What "term limits" really seems to mean is a way of preventing other people from voting for an incumbent when we think it's a bad choice.

E Hines said...

The Articles of Confederation had the right idea on term limits; it attacked the real problem: incumbent accretion of power. It did so, too, without depriving Americans of our choice of representative.

I disagree that we don't need a large army. We're still the top dog, and we have the commensurate enemies, a goodly portion of which are fully capable of destroying us via meeting engagements or stealth. We need to defend against--preempt, perhaps--the former, still.

I'm also not opposed to a properly conducted draft, for a couple of reasons: it would ensure our military is a cross-section of the population being defended and increase the representation of actual military experience and attitude in the civilian population, and it would provide the basis of a trained militia. Long gone are the days of being able to run a man through a couple weeks of drill and expect him to be an effective soldier.

He's spot on on the other points.

Eric Hines

MikeD said...

I am properly opposed to the draft. And frankly, I think the good CDR was far too kind to the doddering old fool. My thoughts more align with the comments of Delta Bravo in the first comment below the article.

No, the military is not a perfect organization. Ask anyone who has ever served. But the reinstitution of a draft is such a monumentally stupid idea, it can only be presented by someone who never served, or more properly never had to serve alongside those who had been drafted. My father happened to have been a commanding officer during the 60's. And he is unequivocal in his disdain for the idea of having to lead unwilling soldiers as some form of bonus to combat readiness.

I chock the folly of this idea right up there with the idea that we need to get women into combat positions. Why, exactly? Where is the overwhelming shortage in combat readiness that we need to lower the standards in order to draw more individuals into combat arms? Because frankly, anything less than a shortage in available manpower is social engineering at the expense of combat readiness (which, I should never need to point out but for some reason always seem to be required to, is the entire frakking purpose of having a military). The people who suggest such things always want to point either to "fairness" or intangibles such as "diversity" or "social benefits". Go join the bloody Peace Corps if you want that nonsense. The purpose of having a military is to be able to kill people and break things, preferably having such a capability for killing people and breaking things as to discourage anyone from trying to harm your citizens. I frankly don't give a rat's backside if the female soldier feels that her career cannot advance without having served in the infantry. The infantry is not there to serve YOU and YOUR career, it is there to protect the nation. Nor is the defense of the nation enhanced by forcing people to "do their time" in forced servitude to the nation when there are plenty of men and women ready to stand up and volunteer to do so.

Grim said...

I'm not really on board with the idea that the military has much to gain from the elites from Harvard, etc., electing to serve. It'd be good for the elite, I don't doubt. It might even be good for the country, since knowing the right people -- people you met at Harvard -- is apparently of outsized importance in becoming rich and powerful.

But does the military stand to get better candidates from Harvard than from, say, Georgia Tech? I doubt it.

Eric Blair said...

You won't know until it happens.

Eric Blair said...

I do know that I fisked some professor's call for a draft, noting that like Fallows, he managed to avoid service during the Vietnam war.

Man, that was along time ago.

Grim said...

You won't know until it happens.

That seems to be our general approach to experimenting with the military, doesn't it? You won't know until it happens, and then it would be unfair and improper to change it back.

Ymar Sakar said...

There's a reason why draft bills are proposed by Democrats in the super majority of cases.

This ties in nicely with their attempt to infiltrate and subvert the US military, either due to Hussein Obola's civilian security force initiative or for other strategic purposes.

douglas said...

"I disagree that we don't need a large army."
Define 'large'. Larger than today's Army we could easily still get through volunteers, one in ten (as it nearly was in WWII) would require a draft, certainly.