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Max Brooks reports back from the future with a modest proposal

nittany03

FUBIJAR
pilot
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Privatizing the US Army Was a Mistake.

Goes a bit overboard on caricaturing conservatives for (allegedly) trying to Privatize All The Things, but there’s an argument to be had on whether the AVF has contributed to the civil-military divide and the public’s general apathy about OCO.

Creating a professional warrior class seemed like the obvious solution, but, looking back, we see now that it created an isolated community that society at large could expend on endless wars. These were no longer our sons, our fathers, our friends. These were distant superheroes we occasional saw in movies and airports. We might have told them “thank you for your service,” but what we really meant was “better you than me.”
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
Or is an AVF just a return to a historical norm? Large volunteer armies are a modern thing. Small professional or rented armies used to be the norm and enabled Europeans to fight each other many times "as gentlemen" without having to arm the peasants (generally considered a bad idea back then). But then came Napoleon and soon every European nation was a nation under arms with national service obligations that kept folks on the hook in to their 40s. Plenty of countries used to keep their armies funded by renting them out when not needed such as the Germanic States of Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Hanua. They produced the hated Hessians that the British used to augment their resource strapped Royal Army.
 

Jim123

DD-214 in hand and I'm gonna party like it's 1998
pilot
I think both are "normal." It just depends on the time and place.
 

taxi1

Well-Known Member
pilot
At the beginning of our country, a lot of the folks didn't want a standing army at all, period. Ergo the emphasis on militia. So a professional military class like we have now doesn't really align with the original goals.
 

Griz882

Livin' On the Right Side of the River From Pags!
pilot
In the US an AVF has long been the “way.” We typically only used conscription in times of war to augment a small, regular force. During the War for Independence individual colonies were called on to provide a set number of soldiers and they occasionally dragooned the lower classes into uniform. Less than 2% of the Federal Army during the Civil War was conscripted into service. The drafts for WWI and WWII were large scale and 1940 was our first peacetime draft. The only peacetime draft we had was from 1948 to 1973 and we have been all-volunteer for the last 47 years.

All that is to say that I have never liked the title “warrior.” Soldier, sailor, Marine, and airman are just fine.

Fun fact...I knew the last enlisted guy drafted into the Army (1972). He retired in 2011 as a Command Sergeant Major. He was a dick.
 

IKE

Nerd Whirler
pilot
Conscription is incompatible with a government whose primary purpose is the protection of individual rights. Of course, so are compulsory taxation and mandatory health insurance, and everybody loves that s**t.
 

nittany03

FUBIJAR
pilot
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Conscription is incompatible with a government whose primary purpose is the protection of individual rights. Of course, so are compulsory taxation and mandatory health insurance, and everybody loves that s**t.
You do realize that there are other colors in the spectrum between black and white . . . right? Right??

This is a childish statement. The US government used conscription to crush slavery in the Civil War, and used it in WWII to stop literally (yes, literally, not figuratively) the entire Jewish population of Europe from being turned into air pollution. They used it to defend the rights of Black Americans, and of Jews who were never even Americans, because they had the same God-given rights we enjoy under our Constitution.

Who has individual rights? The soldier being drafted, or the little old lady who Mengele told to go to the left, strip naked, and die? The Korean family whose home got overrun by Communists? Does the government have no ability to draft healthy young people to serve in the military to stop that? To protect the God-given natural rights of people whose governments refuse to acknowledge said rights? Because that's happened before in history. Whose individual rights have value? Everyone's? Or only those of Americans? Or do Americans somehow have different God-given rights than brown people or fuzzy furriners? If so, why?

As members of the military of a duly-elected liberal democracy, is it our duty to defend the moral foundation underlying the rights we enjoy as American citizens? Or are we just high-class, well-dressed guns for hire?
 

IKE

Nerd Whirler
pilot
You do realize that there are other colors in the spectrum between black and white . . . right? Right??
A metaphor is far from a sensible argument. What exactly are the colors on the "spectrum" between right and wrong, true and false, or good and bad?

This is a childish statement. The US government used conscription to crush slavery in the Civil War, and used it in WWII to stop literally (yes, literally, not figuratively) the entire Jewish population of Europe from being turned into air pollution. They used it to defend the rights of Black Americans, and of Jews who were never even Americans, because they had the same God-given rights we enjoy under our Constitution.
Ad hominem; nice. Just listing historical examples of a government doing something doesn't actually support the notion that the actions were right. Conscription is based on the idea that politicians can decide whose rights are more important, or which group's rights matter (even though groups don't have rights - only individuals do). Conscription means the government can decide when it will or won't respect young males' right to life, and therefore it is wrong. The right to life is the most basic, essential right. It is holy, if you prefer that term, and should be inviolable, regardless of the supposed outcome predicted by a bureaucrat. Conscription is at best Utilitarianism, an utterly faulty approach to life and government.

Who has individual rights? The soldier being drafted, or the little old lady who Mengele told to go to the left, strip naked, and die? The Korean family whose home got overrun by Communists? Does the government have no ability to draft healthy young people to serve in the military to stop that? To protect the God-given natural rights of people whose governments refuse to acknowledge said rights? Because that's happened before in history. Whose individual rights have value? Everyone's? Or only those of Americans? Or do Americans somehow have different God-given rights than brown people or fuzzy furriners? If so, why?
I don't know how to address this rambling, but you and I have a very different notion of the source of rights. My rights don't come from a magical bearded man in the sky. In my view, rights are a requirement of a rational society, based on the nature of man.

As members of the military of a duly-elected liberal democracy, is it our duty to defend the moral foundation underlying the rights we enjoy as American citizens? Or are we just high-class, well-dressed guns for hire?
It absolutely is my chosen, self-obligated duty to defend U.S. citizens' rights when threatened by foreign entities and to execute whatever portion of the kill chain I'm responsible for if the people I swore to obey decide it's in the national interest (and I accept it as a legal order).
 

Swanee

Self aware since 2014
pilot
Contributor
At the beginning of our country, a lot of the folks didn't want a standing army at all, period. Ergo the emphasis on militia. So a professional military class like we have now doesn't really align with the original goals.
The idea of the National Guard, which at its heart is a well trained state militia, fits into this idea well.
 

squorch2

he will die without safety brief
pilot
It absolutely is my chosen, self-obligated duty to defend U.S. citizens' rights when threatened by foreign entities and to execute whatever portion of the kill chain I'm responsible for if the people I swore to obey decide it's in the national interest (and I accept it as a legal order).
Foreign and domestic, my dude.

Also you swore an oath to the Constitution, not people.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
Conscription is incompatible with a government whose primary purpose is the protection of individual rights. Of course, so are compulsory taxation and mandatory health insurance, and everybody loves that s**t.
I'm sorry Sir but you're in the wrong room, government philosophy 101 has been moved down the hall.
 

Treetop Flyer

Well-Known Member
pilot
You do realize that there are other colors in the spectrum between black and white . . . right? Right??

This is a childish statement. The US government used conscription to crush slavery in the Civil War, and used it in WWII to stop literally (yes, literally, not figuratively) the entire Jewish population of Europe from being turned into air pollution. They used it to defend the rights of Black Americans, and of Jews who were never even Americans, because they had the same God-given rights we enjoy under our Constitution.

Who has individual rights? The soldier being drafted, or the little old lady who Mengele told to go to the left, strip naked, and die? The Korean family whose home got overrun by Communists? Does the government have no ability to draft healthy young people to serve in the military to stop that? To protect the God-given natural rights of people whose governments refuse to acknowledge said rights? Because that's happened before in history. Whose individual rights have value? Everyone's? Or only those of Americans? Or do Americans somehow have different God-given rights than brown people or fuzzy furriners? If so, why?

As members of the military of a duly-elected liberal democracy, is it our duty to defend the moral foundation underlying the rights we enjoy as American citizens? Or are we just high-class, well-dressed guns for hire?
The US didn’t draft men to crush slavery and they didn’t draft men to save Jews. Those are fortunate fringe benefits.
 

IKE

Nerd Whirler
pilot
Foreign and domestic, my dude.

Also you swore an oath to the Constitution, not people.
  1. You are correct.
  2. I'm prior enlisted, so I initially swore an oath to both the Constitution and POTUS/Officers appointed over me, but yes, my current oath is absolutely to the Constitution (an idea) vice people.
 

Pags

Pope of Chili Town
pilot
The US didn’t draft men to crush slavery and they didn’t draft men to save Jews. Those are fortunate fringe benefits.
Your statement and Nittany's are both true. While the US didn't draft men specifically to eliminate slavery (they were drafted to save the union, fight the confederacy) or to save Jews (they were drafted to fight the Axis powers); both of those happened to be positive outcomes of those drafts which I think illustrates his point in that those drafts weren't called out and individual liberties were infringed upon just because but in order to enable a greater good. Both of those results are decent examples of the greater goods that the government's decision to draft citizens resulted in.

Put another way, our government tries to not limit someone's personal rights with a draft unless it is a really necessary. Under our form of government that decision is vested in our elected representatives. The draft in the Civil War almost caused the Republicans to lose the 1864 election. If WW2 had gone on much longer "war weariness" was a political issue that would have been in the democratic process (party) calculus. The draft in Vietnam was a huge factor in the elections of the 60s and early 70s and resulted in the AVF.

I certainly don't disagree with his central thesis that an AVF makes it much easier to fight "forever wars" because there's little to no political cost involved. But militaries in general, and American ones specifically, have always been used for plenty of banana/brushfire wars.
 
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