We need to revive the military draft.


My dear old Dad had seen it all, done most of it and was unrepentant about any of it.  He used to tell me (among many other things) that the end of concription in the United States would be a disaster for career soldiers and for the United States.


He reasoned that having completely professional armed forces would be profoundly liberating for any elected government because the tiny segment of the electorate who would have children in the military would not be a potent political force in an election.  In other words expeditionary wars of choice would be politically painless for the politicians. 

That has proven to be the case.  Sheltered behind sentimental nonsense about "thanks for service," and ribbons tied around trees, the American people have proven themselves to be indifferent to the human suffering and costs inflicted in the Borg Wars.   Some of this suffering has been experienced by our own soldiers, but a great deal of it has been inflicted by us and our friends in the inevitable wretched business of "collateral damage."

When the draft ended I thought that was a good policy change.  I was profoundly weary of the leadership challenges presented by conscripts.  I thought  that working with fellow professionals would be a welcome change and it was, but a corollary change proved to be that professional soldiers could be sent to die without fear of an electoral backlash.

The is profoundly enabling for the Globalists, among whom Hillary Clinton is surely included.

Would Hillary Clinton want the draft back?  I think not.  Would a self-serving Congress want it back?  I think not.  Would all the mommies and daddies whose children would be drafted?  I think not.  What would Trump want?  Well, who cares? He will not be president unless something really spectacular happens.

Nevertheless, people of quality should demand a mandatory military service law and this time the law should require that the National Guard be deployed with the regular forces in any combat deployment.  pl

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164 Responses to We need to revive the military draft.

  1. doug says:

    Yes, and the other deleterious thing we have muddled into is ignoring the constitutional provision that requires a super majority of Congress to declare war. I know many elites consider this constitutional provision quaint and irrelevant. They are fools.

  2. Also, amend Article 2, clause 5 of the Constitution to say: No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five years, served at least two years active United States military service, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.

  3. Swami says:

    I agree with this proposal. A little bit of service to the nation never hurt anyone; if anything it’ll develop some character in our youth.

  4. jsn says:

    I completely agree!
    Truly universal service would force our classes and ethnicities to actually get to know one another a little bit.
    Also there is an historical correlation between service and the franchise: where citizens serve their vote counts, where they don’t, over time it doesn’t.

  5. rjj says:

    Been thinking that.

  6. Matt says:

    I agree completely with your sentiment.
    When I was in the navy back in the 1980’s I suggested to my Chief Petty Officer that there should be a military draft. He immediately shot back at me with a “Hell No!” because draftees are a “pain in the ass” and that he “didn’t want to deal with anyone who didn’t want to be here”
    A draft MIGHT put a collar on these illegal wars of choice.

  7. BabelFish says:

    Completely agree, Pat. It would also connect us again, as a people, in a way that has gone missing since the draft ended.

  8. I’m all for this. The increase in man power (and woman power) can be used to replace the majority of contractors with uniformed military personnel. We can have mess sergeants and mess halls again.

  9. HankP says:

    It would also be nice if Congress actually had to declare war before troops were deployed outside the country.

  10. Freudenschade says:

    could not agree more. But as you point out, neither Clinton nor (probably) Trump would advocate for a draft. Under what circumstances could it be introduced. I think it all starts with campaign finance and election reform, specifically through the introduction of instant run-off elections. That way you’ll have the possibility of coalitions formed after the election and the emergence of viable third parties in congress and state legislatures.

  11. Ramojus says:

    Colonel Lang,
    Perhaps a better suggestion would be: “Mandatory National Service”?
    It would certainly save on contractor budgets.

  12. LondonBob says:

    What I liked about the traditional policy in Britain of having a volunteer army was that it acted as break on the government pursuing unpopular wars. Of course this could be got around by employing mercenaries, like the Hessians during your war of Independence, when ordinary folk refused to sign up.
    I dislike the continued use of Ghurkas and non British citizens, from the long redundant Commonwealth, being able to sign up. Very decline and fall period of the Roman Empire. Although apparently the Commonwealth fodder Blair opened the Military to has been largely rescinded.

  13. alba etie says:

    We need universal service – either in the Military or some kind of National Workforce for teaching assistants or other worthwhile Civic Engagement . It should be for every one ..And if you don’t – you can’t vote ..

  14. Brunswick says:

    Yup, won’t happen.
    While I always believed that some portions of the Armed Forces should be Career Professionals, there should be conscription, for the exact reason’s you mentioned.

  15. Bob Keskula says:

    Dear Mr. Lang, It is so nice to see two people with seemingly opposite worldviews that can agree on an issue. Could you see yourself publicly endorsing US Representative Charles Rangel in his continued effort to reinstate the draft?

  16. SmoothieX12 says:

    Am I being too predictable by turning on CCR’s “Fortunate Son” song?

  17. MRW says:

    I agree. The Swiss have a mandatory military law for all men (volunteer for women) and their society has benefitted tremendously from it: disciplined young adults before they enter the workforce, and a ready defense army. All conscripts IIRC must remain in the reserves for 10 years after their mandatory service.

  18. turcopolier says:

    To have the social effect I want it has to be MILITARY service with no f—–g deferments for anything. If it is not military “les fils a papa” will opt to teach ghetto kids or some other “dodge.” If that happens their f—–g parents and uncles will still send the children of america to die and kill in their mad obsessions. pl

  19. turcopolier says:

    Bob Keskula
    I know Charlie. He always call me colonel although I have asked him to call me Pat. He has it right on this. I am not impressed with his whining about how he was in a segregated artillery battalion in Korea and what S—ts the white officers were while at the same time in his autobiography he says the same officers led the men to safety in the retreat from North Korea. pl

  20. turcopolier says:

    What you are talking about are smallish colonial wars that were basically sporting events for people like me, TTG and Tyler.pl

  21. turcopolier says:

    No. It must be military service either as a combatant or as a CO field medic with the army or US Marines. pl

  22. Cvillereader says:

    My father served as an officer in WWII. He would have agreed with your father.
    How would women fit into any future draft?

  23. Walrus says:

    If you don’t want the Brigade of Gurkhas, Australia would very much like to have them. Best and funniest soldiers I ever trained with!

  24. Eric Newhill says:

    Agree wholeheartedly. That said, there will always be opportunities to avoid anything too unpleasant in the Navy and Air Force. And even the Marines and Army always need more in the rear with the gear (in support) than in rifle companies. Fortunate sons (and daughters) could still be treated as such. But the political effect would still be in force to a large extent. War mongers would still be voted out of office; or at least think twice.
    Would women be drafted too?

  25. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I used to think differently, being a career civilian who would have made a terrible soldier were I to have served, but perhaps, in a sense, that is the point.
    An army in which people like me are too common would never be an effective fighting force: I expect that I would have been exactly the kind of recruit with the problems of the sort that would have driven military professionals like you nuts and would never have made anything approaching a real soldier by the end of the term of enlistment, but having the chance to mix with people from all backgrounds, in a setting that requires discipline, teamwork, and “real world skills” in general would have doubtlessly made me a better person even if not a soldier.
    On the other hand, I am not sure if a conscript army would necessarily have been a major disincentive towards interventionism: most 19th century European powers maintained a “colonial” army made of professionals separate from the regular army made of conscripts. The latter hardly ever left home, at least for the successful colonial powers. They knew the problem of which we speak even back then. Who is to say that an interventionist US government would not seek to maintain a professional “colonial” army, in fact if not in name?
    And, in turn, a peacetime conscript would convert the army as an institution into a sort of school, a social program, to make better people out of the civilian population rather than a fighting force (I’ve heard of South Korean acquaintances speak of their army essentially in these terms). While I think such an institution has a merit, it certainly would not be an “army.” I don’t know if many people would accept this possibility.

  26. Jack says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with you that all American citizens should serve in the military as part of national service and can be called to serve in combat.
    I have been promoting the concept of “skin-in-the-game” for some time with regards to reform of financial institutions as opposed to massive bills with undue complexity and loopholes like Dodd-Frank that place apparatchiks in untenable positions of regulating entities that provide them the revolving door to riches. If board of directors and managements are in first loss position individually they would be more prudent and the likelihood of privatization of profits and socialization of losses would be diminished. Nassim Taleb has propounded on skin-in-the-game more generally in his anti-fragility thesis.
    In this context I would like to see prohibition of the use of military force unless Congress declares war. Furthermore, all eligible progeny of members of Congress and the war making “deciders” should be in the initial combat forces deployed. That is skin-in-the-game.
    Now, I realize this is a pipe dream as our political and governmental elites are warmongers precisely because as you note it is “politically painless” as the kids of a small minority are in our combat forces. They’re not gonna change that situation if they can avoid it.

  27. turcopolier says:

    The Army of the World Wars, the Korean War and VN were all mixed forces of conscripts and some volunteers junior enlistees led by professionals. I was very impressed by the performance of drafted infantry soldiers in VN. They served very well under good leadership until the political rot spread by the Left in America caused them to come to us already hostile to the war and the army. pl

  28. turcopolier says:

    Eric Newhill
    In my system the fortunate sons would be sent in representative numbers into the ground forces in combatant MOSs. My radio operator as an infantry platoon leader was an NYU masters degree holder who had asked to be in the infantry. His name was Shapiro. Are we lesser men than he? He and I and all the brothers were as one. pl

  29. turcopolier says:

    Put them in the infantry and see if they break. pl

  30. Haralambos says:

    I respectfully submit that in the 1980s, if my aging memory serves, there were no conscripts in the US Navy, nor were there any in the US Air Force.

  31. rjj says:

    it works because they are Swiss.

  32. rjj says:

    In practice National Service would be sheltered workshop + boondoggle.

  33. Oren says:

    Are you advocating a system similar to Israel, with a (..mostly) mandatory period of active service between high school and college, and then reserves afterwards? I see all manner of benefits to this: overall discipline, less frivolous college degrees, and the political constraints on wars that you mentioned. Isn’t it pretty to think so?

  34. Haralambos says:

    For those who have not read it, please read Col. and Prof. Bacevich’s book _Breach of Trust_. ISBN 978-0-8050-8296-8. I am on my third read of it. He has or had “skin in the game,” if you choose to call the loss of his son the latter. I believe he does not mention it in his publications. I second Col. Lang’s call for conscription.

  35. Will says:

    Gen Abrams, after Vietnam, set it up that the Reserves and the National Guard wold be integral to the next war. My understanding was that his motive was that the General Populace would have “skin in the game,” and this therefore would act as a brake on reckless wars.
    These weekend warriors and two weeks in the Summer got screwed royal by Dubya’s and the Obama-Hillary wars. The were expecting to supplement their income with little sacrifice. Many of them served multiple tours in the hellholes of Iraq and Afghanistan. Their suffering and that of their families in these wars of choice did not act as the “brake” Abrams foresaw.
    My personal beef with the system that I was deployed in combat for a year to a unit that had not trained together and I was just a replacement on a year’s notation. Very lucky to have come back alive. Don’t think that’s the case anymore.

  36. Fred says:

    I agree. How soon can we make it happen?

  37. raven says:

    Yes, the political rot spread by the left like the way they complained about “Project 100,000”. This is the program that took 100,000 sub-qualifiers from 1966 to 1969. The damned left.
    “A 1995 review of McNamara’s book In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam in the Washington Monthly severely criticized the project, writing that “the program offered a one-way ticket to Vietnam, where these men fought and died in disproportionate numbers…the men of the ‘Moron Corps’ provided the necessary cannon fodder to help evade the political horror of dropping student deferments or calling up the reserves, which were sanctuaries for the lily-white.”[7]
    Project 100,000 was highlighted in a 2006 op-ed in The New York Times in which former Wesleyan assistant professor and then Tufts assistant professor Kelly M. Greenhill, writing in the context of a contemporary recruitment shortfall, concluded that “Project 100,000 was a failed experiment. It proved to be a distraction for the military and of little benefit to the men it was created to help.” For the reason that veterans from the project fared worse in civilian life than their nonveteran peers, Greenhill hypothesized it might be related to the psychological consequences of combat or unpreparedness for the post-military transition.[1]

  38. Tyler says:

    A draft might keep the social petri dish the military is going through down to a minimum.
    Bring it back and let some of these facebook “ISIS Hunters” get off their couches.

  39. SAC Brat says:

    I think a military draft is a good idea, just like I like labor unions. Leaders can get useful results with both groups. Managers tend to pee their pants in the same situation, as they don’t like their poor decisions challenged. What was David Hackworth’s opinion on draftees?
    Maybe we need to breed out the gwendolyn genes.

  40. Cvillereader says:

    Well, all I can think of is what my father would have thought about the prospect of his granddaughters ever having to face the draft. My guess is that he would be heartbroken. What, after all, was the purpose of the many sacrifices made by his generation?

  41. Jill says:

    Thank you, Colonel. Yours is an approximation of my own thoughts. I somehow cannot equate working in a daycare, founding a community garden, or tutoring the illiterate with military service. Those might be worthwhile endeavors but they are not on a par with military service and, in my opinion, would not provide the common bond across socioeconomic and racial groups that military service does.

  42. VietnamVet says:

    I agree 100%; although, I would also include national service and job training but the military gets the first cut at the physically fit. The simple fact is that globalists are totally against the little people having any kind of power. A trained militia is the hallmark of a free and sovereign state.

  43. BraveNewWorld says:

    “..And if you don’t – you can’t vote .. ”
    Wait until you see the turn out rate this year. I don’t think it will be much of a deterrent.

  44. Cortes says:

    An older and a younger brother both served as volunteers in the RAF. Both benefited enormously from the technical training they received and look on their service time very positively.
    In principle I agree with a system of what in the UK was designated National Service. The downside for elites, I suppose, is that it exposes the great unwashed to the reality of the “elites” who are supposed to be their betters and can result in
    Denis Healey, Intelligence Service Major at the close of WWII and later Foreign Minister and Defence Minister in Labour Governments in the 1960s/70s certainly attributed the landslide of Attlee’s Labour Party against incumbent PM. Churchill to the chinless wonder factor: seeing rulers up close and personal, unmediated by agitators or party rags. It’s one thing to have some firebrand tell you that those above are idiots and quite another to observe it for yourself.

  45. Andy says:

    Generally I agree with your arguments, but on this I have to strenuously disagree. Without getting into a full-throated essay on the perils of conscriptions, I’ll concentrate on a few broad points:
    – One feature of the AVF is that it’s self-limiting – unpopular wars mean fewer volunteers. With a draft, politicians can simply order up more forces to fill in the shortfall and kick the can down the road until they are out of office. For example, the war in Vietnam would not have been possible without a draft because with a hard cap on end strength and an AVF our government would have faced a strategic choice between allocating manpower to defending against the Soviet’s in Europe and elsewhere versus fighting a major land war in Vietnam. A draft is what allowed our government to avoid that choice as it enabled us to maintain force levels to meet the Soviet threat and fight in Vietnam at the same time.
    – Conscription allows politicians to double-down on bad choices. Consider the last 15 years and what our political leaders would have done with the ability to generate extra military manpower through a draft. It’s likely many more forces would have been deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq in pursuit of unattainable strategic goals. The so-called “surges” would have been bigger, would have lasted longer, would have produced more casualties on all sides and still would have failed strategically. With a draft, the surges could have gone on for years – The COINdinistas would be very happy with that. With an AVF, the hard reality of OPTEMPO ensured that wasn’t possible.
    – The evidence that conscription increases the political pain for politicians is weak. Vietnam is the obvious example, since opposition to the draft and the war did not shorten it much less stop it. The war and draft opposition only caused us to abandon the Vietnamese as soon our active intervention was over.
    – While I share your sentiment than there should be no deferments for any future draft, I’m extremely skeptical that would ever actually happen. It hasn’t happened at any point in our history. It certainly won’t happen with this Congress, which is in thrall to the nation’s elites and powerful.
    – War or even combat experience does not guarantee good judgment when it comes to utilizing military force. John McCain and John Kerry, probably the most well-known veteran politicians, have not demonstrated much restraint when it comes to stupid wars of choice.
    – Finally, there are a whole host of practical issues. Every year over 4 million people turn 18 in the USA. Even if that pool is limited to men and only half those men are physically and medically able to serve, that would still almost double the current end strength with just a short 2 year term of service. To what end? What are all they supposed to do? They will either sit in garrison, painting rocks, carousing and causing endless problems for NCO’s or they will be “put to use” by our venal political class in the next grand scheme to right the world’s wrongs. To quote Madeleine Albright, “What’s the point of you saving this superb military for, Colin, if we can’t use it?”
    No thank you. I’ll take the AVF, imperfect as it is, over a peacetime draft that would, IMO, lurch the US more toward militarism than its already gone.

  46. LeeG says:

    what social affect do you want? I want young Americans who know how to care for the place they came from than destroy places they have no connection to.

  47. MikeB says:

    I agree about bringing back the draft and have thought so for some time.
    Perhaps we should start a campaign to reply to “thank you for your service” with “your welcome and you can repay me by supporting a return of the draft”.
    That just might start a conversation.

  48. Thirdeye says:

    That issue could mean the end of feminism. Ever notice how feminism really got going right after the draft for men ended?

  49. Karl Kolchack says:

    This idea sounds good in theory, but in reality would not only be unaffordable to a nation already nearly $20 trillion in debt but would saddle the armed forces with millions of unqualified recruits. As it is, the military claims it is having trouble finding recruits who are not academically (too poorly educated to read the manuals), mentally (on antidepressants or antipsychotics) or physically (too fat and out of shape) unfit for duty.
    A better idea is to slash military spending by 75%, which would still give the U.S. the largest military budget on the planet. Then the primary mission of the armed forces would have to go back to being DEFENSE, like it used to be.

  50. Walrus says:

    From the conscripts in the Australian Army I knew, the Army made more men then it ever broke.
    A lot started with basic hygiene training hand washing, brushing teeth, regular showers which was alien to quite a few. Training in basic social and economic matters went right on up to secondary education skills, basic legal and financial stuff like running a bank account and insurance, current affairs, military law and custom,, etc., etc. Most of this stuff happened at night after full time military training all day.
    I personally found that even the worst had something to give.
    Favourites, one Pt. Nahas, the most slovenly soldier I ever had the misfortune to command – until he got into the bush, he had perfect field craft skills. Then there were the Two best candidates for Corporal I ever saw. They were both virtually illiterate. I instructed my Sergeant that all they had to do for me to pass them was to write their names on the exam paper.

  51. dbk says:

    Agree 100%.
    My son served just under two years compulsory military service in Europe. He chose the Army, was assigned to guard a remote outpost on the BG-MAC-GK border, served one week on, one week off, often alone or with only one soldier. He learned to fend for himself, take decisions, work under senior officers, be alone (or nearly so) …
    The military’s importance as a leveler cannot be stressed too much imho. Kids who are college grads/junior officers are de facto in constant contact with those who have grown up with different values. And yet they all cooperate and work towards one goal. And the more privileged among them grow into acceptance and respect for those less fortunate. In this respect, the military (well, the Army anyway) is also a major democratic force long-term.
    Another benefit is a greater respect for the military itself and a genuine interest in where it’s being deployed, and in the defense budget. Surely these are vital to a continued democracy.
    Anyway, my son emerged from military service with all the above. They were probably two of the most important years of his life.

  52. LondonBob says:

    Managed to fight the Napoleonic Wars and the Seven Years’ War, the world wide scope of which is consistently underappreciated. Conscription was only introduced in early 1916, almost two years into WWI. Of course 1916 also saw the peace proposal by the Germans based on a return to the pre-war status quo, a lack of fighting men might have seen that accepted and later catastrophes avoided.
    I still see things as a result of lack of information and too much propaganda, in WWI people were oblivious to conditions at the front line for a long time, more pressure at home could have ended it sooner too.
    Anyway you do now have a contender for the Presidency who explicitly cites the costs of recent wars, it is early and he might win yet.

  53. LeaNder says:

    PA, there is no standard rule concerning conscription in Europe it feels.
    I looked it up, Germany suspended it in 2010. Some here demand it is reinstated, Strictly suspended means it’s still in the constitution. France apparently already suspended it in 1996. Random pick Hungary already did in 2004. Greece never did, Finland has a very short mandatory service, resulting apparently in close to no dodgers. But mandatory service may have become shorter anywhere over the decades.
    conscientious objectors in the US didn’t need to do any type of public service? Or do I misread your first sentence?

  54. turcopolier says:

    OK. How about the wars of the roses and the Hundred Years War? pl

  55. TomV says:

    In your “would not want draft” list you failed to mention that Joint Chiefs as recently as this year testified that they do not want the draft.

  56. Peter Reichard says:

    I concede al l the arguments in its favor yet I doubt the Draft would make war less likely as it has historically been used to form large armies for aggression and can’t think of a case where the existence of conscription actually stopped a war. A volunteer army on the other hand puts a brake on wars that are long or have high casualties as those who are asked to die can vote against them by not enlisting. Universal military service would create an enormous standing army and be forever a temptation to use it. Universal service, military or otherwise, does create social cohesion but governments exist to serve the people, not the other way around. Indentured servitude is too great a power to grant to the government, the Draft has no place in a free society.

  57. LeaNder says:

    “Ever notice how feminism really got going right after the draft for men ended?” Irony alert?
    Historically different waves. Thus strictly no idea what you refer to.
    I save you my anecdotal memories from the city that was an important way to escape draft, Berlin. For three of four cousins too. In my case from 1970 on.

  58. Fred says:

    We’ll use the money not spent on bailing out colleges and funding welfare to pay for it.

  59. Fred says:

    ” A volunteer army on the other hand puts a brake on wars that are long …”
    Yep, what year was it we left Iraq and Afghanistan?

  60. Big Bird says:

    If the draft is reinstated go back to requiring college freshman and sophomores to take and complete the first two years of ROTC. I went to a large state university and ROTC was HUGE because of the shear number of students. (I’m not trying to mock Donald Trump) This was eliminated, I surmise, around 1964 because of the even larger number of baby boomers that the military would have had to train. Participation in ROTC dropped off, but the draft was still a motivator.
    The training base would need to be greatly expanded with the draft as draftees had a total active duty obligation of two years, including training. Ditto for Army ROTC graduates. The personnel churn in units was something to behold.
    Before the AVF pay scales were artificially low, one had to go over four years before income began to pick up. There was an element of involuntary servitude besides giving up the time. Married draftees really suffered. If a draftee was sent to, say, Germany, the wife and family stayed in the states.
    I was in a combat engineer unit in Germany. These were not elite units. As the Bn SGM quipped: “The ideal combat engineer had a size 46 blouse and a size two hat”. With the equipment of the time, these troops were laborers and too much intelligence would be a handicap. While most of the troops would willingly more than do their part, there were more than enough ‘problem childs’ on either side of the spectrum. I shudder at the thought of what units were like under Project 100,000.
    Pat’s statement that “The Army of the World Wars, the Korean War and VN were all mixed forces of conscripts and some volunteers junior enlistees led by professionals.” had me scratching my head. Are we remembering the same Army during the VN era? Officers and NCOs were levied from Germany in 1966 to fill units going to VN. My Bn was down to one officer for every two companies. In early 1967, for three months, every new officer had to go to Germany. Couldn’t even ask to go to VN. A Bn CO would be lucky to have one captain and a handful of 1LTs, then a mob of new 2LTs. Senior 2LT becomes Company CO. The popular image of Engineer Officers is that they’re brainy West Point graduates. Half of the 2LTs were OCS graduates without college degrees. The 1SGTs held the companies together.
    The dearth of officers went up the hierarchy. The EN Gp S-3 was a college and OBC classmate, The Assistant Division Engineer of the 4th AD an OBC classmate. There was a 1LT Acting Bn CO of a non-divisional artillery Bn in Bamberg.
    In my case, I was transferred to VII Corps HQ because I had had a one credit computer programming course as an undergrad, a lot of computer knowledge at the time. After several months in the Engineer Section, the EN LTC went to command a BN and the EN COL retired, leaving me as the senior person in the Section for several months. I was in this way over my head, hoping that I didn’t look like LT Sonny Fuzz. I also pulled Corps Staff Duty Officer, notably on the night that the Soviets went into Czechoslovakia. One quickly learns to not be level conscious, and that you’re going to be chewed out by generals on a regular basis.
    What was going on in Europe was extreme, but comparing notes with people in other Theaters at the time, it wasn’t unique.
    I won’t even begin to talk about what the Reserve components were like after I left active duty.
    Let us not forget that the purpose of the military is not to be an agent of social change, but to win wars.

  61. BabelFish says:

    A simple Google search averaged out to 3.9 million Americans who turn 18 every year. That was my main thought when I started thinking about Pat’s post. How big is the cohort going to be? If that is somewhat optimistic and we get 3.5 and it is a two year term, we will have 7 million folks in the chain of folks in service. Quite a hefty number in terms of logistics, etc.
    This is no reason to not do this but, perhaps, a reason to have more than one kind of service available, to make use of all this youthful fire and energy.

  62. LeaNder says:

    Good comment, Andy.
    Would it really change power structures? With a nod to Vanessa, who recently showed up around here again. And from my own limited perception seemed to be interested in power once. 😉

  63. Eric Newhill says:

    Andy, I thought about what you said when I originally Col Lang’s post, “Every year over 4 million people turn 18 in the USA.” – I think it’s a valid counter point; not fatal, but valid. Perhaps a well designed lottery system would take care of it; a lottery where every eligible young person has an equal chance of having his/her number selected. So not everyone enters into service, but everyone *could* be drafted to enter into service.
    Both of my children volunteered for service post 9/11. My daughter, Navy Intel. attached to the DIA and my son completed college/ROTC and was commissioned as an Army officer. There was never any reason, at least that I knew of, to worry about my daughter’s safety, but my son deployed as an officer of engineers to Iraq and then to Afghanistan. Him I was worried about as he was doing route clearance both deployments. His Afghanistan tour was pretty rough as he was out on FOB along the Afghan/Pakistan border in Paktika province. That was dangerous country when he was there. There was a two month period when they were taking rocket and mortar fire from Pakistan every day as well as going outside the wire on missions to keep the roads open.
    Believe me, my wife and I were absorbing every scrap of news we could. It was disgusting to us how, by that point in the war, the MSM wasn’t even talking about it; like it wasn’t even happening – even though our young people were over their getting hurt, getting killed fairly frequently. You can also believe that we followed all the politics around the war as well as any other war they might try to create in the near future. Having your children in harm’s way has a tendency to get one politically activated.
    Believe me on this too, when your son or daughter is killed or seriously wounded with life changing consequences (my son), you want to know that it was for a worthy and necessary cause. If not, you want to know who is responsible in DC and all that grief and anger is directed at idiot politicians recklessly beating war drums.

  64. LeaNder says:

    “bailing out colleges and funding welfare”
    bailing out colleges? What would you do with the people dependent on welfare?

  65. LeaNder says:

    I like your last paragraph, but would you care to explain? At least vaguely. Context, what field?
    “- until he got into the bush, he had perfect field craft skills. ”

  66. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    I think you are missing another item in this discussion; money.
    US is very rich country – she can (or at least her leaders think that she can) afford all these wars of choice and all these meddling abroad.
    England also has had a volunteer army but it was the depletion of her income that reduced her role abroad.

  67. Matt says:

    Political rot from the left? OMG. Maybe it had something to do with the war and the draft being unjust.

  68. r whitman says:

    I spent 2 years of my life on active duty as a draftee in the 1950’s protecting West Texas from the Communists and going TDY to Louisiana. It was a complete and total waste.

  69. turcopolier says:

    r whitman
    Yet another spoiled brat who did not want to serve. Does the word “training” mean anything to you at all? pl

  70. turcopolier says:

    Yet another crybaby. pl

  71. turcopolier says:

    You don’t get it. I want to make wars of choice politically expensive. pl

  72. rjj says:

    What about NCOs? The population with those qualities has been discontinued.

  73. turcopolier says:

    Big Bird
    It sounds like you were one sorry sack of s–t as a lieutenant. The army in Germany was hollowed out to feed the replacement machine in VN? You just discovered that? Wow! as for the 100,000 category 4 draftees, this was a social experiment of the Democratic Party machine under LBJ. the army never wanted these guys and they DID NOT experience higher casualties than others. In fact the whole myth abouth Black casualties in VN is just BS. Their casualty rate closely reflected the % of Blacks in the US population. The statistically typical US Army KIA in VN was a 22 year old white kid who was a high school graduate and was from a small town. pl

  74. turcopolier says:

    NCOs? What are you talking about? We have NCOs now. We would have them in a mixed fprce. pl

  75. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Pacifica Advocate 16 August 2016 at 03:56 PM
    “In Europe, “Military Service” can translate to “public service,” but everyone is required to do it,”
    Not only is this not true now but it never was true even amongst those countries which had some form of compulsory national service.

  76. Willy B says:

    Dear Col.,
    I agree wholeheartedly. George Washington believed that military service was an obligation of citizenship in a republic and had actually devised a system of universal military service, the principles of which you can find in a little paper he wrote, entitled “Sentiments on a Peace Establishment,” in response to q request from Alexander Hamilton around 1783 or ’84. Washington’s plan, which he developed with Henry Knox, was blocked by the militia colonels who had boosted themselves on the unregulated militia system that Washington wanted to end.
    An Army historian writing in the 1920’s, John McAuly Palmer, estimated that if Washington’s system had been in place in 1812, the republic would’ve been able to raise an army of 75,000 men. Therefore, there would’ve been no war with Britain. The real point of such a system is not to be able to wage wars–though you must have have the ability to mobilize and fight if an existential threat leaves you with no choice–but to be able to avoid them. Palmer, himself, lobbied hard for universal military service after both world wars, but was defeated both times.

  77. turcopolier says:

    Big Bird
    “Are we remembering the same Army during the VN era?” You weren’t in VN. You were hiding out in Germany and feeling sorry for yourself while LeaNder served you beer in her college bat employment. pl

  78. turcopolier says:

    Eric Newhill
    You folks seem determined to miss my point. I am quite aware that drafting the whole yearly cohort of available youth is an impossibility. I just want to draft enough of them to make the decision to fight an expeditionary war of choice politically expensive. in my system people would stay in the draftable pool for five years so they would not feel they escaped if they were not drafted the first year pf eligibility. There should be no deferments for anything and the Guard should be required by law to be sent to the theater of war along with the Regular Army. Would the army be less efficient, yes but I think the brake on adventurism would be worth it. pl

  79. Matt says:

    Yeah, I know. My CPO who was in during the Vietnam War said he was against re-instating the draft.

  80. turcopolier says:

    Of course he was. draftees are often a pain the a-s, you know, whiners like you. pl

  81. turcopolier says:

    LeaNder you German live in a cradle to grave welfare state. We do not and will not unless Hillary gets control of Congress. pl

  82. SAC Brat says:

    An interesting summary of past Universal Military Training proposals in the US:

  83. turcopolier says:

    The AVF has been a total failure in deterring US government decision in favor of expeditionary wars. I listened to Abrams tell my AFSC class that he re-structured the Army so as to prevent someone like Cheney sending the Regular Army to fight overseas alone as LBJ did. That did not slow Cheney up at all. Rumsfeld expressed his frustration over the impediment and then they called all kinds of ARNG and USAR units to active duty to send them to the Borg Wars. The existing law concerning the ARNG prevented repeated deployments. pl

  84. turcopolier says:

    SAC Brat
    I am not proposing universal military servce. pl

  85. Eric Newhill says:

    Sir, I am with you 100%. Agree on all points.
    I was just diving into the details of how draftees could be selected from the overall cohort. Of course, there are many ways it could be done and, as you say, keep it fair.

  86. Big Bird says:

    Sorry to disappoint you, but I was not feeling sorry for myself. The Army was very large at that time with people all over the world;
    I just happened to not go to VN. I don’t know of any of that cohort of Lts that went to Germany that extended beyond their obligation.
    FYI: My draft classification was 1-Y, unfit for active duty unless in time of war or national emergency. I was over the upper height limit. I had a waiver to finish ROTC, which I did, and ultimately retired from the Reserves. You don’t know me and are taking a gratuitous cheap shot.

  87. rjj says:

    It was a question about a critical [human] resource bottleneck: is there one? Where do the NCOs come from? Values have changed, and it seems as if we are nurturing mostly managerial types.
    Could just be ignorance + selective perception on my part.

  88. turcopolier says:

    Officers are managers. NCOs are foremen. They come from the same population who enlist for the combat arms. They are chosen basically for having leadership potential. pl

  89. turcopolier says:

    Big Bird
    did you ask to go to VN? No? Then you hid out among the other riff-raff in USAREUR at that time. pl

  90. rjj says:

    NCOs are foremen.
    and I am asking if we are still producing foremen?

  91. A Pols says:

    I remember well when “Tricky Dick” put this through, after the lottery in 1969 took 2/3 of young men out of the running and pulled some of the anti-war movement’s teeth.
    At the time, many of us thought what a good idea an all volunteer military would be, but didn’t foresee the law of unintended consequence’s effects on transitioning the military from a citizen army to the politically partisan praetorian guard it has come to resemble.
    I also recall Nixon’s support for 18 year olds being able to buy alcohol, another sly move to co opt the “youth movement” of those times.
    Having an unwilling and dissident faction in the military does create management problems and officers would prefer more tractable subordinates, but this also leads to some inhibiting effect on what the military is tasked with; lacking a broader citizen consensus, there may be some mischief that the neocon movement would have more trouble getting us into.

  92. turcopolier says:

    I don’t know of any particular problem with present day NCOs. pl

  93. LeaNder says:

    “while LeaNder served you beer in her college bat employment. pl ”
    somewhat surprised you remember it, but yes among the many people we necessarily have to leave behind without ever knowing how they did after, maybe I would like to meet them more then my graduation class? One, quite active in matters I met a while ago.
    I do have very, very vague memories though … and whatever I told you about it, may not have been the full picture.
    “her college”
    college was, FU Berlin, or Free University though. not that it matters really. But we have a different system over here.

  94. A Pols says:

    I see I just rehashed what you already stated..
    This topic seems to have stirred things up a bit…

  95. Chris Bolan says:

    Andrew Bacevich has a thought-provoking piece in Foreign Affairs today arguing for a restrained U.S. military strategy focused on defense and deterrence (rather than never-ending military operations & commitments) that also includes a call for “conscription-based reserves”.

  96. Fifth Columnist says:

    If the founding fathers had meant for universal military service they would have enshrined it into the constitution. Desiring mandatory service now to prevent wars of choice is a form of social engineering.
    That being said.. it happens to be social engineering I approve of so I’d like to see it happen. But, perhaps we would broaden mandatory service to include diplomatic service, local law enforcement, conservation corps, etc.
    Point being not only to impose a political cost but also to create a steady infusion of quality rather than creating life-long government positions for the increasingly mediocre.
    Lastly.. it would be a bitter pill to discover that conscription would perhaps not put a stop to our wars of choice.

  97. MRW says:

    Actually, Babak,
    England also has had a volunteer army but it was the depletion of her income that reduced her role abroad.
    It wasn’t the depletion of her income–she, like all sovereign countries can delineate all debts in their own currency–it was payment for wars in gold while the world was still on the gold standard for international payments (until 1971).

  98. LH says:

    No offense Colonel but based on his remarks today about the intelligence community as a whole, Donald J. Trump doesn’t want, need nor respect your opinions. Just saying.
    I do however agree as the mom of 3 children that we do need to reinstate the draft and eliminate ‘professional’ military from the ranks.

  99. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    As an early Vietnam-era draftee I now agree that universal service is a good idea, although I probably wouldn’t have at the time. I strongly agree with our host’s assertion that if the people making the decisions whether or not to put military people into harm’s way were putting at risk their own flesh and blood it would concentrate their minds on what was genuinely in the US national interest.
    However if I’m reading Pat’s post correctly that he would have all universal service performed in the military, IMO that would lead to a choice between either a military of so much manpower that the Madeline Albrights of the DC world would constantly be looking for places to use it, or one in which the terms of conscription service are so short that it may be largely useless if actually called into action. And that’s if only men are drafted.
    Thus if the service is going to be universal I believe there should be a civilian component as well as a military one. I suggest that Pat’s objective of making sure that the decision makers have personal skin in the game can be met as follows: Beginning on the day each member of Congress and the president and vice president assumes office until twenty years after he or she surrenders the office, each blood relative of theirs to the fourth level of consanguinity who comes of conscription age must perform their service as an enlisted person in a combat arm of one of the services. Civilian or non-combat-exposed military service is not an option. The same requirement should apply to the top civilian office holders in the Departments of Defense and State, as well as other federal government entities, such as the CIA, that are involved in the use of violence abroad to further the national interest. A possible cut-off point for the office-holders who would come under this umbrella could be those offices that require Senate approval.

  100. Croesus says:

    I thought Wilson agreed to work for women’s right to vote if the Women’s Suffrage Movement gave their support to US entry into WWI. He did, they did, US went to war. Bad outcomes all way ’round.

  101. turcopolier says:

    ex PFC Chuck
    I am not in favor of universal military or any other kind of service. I am in favor of drafting (with no deferments) for the ground forces enough mommy’s and daddy’s boys and girls to create a disincentive for overseas military adventures. That is all. pl

  102. turcopolier says:

    “eliminate ‘professional’ military from the ranks.” I am curious to know what you think Eisenhower, MacArthur, Bradley, Ridgeway, Marshall, etc. were doing before WW2? Were they shoe salesmen, gas station attendants, grocery store managers, what? BTW, if you actually knew anything about me you would have known that I agree with much of Trump’s opinions on the work of the CIA in the last 15 years. pl

  103. Richard Sale says:

    Last line of The Sun Also Rises. Neat quote.
    Richard Sale

  104. Old Gun Pilot says:

    In the spring of 1968 my draft notice was forwarded to me at Phu Bai in northern I Corps directing me to report. Since for some reason, my C.O. was not agreeable with allowing me return to the U.S.for my physical I suppose there is a warrant out there for my arrest.

  105. Richard Sale says:

    Great comments. Thank you.
    Richard Sale

  106. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    I agree that the Army training makes callow youth into Men, and responsible men at that. It was the same in the old TSK of my time. The training went all across the spectrum: along with teaching the goatherds from the mountains not to wipe their butt with a stone they picked up outside, and not to throw the said stone into the (Turkish) toilet afterwards, we taught delicate gentlemen from big cities how to clean that toilet when this happened. We also taught them that they could not pay a poorer draftee to clean it for them either…
    I agree with Col. Lang that all should serve in the military and all should go through full boot camp, basic and branch, with all that entails. No one should command a fight without having been in one first.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  107. turcopolier says:

    That is the system we had under selective service. Two years active, then six years in the reserve. pl

  108. turcopolier says:

    Yes? Well what would your father have thought of having women infantry? pl

  109. Fred says:

    “dependent on welfare” learned helplessness is a terrible thing. I legislate a work obligation for the vast majority of current recipients.

  110. Fred says:

    I’m sure the South Vietnamese sure felt it was unjust that that North conquered them. How many fled communism then?

  111. kooshy says:

    Colonel Lang one question, since I don’t know, do you think a draft military service will require more or less military budget.

  112. DickT says:

    I recall it being a total commitment of six years.

  113. turcopolier says:

    Dick T
    It did not matter to me. I stayed for 26 years. So what? pl

  114. turcopolier says:

    Mine was delivered the day after my men, CORDS 94 and USAF repulsed a 600 man VC assault at Song Be. pl

  115. Prem says:

    In the unlikely event that conscription returned, they would just ramp-up the use of private armies like Blackwater and Academi.

  116. Prem says:

    Healey was a gunner and then commissioned and served in the Royal Engineers. He was the beach master at Anzio.
    He was the defence minister at the time of that Sukharno tried to grab Borneo, and proved to be very effective. And he was in the Labour government that withstood intense pressure from LBJ to get involved in Vietnam.
    In 2003, a BBC reporter asked him what he thought of Blair’s claim that Saddam had WMD that could be launched in 45 minutes and his one word answer was “S***”.

  117. I completely agree with Colonel Lang’s proposals. That may come as a surprise to some, however I have held the exact same views since the beginning of the all volunteer force. I suspect that deep down each and every high fallutin’ objection to a university draft boils down to the idea that the service is good for some but not for me and mine.

  118. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    I’m “in” with your dear old dad. Again, your dad is on the mark. I’ll leave that, along with ALL the faux deferments for another day. Contractor-mercernaries do not “belong.” Again, put in other words, the day the US depends on mercenaries to defend the country here or abroad is the day what still is the US is no more. Punt.
    PS: if globals (eg) Aramco, the Seven Sisters, Apple, Walmart, Goldman or Citi want protection (land, sea, air, IT) there is nothing stopping them from going on the global free market and buying it. Their collective hands do not belong in the taxpayers pockets.

  119. Cortes says:

    Pt. Nahas sounds like McAuslan “the dirtiest soldier in the world” in the short stories by George McDonald Fraser (better known for his “Flashman” historical romps) who did service in the ranks in Burma 1943/44 before being commissioned into the Gordon Highlanders and serving in Palestine and Egypt. “The General Danced at Dawn” and two further collections capture well the mindset of soldiers in that time, I think.

  120. LeeG says:

    What if the politics of the day make war desirable and “the politics” are unified for whatever our leadership sees as an existential threat? We could have millions in ground troops uninvolved as drones, cruise missiles and proxies transform others world.
    A larger conscripted military force will not limit what our elite desire. It could just as well enable them.

  121. Peter Reichard says:

    Compared to past wars the casualties have thankfully been low yet the Army still had to lower its standards to maintain force levels. If 300 body bags a week were returning as they were in 1968 I suspect enlistment rates would have collapsed leading to US withdrawal many years ago.

  122. LeaNder says:

    Croesus, you are more then welcome, if you try to make me aware of the darker sides of women’s liberation. Or feminist history, if you like. 😉
    If Pat allows me to babble: I was and am horrified about a recent supposed VIP rape case over here that had for the casual observer (me) the feel and touch of a witch hunt. The “victim” a rather prominent weather expert apparently cannot return to TV even after being acquitted. The little I watched media wise absolutely horrified me.

  123. LondonBob says:

    Certainly good soldiers and I have always been meaning to get round to reading ‘Quartered Safe out Here’ by George MacDonald Fraser that is supposed have a number of amusing anecdotes about their antics during the Burma campaign.
    Besides recently we increased their pay and pensions because paying them less than British regulars is discriminatory, never mind it is far superior to your average Nepalese salary. Also they are now allowed to settle in Britain on retirement, along with their families, because not allowing them to do so when the government seems to allow all sorts to come here is again discriminatory. Never mind that there was always more wishing to join the Gurkhas than we could sign up and it seemed to confuse the difference between a mercenary and a volunteer.

  124. Larry Mitchell says:

    This is so damned good that it reminded me to make my small donation. It’s hard to find anyone who wants to talk about this subject. My wife and I complained to each other all through Bush’s adventures that, if all the facebook warriors had: 1) sons and/or daughters facing deployment and combat, 2) received a bill from Washington every month for their share of the monetary cost of the current elective war, the conversation would be much different.
    I am a little disappointed in myself that I too am weary of the ‘thank you for your service’ gentleman’s agreement that we seem to have been US and THEM. I don’t like to feel that way because I know that many are entirely sincere and appreciative when they say that – I know I am. But, I also think people tend to think that THEY are doing a great job for US and don’t really feel like we are one and the same. Everyone likes the idea that the citizen (voter) owns this country, but the citizen soldier concept is much less popular. I don’t think we can go on trying to have it both ways.
    Finally, I am pretty confident that, when a major dust up comes along, conscription will be required to get the required manpower anyway, so we might as well have the system already working.
    Anyway, I’m really glad this subject bubbled to the surface, and I’m glad it’s being discussed in a place where commenters have a lot of knowledge as to how government works.

  125. Will says:

    “I am not in favor of universal military or any other kind of service. I am in favor of drafting (with no deferments) for the ground forces enough mommy’s and daddy’s boys and girls to create a disincentive for overseas military adventures. That is all. pl”
    Totally agree, but the Borg collective always find a way. But, every disencentive helps!
    “Göring: Why, of course, the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.
    Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.
    Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”

  126. turcopolier says:

    Peter Reichard
    “the Army still had to lower its standards to maintain force levels” I think you owe us a citation for that and if it occurred you need to tell us for how long it occurred. pl

  127. turcopolier says:

    So, basically you have given up on American Democracy and are just in hiding on your lovely beach waiting for God. BTW you say that brigade you served in in VN had not trained as a unit. Yes. The foolishness of individual replacements on one year tours rather than unit rotations as they do now meant that in a war lasting five or six years the level of UNIT training steadily declined because the units were not withdrawn from the line regularly and sent to somewhere like Palau for re-training. I attribute this failure of planning to the fact that the men in charge were all WW2 veterans. In that war, engagement was episodic in the Pacific and in Europe for the Americans there was a finite limit in the campaign itself to how long the unit would be engaged before combat would end and training begin again. I suppose Italy would be the exception. You were lucky to survive? Glad to know you did. pl

  128. turcopolier says:

    I will try again. I am not talking about a large and largely conscripted ground force. It can be smaller if you like, but in my concept it would contain enough conscripts from among the elite classes to make the cost of combat painful to the mommies and daddies. Get it now? pl

  129. turcopolier says:

    I guess you are not a soldier. Security companies do not create combat units with actual combat power. Security companies provide guards for facilities and PSDs for civilians like USAID or State Departments. You cannot fight wars with security companies. Their employees are just that. Men do not fight well for salary plus bonus deals. Ask a soldier. pl

  130. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Then you would be undermining the unions.

  131. Will says:

    No, haven’t given up. Constantly trying to educate and evangelize the conscripts of the Borg. NASA must have quite a dossier on me.
    “Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

  132. Will says:

    NASA might have a dossier on me too, but obviously meant to say NSA.

  133. Fred says:

    You did not answer my question.

  134. LeaNder says:

    MRW, I don’t have the background to follow you (mentally) on economics.
    Are you suggesting, with the gold standard gone, the US could theoretically print money to it’s straight-heart’s-desire?
    Yes, I may have developed a slight prejudice in this context … additionally not quite the head to wrap my head around centuries in this context much less less macro-/micro or monetary economics, with all due respect to Keynes, that is.
    I understand you have objected to Babak for a different reason.

  135. Ulenspiegel says:

    “I concede al l the arguments in its favor yet I doubt the Draft would make war less likely as it has historically been used to form large armies for aggression and can’t think of a case where the existence of conscription actually stopped a war.”
    This is from my German POV a correct observation. Draft does not compensate for an (active) officer corps that is in bed with the wrong kind of politicians.
    The underlying issue is that a society that produces these officers and politicians very likely lacks the insight and awareness to stop the misuse of draftees.

  136. turcopolier says:

    We are not Germans and IMO lack your propensity for following leaders who threaten our own destruction. VN and the present wars did not and do not constitute existential threats to the US. I am simply trying to make them more politically costly. pl

  137. Cee says:

    I agree. The children of those who to authorize war GO FIRST, followed by any relatives of age. No exceptions.

  138. Ulenspiegel says:

    Unser Chef wrote:
    “I will try again. I am not talking about a large and largely conscripted ground force. It can be smaller if you like, but in my concept it would contain enough conscripts from among the elite classes to make the cost of combat painful to the mommies and daddies. Get it now? ”
    A selective draft only works as long as the economic disadvantages for the draftee are low and/or an unfair system is accepted by the peasants. It worked in Prussia after 1815, but would not work 200 years later IMHO.
    Your proposal will create more issues than it solves: A highly selctive draft will simply lead to a lot of legal actions and creative solutions by the families that can offord it and as a result the draftees will not come from the classes you want in the army.
    A military draft or other public service makes IMHO only sense if it is alomost universial, i.e. affects >80% of a year group.

  139. Ulenspiegel,
    A cunning demagogue – such as may rise from the gutter to command events, in very troubled times – can easily disable resistance among rational people in bureaucracy, in particular the military.
    Of course, there were plenty of Nazis in the officer corps, but it was not the German General Staff who were enthusiastic about taking reckless risks in the ‘Thirties.
    The centres of opposition to Hitler were in the ‘Abwehr’ – the circle around Hans Oster – and the “Auswärtiges Amt.”
    Commonly, a key part of political genius consists in structuring the choices facing others. When I think of the dilemmas that Franz Halder had to face, all I can say is that I am very glad not to have had to confront such unpleasant alternatives.

  140. Sperglord of Doom says:

    I think you’ll be disappointed as I don’t remember ‘Quartered Safe Out Here’ having much to say about the Gurkhas.
    Its a great book though.
    The book might be of interest to Americans with Scotch-Irish ancestry as George MacDonald Fraser served with a Cumberland Border Regiment and I think his vivid description of his fellow soldiers to a great extent are in accord with Scotch-Irish stereotypes.

  141. Tyler says:

    Pushed by that arch conservative LBJ.
    Borg Grandma needs a better grade of intern.

  142. Tyler says:

    “You weren’t in VN. You were hiding out in Germany and feeling sorry for yourself while LeaNder served you beer in her college bat employment.”
    You don’t do it often, but I love it when you pull out the shiv and start going to work. I laughed for a while reading this.

  143. turcopolier says:

    “A highly selctive draft will simply lead to a lot of legal actions and creative solutions by the families that can offord it and as a result the draftees will not come from the classes you want in the army.” Good! More work for lawyers. pl

  144. Fred says:

    The unions have already undermined themselves. The leadership is a professional managerial class as are the “organizers”. Very few are or have been actual people working in the job classifications the unions are supposed to represent.

  145. Old Microbiologist says:

    I would even expand that to say two years of enlisted service as they need to at some time in their life know what being a working class prole is like.

  146. Prem says:

    They can’t fight wars against capable opposition.
    But even in their current state they are rather sinister, and provide a possible route for applying armed force without any democratic accountability.
    And they could conceivably get a lot bigger. Mercenary armies were de rigueur in Italy at one time. I could imagine them being used in Africa, where states and armies are very weak. There’s already a history of that sort of thing – Mad Mike Hoare etc

  147. turcopolier says:

    These security companies can’t fight anyone, capable or not. they are not an organized military force. They are just guards. To make them a fighting organization you would have to make them into an army and you clearly have no idea what that means. pl

  148. Tyler says:

    Gotta stop watching those documentaries about Eric Prince. You’re seeing fascists under the bed.

  149. Peter Reichard says:

    Google “military lowering recruitment standards” with posts from The Guardian 6-3-05 and Newsmax.com 10-28-07. Google “Army raising standards” where Fox News 5-23-12 implied it went on until at least 2011.

  150. Peter Reichard says:

    I believe we left Iraq in 2009, of course we’re back and Afghanistan goes on and on. My point was not that an AVF would prevent long and costly wars just that it would,compared to a drafted army, make it more difficult for our leaders to carry them out.
    If a Draft really meant the leaders’ sons were as likely to end up in a rifle platoon as the rest of us then the reverse would be true but it requires that those who write the laws are willing to place their own progeny in harm’s way and not amend them when the bullets start to fly and the bodies pile up. In a perfect world perhaps but alas, unlikely in our own.

  151. turcopolier says:

    Peter Reichard
    Yes. There was a force expansion for the war and in that context the US Army lowered educational standards for enlisted men as well as minor criminality like marijuana use. This was done to facilitate building the force. This is a normal thing to have happen in a major war situation. The previous standards were very high. As you point out after 2011 he higher pre-2007 were reinstated. pl

  152. LeaNder says:

    “pull out the shiv”
    Tyler, we seem to share something basic, beyond respecting Pat, with you pleased and me slightly puzzled here…
    Notice, no way, I could ever assess this beyond personal impressions and conversations left on my limited mind. But one thing, I seem to have stored more then other things, is the fact that American soldiers collectively were some type of image of the enemy in my larger student context at the time. …
    But a lot of my “costumers” in fact had returned from Nam. As costumers they were slightly more challenging, especially when they had drunken too much. Maybe because it wasn’t a standard Berlin bar, but a bar set up by an American (considering dishes, with Italian background) basically for US soldiers? No Germans I met there, not even the house prostitute, at my time there.

  153. Peter Reichard says:

    The standards were quite high in 2005 but never the less had to be lowered in the face of growing casualties in an unpopular war which is the whole point of how a volunteer army is a deterrent to ill advised military adventures. Standards were raised again because casualties dropped as we pulled out of Iraq and the economy tanked. The Draft presents a different kind of disincentive to the decision makers but while a close call I think an all volunteer force is a greater impediment to aggressive war. The difficult goal is to create a system that provides a massive response to existential threats, a quick and effective response to minor attacks but doesn’t encourage imperialism or coups d’etat.

  154. turcopolier says:

    Peter Reichard
    Casualties in the Borg Wars did not cause us to withdraw from Iraq or Afghanistan. There was never a serious manpower shortage. As hurtful as the thought may be the casualties in these wars have not been debilitating to the US. Casualties in WW2 and in VN were a much more serious matter and in VN eventually caused a political reaction in the US that it forced withdrawal in spite of success in combat and COIN. pl

  155. turcopolier says:

    “I seem to have stored more then other things, is the fact that American soldiers collectively were some type of image of the enemy in m!y larger student context at the time.” Collectively the image of the enemy … Perhaps you would have been happier at a GDR University. pl

  156. MRW says:

    Are you suggesting, with the gold standard gone, the US could theoretically print money to it’s straight-heart’s-desire?
    It’s not theoretical. The US has been doing it domestically since 1933, and internationally since August 15, 1971. The latter change cemented the US reserve dollar status because Kissinger got the Saudi Arabians to denominate all oil sales only in USD, and therefore all countries in the world need USD to buy oil. We buy overseas oil for keystrokes. Or, to make that more understandable, we buy their oil—the US federal government buys Saudi oil—for the cost of printing up a $100 bill, about $0.07.
    “to it’s straight-heart’s-desire” is absolutely possible, but the US Treasury absolutely would not do that. It would lead to one kind of inflation called ‘demand-pull’ inflation, which is the kind where too many dollars (in the hands of citizens) would be chasing too few goods for sale, leading to wild price increases because of scarcity. [This is considered the normal definition of inflation, but it isn’t; and it hasn’t existed since the WWII workers filled their savings accounts with savings because everything was rationed, and they couldn’t spend it. That was the reason why there was a high income tax on high income earnings post-WWII; it removed high-income dollars from the economy. It allowed the middle class to have a much reduced tax level which encouraged them to spend, and buy all the new things US factories were producing. This is what created the great prosperity post-WWII.]
    The other kind of inflation is ‘cost-push’. This occurs when there’s pressure on the supply side, such as when the price of oil and commodities rise and cause the price of everything in the economy (transportation, food, getting to work, etc) to rise as a result. This occurred in the 1970s in the US when the price of oil rose 10X over seven years, and inflation soared.
    Germany cannot do this. It used to be able to do it when it had its own currency, but it gave up the Deutschmark for the Euro in 1999 or 2000. Also, Germany’s 1923-era hyperinflation was because it had to make international reparations in gold, which depleted its gold supply and bankrupted the country. The reason why Hitler, on the advice of the brilliant banker/economist Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht, refused to pay any more reparations and used the new Deutschmark for the benefit of the German people by “printing money.” That’s why Germany quickly became an economic powerhouse after 1933, and the German quality of life soared.

  157. MRW says:

    More…actually a correction.
    “The reason why Hitler, on the advice of the brilliant banker/economist Hjalmar Horace Greeley Schacht, refused to pay any more reparations and used the new Deutschmark for the benefit of the German people by “printing money.” Germany could therefore afford to pay for anything that was denominated in Deutschmarks, such as new industries, the development of its own resources, and provide a massive amount of new jobs to its starving and out-of-work people. That’s why Germany quickly became an economic powerhouse after 1933, and the German quality of life soared.”

  158. Ante says:

    This is not universal, but my Swiss friends all seem to become better leaders, and more well rounded ‘citizens’ in the classical sense after doing their mandatory duty. It’s a model worth following. Our enlisted men shouldn’t just be people from the no-economy badlands with no other options. That might have worked for Prussian infantry, but it’s no good for modern war.

  159. Charles Dekle says:

    I agree.

  160. Charles Dekle says:

    That is an excellent point and I think the country would be better served by its young people if we go in that direction.

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