Advice Goddess Blog
« Previous | Home | Next »

An American Foreign Legion
How long before we outsource our armed services? Colby Cosh thinks we eventually won't have a choice:

America was once able to promise young men pensions, access to higher education and lifelong health care in exchange for military service. But today, every American enjoys Social Security and Medicare as a matter of right, and college is no longer an upper-class game preserve. Military service has become an evaporating social duty unsupported by economic incentives. And with family sizes decreasing, parents are becoming more sentimental toward children and less likely to urge them toward the profession of arms. To put it bluntly, military recruitment is easiest where human life is held less dear.

The prestige of soldiering in the United States is being annihilated by American virtues: high social mobility, low unemployment and infinite possibilities for the young. Because of the same virtues, hundreds risk their lives every day just to physically enter the bounds of the U.S. If they were asked to face similar hazards on behalf of the American cause, in exchange for English-language instruction and access to genuine American citizenship, the queue would girdle the globe.

Some find the idea of recruiting "American" soldiers in Mexico or India distasteful. The concept has already inspired talk of "blood money" and "coercion" of the world's poor. And foreign military recruitment is dangerous to national security in the long run, as the Romans (and the French) discovered. But for the U.S., there is no other way out of the immediate dilemma. Sooner or later, under one name or another, there will be an American Foreign Legion.

Troop "surges," no draft, and an overextended military. What other answer is there?

via aldaily

Posted by aalkon at January 9, 2007 10:31 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.advicegoddess.com/mt4/mt-tb.cgi/1989

Comments

"Troop "surges," no draft, and an overextended military. What other answer is there?"

Machinery. Apply technology to make fighting machines that will go forth and spread the gospel of hurt to our enemies. Against the wild eyed jihaddists clutching an AK 47, who was purposely bred and trained to kill westerners, we need some Terminator 3000s clutching "plasma lasers, 40 watt rating", purposely built and programmed to help jihaddists reach paradise.

Posted by: doombuggy at January 9, 2007 3:00 AM

Through sleepy morning eyes that looked like...

"Machinery. Apple technology to make fighting machines..."

Steve Jobs' announcement from in San Francisco this morning could be really interesting.. Think Different and all that.

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 4:06 AM

I was reading an article a few days ago about that DREAM act that would give illegal immigrants who entered the country as children the right to become citizens if they met certain requirements: a high school deploma, followed by a college degree or military service.

My first thought was to wonder if that was the new plan for filling those military recruitment quotas . . . .

Posted by: jenl1625 at January 9, 2007 6:05 AM

Gregg says it's scheduled for two hours (much longer than usual), and Jobs invited all his friends. I think it's 9am.

But, for the iPod, Gregg and I never would have met. You could say Steve Jobs fixed us up.

I'm also a big fan of Woz (Steve Wozniak), and Gregg loved his book, iWoz: From Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0393061434?ie=UTF8&tag=advicegoddess-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0393061434

I've always loved geeks.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 9, 2007 6:07 AM

Well, Jenn, somebody's got to do the fighting. If we don't draft an army, and not enough of them are volunteering to meet our "troop surges"...

Posted by: Amy Alkon at January 9, 2007 7:34 AM

How about not getting tangled up in places that are none of our business, or having competent management of the wars we do get involved in?

Posted by: eric at January 9, 2007 8:04 AM

> none of our business

Define your terms. Kosovo? Darfur? Europe '42?

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 8:35 AM

This was odd:

"with family sizes decreasing, parents are becoming more sentimental toward children and less likely to urge them toward the profession of arms."

Parents prefer that their children not go to war because they're "sentimental"? Women who've borne more children find it easier to have one or two of them killed in battle? Who is this fruitcake?

Posted by: Lena at January 9, 2007 8:46 AM

Crid, you and I have defined these terms ad nauseum over the last 3 years. Strike as unresponsive. I often worry you have too much time on your hands.

Posted by: eric at January 9, 2007 8:57 AM

I am sincerely interested in where you think our business begins and ends. You dowanna put it in a sentence?

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 9:01 AM

I don't know -- my college girlfriend decided to become a Naval aviatrix after school, but then she always had that public service gene. And, really, what are you going to do with a philosophy degree?

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at January 9, 2007 9:45 AM

A modest proposal:

How about we adopt the Israeli model? A couple of years of compulsory military service for all young people. Build character, patriotism, useful skills and all that stuff. What's not to like?

Posted by: justin case at January 9, 2007 10:15 AM

"Build character, patriotism, useful skills and all that stuff."

Lynndie England picked up all sorts of useful skills during her military service. Isn't she now working as a dominatrix?

Posted by: Lena at January 9, 2007 10:33 AM

Lena,
Just for fun: Isn't Lynndie England an example of the worst of the current crop of soldiers? How would compulsory service make things worse? Do you think that the army turned Lynndie into a dull, thuggish trogdolyte, or is it more likely that she came that way?

Posted by: justin case at January 9, 2007 10:45 AM

"Troop "surges," no draft, and an overextended military. What other answer is there?"

Lower admission standards and raise pay and benefits. If you brought back the draft you would have to lower standards anyway.

Posted by: winston at January 9, 2007 10:50 AM

Justin, I like you.

> Lynndie England picked up all sorts
> of useful skills during her
> military service.

Play fair. She was monster long before she put on a uniform

> what are you going to do with
> a philosophy degree?

Be philosophizin'. Listen, there's no policy adjustment we can make so that everyone in the world is a comfortably striving middle manager...

Hey Eric! We're WAITING! Chopchop!

OK, here's an idea.

1. Fire the TSA.

2. Make US army responsible for airport security, so normal if upscale Americans will actually encounter a soldier once or twice a year.

3. Buy everyone a new 8gig Applephone for $599, but make them run Windows on it.

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 11:03 AM

Justin -- Of course Lynndie is the worst of the worst extremes. And had she been in Haditha, I'm sure the massacre there would've been even more shameful for the U.S.

Posted by: Lena at January 9, 2007 11:30 AM

Well, Jenn, somebody's got to do the fighting. If we don't draft an army, and not enough of them are volunteering to meet our "troop surges"...

Oh, I agree that if they are going to continue on the current track, they've got to get their soldiers somewhere. And I'd rather see *any* truly voluntary recruitment scheme than see a draft. I just think it's really cynical to call it the "DREAM" act and make a point of how you're extending the American dream to those who entered the country illegally through no fault of their own, when it's really nothing more than a "where else can we get enough people to fill our ranks without raising pay and bonuses?"

Throw in the various claims about how our troops over there don't have as much armor as they should, and it reminds me of my brother, who's always telling me that the reason the factory mills in northern Georgia like to hire illegals is not that they'll work for less $ but that they'll work in more dangerous conditions.

Posted by: jenl1625 at January 9, 2007 11:46 AM

I love this quotation:
"...extending the American dream to those who entered the country illegally through no fault of their own..."
How does this happen?

Posted by: justin case at January 9, 2007 1:34 PM

American interests can't be summarized in a sentence Crid. Instead of the question at hand, how do we go increasing our troop levels, I think we should be asking how efficiently are our currents troops being utilized? Will 20,000 more American troops move Iraq any closer to becoming a stable society? I have not heard a single voice, Republican or Democrat, hawk or dove, express optimism that a surge will make a difference.

More and more I am seeing "The Decider" behaving in a compulsive manner, much like a losing gambler who keeps going to the ATM in hopes of recouping his losses. He blew past the Iraq Report faster than he could have possibly read it, and is now removing his military commanders who do not agree with a surge in the number of troops.

Posted by: eric at January 9, 2007 2:14 PM

> American interests can't be summarized

Not even a summary? Then why should anyone trust your opinion? Potter Stewart was mocked for saying "I know it when I see it."

> I have not heard a single voice,
> Republican or Democrat, hawk or
> dove, express optimism that a surge
> will make a difference.

For the record, you still haven't. But I wish some of the people getting fussy about things would explain how it was supposed to work before the invasion... And why it didn't. If there's no time for a summary, at least give us chapter headings about how great the middle east was goign to be in 2007 if we didn't invade.

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 2:54 PM

"I often worry you have too much time on your hands."

Lack of time is the main reason that Lena largely limits herself to dumb, smart-ass one liners on this blog.

Posted by: Lena at January 9, 2007 3:08 PM

As long as we keep fighting in Iraq, we win, right Crid? Much like your debating strategy.

This surge, I suspect, is about getting rid of Muqtada Al Sadr and his militia. Mark your calendar Crid for March 31st- it'll take a while to get 20,000 more Americans in place. We may see Shiite vs. Shiite vs. Sunni.

Posted by: eric at January 9, 2007 3:09 PM

...at least give us chapter headings about how great the middle east was goign to be in 2007 if we didn't invade


If we didn't invade, most of the Middle East would still probably be cesspool of barbaric killings (of guilty and innocent alike), tribal/religious conflict (responsible for much of the previous), autocratic regimes (responsible for the rest), great oil wealth (for a few), tremendous poverty (for the rest), with unstable countries that supply a critical commodity creating great worry in the world.

Not so different than today, really. Except for the hundreds of billions of our dollars thrown down this pit; not to mention a few thousand American soldiers' lives, and a huge mess that the world now considers to be our fault.

Not a good situation (certainly not great, but it seems that we've put a ton of effort into creating a null effect.

Eric - If we got rid of Al Sadr, wouldn't that be a good thing?

Posted by: justin case at January 9, 2007 5:10 PM

Justin- Al Sadr gone?

For US- Yes, except for a few hundred families.

Long term for Iraqi's - Yes, I think Iraq won't settle until it is shook like a snowglobe, and we will still end up hated.

Short term for Iraqi's- it's gonna be another bloodbath for thousands of Iraqi families.

And in late summer / early fall, Bush will come out with "the new strategy". I hope I am wrong.


Posted by: eric ( from bed, with a major flu coming on.. I can see the music...) at January 9, 2007 6:18 PM

> As long as we keep fighting in Iraq,
> we win, right Crid? Much like your
> debating strategy.

Eric, I never said that, and it's childish for you to snicker about "debate strategy" when you're putting words in my mouth and shamelessly avoiding points.

What you wanted for Iraq was _______?

Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 6:34 PM

I want us to be greeted with flowers, damnit.

Who gives a damn about what I want for Iraq????

Posted by: Shameless and naughty eric at January 9, 2007 8:18 PM

Andrew Sullivan posted this quotation. Seems kinda appropriate to throw out here.

"Vietnam presumably taught us that the United States could not serve as the world's policeman; it should also have taught us the dangers of trying to be the world's midwife to democracy when the birth is scheduled to take place under conditions of guerrilla war," - Jeane Kirkpatrick. Commentary, 1979.

http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2007/01/quote_for_the_d_5.html

Posted by: justin case at January 9, 2007 8:47 PM

> Who gives a damn about
> what I want for Iraq????

I do. Either you're thinking about it clearly, or you're snarking. The flowers suggest snark.

> scheduled to take place under conditions
> of guerrilla war

"Scheduled?" By whom? That war was going to happen without us? Who, who, who thought things were looking good for Iraq in 2003?

Besides Qusay, I mean.


Posted by: Crid at January 9, 2007 8:59 PM

Actually the Foreign Legion works quite well for France. While in the US the great worry is "our boys getting killed", with a Legion they aren't "ours" so there's no quilt involved.



The admin. is dealing w/it in their own way. If someone is seriously wounded in Iraq but dies in Germany or MD, they're not counted as a battlefield casualty.



People from other lands used to be able to sign up and gain citzenship several years after enlisting. Since the admin. screwed up so badly the policy has been changed to enlist and bingo, you're a citizen. Much like adjusting the upper age limit.



As for langauge training I'd refer ppl. to a NYT's article about a single mother who's a Muslim. She enlisted, didn't score well on the English test so she was sent to an Army school to improve.



As for a draft I'd be in favor of it only if the children of Congress were the 1st ones to go (and with current upper age limits). The cell phone calls of "Daddy I can't finish my MBA because I'll be in a cesspool" might turn a few Republican heads.

Posted by: Don at January 10, 2007 2:25 AM

"Scheduled?" By whom? That war was going to happen without us? Who, who, who thought things were looking good for Iraq in 2003?

I took this as an attempt to express in artful language this sentiment: "Under conditions where guerilla war was likely to be a result of our attempt to instill democracy"

Posted by: justin case at January 10, 2007 9:44 AM

"If we got rid of Al Sadr, wouldn't that be a good thing?"

What's totally fucking weird is that Sadr is allied with Prime Minister Maliki, who was appointed by the Coalition Provisional Authority, which was established in part by the United States. Read the Iraq Study Report, if you haven't already. The total-fuckedness of the situation gets frighteningly clear.

And as if that weren't bad enough, Eric now appears to be mistaking himself for Sylvia Plath:

"from bed, with a major flu coming on.. I can see the music"

Just stay away from the kitchen, babe.

Posted by: Lena at January 10, 2007 10:45 AM

Lena,
The CPA did not appoint al-Maliki. He was chosen by Jalaal Talabani following the last elections. Aa I understand, the CPA was dissolved following the creation of the new Iraqi constitution. You are correct about the Maliki - Sadr alliance, which is why Sadr city is now off limits in any push to retake Baghdad (but of course, we're free to discipline the Sunni areas).

Posted by: justin case at January 10, 2007 11:08 AM

Thanks for the gentle bitch slap. My clit is harder now.

Posted by: Lena at January 10, 2007 11:19 AM

I'm happy to help with that.

Posted by: justin case at January 10, 2007 11:39 AM

Leave a comment