by John Hawkins | July 26, 2005 3:59 pm
In American society, soldiers are typically spoken of with reverence, especially in wartime, and rightfully so. Our troops do difficult, extremely dangerous work, far away from their families and generally they work for peanuts and love of country.
Moreover, the sacrifices our troops make are extraordinarily important to our country. As Zell Miller said in his magnificent speech at the Republican National Convention last year:
“Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier.
And, our soldiers don’t just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home.
For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the agitator, who has given us the freedom to protest.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, serves beneath the flag, whose coffin is draped by the flag, who gives that protester the freedom he abuses to burn that flag.
No one should dare to even think about being the commander in chief of this country if he doesn’t believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home.”
Of course, not all Americans look at our soldiers that way. There are plenty of liberals out there who have an entirely different view of our military. So, in the name of fairness and balance, I’m going to show you a column about the military in the New York Times written by liberal history professor David M. Kennedy.
What follows is the summary of the central points of the column which Mr. Kennedy undoubtedly penned far up in his ivory tower at Stanford.
1) The US military is now full of the same sort of filthy Hessian mercenaries who spilled the blood of our ancestors during the Revolutionary War!
THE United States now has a mercenary army. To be sure, our soldiers are hired from within the citizenry, unlike the hated Hessians whom George III recruited to fight against the American Revolutionaries. But like those Hessians, today’s volunteers sign up for some mighty dangerous work largely for wages and benefits – a compensation package that may not always be commensurate with the dangers in store, as current recruiting problems testify.
Some will find it offensive to call today’s armed forces a “mercenary army,” but our troops are emphatically not the kind of citizen-soldiers that we fielded two generations ago – drawn from all ranks of society without respect to background or privilege or education, and mobilized on such a scale that civilian society’s deep and durable consent to the resort to arms was absolutely necessary.
2) We’re more than 200 years overdue for a military backed coup and you sheeple don’t even realize the danger!
But the fact remains that the United States today has a military force that is extraordinarily lean and lethal, even while it is increasingly separated from the civil society on whose behalf it fights. This is worrisome – for reasons that go well beyond unmet recruiting targets.
But the modern military’s disjunction from American society is even more disturbing. Since the time of the ancient Greeks through the American Revolutionary War and well into the 20th century, the obligation to bear arms and the privileges of citizenship have been intimately linked. It was for the sake of that link between service and a full place in society that the founders were so invested in militias and so worried about standing armies, which Samuel Adams warned were “always dangerous to the liberties of the people.”
3) We need to weaken our military and make it harder and more expensive for our country to send troops into battle!
But thanks to something that policymakers and academic experts grandly call the “revolution in military affairs,” which has wedded the newest electronic and information technologies to the destructive purposes of the second-oldest profession, we now have an active-duty military establishment that is, proportionate to population, about 4 percent of the size of the force that won World War II. And today’s military budget is about 4 percent of gross domestic product, as opposed to nearly 40 percent during World War II.
The implications are deeply unsettling: history’s most potent military force can now be put into the field by a society that scarcely breaks a sweat when it does so. We can now wage war while putting at risk very few of our sons and daughters, none of whom is obliged to serve. Modern warfare lays no significant burdens on the larger body of citizens in whose name war is being waged.
This is not a healthy situation.
4) You know what this country needs? A good old fashioned draft!
The “revolution in military affairs” has made obsolete the kind of huge army that fought World War II, but a universal duty to service – perhaps in the form of a lottery, or of compulsory national service with military duty as one option among several – would at least ensure that the civilian and military sectors do not become dangerously separate spheres. War is too important to be left either to the generals or the politicians. It must be the people’s business.
Summing It Up: Our good liberal professor seems to think our military is full of mercenaries who might overthrow the government so we need to weaken the military, make it more difficult to wage war, and have a draft.
I can’t say that I agree with Kennedy, but who knows? If he sticks to his guns, there might be a spot for him at the Department of Defense if Hillary Clinton is elected ;D
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