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On a return to the draft, McChrystal speaks out...

Eeeh, not so much, there, General.

"When asked about his thoughts on implementing a draft on CBS’s Face the Nation, General Stanley A. McChrystal said national service would have a positive impact because it would “bind people to their nation” and “pull people together in shared experiences.”"

If you look at things only through the roseate lens of the common view of WWI and WWII, perhaps. The Civil War, Korea, and Vietnam? Not so much. The "people pulled together" and felt "bound to their nation" because they shared a generally communal belief in the threat and the justice of the response to it, not because they were melded by commingling with their brothers and sisters in the platoon bays.

Oh, and good luck affording that draftee army at volunteer pay rates.

The current war would have been over much sooner had it been fought with draftees. *That* is about the only plus I see to this utopian (and not terribly accurate, to my eye) view of the benefits of involuntary servitude of the state, outside an existential threat to the existence of the body politic.

But I'm a well known squish.

11 Comments

I thought one of the major motivations in creating an all-volunteer Army was that there would be no more "unpopular" wars, since most everyone would quit after their current trour.
 
Vietnam could not have been fought with present military pay rates. I can remember when John Stennis talked about "our paupers in uniform" before the military got some substantial pay raises. I can still remember my mother darning socks, and my father making a remark about darning the darns.

The only hitch I can see to your judgment of the present wars being over quicker if fought by draftees is Vietnam. Truman was willing to keep Korea going too. But, both Korea and Vietnam were wars of policy and power politics because of chocies made in the '45-'48 time frame. Now mommy's little darlings just don't want to get shot at. They do, however, enjoy all the stuff that freedom brings. they just don't want to do anything for that freedom.

I don't want to get shot at either, but I'm willing to run the risk for my, and my grankid's, liberty. Not likely I'll be asked by FedGov, which is fine. They may just well force us into it, but the target won't be foreign, alas.
 
Economist Milton Friedman in 1966:

 "In the course of his [General Westmoreland's] testimony, he made the statement that he did not want to command an army of mercenaries. I [Milton Friedman] stopped him and said, 'General, would you rather command an army of slaves?' He drew himself up and said, 'I don't like to hear our patriotic draftees referred to as slaves.' I replied, 'I don't like to hear our patriotic volunteers referred to as mercenaries.' But I went on to say, 'If they are mercenaries, then I, sir, am a mercenary professor, and you, sir, are a mercenary general; we are served by mercenary physicians, we use a mercenary lawyer, and we get our meat from a mercenary butcher.' That was the last that we heard from the general about mercenaries."

I'm with Friedman. 
 
Draft Dodger was not a term invented during the Korean or Vietnam Wars. Plenty of that going on in WWI and WWII. The patriotic fervor more likely dated from after the boys got home from over there. Note that most of the jingoism to fire up the masses came from those who weren't over there and doing every thing they could to keep from going, unless of course it was on a USO tour with Lauren Bacall. Drafts fill out the ranks when the pool of volunteers is drained and it does tend to spread the pain when equitably administered. Of course, it never is.
 
"Now mommy's little darlings just don't want to get shot at. They do, however, enjoy all the stuff that freedom brings. they just don't want to do anything for that freedom."

You know, that sort of worked as an argument during the Cold War, and definitely worked for WW2.

But the idea that our wars in the Middle East and Central Asia are protecting our freedom is untenable.

They're going arguably good things for Iraqis and Afghans.

They are in no way vital to the freedom of the United States, even if they are useful for its global interests, and might help protect against various terror attacks. But none of those terror attacks are going to destroy Our Freedom.

(I'm not sure anyone ever wanted to get shot at much, either. There was a draft in the First and Second World Wars, after all. That suggests that "mommy's little darlings" weren't volunteering in sufficient numbers even to stop the Japs.)

 
Greetings:

Admittedly, the miraculous "volunteer army" is one of the many burrs under my cerebral saddle.  I agree with the ex-General but only a bit.

My main problem with the volunteer army is that it sends a message, even if it's an implicit one, that the menfolk of this country do not have an individual responsibility to participate in its defense or the execution of its foreign policy, as seems to be the case more and more these days.

While the good ex-General was certainly then under arms, he seems not to have drawn many conclusions about the darker days in Iraq when troop shortages resulted in all sorts or positives, like extended tours of duty, shortened non-combat rotational tours, and dipping deeply into the reserves and National Guard. And that was with 15 or so percent female participation which we should all know by now was probably a human rights crime against our Muslim brethren and sisteren.  

For me, one of the low lights was  when Osama was sent home to his favorite Messenger and all those fine young men poured into the streets to celebrate but so very few found their way to a local recruiting office.  Getting the manhood genie back into our young manhood is going to be more than tricky unless maybe the bad guys decide to come down their block.

What I truly disagree with is the ex-General's call for some vague type of National Service.  Is he unaware that this country is 16 or so trillion what used to be dollars in debt ???  Or has he just tasked that off to some ambitious Colonel looking for a star or two of his own ???  And with the collection of Black, White and Red all over now in control of the governmental apparatus, does he not foresee that all this additional debt will, at best, result in another extend stay in another progressive propaganda mill ???

A book too far, if you ask me.
 
 Melvin Laird, call your office.
 
 Sigivald, I was not addressing the two "wars" in Asia we've been fighting. However, given the stupid choices made in WW2 respecting Stalin, and then being lulled by the traitors in both the FDR and Truman Maladminstrations, Korea and Vietnam became necessary to contain communism. Vietnam went a long way in helping to bankrupt Ivan, and Korea kept Kim penned in.

As I said I don't like the idea of being shot at, but I'm willing to run that risk. Most of mommy's darlings just want. Nothing in particular, just so long as they don't have to bear any burden themselves. That would be terribly cruel to expect them to do their part when it's their turn. This doesn't even relate to what we are doing in the rock pile at the moment.

WW1 & 2 could not have been fought without conscription. When the casualty lists begane to lengthen, voluntary enlistments went down. While there were a few cowards and babies out there, those drafted overwhelmingly stood too and went. Those who dodges should never have been granted amnesty. Those amnesties haunt us to this day.

Finally, military service in defense of the country is an obligation of manhood. I think every able bodied male, as in Switzerland, should be inducted into the country's Militia and train regularly. You would see a lot fewer calls for gun control as well when people realized what guns were really for. Even the libtards get brought up short among the Swiss.
 
Wasn't the first draft of WW2 performed before Pearl Harbor?

 
 It's easy for sophisticated world travelers to forget how narrow the world is for ignorant provincials.  I think that may well be what McChrystal was really driving at.

The world travelers I'm talking about, that's you.  I am a civilian, and I was never in danger of being drafted, but I was a dependent that did a single tour overseas.  

Coming back to the US as a young teenager was a real shock.  

It's just a little bit harder to appreciate the marvel that is this country, if your entire worldview is built on the unexamined assumption that the whole world looks like your home town.
 
I was surprised at the changes that had taken place in the US between when we left in '66 and returned in '69. I wasn't sure I wanted to stay, but didn't have much choice. I went in the Navy in '72 right out of Hi Skool and enjoyed the time of of country.