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Posted: 12/9/2001 3:51:18 PM EDT
Everyone here is obviously pretty familiar with the standing army that USA has maintatined for almost 100 years now. Our founding fathers did not want America to be a nation that maintained a standing army for a variety of reasons, but with the advent of new technology to the battlefield, and the quicker pace of war, it seems natural for us to have one. While i have the deepest respect for soldiers (my father served with the Navy), I feel that maintaining this force makes the common American a weak and unappreciative bunch. There are very good reasons to have a standing army. A standing army can be deployed very quickly. A standing army can receive ongoing training and instruction. A standing army can do many things well, but I am starting to think it is making us all soft. I was reading the January edition of Soldier of Fortune, and in one segment they are interviewing young people about the war effort in Afghanistan. Most of the young men either said they were gay, too busy, or that the fighting was best left to others. The statement that bugged me the most was the one young man who said that he had hopes and dreams that he wouldn't want to jeapordize by going to war. This is a problem that a professional army has created. The common man believes that there are just some special people that were born with guns in their hands, knives for fingers, and sharp teeth. Americans believe that some people are just better suited to be soldiers than others. I think one of my favorite scenes in "Saving Private Ryan" is when Tom Hanks tells his men that in his prior life he was a (SPOILER: DON'T READ IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THIS MOVIE) Schoolteacher. The "Greatest Generation" put aside their lives. Put their dreams on hold. Left their wives, girlfriends, lovers to go across a big pond and fight Nazis, Italians, and Japs. Those people had dreams too. That guy laying in the ditch, feeling his life slip away had a mother too. He had a family, a dog, maybe a girlfriend or wife that would cry for his loss. But his sacrifice was for all of us. Each American knew someone who died in WWII. It brought the war home. The reality that to maintain our freedoms we must sometimes sacrifice our dreams, our relationships, our bodies, and sometimes our lives was deeply felt and understood. Freedom does not come without cost, and in today's society we expect the cost to be shouldered by some faceless nameless "soldier" that we surely don't know. I remember hearing the pleadings of a female reservist who had basked in the "free" money from our government begging not to be sent overseas as the reservists were activated. Americans are all too ready to take handouts, but never seem ready to stand up for their way of life, for their families, for their country. It's always somebody else's responsibility in our country.
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 3:52:07 PM EDT
Yes we should be in Afghanistan. Yes we should fight terror. But the military we maintain makes the effort too simple for the common American. I don't wish for more American casualties. I realize that our military is by far the best in the history of mankind, but I wish that Americans could better appreciate the cost of their freedoms. You don't get freedom by paying taxes. Our government right now asks us to support our economy and try to live normal lives. What if George W. asked us to go to war? How many would stand up? How many men and women are willing to make a real payment for their freedom? I would. I know I'm not alone, but I know I'm not the majority. Thanks to all the veterans, and to all those who have served us in the past. Shawn
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 3:54:15 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 3:57:14 PM EDT
I think it is funny how the general calls for a reduction in the standing Army during times of peace only to demand to know why our forces are not prepared for the unexpected. Look at the Navy after the Civil War and the reduction of troops and decommissioned fighter wings, naval vessels etc during the 90's. The terrorist attacks of 9-11 should teach this country a firm lesson that the world becomes dangerous in many different ways and our forces should be able to deal with the threats facing this country in this new century.
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 4:01:11 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/9/2001 3:54:48 PM EDT by 5subslr5]
srv656s, well stated. One of the costs of Vietnam was the elimination of the "citizen soldier." The unfairness of those drafted to serve in that war would truly gag a maggot. Now, two-years service - about all you can expect from a draftee - isn't enough time to properly train and get any use from the draftee. As an example the MEU Marines have all had over one and one-half years training. Drafting still makes sense in the medical area and probably also in other very specialized areas where the draftee comes in already with specific knowledge. Drafting an eighteen year old to be a regular private soldier, marine airman or sailor probably no longer makes much sense. (I should also add the military does not want to reinstate the draft and for the above reasons.)
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 4:06:00 PM EDT
"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." --Samuel Adams
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 5:37:50 PM EDT
There maybe some benefit to having a mandatory national uniformed service plan. Everybody would have personal insight as to why funding for training, equipment and facilities for the armed forces is so essential. It would also serve to illuminate the rationale behind maintaining the Civilian Markmanship Program. What shouldn't return is the exemption system that existed with the previous draft system. In my perfect world, everyone without exception would come in as an enlisted, and learn a basic skill. If, at the end of their initial service period, they chose to make a career, or go to college to return later (or not), they would still understand the function and necessity of the armed forces. I might also revise the employment of the reserves and national guard. Currently, most reservists drill "one weekend a month and two weeks a year". From a trainer's point of view, most experience a "data dump" in the interceding 28 days a month. I think we should return to the old model of drilling one day a week at a local hometown NG armory. Creation of more range facilities to support that training scheme would be another benefit.
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 5:41:57 PM EDT
The military does not want the draft reinstated.
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 5:54:55 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 6:11:54 PM EDT
Do I think we should have a standing army? No Do I think we should be in Afghanistan? No Do I think all this shiznit we're in now would be present if we didn't have a standing army? No Call me crazy but I think the framers were geniuses and would be turning in their graves if they knew how much their original intentions have been perverted over the years. "Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it." -Judge Learned Hand "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance." -Thomas Jefferson
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 6:20:04 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 6:27:56 PM EDT
Jefferson didn't like the idea of having a standing army, but America's poor showing in the War of 1812 led him to reconsider and he founded the USMA--West Point. The truth is that only a professional army can match another professional army. It is a necessary evil. Civilian control makes it less dangerous. You want people who want to be there, not conscripts like we had in Viet Nam and the Russians had in Afghanistan and Chechnya. I do think there is a lot of room for improvement in the defense budget though. Even with a "war" going on, I keep hoping for fiscal responsibility. The tab of $300B is hard to swallow. Maybe we'd be better off if the military became a private corporation? We seem to be heading that way anyhow--look at how many contractors work for the CIA and the NSA. Look at the glorified mercs being hired to fight the Drug War in Colombia. One could argue that professional soldiers are mercenaries (I know that I'll catch hell for saying that) anyways. So why not privatize the whole operation? Instead of inter-service rivalry, you would have corporate competition. If we're going to be a warfare state, then let's at least be the best warfare state possible (slight humor there). A for-profit Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. Oh the possibilities! The global corporations that pull strings in DC would then not have to hire lobbyists and make backroom deals. It could all be done out in the open. You want a pipeline through Afghanistan? No problem. The new privatized Marine Corps will be hired to invade and conquer the needed territory and you can even get GANTT and PERT charts created in Microsoft Project showing their timeline just as if it were any other business function. The military would then actually train people for the private sector because it *would be* the private sector. Finance could be an MOS. An the military would finally be efficient because there would be real competition. It would be better for the taxpayers, better for the corporations, better for our government and better for American freedom.
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 6:33:39 PM EDT
U.S. Army 1949: WWII has been over and left us standing as the single most powerful nation on earth. Not even the Russians have nukes yet. The aura is that no one, absolutely no one will ever mess with us again. America's standing army is dismantled. Only a few active divisions remain. The war to end all wars has been won. Korea 1950: The North Koreans have invaded the south and we respond. We send a small detachment, called Task Force Smith,into Korea, on the assumption that the mere presence of U.S. troops will stop the North Koreans in their tracks and make them re-assess their objectives, which lie behind the American task force. Anybody know what happened? I do. Let me also add this as a side note. When I was in my final year of service (1992) the Army was downsizing and the buzzword of the day was "No more Task Force Smith's". Literally an Army motto at the time. The underlying goal was to keep a smaller, but still effective, Army, ready to respond. Guess Clinton never heard the motto or the rationale behind it.
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 6:35:22 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 6:36:54 PM EDT
Originally Posted By robbyd: Call me crazy
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Your crazy! :) "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance." -Thomas Jefferson
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And who better to maintain that eternal vigilance but our STANDING military forces while the unappreciative masses "sleep under the blanket of freedom" they provide! Sherm
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 6:44:09 PM EDT
I'm not arguing that our military is not the shiznit. I'm not arguing that we should necessarily return to militias. I'm saying that most American's don't understand the cost of war, safety, life, and freedom. Just my opinion. Shawn
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 6:44:23 PM EDT
robbyd, some real smart guy said "Pray for peace but prepare for war." If we had no standing military we would be fighting in Jersey - New Jersey. As requested - "YOU ARE CRAZY."
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 6:52:04 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 6:56:08 PM EDT
Originally Posted By 5subslr5: The military does not want the draft reinstated.
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True...it is easier to train and instill a sense of professionalism in somebody who asked to be there, vice a conscript dragged in kicking and screaming. But there will always be those exceptional individuals who enter without considering the depth of thir commitment. Remember our dentist from Georgia?
Originally Posted By raf: Militias, during the entire History of the US have been adjuncts AT BEST. There is NO substitute for a trained, professional army.
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Again, true...but as active forces were drawn down, the guard and reserves were figured more prominently in the contigency plan, as well as the operations tempo. But I feel that their training didn't grow with their relevance. So overall, what's the difference? We have always had at least a small professional military corps on hand. But we are a weakened all-volunteer force, who is still going to have to draw conscripts from an unwilling population at the worst possible moment to consider training. Wouldn't it be better to force this issue in an evenhanded and timely manner? How many of the policy and budget makers currently in the halls of congress ever served in the military? Fewer, each year, return. Is this reflected in how our forces are employed and equipped?
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 6:59:02 PM EDT
I kinda get the feeling that with around 60,000 people serving as peace officers, we already like have a standing army. Besides, who's gonna fly the aircraft and work the gizmos on the doomaflatchies if'n we don't have a standing army? Eric The(AmIBeingTooTechnical?)Hun[>]:)]
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 7:00:38 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 7:30:45 PM EDT
Man, Eric, I never thought of that when I was writing my last post. But yeah, we have a domestic military as well as an international one, don't we? I've talked to a lot of people about how to successfully privatize the police and it always comes down to the fear that they will somehow be out of control. I disagree. I don't think we have that much control over the police now--civilian review boards are rare animals. Private police would work through an insurance company, probably similar to how a private fire dept. would operate. Yes, it could get out of control with competition, so you still have to have some state laws that act as ground rules. So what? raf:
Sorry, but the US signed a treaty outlawing the prize system and letters of marque/reprisal in the past.
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I don't follow? Why is that an impediment? If it's just a matter of the law, the law can be changed, as gun owners are all too often reminded.
What profit is there in the complete destruction entailed in modern war?
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There is no profit motive--exactly my point. There is only profit in defense of other infrastructure. No profit at all unless you count genocide as some kind of gain, and genocide is universally despised. It would be much better than our current situation, and a hell of a lot more honest--you think about it.
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 7:38:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/9/2001 7:32:37 PM EDT by raf]
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 7:41:02 PM EDT
Originally Posted By raf: ...Let me ask, however, if you would want to serve, say at the Chosin Reservoir, with unwilling, draftee Marines?
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Actually, I think a considerable number of the Marines there were WW II vets recalled to active duty, some quite unhappily. IIRC, the first Marine ground units sent to Korea were reserve units. The unwilling new draftees came later. Recruiters have always been available, but then again, so has the Canadian border. Getting back to your core question; would I want to serve with them? Yes; as a matter of fact, they aquitted themselves quite admirably. The problems in prosecuting that war (and the next)were to be found at a much higher decision making echelon. Can you imagine what would happen if the the life and death strategy decisions were being made by people whose greatest claim to maturity and ethics was tenure at the UC Berkeley School of Government?
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 7:52:12 PM EDT
Originally Posted By EricTheHun: I kinda get the feeling that with around 60,000 people serving as peace officers, we already like have a standing army. Eric The(AmIBeingTooTechnical?)Hun[>]:)]
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Good point, since the establishment of large organized police agencies (starting w/ the NYPD in 1845) really started about the same time in US history. The civilian population has been conditioned (or forced by NYC's 1911 Sullivan law) to rely on the social services of the government, rather than themselves.
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 7:53:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/9/2001 7:49:20 PM EDT by raf]
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 8:01:09 PM EDT
Originally Posted By raf: Most Americans don't know what to takes to make the lightbulbs glow. Or the TV to work. Or what it takes to make a box of breakfast cereal. Yet, life goes on somehow, because SOME people do. Your point is.....?
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I'm saying that since we are a society that builds itself upon a democracy, (actually established as a republican government which is constantly evolving more and more into an absolute democracy) having the general populace ignorant of the consequences of military action/inaction creates a misguided society. Having people separated from the consequences of military operations creates an apathetic and ignorant populace that doesn't understand or care about the costs (not monetary cost) of military action. The military is almost a society all its own. They are becoming American's "janitors" cleaning up messes, and kept from the sensitive eyes of our youth. The "guns" are "bad", and our children are sheltered from the wars abroad. People grow up with no concept of struggle. No framework in which to understand the cost of their freedoms. Sure, we may be able to go on like this.... but for how long? Forever? I personally think not. [i]A scenario I thought up (purely hypothetical but perhaps plausible)[/i] Something happens, and the military sees that it must react to save Americans/America. The populace is unable or unwilling to do what needs to be done. The military acts despite the contradictory orders from the elected officials. What happens now? The people realize the military is outside their control. [i]end my little made up situation[/i] Could this happen? It has happened to other societies in human history. I think the rise and fall of the Roman empire has many similarities to America. Shawn
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 8:09:08 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 8:11:21 PM EDT
Originally Posted By raf: May I suggest that you may be worrying about very unlikely scenarios? IMHO, we are MUCH more likely to lose our liberties slowly, imperceptibly, rather than all at once.
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I agree with both statements. I still believe that the ignorance of Americans is a catalyst to this end. Good discussion BTW. Shawn
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 8:13:05 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 8:21:17 PM EDT
Originally Posted By raf: It took 3 years (1 of actual combat experience) for the US Army to consistently beat the German Army. Militias, during the entire History of the US have been adjuncts AT BEST. There is NO substitute for a trained, professional army. Those who argue differently are simpletons, who lack a sense of history.
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Well spoken.
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 8:30:53 PM EDT
Originally Posted By raf: "Would you want to serve alongside reluctant, GREEN, draftees in, say, the Chosin Reservoir?"
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Again, yes. I understood where you were coming from. I'm willing to bet there that there were also plenty of newbies walkin' back from the reservoir too. Apparently, leadership by example and peer pressure led them to do the right thing. If we were to equitably hold actual military service to be a fact of life for all eligible 18 year old souls, the basic skills would be instilled in a larger population and there would be fewer reluctant, GREEN draftees forced into that kind of life or death fight. And consequently, the general public would have a greater appreciation for the gravity of the situation, because they too had been there.
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 8:44:12 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 8:48:14 PM EDT
In Germany (I think) and in other countries, civil service is a requirement. Here's how i remember it worked.... If you joined the military it was 2 years of service. You could opt to go into another type of service (like social work) but you'd be required to serve for 3 years instead of 2. This option gives people an out from the military application, but still (possibly) enstills a sense of public duty and identity. It works for other countries and could work for us. Shawn
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 8:53:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/9/2001 8:48:51 PM EDT by raf]
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 9:08:12 PM EDT
Originally Posted By raf: Gunny, ... you and I may have to agree to disagree.
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Really , I don't think we are so in disagreement. We just need to find an effective mechanism by which to inculcate a sense of duty. At least nobody here is advocating a return to hastily assembling state militias in a time of need!
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 9:11:43 PM EDT
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 9:23:24 PM EDT
I wonder what it is that compels a select few of us to serve. What are we doing so wrong that we discuss mandatory service? Why don't young people, as part of their socialization process, learn the values, lessons, and importance of service. I was last assigned as a entry level school Instructor for junior enlisted personnel. Now this is highly unscientific, but I can tell you that many young guys I trained lived very much in the, "what's in it for me?" world. I think we are weak precisely because those who forged the way were strong. What I mean is that the hard battles have been fought. Not many Americans are old enough to remember what it was like to go from eating lard sandwiches and scrounging for work, to hitting the beach heads. When our economy slumps now, what does it really mean? Oh, sorry little Johnny, I guess you will have to settle for only one game with your new X-Box now, instead of two. Our fathers worked hard so we didn't have to, and by God are we trying to live up to that diminished expectation. A standing Army is an inevitability of modern life. Our weakness comes not from a false sense of security, but from the absence of a crucible to fire form the true lessons of liberty.
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 9:37:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/9/2001 9:32:20 PM EDT by OLY-M4gery]
Yes there are ungrateful people, there always have been there always will be. But I don't think we should force the military to have to adapt to a bunch of people that don't want to be there, and who will whine and complain about being there. Discipline, morale, and espirit de corps would all suffer. Once the whiners got out I think their attitude would be worse, and the would have a litany of "they made me do..........., dumbasses." The military shouldn't be used as a "sociological experimentation range". Professional soldiers doesn't seem like a bad thing especially if they are treated and trained as professionals. I can't think of anything better than able, trained, motivated soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines making up a force from top to bottom. And remember those "ungrateful ones" are the same people that are you neighbors, who complain about taxes, then complain about the quality of the schools, slow police response, potholes in the road, and so on. They also know what everyone else could do to make their quality of life better, but really don't care about what they do to others. I think the real question is why do some people seem to be such poor citizens, not why would they be such poor soldiers.....
Link Posted: 12/9/2001 9:44:46 PM EDT
I think the real question is why do some people seem to be such poor citizens, not why would they be such poor soldiers..... [/quote] Excellent my friend, I think that was the core of what I was trying to get to in 300 words or less. Have we become a nation of strangers with no ties to our fellow Americans, and no real or perceived reason to "do the right thing"?
Link Posted: 12/10/2001 2:28:36 PM EDT
Originally Posted By robbyd: Do I think we should have a standing army? No Do I think we should be in Afghanistan? No Do I think all this shiznit we're in now would be present if we didn't have a standing army? No Call me crazy but I think the framers were geniuses and would be turning in their graves if they knew how much their original intentions have been perverted over the years. "Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it." -Judge Learned Hand "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance." -Thomas Jefferson
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true the founding fathers did not want a standing army, but they did want a Navy to protect us from foreign invasion. a standing army is necessary today espeicially the Navy, Air Force, and the Marines. not to discredit the regular Army, but most of todays combat situations can be handled by the Marines, Navy, and Air Force. Militia's are not a real assets simply because they do not recieve a sufficient degree of training. i beleive this should be remedied by organized state defense forces who emulate National Guard traning for disaster relief, and marksmanship skills. such as the Virginia Defense force (the "George Washington" division). wich is under command of the National Guards General.
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