Skip to comments."Needed: Sense of service and sacrifice" (Mackenzie calls for 'compulsory service' - a draft lite?)
Posted on 11/22/2004 12:08:13 AM PST by churchillbuff
Herewith some key policy recommendations for the second Bush administration now forming up - with emphasis on a biggie. . . .
Among others, the new administration should do these things:
- Complete the mission in Iraq and move to a strategy of coalition troops in key locations as ultimate backups while stable, unified democracy takes root there.
- Track all illegal aliens (including terrorists) in the United States, and move to temporary-worker cards for legals.
-Crack the legislative code on the liberal Democratic lock stymieing so many administration nominees to the federal bench.
- Infuse the environmental "problem" with free-market solutions.
- Likewise, infuse the developing energy shortage with incentives that will bring about energy independence.
- Enact a private-investment corollary to Social Security, now facing unfunded liabilities of $26 trillion. As even Bill Clinton pointed out, the only options for reforming Social Security are: raise taxes, cut benefits, or invest privately. John Kerry ruled out the first two; President Bush embraced the last.
- Permanentize the Bush tax cuts and eliminate the estate tax.
- Further, simplify the tax code - truly simplify it, even through a revenue-neutral flat tax whereby taxes would be filed via hardly more than a post card asking, How much did you make last year from all sources? The tax paid would be a stipulated low percentage of that amount.
-And - the biggie - move to one year of compulsory universal service with a front-end military component for all men and women 18-23.
This is the biggie because - well, let's go back.
It is clear our standing active-duty military is too small and currently stretched thin by demands in Afghanistan and Iraq - with the prospect of difficulties with the likes of Iran and North Korea to come. We are overstressing our Reserve and Guard forces through rarely envisioned long-term use of their services.
It is equally clear the nation could benefit hugely from an enhanced sense of service on the part of the young. Compulsion and service are notions commonly - but not exclusively - fostered by the left. For example, in the presidential campaign just ended, Kerry floated a plan as part of his Real Deal to (his words) "require service for high-school students":
John Kerry believes we need to think big and do better and get more young Americans serving the nation. As part of his 100-day plan to change America, (he) will propose a comprehensive plan that includes requiring mandatory service for high-school students.
Moreover, in September the Democrats began rumoring that a re-elected Bush would reinstate the military draft - and never mind denials by Republicans from Bush to Vice President Cheney to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld ("The truth is, we don't need a draft. We're not going to have a draft."). Bush was similarly emphatic: "We will not have a draft so long as I am president of the United States."
Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel, mumbling about domestic class war or something, submitted a measure to reinstate a military draft. Led by Majority Leader Tom DeLay ("We're going to put a nail in that coffin"), the Republican House killed the Rangel measure 402-2. Democrat Kerry evidently favored the Rangel position. In an interview aired Sept. 26 he said he would not reinstate a draft now, but: If we had a need for a general mobilization at some time in the future, then I think that's the only fair way to do it.
So we have arrived at this juncture:
(a) The military is strained (the Army has 10 active-duty divisions, with nearly all either in Iraq, just returned, or preparing to go). The left, especially, wants to remedy the situation by reinstating the draft.
(b) Just about everybody sees the need to instill the virtue of service in the young; high-schoolers themselves unabashedly pad their resumes with testimonials about all the volunteer service they have done - the better to please collegiate admissions officers. Some high schools already make community service a condition for graduation.
Then why not a program addressing both issues: one year of compulsory service - no exceptions? The service component could be satisfied by practically anything on a long approved list, from nursing homes and mental wards to soup kitchens and juvenile homes.
That component would follow the front-end military component - the equivalent of boot camp. All would get a taste of the military, even an appreciation for it, so as to understand it better. And there would be established thereby a constant, lightly trained cohort from which the military might draw in times of stress on its regular forces - as now.
This is the biggie.
With the nation in by all accounts a protracted World War IV against jihadist terrorism, what is lacking is any sense of sacrifice. These days post-9/11 flags are broadly absent on cars and front porches; undermining any determination to win the war, the administration has told us repeatedly to go about our business as though little had changed.
But much has changed. We require a renewed sense of service and sacrifice. We also require a populace fully appreciative of the importance of the military, and knowing full well where additional manpower will come from should the need arise. The way to accomplish all that is through a new program of compulsory universal service with a front-end military component - one year, no exceptions. Now.
I predicted 1) there would be calls for a renewed draft; and 2) it would be called something different.
Mackenzie's a prominent conservative voice, making the kind of proposal I saw coming - and, indeed, calling it something else: compulsory service with a 'military component.'"
As long as neocons keep talking about the US effecting regime change in Middle East countries beyond Iraq, it's foolish NOT to talk about a draft, er "compulsory service with a military component" - because Iraq alone is more than the troops we've got there now can handle (as McCain admits today in calling for tens of thousands more to be sent to Iraq.)
Our military since the 70's has become purely professional. I believe it would be a mistake to dilute their greatness with those who would protest and carry on to no end about having to be there. It would automatically sink morale to below negative levels. The professionals who volunteered would resent having to carry the burden for all the pansies.
Sacrifice and love of country won't be instilled by compulsory service. Those attributes can only be taught by parents or accepted willingly in adulthood.
In short, the military is opposed to a draft and that should be reason enough.
There's the second sure way (the first is illegal alien amnesty) to lose in 2008.
The average American is not going to support a draft to "bring freedom" to the people of the Middle East. They can take care of themselves, as far as I am concerned. There needs to be some boundary on this neo-con outlook.
And it would hugely dilute our military, and its ability to defend OUR country. Do you want OUR troops to be dependent upon draftees? Public school graduates that are illiterate? What about liberal kids from Marin County and the Upper West Side that support Saddam over Bush? Would you want to put your life in their (incompetent, treasonous) hands? I sure wouldn't.
And.. I almost forgot... what are we going to do about gays? I am sure the troops will appreciate sharing the showers with a bunch of gay draftees.
IIRC conventional forces (peace time?) by law must be 2.1 million.
It's always interesting when people talk about shared sacrifice, it is some one else doing the sacrificing.
Talk a good look at the average 18-23 year old and think how interested they will be in this legislated sacrifice.
This 18-23 yr old must be about 20 million people. Are they going to work for free like the Americorp "volunteers".
What about the administration of another massive Federal program? Free?
Who is elegible to receive the "volunteers"? Social activist groups and Get-Out-the Vote scams?
I think us non-veteran Boomers should be the first to sacrifice, since it would be a novel experience for so many.
FDR would love it.
You better believe those with an agenda would use compulsory service to demand compulsory "acceptance".
There are legitimate reasons for anti-sodomy laws in the UCMJ and it needs to stay that way. The same thing for women in direct combat.
If those two issues are ever breached it will be the beginning of the end of American military superiority.
"This 18-23 yr old must be about 20 million people. Are they going to work for free like the Americorp "volunteers".
What about the administration of another massive Federal program? Free? Who is elegible to receive the "volunteers"? Social activist groups and Get-Out-the Vote scams?"
This country would be a whole lot better if we could draft every 18 year old from Kentucky or Indiana, send them unsupervised to New York City for a year, and put them to work for handing out birth control, photocopying court briefs for gay marriage, picketing energy companies, and signing up voters in the projects for Hillary's 2006 reelection campaign.
I truly had no idea. I had the great misfortune of being in the Army during Clinton's CIC days. The way he was scaling back and gutting the forces I don't see how those numbers could be possible.
Inside of six months they'd be decked in out in Armani, working for MTV or Saatchi and hitting on euro-trash chicks while talking about semiotics' place in a post-modern world.
allow 'older' Americans to enlist....
come on ! change the darn rules....
"Inside of six months they'd be decked in out in Armani, working for MTV or Saatchi and hitting on euro-trash chicks while talking about semiotics' place in a post-modern world."
Isn't MTV going to be running Hillary's get-out-the-vote operation like it ran Kerry's? I bet the NY Times and NBC News could use some draftees as well. Somebody's got to hold the camera, as they chase our troops around Falluja.
Go ahead, laugh. I actually saw it happen recently. Sweet girl from Minnesota or someplace. I see her once and she's dressed in suburban pastels and awed by NYC. Three months later she's dressed in black Helmut Lang and lecturing me on Matthew Barney and the Cremaster Cycle. Quickest transformation, ever.
Agreed. This program has the potential to corrupt young Americans, and corrupt our military.
I will say... and I initially censored this
6 months.. Euro trash chicks. 12 months.. something else.
I actually like the idea of some form of voluntary service with some GI Bill type pay off at the end.
We already have a volunteer military, with scholarship and ROTC programs.
In terms of civilian volunteer service, we need to see what we can afford. Spending is already out of control, before we go and subsidize Planned Parenthood or America Coming Together.
Just my opinion.
I'm not thinking Planned Parenthood, but something on the order public works projects or a partnershhip with businesses. I don't watch cable television often, but when I do watch it, I'm appalled that it's what is being fed to teens. Particularly offensive is the MTV show Cribs, which glorifies mindless extravagance bought with easily acquired money.
Also, we don't know what is being wasted out there. The next Jonas Salk or Einstein could be sitting in some trailer park or housing project...
Don't take this the wrong way... but that sounds like big government to me.
Yeah, it is. But it's worth throwing out there.
What if businesses sponsored these kids in exchange for tax breaks?
My daughters will never be enslaved by government for any reason.
My sons will never be enslaved unless with other young men they are specifically called for service in the national defense.
If "mandatory public service"--from young men in the absence of a violent threat to the US, or for any purpose if not directly related directly to national defense, OR from young women for ANY reason whatsoever--if "mandatory public service" ever should come to pass, then it will confirm that the United States, the entity through which we have all contracted with each other over the years, is gone.
If the US is gone, then whatever is left is not the United States, and therefore it can expect no loyalty from those living here. And nothing would be left to defend in that case anyway. "To love, honor and serve until death do us part" is a similar concept: if the US is gone then no contract remains.
We the People have unalienable rights and demand that no government disparage them; and we demand continued strict limitations on government power. Americans will not accept even one minute of slavery.
Anything that tries to make us slaves is as great an enemy as any foe our nation has ever faced, and it will be dealt with just like any other foreign invader of our land, with all force necessary to repel it.
So BEWARE, you centralized control freaks, you stupidly naive trusters of centralized power, you fascists, you Democrats, you RINOs, and all you other lovers of slavery: You are warned: do not even think about trying to implement a socialist national service requirement: It is forever non-negotiable.
NO DRAFT, and no involuntary servitude period. We have a military comprised of professional volunteers. Who is this MacKenzie character anyway?
My sons will never be enslaved unless with other young men they are specifically called for service in the national defense.
(dripping sarcasm) My how you value your daughter's freedom and life more than your son's freedom and life.
But I guess after 40 years of anti-male BS from feminists, I guess I can expect no less from the brainwashed masses like yourself...
You are either for or against goverment enslavement of the youth, whether it be a draft or a socialist national service requirement, there is no middle ground on this issue.
I don't know how we can pursue (successfully) the course we've started in the world without a bigger military. Enlistments are down. I see no solution other than compulsory service.
Seeing as you're still wavering on the issue -- let me ask you this -- what if national service provided the promise of a better life for your daughters/sons via educational opportunities?
I think the armed forces are better off with people who choose to serve. I think the military thinks this, too. Of course, perhaps we need millions of soldiers to pacify the Middle East and just haven't been told that.
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. A man who has nothing for which he is willing to fight; nothing he cares about more than his own personal safety; is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better persons than himself."
John Stuart Mill, 1806-1873
Voluntaqry national service currently provides educational opportunities for people who choose to serve.
This idea would cost a fortune and be a waste of time for people who know what they want to do with their lives.
Very few people at 18 know what they want to do with their lives. Educational opportunities would open their eyes to more options. In the future, someting like 7 out of 10 good jobs will require higher math and science skills. And as a country we're not meeting those demands.
People like to rail against an "elite" they imagine in Ivy League college campuses and New York City. In ten years they might be angry at the elite in Bangalore or Hong Kong.
Then the government should spend more on education.
If we need a draft to fight wars, then spend it on that.
I just want to ask this:
How many of you would want to be forced to give up hours of your life for anything like this "compulsory service" crap NOW?
How many of you would want to be forced into government servitude NOW?
I don't care how many people have been 'molded' in the services. It is wrong to force people to work for the government or sacrifice their time without compensation. WRONG. If it's wrong for us to pay exorbitant taxes so people can lay around on welfare, it's wrong for us to compel kids that ain't ours to work for whatever cause we feel is 'good,' no matter how good we think that cause is.
Even in the days of World War II, it took the US close on two years from the institution of the draft to train and equip enough of an expanded military force to start major offensive actions. They trimmed the "street to shoot" time down a lot towards the end of the war, but it was still not an instant process.
These days, it takes from three to six months to teach low-level military skills to recruits. However, this is all based upon planned training throughput of a certain level. Flooding a system via universal compulsory service is a recipe for disaster, as first the corps of trainers must be expanded.
Go to the private sector for trainers? Theoretically possible for some skills, but THE TRAINING WILL NOT BE STANDARDIZED. Severe problems have resulted from such non-standardization.
Train up those already in the service to be the trainers? That means accepting less qualified trainers, e.g. someone who somehow has made it to E-5 with under three years of service and is now expected to lead. Some do rise to the challenge, but not all can.
I also note that some skills require over two years of training to be acquired by military recruits. National Call to Service, or a one-year compulsory military service, will not provide added trainees for those pipelines.
"Anything that tries to make us slaves is as great an enemy as any foe our nation has ever faced, and it will be dealt with just like any other foreign invader of our land, with all force necessary to repel it.
So BEWARE, you centralized control freaks, you stupidly naive trusters of centralized power, you fascists, you Democrats, you RINOs, and all you other lovers of slavery: You are warned: do not even think about trying to implement a socialist national service requirement: It is forever non-negotiable."
Interesting comments - and straight out of the DNC playbook.
You talk about your daughters never living in slavery. I don't know how to break this to you, friend, but we all live in some sort of slavery. We are slave to our boss, our mortgage company, our families, the IRS, the HOA, etc. There's the slvery we choose and the slavery we don't.
I served in 'Nam when there was still a draft. As a result of that service to my country, I gained skills that have provided me with a lifelong career. Not bad for "slavery". I've been able to market my skills and earn a good living from them; in addition to the plethora if great memories I have of those "slave" days.
There's nothing wrong with having a stake in this nation. Virtually every country on earth has something similar. Currently, the US is one of the few countries who do not have active conscription since we are meeting all recruiting goals needed for the all-volunteer service. Suppose an all-out world war breaks out and we have to re-instate the draft? Where will you send your daughters? Canada? They still have a military there, too. Mexico? Haiti? The Ivory Coast?
Those of us who served, whether we were drafted or enlisted, earned our place in this nation. We have a stake in it because we stepped up to ensure that others will still have the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.
And, your contribution was . . . . ?
Freedom isn't free. Down through history, freedom has been purchased with blood. That's not great, it's just a fact of life. And, it's true that war never accomplished anything . . . . . except ending slavery, fear, oppression, tyranny, communism, fascism, nazism and, coming soon, the end of terrorism!
Because this is a free country. Compulsory service forces people into service to the state. That's great if you're a totalitarian country, but not if you are a free state.
Where you say "Service to the state" others would say, "Serving their country."
Compulsory "National Service" is right out of the 1930's Progressive playbook.
It is flatly incompatible with America's founding principles for the government to shanghai American citizens into such a program.
There might be an argument for a draft in times of dire national emergencies, but we are not in one now -- although we are at war. This idea that the government "need[s] to instill the virtue of service in the young people" is social engineering at its most arrogant.
One cannot possibly advocate such a program and claim to have any understanding at all of the proper relationship between the people and the government.
Mackenzie should be ashamed of himself.
I agree on the dilution factor. I can personally attest that it has happened to a small degree already. Recruits are bought by the lure of college money and student loan repayments. I was out for a few years, then shortly a reservist. Predominantly, the kids were in it for the college money, but not paid enough for this or that task. Many were shocked that they would be required to go to war.
We should limit our recruitment as it is.
As for myself, I would be willing to do a short term contract in a war zone. No long term commitment. Even at 36 I am certain I could be an asset.
I think there are others like me, short term personnel. Temps. Give me a nine month tour with no strings attached, I would go in a NY minute. Of course, I would like the option of being attached to a Marine unit. I am former Special Ops so whats not to love.
As a country we're pretty much squandering our youth. This pretty much follows the basic principles of supply and demand. If American kids want to sit in front of MTV all day or pretend they'll be rap stars, then fine, there are plenty of kids in India, China and other countries willing to learn the skills and work hard to achieve something. And hey, they don't even have to move stateside, they can do the engineering, the architecture, the design work or the accounting via internet. And, they don't have that pesky sense of entitlement.
So, if you have a better idea of how to motivate or at least instill some work ethic in these kids, let's hear it. Because in ten years they'll be calling some guy whose name they can't pronounce "sir" and wondering where all the American opportunities went.
Compulsory universal service is also known as involuntary servitude.
If it happened, I'm sure I could be polite the first few times a brainless, brainwashed 18 year public school product trespasses on my land and tells me I'm an evil property owner destroying the environment.
But after a couple of months explaining to witless, Marxist useful idiots what private property and free enterprise is, I'm sure I'd lose my patience and start locking them up via a call to the sheriff.
Involuntary servitude is a monumentally stupid idea.
If you believe that it is the government's job to motivate and instill work ethics in kids, or to otherwise attempt to make them better people, then you and I have VERY different understandings of the principles of the American founding, of the proper role of government in a free society, and of what it means to be an American.
Your belief that the role of government is to improve people is really the core essence of old-fashioned, dead-end, social engineering, 20th century Progressivism.
If you can truly believe that government is supposed to improve us, and yet simultaneously believe that the purpose of government is to secure and protect our God-given rights as free human beings, then you have earned a black belt in Orwellian Doublethink.
This is the same old same old. Every generation is the "worst ever" according to their elders.
StarSpangled - member since 11/1/04.
Besides, given the leftist/socialist tripe they spew in colleges today, why expand the propoganda program by providing yet more taxpayer funds towards this cause? What we ought to do is replace some aspects of higher education with a system of qualifying exams.
Imagine a whole military comprised of John Kerrys. Not a very effective fighting force.
The best motivation I know of is to quit giving deadbeats a free ride.
Very nice quote. Was Mr. Mill hiumself in the military?