Skip to comments.Time for an American Foreign Legion?
Posted on 10/05/2005 5:04:26 AM PDT by qlangley
The US cannot find enough volunteers for its armed forces. On the other hand it has an unlimited supply of volunteers for the right to live in the US. The two do seem to offer a solution. In Roman times one of the routes to citizenship was to serve in the legions. Why can't America adopt the same system?
One possible problem is that the foreign legion could be infiltrated by America's enemies. That can, of course, happen anyway - the fact that someone is an American citizen does not mean they are loyal.
It is unlikely that foreign recruits would simply integrate into the ordinary armed forces. The US armed forces are extremely expensive to run - this is one reason why it would not be easy to simply raise pay rates to boost recruitment. To attract recruits from countries with lower standards of living would be much cheaper.
There are, of course, alternatives. Britain won the Seven Years' War - ironically the war that gave her control of North America - by subsidising allies. Since British soldiers were highly paid it was cheaper to pay Prussia to field an army than to field a British Army.
The Soviet Union used Cuban armies to invade African countries. Subcontracting other countries to fight wars has a long pedigree. The Economist has suggested that the UN should have an army manned by poor countries and financed by rich ones.
But why would America finance an army that could only be used with French, Russian and Chinese permission when it could finance one under its own control?
Only if Quentin Langley is the first to sign up for it.
Anyone who is too lazy or too stupid to work and struggle to succeed in his own home is NOT going to risk his hide for some other country.
I figure that a country that can't find enough men that believe it's worth fighting for probably doesn't deserve to remain free. The next ten years will answer the question one way or the other.
We have had a number of incredibly Brave young Men from Latin America and elsewhere seeking to become Americans who have joined the USMC. Some have given their lives already in Iraq and Afghanistan fighting with the Corps. This idea has great merit. Those who seek citizenship and are willing to serve the Nation could be put on the fast track to becoming US Citizens this way. Those willing to fight and die for America are amongst its most loyal citizens. The idea has great merit in my opinion. Those who sign up with the Foreign Legion serve a 5 year contract honorably are eligible for French Citizenship.
What attracts Men to the Legion is its long tradition of military service, honor, and its Warrior traditions. It is one of the World's best fighting units. It is also expendable to the last man. That they are not French Citizens means little political fall out if they are killed in combat in an unpopular military conflict. As a instrument of National Policy and American Counterpart would be a tool that could be abused. CIA Paramilitary operations and contractors are similar in that they are unknown, deaths do not appear on DOD casualty reports issued to the Nation.
This is already the case, if someone wants to serve in our forces in return for citizenship all they have to do is sign up. There are already a LOT of non-American citizens serving in the Armed Forces today with the understanding that they will be awarded American citizenship for their efforts.
While on a tour in Germany, I had the opportunity to serve with a young man from Spain. One of the better soldiers in our unit I must say. Things got a bit touch and go with him when Spain decided that it was time for this particular young man to serve in their Armed Forces as part of theirmandatory term of service that all of their young men must do. They tracked him down in Germany where it became a serious paperwork drill to keep him from being taken back to Spain. This particular young man is an american citizen now.
My understanding is that the Legion is now and has been for decades mostly French. I remember reading the lists of nationalities which comprised the Legion immediately after WWII and for the subsequent decades. Mostly German (and former SS) immediately after the end of WWII and E. European second down on the list after that. As conditions in Europe improved and those guys retired out, more and more French and French colonials (Algerians, etc.) filled the ranks. I was curious why it was called the Foreign Legion if most were French. That's why I read that stuff. By the way, a mandatory condition of their joining, is turning over their passports for the entire term of their enlistment. The Legion argues that it is not the 'dregs' of society, but many are really hard cases who would be misfits anywhere else. That does not make them bad soldiers, but the Legion was traditionally a hideout for all and sundry.
We already have heroes in the US mililtary who aren't yet US citizens. Is there actually that much to gain by putting them in seperate units and feeding them dirt?
You want to do that, maybe you should subcontract the job out to Poland or someone. Speaking of which, http://www.operationac.com/coalitioncare.html would get you to a site which allows you to contribute a package of boots and other kit to a coalition soldier. Stuff of higher quality than what some of the coalition military provide their troops.
I support the troops and the War on Terror, but perhaps we might consider having our troops return to the Constitutional role of defending American soil instead of nation-building (which the Prez condemned vigorously in one of the debates). Blast the enemy to smithereens and don't worry about the aftermath. Dead terrorists don't blow up people. Kill the bad guys and come home. Quick, easy, and painful (for them). Let the survivors figure out that supporting terror isn't a good idea while they pick up the rubble.
And therin lies the crux of the situation. We have raised a generation of selfish (except for our military personnel of course)"self-esteem" motivated, cowardly citizens. We may very well lose everything this wonderful nation has provided us; history has taught us clearly that this can certainly happen.
If this form of government starts crumbling, it will be amazing the speed in which it happens, all voids are filled with something, if not good, then evil, it doesn't remain a void for long.
"Time for an American Foreign Legion?"
We already got one right here in town. They have a live band, bingo and booze every Saturday night.
Do they do that secret raccoon-hat handshake like Jackie Gleason and Art Carney used to do?
I don't know, they won't let me in for some reason?
Well it might become more popular method of earning citizenship if it was more well known.
We're becoming more and more like Rome during its fall.
I wonder if a people who no longer share strict morals, legends, myths, religion--may not properly be a nation except on paper.
The Rre'r Bear approach has its limitations - chiefly the tendency to create enemies faster than you eliminate them.
We are instead trying the Dale Carnegie approach of according people as much respect as possible and convincing them that they can prosper by doing things our way. Much harder in the very short run, much higher potential payoff in the long run. Conservatives generally find that "the short run" expires remarkably quickly.
In the context of this thread, Iraq could become a source of "foreign legion" types for us who speak Arabic.
What attracted men to the Legion was in the aftermath of an extended period of warfare you have lots of men who have become adrenaline junkies. They have learnt to like war. So they find a home in the Foreign Legion or become "soldier of fortune" types wandering from war to war.
And by the way "it was cheaper to pay Prussia" is wrong. King George III was also Elector of Hannover, a German prince, so his German soldiers came from Hannover (Hamburg) and Hesse (Frankfurt am Main) in Western Germany.
Since the Revolutionary War, we had non Americans join the army and fought with us.... Relax...
I wasn't commenting on the willingness of foreigners to do our fighting for us.
I was commenting on the increasing unwillingness of Americans to do our own fighting.