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16 September 2013


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William R. Cumming

Just as nature abhors a vacuum Washington policy making abhors intelligent open discussion. Dempsey a refreshing change in the Flag Ranks!

The beaver

Someone at Mother Jones calls Cohen, ---hole of the day :-)

Another PNAC neocon like Wolfy et al.

Alba Etie

It is my opinion that the Realist are winning the day - and the Interventionist though noisy are having little or no effect . We are not going to Syria - no matter how much Sam & Sue et al - may stamp there feet . I also believe that Ms Christiane Amanpour Jamie Rubin - would be a lot less shrill about overseas interventions if we had a draft ,and her kids were liable to serve -- just saying ..



Conscription in this country was never universal. pl


Since Professor Cohen can not refute the CJCS's facts he resorts to the political thing and attack his character. Standard neocon practice. I'm sure General Dempsey really cares about the professor's opinion.

Charles I

Nonetheless surely a draft would engender and focus debate on interests and ends, and perhaps even on who is defining them for what purposes.

Richard Armstrong

I'm not convinced that conscription must be universal in order to be a deterrent to unnecessary military interventions.

Certainly the Vietnam era draft was manifestly unfair yet it fueled sentiment against the war quite nicely.

As powerless at the 99% are, once a sufficient number are riled up their opinions sometimes have an affect.

Charles I

CBC TV news channel is reporting just now that Turkey has just shot down an errant Syrian helicopter, Turkey to report to NATO.


Professor Cohen is one of the Irish Cohens?


For any who are interested,

Andrew Bacevich, who IMO is one of the better thinkers on issues related to Syria, and the middle east has an intervierw on democracynow.


Peter Schwartz

I reckon the pendulum between realist and interventionist will always swing back and forth. That's because the line between our "vital" national interests and all the "non-vital" ones is blurry. And wars and other events that have "nothing to do with us" have a habit of knocking on our door.

Madison, after all, had a hard time staying neutral between England and France.

What's the dictum? You may not be interested in history, but history is interested in you. Something like that.

Alba Etie

Col Lang
But if we were to adopt RAH vision it would be universal for all citizens - opt in or opt out . And yes that was one of the great inequities of the 1960 's & 1970 's all the exemption for military conscription . When my time came I had a very high lottery number . The whole system was rigged it seems .

Alba Etie

Didn't our first Commander in Chief warn against foreign military entanglements. But at this moment we seem not to be headed for a Syrian military misadventure .


It sure hasn't taken Obama's R2P crowd long to try and re-write history:
"By simultaneously claiming that authority and seeking Congressional authorization to use it, Obama..."
Even better, we should all listen to the hasbara (and an Ahmed Chalabi or two, no doubt)
"It is thus ever more important that the people of one country participate in the decision to attack the people of another."

God help us from the obligation free war mongers. Isn't that just what AIPAC and the hasbara have being doing for years? Maybe we should set up an "Obama" brigade of volunteers to get heroic leaders like Anne-Marie to go in harms way to help the foreigners they love so much.


Andrew Bacevich made that point on the Moyers show. He said the all-volunteer army was a good and successful idea in many respects, but it changed the nature of the military - instead of a citizens' military, it was now Washington's. He might have mentioned, but didn't, the increasing use of mercenaries and outside businesses to perform duties once performed within the military, enabling the government to avoid the revival of conscription with all manner of bad consequences.

As things stand, it took three Middle Eastern invasions in fairly rapid succession - Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya - before the people finally said enough.

Alba Etie

Ms Slaughter the Younger could be in lead of the first 'stick " of paratrooper that" secured' the Assad compound .


Whatever else to say about commies - at least some of them were willing to pick up arms and fight for their cause and their side in the Spanish Civil War.

Or take the Médecins Sans Frontières, whose field hands risk their hides in conflict regions for their ideal that that all people have the right to medical care regardless of race, religion, creed or political affiliation, and that the needs of these people outweigh respect for national borders.

The same cannot possibly be said about the neo-cons. Almost without exception, they have more important things to do than to fight, and see use of force as an attractive tool, because it rids them of the hassle of compromise their precious moral superiority having to negotiate with 'evil'. They'd rather demonstrate thir moral clarity by carpet bombing Damascus, surgically of course, rathern than shaking hands with a thug like Putin or Assad [Indeed - yuck! Just think how that would legitimise this vermin!].

While to the neocons the use of force is about [their] moral clarity [vainglorious vanity?], uplifting the benighted and dragging then kicking and screaming to the end of history (and help Israel in the process) - the R2Pers find war immoral and seek to redeem the West, which they loathe for its vices, by using force for humanitarian reason. IMO they are largely driven by guilt [and a different sort of vanity].

As always, beauty is in the eye of the beholder - on the receiving end of such more or less benevolent attention it feels like 2000 pound bombs all the same.

Either way, pontificating about the need for bombing this that or another country from an ivy league professorship, a tv platform, OpEd pages or congress isn't putting any sacrifice behind he call or action.

That's for others to execute, who signed up for it and are expected to execute their contractual obligation. If these pundits write or talk longer than they planned for, the worst that could happen to them is to miss lunch (i.e. Fred Kagan probably has really efficient time management).

Alas, all of them face a world full of the benighted, ingrates and wicked. So many targets, so little time!



At the time of the abolition of the draft it was predicted widely that such a re-orientation of the armed forces would occur. pl


What Col. Bacevich said of David Brooks applies to Anne-Marie and her ilk as well.

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