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16 August 2016


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ex-PFC Chuck

As an early Vietnam-era draftee I now agree that universal service is a good idea, although I probably wouldn’t have at the time. I strongly agree with our host’s assertion that if the people making the decisions whether or not to put military people into harm’s way were putting at risk their own flesh and blood it would concentrate their minds on what was genuinely in the US national interest.

However if I’m reading Pat’s post correctly that he would have all universal service performed in the military, IMO that would lead to a choice between either a military of so much manpower that the Madeline Albrights of the DC world would constantly be looking for places to use it, or one in which the terms of conscription service are so short that it may be largely useless if actually called into action. And that’s if only men are drafted.

Thus if the service is going to be universal I believe there should be a civilian component as well as a military one. I suggest that Pat’s objective of making sure that the decision makers have personal skin in the game can be met as follows: Beginning on the day each member of Congress and the president and vice president assumes office until twenty years after he or she surrenders the office, each blood relative of theirs to the fourth level of consanguinity who comes of conscription age must perform their service as an enlisted person in a combat arm of one of the services. Civilian or non-combat-exposed military service is not an option. The same requirement should apply to the top civilian office holders in the Departments of Defense and State, as well as other federal government entities, such as the CIA, that are involved in the use of violence abroad to further the national interest. A possible cut-off point for the office-holders who would come under this umbrella could be those offices that require Senate approval.



I thought Wilson agreed to work for women's right to vote if the Women's Suffrage Movement gave their support to US entry into WWI. He did, they did, US went to war. Bad outcomes all way 'round.


ex PFC Chuck

I am not in favor of universal military or any other kind of service. I am in favor of drafting (with no deferments) for the ground forces enough mommy's and daddy's boys and girls to create a disincentive for overseas military adventures. That is all. pl



"eliminate 'professional' military from the ranks." I am curious to know what you think Eisenhower, MacArthur, Bradley, Ridgeway, Marshall, etc. were doing before WW2? Were they shoe salesmen, gas station attendants, grocery store managers, what? BTW, if you actually knew anything about me you would have known that I agree with much of Trump's opinions on the work of the CIA in the last 15 years. pl

Richard Sale

Last line of The Sun Also Rises. Neat quote.

Richard Sale

Old Gun Pilot

In the spring of 1968 my draft notice was forwarded to me at Phu Bai in northern I Corps directing me to report. Since for some reason, my C.O. was not agreeable with allowing me return to the U.S.for my physical I suppose there is a warrant out there for my arrest.

Richard Sale

Great comments. Thank you.

Richard Sale

Ishmael Zechariah

I agree that the Army training makes callow youth into Men, and responsible men at that. It was the same in the old TSK of my time. The training went all across the spectrum: along with teaching the goatherds from the mountains not to wipe their butt with a stone they picked up outside, and not to throw the said stone into the (Turkish) toilet afterwards, we taught delicate gentlemen from big cities how to clean that toilet when this happened. We also taught them that they could not pay a poorer draftee to clean it for them either...
I agree with Col. Lang that all should serve in the military and all should go through full boot camp, basic and branch, with all that entails. No one should command a fight without having been in one first.
Ishmael Zechariah



That is the system we had under selective service. Two years active, then six years in the reserve. pl



Yes? Well what would your father have thought of having women infantry? pl



"dependent on welfare" learned helplessness is a terrible thing. I legislate a work obligation for the vast majority of current recipients.



I'm sure the South Vietnamese sure felt it was unjust that that North conquered them. How many fled communism then?


Colonel Lang one question, since I don't know, do you think a draft military service will require more or less military budget.



I recall it being a total commitment of six years.


Dick T

It did not matter to me. I stayed for 26 years. So what? pl



Mine was delivered the day after my men, CORDS 94 and USAF repulsed a 600 man VC assault at Song Be. pl


In the unlikely event that conscription returned, they would just ramp-up the use of private armies like Blackwater and Academi.


Healey was a gunner and then commissioned and served in the Royal Engineers. He was the beach master at Anzio.

He was the defence minister at the time of that Sukharno tried to grab Borneo, and proved to be very effective. And he was in the Labour government that withstood intense pressure from LBJ to get involved in Vietnam.

In 2003, a BBC reporter asked him what he thought of Blair's claim that Saddam had WMD that could be launched in 45 minutes and his one word answer was "S***".

Richard Armstrong

I completely agree with Colonel Lang's proposals. That may come as a surprise to some, however I have held the exact same views since the beginning of the all volunteer force. I suspect that deep down each and every high fallutin' objection to a university draft boils down to the idea that the service is good for some but not for me and mine.

Hood Canal Gardner

I'm "in" with your dear old dad. Again, your dad is on the mark. I'll leave that, along with ALL the faux deferments for another day. Contractor-mercernaries do not "belong." Again, put in other words, the day the US depends on mercenaries to defend the country here or abroad is the day what still is the US is no more. Punt.

PS: if globals (eg) Aramco, the Seven Sisters, Apple, Walmart, Goldman or Citi want protection (land, sea, air, IT) there is nothing stopping them from going on the global free market and buying it. Their collective hands do not belong in the taxpayers pockets.


Pt. Nahas sounds like McAuslan "the dirtiest soldier in the world" in the short stories by George McDonald Fraser (better known for his "Flashman" historical romps) who did service in the ranks in Burma 1943/44 before being commissioned into the Gordon Highlanders and serving in Palestine and Egypt. "The General Danced at Dawn" and two further collections capture well the mindset of soldiers in that time, I think.


What if the politics of the day make war desirable and "the politics" are unified for whatever our leadership sees as an existential threat? We could have millions in ground troops uninvolved as drones, cruise missiles and proxies transform others world.

A larger conscripted military force will not limit what our elite desire. It could just as well enable them.

Peter Reichard

Compared to past wars the casualties have thankfully been low yet the Army still had to lower its standards to maintain force levels. If 300 body bags a week were returning as they were in 1968 I suspect enlistment rates would have collapsed leading to US withdrawal many years ago.


Croesus, you are more then welcome, if you try to make me aware of the darker sides of women's liberation. Or feminist history, if you like. ;)

If Pat allows me to babble: I was and am horrified about a recent supposed VIP rape case over here that had for the casual observer (me) the feel and touch of a witch hunt. The "victim" a rather prominent weather expert apparently cannot return to TV even after being acquitted. The little I watched media wise absolutely horrified me.


Certainly good soldiers and I have always been meaning to get round to reading 'Quartered Safe out Here' by George MacDonald Fraser that is supposed have a number of amusing anecdotes about their antics during the Burma campaign.

Besides recently we increased their pay and pensions because paying them less than British regulars is discriminatory, never mind it is far superior to your average Nepalese salary. Also they are now allowed to settle in Britain on retirement, along with their families, because not allowing them to do so when the government seems to allow all sorts to come here is again discriminatory. Never mind that there was always more wishing to join the Gurkhas than we could sign up and it seemed to confuse the difference between a mercenary and a volunteer.


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