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16 August 2016


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In reply to Pacifica Advocate 16 August 2016 at 03:56 PM

"In Europe, "Military Service" can translate to "public service," but everyone is required to do it,"

Not only is this not true now but it never was true even amongst those countries which had some form of compulsory national service.

Willy B

Dear Col.,

I agree wholeheartedly. George Washington believed that military service was an obligation of citizenship in a republic and had actually devised a system of universal military service, the principles of which you can find in a little paper he wrote, entitled "Sentiments on a Peace Establishment," in response to q request from Alexander Hamilton around 1783 or '84. Washington's plan, which he developed with Henry Knox, was blocked by the militia colonels who had boosted themselves on the unregulated militia system that Washington wanted to end.

An Army historian writing in the 1920's, John McAuly Palmer, estimated that if Washington's system had been in place in 1812, the republic would've been able to raise an army of 75,000 men. Therefore, there would've been no war with Britain. The real point of such a system is not to be able to wage wars--though you must have have the ability to mobilize and fight if an existential threat leaves you with no choice--but to be able to avoid them. Palmer, himself, lobbied hard for universal military service after both world wars, but was defeated both times.


Big Bird

"Are we remembering the same Army during the VN era?" You weren't in VN. You were hiding out in Germany and feeling sorry for yourself while LeaNder served you beer in her college bat employment. pl


Eric Newhill

You folks seem determined to miss my point. I am quite aware that drafting the whole yearly cohort of available youth is an impossibility. I just want to draft enough of them to make the decision to fight an expeditionary war of choice politically expensive. in my system people would stay in the draftable pool for five years so they would not feel they escaped if they were not drafted the first year pf eligibility. There should be no deferments for anything and the Guard should be required by law to be sent to the theater of war along with the Regular Army. Would the army be less efficient, yes but I think the brake on adventurism would be worth it. pl


Yeah, I know. My CPO who was in during the Vietnam War said he was against re-instating the draft.



Of course he was. draftees are often a pain the a-s, you know, whiners like you. pl


LeaNder you German live in a cradle to grave welfare state. We do not and will not unless Hillary gets control of Congress. pl

SAC Brat

An interesting summary of past Universal Military Training proposals in the US:




The AVF has been a total failure in deterring US government decision in favor of expeditionary wars. I listened to Abrams tell my AFSC class that he re-structured the Army so as to prevent someone like Cheney sending the Regular Army to fight overseas alone as LBJ did. That did not slow Cheney up at all. Rumsfeld expressed his frustration over the impediment and then they called all kinds of ARNG and USAR units to active duty to send them to the Borg Wars. The existing law concerning the ARNG prevented repeated deployments. pl


SAC Brat

I am not proposing universal military servce. pl

Eric Newhill

Sir, I am with you 100%. Agree on all points.

I was just diving into the details of how draftees could be selected from the overall cohort. Of course, there are many ways it could be done and, as you say, keep it fair.

Big Bird

Sorry to disappoint you, but I was not feeling sorry for myself. The Army was very large at that time with people all over the world;
I just happened to not go to VN. I don't know of any of that cohort of Lts that went to Germany that extended beyond their obligation.

FYI: My draft classification was 1-Y, unfit for active duty unless in time of war or national emergency. I was over the upper height limit. I had a waiver to finish ROTC, which I did, and ultimately retired from the Reserves. You don't know me and are taking a gratuitous cheap shot.


Small towns like Beallsville, OH



It was a question about a critical [human] resource bottleneck: is there one? Where do the NCOs come from? Values have changed, and it seems as if we are nurturing mostly managerial types.

Could just be ignorance + selective perception on my part.



Officers are managers. NCOs are foremen. They come from the same population who enlist for the combat arms. They are chosen basically for having leadership potential. pl


Big Bird

did you ask to go to VN? No? Then you hid out among the other riff-raff in USAREUR at that time. pl


NCOs are foremen.

and I am asking if we are still producing foremen?

A Pols

I remember well when "Tricky Dick" put this through, after the lottery in 1969 took 2/3 of young men out of the running and pulled some of the anti-war movement's teeth.
At the time, many of us thought what a good idea an all volunteer military would be, but didn't foresee the law of unintended consequence's effects on transitioning the military from a citizen army to the politically partisan praetorian guard it has come to resemble.
I also recall Nixon's support for 18 year olds being able to buy alcohol, another sly move to co opt the "youth movement" of those times.
Having an unwilling and dissident faction in the military does create management problems and officers would prefer more tractable subordinates, but this also leads to some inhibiting effect on what the military is tasked with; lacking a broader citizen consensus, there may be some mischief that the neocon movement would have more trouble getting us into.



I don't know of any particular problem with present day NCOs. pl


"while LeaNder served you beer in her college bat employment. pl "

somewhat surprised you remember it, but yes among the many people we necessarily have to leave behind without ever knowing how they did after, maybe I would like to meet them more then my graduation class? One, quite active in matters I met a while ago.

I do have very, very vague memories though ... and whatever I told you about it, may not have been the full picture.

"her college"

college was, FU Berlin, or Free University though. not that it matters really. But we have a different system over here.

A Pols

I see I just rehashed what you already stated..
This topic seems to have stirred things up a bit...

Chris Bolan

Andrew Bacevich has a thought-provoking piece in Foreign Affairs today arguing for a restrained U.S. military strategy focused on defense and deterrence (rather than never-ending military operations & commitments) that also includes a call for "conscription-based reserves".


Fifth Columnist

If the founding fathers had meant for universal military service they would have enshrined it into the constitution. Desiring mandatory service now to prevent wars of choice is a form of social engineering.

That being said.. it happens to be social engineering I approve of so I'd like to see it happen. But, perhaps we would broaden mandatory service to include diplomatic service, local law enforcement, conservation corps, etc.

Point being not only to impose a political cost but also to create a steady infusion of quality rather than creating life-long government positions for the increasingly mediocre.

Lastly.. it would be a bitter pill to discover that conscription would perhaps not put a stop to our wars of choice.


Actually, Babak,

England also has had a volunteer army but it was the depletion of her income that reduced her role abroad.

It wasn’t the depletion of her income--she, like all sovereign countries can delineate all debts in their own currency--it was payment for wars in gold while the world was still on the gold standard for international payments (until 1971).


No offense Colonel but based on his remarks today about the intelligence community as a whole, Donald J. Trump doesn't want, need nor respect your opinions. Just saying.

I do however agree as the mom of 3 children that we do need to reinstate the draft and eliminate 'professional' military from the ranks.

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