reply to post by XGodofWar
Wow, a soldier who got ahead of the curve. I can't believe it. Congratulations.
There is another thread at the moment on ATS related to a soldier paralyzed shortly after deployment to Iraq, who has written a very bitter letter to
George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, full of recriminations against them for their numerous lies in fomenting the Iraq war and calling for them to be
treated like the war criminals they are.
Some responders in the thread have said words to the effect of "Suck it up. You signed up for it." They have a point.
The American military as it is in our time, is not a citizen's army
. It is an Army of employees
. The American military is a mercenary
force, in essence. Yes, it is dressed up in the trappings of patriotism. Yes many if not all of its employees
serve in the spirit of
patriotism. The fact remains that the only truly citizen army is a conscripted army in which it is the civic and patriotic duty of every able bodied
citizen to serve in the military.
The elite or oligarchs, who own the United States of America, and who operate it largely in their own interests, ran into a lot of trouble during the
Vietnam War, at a time when the US did have a Citizen's Army, a military composed of conscripts from across a wide segment of the American population.
The growing opposition to the Vietnam War led to widespread civil unrest and violence in the streets by large numbers of citizens who opposed that war
for a variety of reasons.
The American population as a whole had a stake in the doings of the military at the time because so many of America's young people, across all
segments of the society were involved in those doings.
The way the oligarchs navigated around that problem was to buy the military
, in the sense of abandoning conscription in favor of soliciting
volunteers. The parents of volunteers (employees) are much less politically responsive to anything undertaken by the military. I'm sure they don't
like it if the military starts running amuck, as they did in Vietnam and to a lesser extent in Iraq, but, and this is the important point, they
have no potent avenue of recourse in protest, as the relatives and friends of conscripts did and would
This did not happen by accident. The oligarchical elite in the United States buys its way out of problems when it can and murders its way out when it
In the case of the military they have bought the military, just as they bought both political parties in order to subvert the political process in the
However, in going to a "volunteer" army they have strongly attempted to maintain the illusion of "volunteering" as a patriotic duty and as something
done in the same spirit that military conscripts approached military service in times past, that is, civic and patriotic duty. Most
"volunteers/employees" do not realize that they are operating in a military system that is fundamentally different than the one all previous
generations of American veterans have done since the first use of conscription during the Civil War.
Conscription was used in the WW1 for an important reason:
In 1917 the administration of Woodrow Wilson decided to rely primarily on conscription, rather than voluntary enlistment, to raise military
manpower for World War I when only 73,000 volunteers enlisted out of the initial 1 million target in the first six weeks of the war. One claimed
motivation was to head off ex-president Theodore Roosevelt, who proposed to raise a volunteer division, which would upstage Wilson, however there is
no evidence that even Roosevelt had the popularity to overcome the unpopular war.
I don't want to discuss the military in any wide ranging sense in this post. Technological developments mean that smaller numbers of military
personnel can do more than they could in the past, but the military demands of a large international economic empire offset this to some degree so
that large numbers of people are still required to meet America's military "needs".
However, moving to a "volunteer" army in today's context, as a political move, was a game changer. The challenge that American military personnel face
with respect to service as an employee, is to replace the political backing of the population, given to a conscript army, with something that can
serve them just as well.
American soldiers, if they are going to be treated and mistreated as employees in the workplace, absolutely must organize themselves into
labor unions to battle for better working conditions on the battlefield and more say in just what they are being ordered to do.
Where is the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations in this? American soldiers ought to be talking to them.
on 21-3-2013 by ipsedixit because: (no reason given)