America has a volunteer army and not universal military service or some equivalent. As a nation who has seen too much of war, since the end of World War II, I believe that we should no longer have a volunteer army.
We owe those men and women who do serve in the military a debt of gratitude for their service to their country. The problem with having a volunteer army is that for the nation to commit itself to war, it is far too easy to do so when those who serve are doing so, willingly. The nation by and large does not feel a sense of involvement and shared sacrifice in having a volunteer army.
The unpopularity of the war in Vietnam, ended what was called a military draft. Not only was the war unpopular, but not everyone was drafted. It was not a form of mandatory and universal military service. If you knew the right person you could get out of the draft. The army was made up primarily of the poor and minorities, excluding the officer class. Their was a sentiment that the draft was unfair because not everyone was drafted.
If we had a universal draft where everyone had to serve in some capacity it would be better for our nation. It would mean that if we were to be asked to go to war, the war would need to be one that the public understood was necessary. World War II is a good example of what a commitment to a war should be like, everyone knew someone who was in the military and for those who were left behind, they worked in the factories or they felt the pain of war through rationing. It was also the last war in which the President of the United States declared war and Congress voted to go to war.
Switzerland is an example of a country with some sort of service being required. For both men and women, if you are capable, physically of being in the army, you serve, if you are not fit physically, there are other things that a person can do to fulfill their commitment. They have a small regular army, and a much larger militia.
A professional and full-time military does not come cheap. If you have a well paid military, the tendency of our Pentagon would be to try to make sure the public thinks there is an enemy, in order to justify, the huge military expenditures that we see now. What is the use of having a military that can shock and awe unless we use it? So ladies and gentlemen, we now have a full-time ready-made enemy, terrorists.
It is time to have a peace-time military. A military that satisfies our real needs and threats to our genuine interests.
After World War II, it was the Marshall Plan that saved Europe and set up a strong European Economy that did more to destroy communism than any missile or bomb. It is more effective to use every aspect of our arsenal to maintain the peace. We should not be the policeman of the world and now we can’t afford to be.
Some among would rattle the sword and say we need a highly paid volunteer military so that we can use our power to maintain the oil flow from the Middle East. Well, friends, it’s time to cut the umbilical cord and get off of our addiction to oil.
Saudi Arabia is trying to dictate policy, now, regarding what is happening in Iraq. They are backing the radical ISIS.
We need to be strong economically, and politically and seek diplomatic solutions instead of military solutions.
A draft or a form of universal service will help keep our politicians honest. They remember what happened the last time we were lied to in an unpopular war, when our fellow citizens were in the streets protesting a war that was wrong.
We don’t need our own mercenaries to be sent to protect corporate interests, we need a citizen military that will only be used when it is absolutely necessary. Bring back the draft but this time make sure everyone serves in some capacity, whether it is feeding the hungry in the Delta of Mississippi or helping out storm victims. We need a peace-time universal military service program that will help insure that we have fewer wars.