The Local Crank

Musings & Sardonic Commentary on Politics, Religion, Culture & Native American Issues. Bringing you the finest in radioactive screeds since 2002! "The Local Crank" newspaper column is distributed by Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.

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Location: Cleburne, Texas, United States

Just a simple Cherokee trial lawyer, Barkman has been forcing his opinions on others in print since, for reasons that passeth understanding, he was an unsuccessful candidate for state representative in 2002. His philosophy: "If people had wanted me to be nice, they should've voted for me."

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Suppose They Gave A War...

...and nobody came? I have long been worried that the Iraq War would end up destroying the National Guard and the Reserves with punishingly long deployments. Now comes word that younger officers are leaving the Army at an alarmingly high rate.



Blogger Eric said...

It doesn't bode well. Cooincidentally, I passed my 14th good retirement year April 4 and decided to calculate an estimate of my retirement pay if I do another six years. It comes out to about $900 per month if I live to be 60, which is the age at which reservists can start drawing their retirement pay. So in other words, if I do stay in another six years, it sure as hell won't be for the financial benefits.

4/10/2006 8:42 PM  
Blogger Kvatch said...

Or more accurately: "no one volunteered". Well then, I'd say it's time restart that draft.

4/10/2006 8:48 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

In some ways I would welcome the threat of a draft, because I think it would shake a lot of Americans out of their apathy and force them to confront the ugly realities of a broken national security strategy. On the other hand, I don't actually WANT a draft in any way, shape or form. An all-volunteer military is much better than the alternatives.

4/10/2006 9:50 PM  
Blogger The Local Crank said...

The friends I have who are or have been recently in the military (including Captain Atkisson) are almost universally against a draft, so I have to figure they know something I don't. I could support a draft, for the sake of recreating a sense of national obligation and unity, but we'd have to address military concerns about low-quality recruits (though the Army seems to have no problem lowering its' standards now to meet enrollment targets). Maybe draftees could opt to serve in AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, teaching in inner cities or rural areas, working in medical or legal aid clinics, something like that.

4/10/2006 10:31 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

I think compulsory service of any kind is just incompatible with our basic national principles. We can't very well preach about liberty and democracy and free expression and then turn around and force people to serve our government. I understand the broad appeal it has; as men get older, they tend to frown upon the undisciplined ways of young people and think they could benefit from military service (even if the older men themselves didn't serve). Also, liberals tend to see it as a way to sock it to the rich: force THEIR kids to serve in the trenches alongside poor minorities. Interestingly though, poor minorities are disproportionately drawn to non-combat jobs (at least in the Army), and middle class whites are disproportionately drawn to combat jobs. Also, history has shown that wealthy families will almost always find ways to get their sons out of compulsory service. Like the graduated income tax, the idea that compulsory service will "make the rich pay their fair share" is mostly an illusion. It never works out that way.

As an Army officer, I much prefer working with soldiers who want to be there. I understand the appeal of compulsory national service of some kind, but I just don't think it's compatible with our society. I also think the idea that it makes wars less likely is a proven absurdity: we lost 55,000 lives in a pointless war in Vietnam under a system of compulsory service.

4/11/2006 10:47 AM  

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