A Professional Army and Why We Don’t Care

Posted on January 8, 2010

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I am among the first to jump in and defend the military. I spent a couple of years in the Navy and wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world as far as growing up, taking responsibility, exercising authority, and learning that I was part of a whole nation.

But it seems to me that we now have a professional army to do the biding of our country. And there is little connection between Congress and the huge majority of people in this country and what that professional military is asked to do, or is doing, kind of like the professional character of the Roman legions towards the end of the Roman empire.

We are paying them, we hardly ever see them, they are not the sons and daughters of our friends and neighbors, our own sons and daughters, brothers, sisters, wives, sweethearts.

Please don’t misunderstand me. The soldiers (a generic term I am using for all the armed services) ARE husbands, wives, sweethearts, moms and dads, brothers and sisters to a few of us. And possibly we all CARE in a general sense, applaud them (like in the Budweiser commercial) when they come through the airports, going home or deploying.

A round of applause for our fighting men (again, a useful term for all soldiers). Sorry, I’m not P. C.

But we don’t have a STAKE in this fight. Fewer than 5 % of Congress have family in the military. We recruit them, train them, pay them well and send them off to fight. And if they get wounded or are killed, we feel bad, but it doesn’t strike most of us viscerally, right in the gut, because for most of us, we are at a remove from this professional army.

If indeed we are at war, as the last president and the present president loudly have proclaimed, then we ought to ALL be in this war. We can’t win it with a professional army, detached from the emotion and commitment of the whole nation.

To do this, we need a universal conscription. Sorry, here is the “D” word. We need the draft.

What do you think?

Posted in: A Citizen Army