Compulsory Military Service

jflores

Offensive Coordinator
Feb 3, 2004
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There will always be a role for soldiers, and we do need to have a fairly large trained force, but we don't need a whole bunch of guys stationed all over the world when we can get them wherever we need them in a matter of hours.
Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. (Speaking generally, not to you specifically).

Your first post seemed to indicate we didn't really need a large force, which you have now amended to say we'd need one, but basically park it in Ft Benning, Georgia unless the world burns down.

Which are somewhat two differing issues.

The ability to take and hold ground is how nations win wars. Always has been, always will be. This is born throughout history and even today.

Now where we park these ground taking forces is another issue. We could just park everyone at home yes. We would lose all kinds of power projection capability. While war in many ways has stayed the same, one area it has not is the speed at which it needs to be executed and the amount of stuff it takes to execute it. America is a global superpower that relies on all the overseas stuff to generate its super power abilities in the modern era.

On a lot of fronts, a war will be won or lost within the first handful of days, says 72-96 hours. Even if you have the 82nd or whoever on 2 hour recall, with 15-24 hour flight times to the other side of the world, you are going to spend basically a third of any emergency flail up "sitting around" waiting to get somewhere. That's an incredible amount of wasted time when time is literally of the essence.

The 82nd and other airborne type units are light compared to heavier forces. It will take weeks and months to ship armored forces in significant quantities all over the world by ship, as happened in the Gulf in 1991. In addition to those rapid deploying airborne forces, the Marine Corps serves as essentially America's premier "fire putter outer" that essentially can be dropped off from a "float" and hopefully hold out for 30 days until follow on heavier/more voluminous forces arrive.

Those timelines can't be met if the troops are all sitting at home getting pats on the head from Mother around the dining room table. For all the talk these last few years of America first, the reality is that the American way of war and power projection capability is built around our ability to squat in Allied nations all over the world. Somewhat akin to Amazon building warehouses all over the country so we can put a box anywhere we want to within the 2 days Prime delivery promise. Kuwait, Germany, Italy, Korea, and numerous other places all serve three essentially primary purposes

Holding US war material/forces, providing at least a small deterrent factor, and at a minimum, providing a "causes belli" (reason to go to war) if say Russia gets froggy and sends its little green men into Poland and happens to kill an American serviceman by accident.

The small, remote wars are good and necessary at times. Not everything is the next WW3. They take more resources than are advertised and have far more participation than the lay citizen understands than the 2000 troops we're going to leave in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Small ball" as its called, has a prime benefit in that when you take the war off the front page of the paper, the USG has more freedom as it were, to make choices without a lot of accountability as to what exactly is happening and where. (I'm not necessarily putting this in the plus column, but it is what it is and should be listed as a real world dynamic).

The level to which the US relies upon Allies and "less than allied partner nations" for forward staging has had real impact to war plans in the last 20 years. Not being able to invade through Turkey into Iraq into 2003 radically changed the war plan at the last minute and made logistics all around much harder. Dubya basically had to bribe Pakistan into being a "partner" because Afghanistan is landlocked and the US couldn't sustain a huge effort to go after UBL via air alone. We needed trucks through Pakistan to supply the effort.

Restructuring American forces to reside mostly at home would require a completely new framework for how America engages in the world (both in peacetime and wartime), and what it chooses to impose its will on, vs let others decide and we just go along with it or not. It would put us more in the backseat on a lot of stuff and that's not something American's are willing to tolerate, even if we have a desire have troops at home.

Its the reason Trump among others has not made a whole lot of good on its promise to restructure the US military back to the US. Most presidents will play around the edges with overseas bases and troop counts, but there's been no firesale of US holdings overseas.
 
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jflores

Offensive Coordinator
Feb 3, 2004
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Not what I said at all. There is already a sufficient number of volunteer soldiers and the draft already exists. Those who want to be in the military can be.

I never chose to sign up but I would have packed up and shipped out and given it hell had I ever been drafted. I was born in 82 and there was never a draft. I have family that served as well. So I'll give you two guesses of where you can stick your eye roll like I'm pumping draft dodging chicken hawk sentiment over here. There's a world of difference between choosing not to seek out the fight and being scared of it.

There's no logical reason why you would take hundreds of thousands of kids into compulsory combat roles. We're already the largest and most powerful military in the world, and the most expensive.

I would imagine that plenty of drill instructors would tell you the LAST thing they want is to suddenly be saddled with EVERY 18 year old in the country. The military ain't for everyone nor should we want it to be.
I get your point but the vast majority of US forces don't have combat roles. Not sure if the exact ratio but it's something like four support roles for every shooter and maybe closer to nine in some areas.

The reality of compulsory military service is that most of the millions of draftees will end up earning a free college education, salary and benefits while doing weight watchers and washing trucks or some sort of admin paperwork.
 

TheBeav815

Nebraska Football Hall of Fame
Feb 19, 2007
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I get your point but the vast majority of US forces don't have combat roles. Not sure if the exact ratio but it's something like four support roles for every shooter and maybe closer to nine in some areas.

The reality of compulsory military service is that most of the millions of draftees will end up earning a free college education, salary and benefits while doing weight watchers and washing trucks or some sort of admin paperwork.
Full disclosure I did not do math on whether hundreds of thousands would be in a combat capacity, particularly at a time.

I enjoy your posts on stuff like this. It's odd to me how vehemently people will rail against "big govt" and "socialism" but they'd be more than happy to take any hypothetical idiot and hand him free room, board, college, and pension at taxpayer expense so long as he spends a couple years peeling potatoes someplace with Fort in its name.

As you've noted, it would be massively expensive. Moreso than a lot of other ideas that are shouted down as soft, ridiculous "free stuff."

What do I care if part of my paycheck goes to feed a kid who fixes trucks that will never leave Ft. Sheridan over by the lake or a kid who fixes trucks somewhere along I-80? Somehow one guy is noble because he wears camo and the other guy is lazy and he should get a better job if he wants to eat.

I've known some great people and some total pieces of shit from both the civilian and the veteran world. If what I knew of those dudes was from AFTER the service improved, them I guess I'm lucky I didn't know them before. It's necessary, important work. But it's not magic.
 

jflores

Offensive Coordinator
Feb 3, 2004
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Full disclosure I did not do math on whether hundreds of thousands would be in a combat capacity, particularly at a time.

I enjoy your posts on stuff like this. It's odd to me how vehemently people will rail against "big govt" and "socialism" but they'd be more than happy to take any hypothetical idiot and hand him free room, board, college, and pension at taxpayer expense so long as he spends a couple years peeling potatoes someplace with Fort in its name.

As you've noted, it would be massively expensive. Moreso than a lot of other ideas that are shouted down as soft, ridiculous "free stuff."

What do I care if part of my paycheck goes to feed a kid who fixes trucks that will never leave Ft. Sheridan over by the lake or a kid who fixes trucks somewhere along I-80? Somehow one guy is noble because he wears camo and the other guy is lazy and he should get a better job if he wants to eat.

I've known some great people and some total pieces of shit from both the civilian and the veteran world. If what I knew of those dudes was from AFTER the service improved, them I guess I'm lucky I didn't know them before. It's necessary, important work. But it's not magic.
My view is certainly not bullet proof but I've generally subscribed to the idea that people aren't ideologically staunch, they just want to see certain outcomes. A county that goes for Dubya then Obama then Trump and back to Biden in the span of 10 years isn't full of ideologically entrenched conservatives or democrats. They simply are looking for a specific outcome that appeals to them and will latch on to whoever is closest to it.

But yes, laundering govt money through the military is the easiest way to make social programs palatable to the GOP for better or worse. (Edit: SECDEF Gates did call the DoD a "benefits program that occasionally fights").

Personally I think if our intention is to do that, than we should just all (red and blue) admit that we want the USG to be foundational in shaping the lives of 18-22 year old citizens and then put them to work where they can have value add. A big chunk will be military certainly, but most of the chunk will probably not be.

Its just as economically inefficient to over value military spending as it is non-military spending. We might as well optimize it as best we can if we're determined to do something at that scale.

Edit: I meant to say that we had only been a nation a handful of years before Thomas Paine (yes that Thomas Paine) proposed essentially Social Security under the name Agrarian Justice. His program also had a component where every American would receive a one time stipend at 18 or 21 to "get a start in life" in addition to the old age insurance.
 
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TheBeav815

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My view is certainly not bullet proof but I've generally subscribed to the idea that people aren't ideologically staunch, they just want to see certain outcomes. A county that goes for Dubya then Obama then Trump and back to Biden in the span of 10 years isn't full of ideologically entrenched conservatives or democrats. They simply are looking for a specific outcome that appeals to them and will latch on to whoever is closest to it.

But yes, laundering govt money through the military is the easiest way to make social programs palatable to the GOP for better or worse. (Edit: SECDEF Gates did call the DoD a "benefits program that occasionally fights").

Personally I think if our intention is to do that, than we should just all (red and blue) admit that we want the USG to be foundational in shaping the lives of 18-22 year old citizens and then put them to work where they can have value add. A big chunk will be military certainly, but most of the chunk will probably not be.

Its just as economically inefficient to over value military spending as it is non-military spending. We might as well optimize it as best we can if we're determined to do something at that scale.

Edit: I meant to say that we had only been a nation a handful of years before Thomas Paine (yes that Thomas Paine) proposed essentially Social Security under the name Agrarian Justice. His program also had a component where every American would receive a one time stipend at 18 or 21 to "get a start in life" in addition to the old age insurance.
I can't find much of an ideological through-line that holds up to any empirical challenge for most people. I see a lot fall back on "my team good, your team bad" when pressed to justify their beliefs and that worries me quite a bit given the state of our two-party system. I think if a moderate party emerged they'd dominate.
 

Crazyhole

Senior
Jun 4, 2004
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Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. (Speaking generally, not to you specifically).

Your first post seemed to indicate we didn't really need a large force, which you have now amended to say we'd need one, but basically park it in Ft Benning, Georgia unless the world burns down.

Which are somewhat two differing issues.

The ability to take and hold ground is how nations win wars. Always has been, always will be. This is born throughout history and even today.

Now where we park these ground taking forces is another issue. We could just park everyone at home yes. We would lose all kinds of power projection capability. While war in many ways has stayed the same, one area it has not is the speed at which it needs to be executed and the amount of stuff it takes to execute it. America is a global superpower that relies on all the overseas stuff to generate its super power abilities in the modern era.

On a lot of fronts, a war will be won or lost within the first handful of days, says 72-96 hours. Even if you have the 82nd or whoever on 2 hour recall, with 15-24 hour flight times to the other side of the world, you are going to spend basically a third of any emergency flail up "sitting around" waiting to get somewhere. That's an incredible amount of wasted time when time is literally of the essence.

The 82nd and other airborne type units are light compared to heavier forces. It will take weeks and months to ship armored forces in significant quantities all over the world by ship, as happened in the Gulf in 1991. In addition to those rapid deploying airborne forces, the Marine Corps serves as essentially America's premier "fire putter outer" that essentially can be dropped off from a "float" and hopefully hold out for 30 days until follow on heavier/more voluminous forces arrive.

Those timelines can't be met if the troops are all sitting at home getting pats on the head from Mother around the dining room table. For all the talk these last few years of America first, the reality is that the American way of war and power projection capability is built around our ability to squat in Allied nations all over the world. Somewhat akin to Amazon building warehouses all over the country so we can put a box anywhere we want to within the 2 days Prime delivery promise. Kuwait, Germany, Italy, Korea, and numerous other places all serve three essentially primary purposes

Holding US war material/forces, providing at least a small deterrent factor, and at a minimum, providing a "causes belli" (reason to go to war) if say Russia gets froggy and sends its little green men into Poland and happens to kill an American serviceman by accident.

The small, remote wars are good and necessary at times. Not everything is the next WW3. They take more resources than are advertised and have far more participation than the lay citizen understands than the 2000 troops we're going to leave in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Small ball" as its called, has a prime benefit in that when you take the war off the front page of the paper, the USG has more freedom as it were, to make choices without a lot of accountability as to what exactly is happening and where. (I'm not necessarily putting this in the plus column, but it is what it is and should be listed as a real world dynamic).

The level to which the US relies upon Allies and "less than allied partner nations" for forward staging has had real impact to war plans in the last 20 years. Not being able to invade through Turkey into Iraq into 2003 radically changed the war plan at the last minute and made logistics all around much harder. Dubya basically had to bribe Pakistan into being a "partner" because Afghanistan is landlocked and the US couldn't sustain a huge effort to go after UBL via air alone. We needed trucks through Pakistan to supply the effort.

Restructuring American forces to reside mostly at home would require a completely new framework for how America engages in the world (both in peacetime and wartime), and what it chooses to impose its will on, vs let others decide and we just go along with it or not. It would put us more in the backseat on a lot of stuff and that's not something American's are willing to tolerate, even if we have a desire have troops at home.

Its the reason Trump among others has not made a whole lot of good on its promise to restructure the US military back to the US. Most presidents will play around the edges with overseas bases and troop counts, but there's been no firesale of US holdings overseas.
I totally get your position and its valid. I tend to wonder if having troops all over the place doesn't make it that much easier to get into wars we don't really need to fight. I'm of the opinion that the duty of the military is to protect the citizens lives, not our financial or ideological interests but we have spent more time and money on the latter than the former for about 70 years. Ultimately it doesn't matter what I think though, its not something that will change until we go broke as a nation.
 

vic.valiant

Walk On
Jun 9, 2010
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Nay.

A voluntary cadre of professional non-coms has been sufficient for America's purposes.

From a liberty point of view I would never justify taking somebody's life for 2 years.

Any American regardless of political affiliation should find involuntary servitude repugnant.

Go Blue!
 

oldjar07

All-American
Oct 25, 2009
4,974
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Nay.

A voluntary cadre of professional non-coms has been sufficient for America's purposes.

From a liberty point of view I would never justify taking somebody's life for 2 years.

Any American regardless of political affiliation should find involuntary servitude repugnant.

Go Blue!
It didn't seem to be a bad thing during WW1 and WW2. Vietnam was more controversial, but a draft was probably necessary. Part of the reason Iraq and to some extent Afghanistan turned into a mess was we were trying to accomplish too much with too few troops. If we would ever get into a war bigger than Iraq, a draft is probably necessary.
 
Jun 5, 2020
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I would say this way. Every college-aged kid does a 2-year stint, in case he wants to do that. For example, I would definitely like to do that, but at the same time I know a lot of guys who would have answered no. From being a child, I was always attracted to the military. I was always sure that I am going to be a true warrior, a soldier, but as I grew up, I started realizing that this is not something I really want. However, I still have some practices taken from military, and I use the Military Time converter. It is not a big deal, but I like to use the military time.
 
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Wyldcard

Graduate Assistant
Gold Member
Feb 12, 2018
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Every college-aged kid does a 2-year stint.

Yay or Nay?
I have always believed that HS graduates should do a term in whatever branch they choose to as the majority of HS graduates are no more ready for college than the man in the moon as the maturity is not there. As it it sits, there is a nation wide 46% dropout rate after Freshman's 1st semester. The military will expand on responsibility as well as teaching leadership, bearing and and expounding work ethic already learned. If one hasn't learned resposibility and work ethic growing up, they won't even make it in the military.
 

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