War Isn’t for Everyone
My first piece for The American Conservative, which they've titled "War Isn't for Everyone--The military needs civilian control, not citizen soldiers," is in the May issue.
My first piece for The American Conservative, which they’ve titled “War Isn’t for Everyone–The military needs civilian control, not citizen soldiers,” is in the May issue. It’s now available online under the title “Civilian Control, Not Citizen Soldiers.”
The impetus for the article (submitted February 2nd but delayed a month because of events in the Middle East) is that the recent hand-wringing by Bob Gates, Mike Mullen, and others that the military is bearing the brunt of our perpetual state of war while most of us are blithely aware of their sacrifices misses the point.
- America has traded a model in which a tiny cadre of professional soldiers was augmented with legions of amateurs during wartime for a large professional force augmented by a semi-professional reserve force. And, by most accounts, the result is a far superior fighting machine.
- That most people don’t share in the sacrifice of war is no different than the fact that most of us don’t share in the sacrifice of fighting fires, rounding up criminals, slaughtering and processing meat, mining coal, or any number of other dirty, dangerous jobs that need doing.
- We’ve gone from military service being something that was simply viewed as a man’s duty, to the ugly disdain for the military in some circles in the late Vietnam era, to a cult of worship where everyone who wears a uniform is viewed as a hero or part of a priesthood above questioning.
- [T]hey have one unique attribute that distinguishes them from those in any other line of work: They’re not allowed to quit whenever they feel like it.
Originally posted March 24.