McClatchy; Is the no-draft military creating a warrior class?

| January 2, 2013 | 86 Comments

McClatchy writer, Matthew Schofield, in a hand wringing piece in the Stars & Stripes, contemplates the all-volunteer military and worries that we’re creating a warrior class and a government which doesn’t feel repercussions from sending warriors to the field.

In the wide halls of the Pentagon, the military often is referred to as “the world’s largest family business.” The fear among some military leaders, politicians and experts begins with the belief that as fewer segments of society have family or friends in uniform, others become desensitized to the risks and stresses of military service. The feared risks range from a reluctance to fully support those who serve to an almost cavalier willingness to wage war, reasoning, “That’s what THEY signed up for.”

Historically, problems with such classes have ranged from the military having too much influence in all walks of society — Prussian officers collected taxes — to being marginalized, as with the so-called “barbarization” of the Roman military, which relied heavily on non-Romans.

Yeah, well, we don’t collect taxes and we’re Americans fighting for our country, so your historical references are empty. The real problem isn’t us. It’s the same problem the rest of the country has – it’s the culture. Teachers in schools tell their students that somehow military service isn’t a way forward in their lives. They demean the life, mostly because they don’t understand it either. That educator class which has no experience outside of academia, never worked during summer months, but act like they know everything.

Journalists and politicians like John Kerry (Halp us John Cary) have no problem propagating the myth that the folks who join the military are taking the only route available to them because we’re all miserable failures. And in a culture which touts success, somehow that doesn’t resonate with today’s youths.

Yeah, military service is a “family business” because most of us have parents and grandparents who have served and we can filter out the cultural bullshit. On another forum which I participated years ago, I had some bonehead hippie turd try to convince me that because he was so smart, recruiters didn’t want to even talk to him, let alone recruit him. Such are the misconceptions of the types of people who join the military.

One of my workmates complained that he’d been beat out of a government job because of a “10-point” veteran and he couldn’t figure out why employers put such a heavy significance on military service. Probably because folks who are hiring are learning the value of hiring vets despite the cultural bullshit.

Maybe it’s because “the best and the brightest” join the military and it’s society’s dregs who spend their hours figuring out who they should vote for in the latest “American Idol” competition and can’t get out of their own way. Maybe it’s not the military service that makes us better people, maybe it’s the other way around.

Category: Military issues

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  1. valerie says:

    Frank Golubski Says:
    January 3rd, 2013 at 1:22 am

    Just because you have abdicated your responsibility to assure that these men and women aren’t sent out on unjust missions is no excuse for you to criticize them.

    You do understand that service people are restrained by law from speaking out on those issues, don’t you?

  2. valerie says:

    Of course the military, draft or no draft, creates a warrior class. But class in America is not what class was and is anywhere else in the world.

    Americans choose their class.

  3. David says:

    Seems to me Heinlein’s concept was that you had to serve to be a full citizen, but you had to volunteer to be military.
    I’m OK with a ‘draft’ on that basis. (To brag, my daughter’s asthma was too bad for her to enlist – so after college she volunteered with Americorp for two years and is now an investigator with ICE. She serves as she can.) A draft into some form of public service would do a LOT of kids a lot of good….Guess I need to reread the book for the umpty-umph time for the details again.

  4. Frank Golubski says:

    teddy996: “Military members go where we’re told, when we’re told, and do what we’re told. We are not allowed to question those orders unless they violate the aforementioned litmus test for being ‘lawful’.”

    A.k.a., “I was only following orders.”

    See Nuremberg and My Lai.

    And the 29 Palms survey.

    Yeah, teddy. You’re JUST the kind of guy I want “defending our freedom.”

  5. NHSparky says:

    Oh fat tapdancing Jesus on a fucking cement bicycle, Frank.

    Lighten up, Francis. FWIW, I’m pretty sure teddy has a lot more going on between his ears than do you, but feel free to argue your case.

    Bottom line, as a wise old Chief once told me, “You get to defend democracy, not practice it.” You don’t like it, don’t reenlist.

    And no, Paultard, we don’t get to pick and choose which battles to fight. You can argue lawful versus unlawful all day long, but in almost every case, you’re going to be doing it from behind bars. My Lai was a VERY isolated incident, as was Abu Grahib. Nuremberg was a clear-cut set of cases of Nazi atrocities, but then again, you knew that.

  6. Twist says:

    @54, “I was only following order.” I guess you missed the part where the U.S. Military is under legal obligation to dissobey unlawfull orders.

    Please don’t hurt yourself when you fall off of your high horse.

  7. Frank Golubski says:

    valerie: “Just because you have abdicated your responsibility to assure that these men and women aren’t sent out on unjust missions is no excuse for you to criticize them.”

    Uhh, “No,” and “No.”

    1. How have I “abdicated my responsibility to assure that these men and women aren’t sent out on unjust missions”?

    2. Where did I criticize them?

  8. Frank Golubski says:

    “Oh fat tapdancing Jesus on a fucking cement bicycle, Frank.”

    Really? Does that constitute some sort of intelligent contribution to a discussion where you come from?

    Go pack sand, miltard.

  9. Twist says:

    “Go pack sand, miltard.”

    Really? Does that constitute some sort of intelligent contribution to a discussion where you come from?

  10. NHSparky says:

    Atta boy, Frank–way to demonstrate the old, “swoop and poop” method.

  11. apachetears says:

    I got my DD-214 back in 1974, could not find a job so I went to the labor board/unemployment Office. 21 years old and married three months I was ready to roll on my future.
    I walked in with a confident smile and was finally seen by the guy who handles ex-con’s just out of prison. I said wait Mr. I’m not just out of jail I am a discharged veteran!
    He said “The veterans files are kept in the same area as the returning convicts just released from prison.”
    Then he saw my MOS and stated, “Well I can find you a job as a security guard or you can join the Mafia, Ha, Ha, Ha.”
    As a group veterans of the Vietnam era were all considered the same as convicted felons. Why? Because a Veteran named John Forbes Kerry did a winter soldier testimony calling all veterans dopers, baby killers and torture maniacs.
    The people believed the anti veteran propaganda and we suffered.
    John F. Kerry did well I see, despite being a Vietnam Vet.
    Must have been the botox or that trip up the mekong, on Christmas wearing that l’il hat sailing on his Swift Boat.

  12. BK says:

    This resonates with me so deeply.

    Between the GI Bill, the kicker Army College Fund, and some fortuitous Guard tuition assistance, I got through grad school (another useless MBA) and perhaps spent $1000 out of pocket.

    I get hired above peers with similar educational background because of my status as a veteran. And my wife, who comes from a world and a slightly younger generation that looks down on military service, went to an expensive private college to be a teacher, and without my income to pay off her student loans, she’d be screwed.

    Frank, please go away. My people were on the other end of the Nuremberg Laws, and we sit at our Passover Seder with survivors, and I find no commonalities between the American fighting person any German (or Polish/Ukrainian collaborator) who victimized them. Maybe if you had actually been a warrior instead of a jet mechanic, you’d know how far off the mark you are. WE DO NOT HAVE a class of warriors that have, as a group, the kind of murderous amorality that it takes to pull off genocide. If you suffer any confusion on this, I’d happily put you in touch with a Auschwitz survivor who was marched to Dachau at the end of the war. She can shit all over your false equivalency. Too, my ex-wife and her family, refugees from Vietnam and now American citizens, along with her grandfather who served with the South Vietnamese Army, would tell you My Lai notwithstanding, “following orders” doesn’t wash. Grow up.

  13. Frank Golubski says:

    BK: “Maybe if you had actually been a warrior instead of a jet mechanic …”

    Translation: “If you only repaired aircraft to keep pilots flying, F— YOU. Your ‘service’ doesn’t count.”

    Yet another fine example of the superioristic mentality commonly on display here.

  14. Frank Golubski says:

    I genuinely believe that every young man — in whatever country he may live — should be trained and prepared to defend his country.

    Hence my support for a militia-based system of national defense.

    But I also believe that my country is more likely to use “her” troops for purposes other than national defense. This has certainly been the case for the last 100+ years.

    Hence my support for a policy of neutrality and non-intervention.

    Armed and prepared to die for my family, community and nation, but not for anything else.

  15. Twist says:

    “Yet another fine example of the superioristic mentality commonly on display here.”

    You might want to re-read your own comments. Pot meet kettle. Funny, in your last two comments you have failed to rebut anything said. Instead you throw out insults.

  16. Twist says:

    “Hence my support for a policy of neutrality and non-intervention.”

    I seem to have read somewhere that we tried isolationism once. It didn’t work out too well.

  17. Frank Golubski says:

    And I ask again — of valerie or anyone else:

    1. How have I “abdicated my responsibility to assure that these men and women aren’t sent out on unjust missions”?

    2. Where did I criticize them?

  18. Frank Golubski says:

    Twist: “I seem to have read somewhere that we tried isolationism once. It didn’t work out too well.”

    But then, armed neutrality isn’t the same as “isolationism,” is it?

    Clue: see “Switzerland.”

  19. USMCE8Ret says:

    Frank is a troll, folks. Plain and simple.

    He’ll eventually go away – like a bad rash always does.

  20. NHSparky says:

    Frank–as much as you might like to think so, Switzerland wasn’t really “neutral” as much as they’re out for their own, knowing full good and well had they lifted a finger to the Nazis in WWII, they’d have been rolled over faster than you can say “watches” or “chocolate”.

    Clue: go get one.

  21. Susan says:

    69 – Frank

    I would suggest to you that in no way was Switzerland “neutral” in WWII. The were glad to allow Europe’s Jews to deposit their money in Switzerland, so long as they didn’t try and deposit themselves. Of course after the war, getting that money back was a whole different story.

    I know quite a few Holocaust survivors who can tell you that to maintain its facade of “neutrality,” Switzerland sold its soul to the Nazis.

    Also, that is just not the American way. See the Battle Hymn of the Republic: “As he died to make men holy, let us die to make men free…”

  22. BK says:

    Frank, I see you opted out of answering to the question. I’m merely saying, in reality, that if you had dealt with warriors, you would know that they don’t have, as a whole, the kind of sickness it takes to carry out unlawful orders on a scale as grand as the Holocaust, which, jackass, you brought up.

    Again, don’t answer to the substance. Focus on the one thing that tousles your pubies and go from there.

  23. BK says:

    Frank, answer a question instead of repeating old ones. It’s rude.

  24. BK says:

    I’m going to rephrase a question for you Frank, and truly, it frightens me that you ever worked on aircraft if I have to do this.

    What, in your experience as a jet mechanic, informs you that our troops have the wherewithal to carry out missions on the scale of what was tried at Nuremburg, a comparison you brought up?

    What component of the American military, on a comparable scale, could carry out pogroms against unarmed millions? Did our units travel with special troops in the rear in Iraq with trucks and tents they piped exhaust fumes into, you know, for mobile killing platforms? When, in Iraq or Afghanistan, have troops carried out massive operations against unarmed civilian groups, other than by sick individuals or accident? What “orders” are troops following that are unlawful on the scale of what was tried at Nuremberg?

    Watching my wife’s late aunt’s survivor testimony a few weeks ago, I’m hard pressed to find any example in my own experiences with the Army that parallels even a little bit.

    Throw out some hyperbole much, Frank? Take umbrage at people finding you to be a tidbit ridiculous?

    Sorry, bro, not biting. I’m glad you are willing to notionally defend anything. It sounds like your hardest choice in life has been between plastic and cardboard applicators.

  25. Hondo says:

    Well, I see it’s after noon on the left coast and the trolls are awake.

    Seriously, Golubski: are you really so stupid (or inattentive) that you missed the “lawful order” part of teddy996’s comment 41? Or are you deliberately ignoring that point so you can insult via intentionally comparing members of the US military to Nazi war criminals? Either makes sense; you tell us which you’re doing.

    You’re also appallingly naïve regarding how nations interact with one another. Moral justification has nothing to do with it. Interests and power are what govern how nations interact with one another, not abstract moral considerations. Why? Because different nations and cultures have different concepts of what is “morally justified”, numbnuts; there is no universal consensus regarding what is moral. In contrast, interests and power are fairly universally understood.

    You’re similarly woefully ignorant of US history. Other than 1898 and roughly 1915-1918 (post Lusitania), “armed neutrality” fairly well describes US foreign policy vis-à-vis the rest of the world from roughly 1783 to roughly 1940. (The level of arms possessed by the US during most of that time was low because, until the 20th century, that’s all we required for our own security.) That foreign policy didn’t exactly keep us out of the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, or World War II.

    Now, run along Frankie. Aren’t you late for an “Occupy Seattle” meeting or something?

  26. Frank Golubski says:

    BK: “Frank, answer a question instead of repeating old ones. It’s rude.”

    You got it. I can only assume that you mean valerie’s (51): “You do understand that service people are restrained by law from speaking out on those issues, don’t you?” (I sure don’t see any others.)

    I can only assume she posed her question in response to my (40): “But not one word about considering the moral legitimacy of the wars they WILL send you to fight. About demanding a just foreign policy.”)

    Yes, I realize that service members are politically muzzled, but I believe that’s only to a certain extent. As I recall (I could be wrong), service members may not participate in political rallies, events, speeches, etc. IN UNIFORM, or in any other way that identifies them as service members. (E.g., you can write letters to the editor about anything you like. You CAN’T sign them “TSgt. Joe Fabeetz, 33rd POL Sqn, Fairchild AFB”.)

    So, I have a Q: Is her “question” really just an objection to my comment re. the remarks (or lack thereof) by author Schofield, or any of the commenters at the original S&S piece or here, about the justness of our various military engagements over the last 100+ years? That I shouldn’t EXPECT that discussion here, because military members may not legally speak out on those issues?

    Two more Q’s: I’d still like to know how I “abdicated my responsibility to assure that these men and women aren’t sent out on unjust missions,” or where I “criticized them.”

    And if I missed the mark on the questions you’d like answered, BK, please just point them out, and I’ll give it a whack.

    But please don’t lecture me about “rudeness.” If anything, I’ve pretty much come to expect that rudeness is pretty much SOP around here.

    At least toward those who don’t toe the party line.

  27. Frank Golubski says:

    teddy: “Seriously, Golubski: are you really so stupid (or inattentive) that you missed the ‘lawful order’ part of teddy996’s comment 41?”

    Not at all. But that begs the questions, “Who gets to decide which orders are lawful — and when does that decision get made?”

    The answers are (always), “Your chain of command (up to and including the president);” and “right now”; and (occasionally) “some legal authority outside your chain of command” (e.g., a war crimes tribunal) and “only if your side loses the war.”

    Example: Lt. Ehren Watada. His fundamental argument — the very thing that motivated him to intentionaly miss movement — was that the Iraq War was illegal. (BTW, Pat Tillman evidently agreed with him.) Thus Watada considered it his duty to disobey the unlawful order to go to Iraq.

    But when he faced his court martial, the court disallowed any discussion of the legality of the war. The only question they were going to discuss was whether or not he disobeyed an order.

    But how can the question be discussed fairly if the government (you know, the side with all the guns, badges, officers and judges) won’t even COUNTENANCE a discussion of the LEGALITY of the order?

    (Oh, and BTW, I don’t “do” Occupy … Seattle, Wall St., or whatever. I’m more of a Tea Partier. You know, the ones who demonstrate peacefully and clean up after themselves.)

  28. Frank Golubski says:

    (Sorry. Last post directed to Hondo, not teddy.)

  29. Frank Golubski says:

    BK (75): “What, in your experience as a jet mechanic, informs you that our troops have the wherewithal to carry out missions on the scale of what was tried at Nuremburg, a comparison you brought up?”

    Truth be told, I wasn’t thinking anything like that when I wrote it. I was simply comparing the statement, not the scale of what American troop could do in that regard.

    But then, you have the needless use of WMD against Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

    “Probably the person closest to Truman, from the military standpoint, was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William Leahy, and there was much talk that he also deplored the use of the bomb and had strongly advised Truman not to use it, but advised rather to revise the unconditional surrender policy so that the Japanese could surrender and keep the Emperor. Leahy’s views were later reported by Hanson Baldwin in an interview that Leahy ‘thought the business of recognizing the continuation of the Emperor was a detail which should have been solved easily.’ Leahy’s secretary, Dorothy Ringquist, reported that Leahy told her on the day the Hiroshima bomb was dropped, ‘Dorothy, we will regret this day. The United States will suffer, for war is not to be waged on women and children.’ Another important naval voice, the commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations, Ernest J. King, stated that the naval blockade and prior bombing of Japan in March of 1945, had rendered the Japanese helpless and that the use of the atomic bomb was both unnecessary and immoral. Also, the opinion of Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz was reported to have said in a press conference on September 22, 1945, that ‘The Admiral took the opportunity of adding his voice to those insisting that Japan had been defeated before the atomic bombing and Russia’s entry into the war.’ In a subsequent speech at the Washington Monument on October 5, 1945, Admiral Nimitz stated ‘The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace before the atomic age was announced to the world with the destruction of Hiroshima and before the Russian entry into the war.’ It was learned also that on or about July 20, 1945, General Eisenhower had urged Truman, in a personal visit, not to use the atomic bomb. Eisenhower’s assessment was “It wasn’t necessary to hit them with that awful thing . . . to use the atomic bomb, to kill and terrorize civilians, without even attempting [negotiations], was a double crime.”

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/denson7.html

    But our side WON, you see. Who’s gonna judge the winners, especially when they’re armed with nukes?

  30. Nik says:

    Not at all. But that begs the questions, “Who gets to decide which orders are lawful — and when does that decision get made?”

    Actually no. For example if your superior officer tells you “Shoot that obviously unarmed civilian” and you do it, you can (and likely will) go up on charges of Murder (or one of it’s lesser penalized kin).

    You have many things to guide you as far as whether or not an order is lawful or not, UCMJ, the US Constitution, Geneva Convention, standing orders from someone who has more authority than someone seeking to contradict them, etc.

    Now, to be sure, if you disobey an order, you better damn well know it’s unlawful, and you better be able to prove it.

  31. Hondo says:

    Golubski: your comment 78 above identifies you as a naive dilettante who cannot discern the difference between an illegal order and a lawful order with which someone disagrees.

    Here’s the short version: as Nik pointed out above, an unlawful order is an order to do something which is per se unlawful – e.g., something that is an obvious crime. The classic example is that of the cold-blooded murder of an unarmed civilian or captured prisoner who poses no threat.

    What Watada the tool did was to disobey a lawful order – e.g., an order to deploy – because he didn’t like the politics behind the deployment. As an Army officer, Watada knew full well that the politics behind his deployment were irrelevant to the order’s legality. There is nothing inherently unlawful about being ordered to deploy; soldiers are ordered to deploy by competent authority all the time whether or not they agree with the reason for deployment. His deployment order was thus known a priori to be lawful as a settled point of law, and discussion of its purported “illegality” would have been nothing but a waste of time. That is why the judge did not allow discussion of the “illegality” of Watada’s deployment order.

    Further, Congress had clearly authorized the use of military force against Iraq in PL 107-243, signed into law on 16 Oct 2002. So Watada either (1) knew that fact but was ignoring it for political reasons, or (2) was a complete idiot. Either theory is plausible.

    Frankly, Watada got much less than he deserved. He should have been retried, convicted, and sent to Leavenworth for the max on all counts. (I have no sympathy for officers who refuse to do their sworn duty, who refuse legal orders, or who make blatant anti-war statements for political reasons while still in uniform – like Watada did in January 2007.) Instead, Watada got off very easy when the current administration decided to drop the case for political reasons and he escaped retrial, receiving instead an administrative discharge.

    There is also zero conscientious objector “angle” for Watada here. Conscientious objector status requires an across-the-board objection to personal participation in hostilities, which Watada did not claim. Selective objection to a particular war doesn’t cut it. Further, conscientious objectors can still serve in a combat zone, generally in the medical field. At least 3 have done so and been awarded the Medal of Honor (Desmond Doss, Thomas W. Bennett, and Joseph G. LaPointe, Jr.).

  32. OWB says:

    Interesting discussion. And one which, to my way of thinking, really does need to be had and settled (if that is even possible) periodically in a healthy society. It is society collectively which answers the questions, sometimes through individual members of society, but in this one, most often through it’s elected representatives.

    Is it a perfect system? No, but it is one which has worked well for us for several hundred years. It would not have survived this long had there not been those willing and able to defend it and to punish those who violate the policy of the time.

  33. NHSparky says:

    Frank, that Lew Rockwell shit’ll rot your brain. And really, Ron Paul is sitting in a bunker in Texas somewhere. He’s done. You can move along now.

    Finally, Watada did what he did for purely political reasons. That’s it. Nothing else. He could have refused his commission or walked away long before 2007, considering the fact the war had been going on for almost four years when he pulled his little stunt.

    Refusing to follow orders which you don’t like doesn’t make them unlawful ones, but does make you a first-class assclown who can and should be beaten about the head and shoulders for being an attention whoring douchenozzle.

    YMMV.

  34. NHSparky says:

    But then, you have the needless use of WMD against Hiroshima and Nagasaki:

    Ah, one of THOSE people. Newsflash: you obviously never saw the casualty estimates for Operation Downfall, didja? Consider that few of those estimates included Navy casualties, and NONE went past the first 60 days of operations. And no, the people at the time who nitpicked the decision were in fact wrong.

    Consider the following: In 1945, the US was damned near bankrupt. Continuing the war for another 18-plus months might well have pushed us over the edge. Our allies weren’t going to be putting millions of troops on the line going into the Japanese home islands like the US was. Second, look at how the Japanese troops AND CIVILIANS fought on Okinawa, Iwo Jima, etc. Now imagine how it would have been on Honshu, etc. If you question their dedication (or fanaticism, whichever term you prefer) look no farther than people like Sgt. Yokoi, Pvt. Nakamura, or Lt. Onoda.

    The war was already losing popularity before 1945, and the civilian populace was tired of the sacrifices they were making, not to mention the loss of life. Almost a half-million men were killed in the war to that point. Imagine that many again being killed taking Japan, if not more.

    Oh, and you may go now.

  35. Hondo says:

    NHSparky: Golubski obviously never heard of Unit 731, either.

  36. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    Frank thinks that nations build foreign policy from a place of loving concern for their neighbors….when in fact each nation works tirelessly to promote its’ own selfish interests. Since the dawn of man conflict over resources has led to violence, high minded words and ideals are great for the diplomatic corps. When the words don’t stop your neighbor, like Chamberlain’s situation with Hitler, the wise nation has a solution that involves the high level application of deadly force.

    The Japs were suing for peace as honestly as the Palestinians sue for peace everyday in the middle east. Tell the Chinese how the gracious Japanese soldiers ran their occupied territories in Manchuria, Nanking is a prime example of the moral concern Japan had in its relations with foreign nation states it had little respect for. The Japanese reaped the Karmic benefits of their militaristic interventions into their neighbors affairs. It’s what happens when you fight outside your weight class.

    The real truth is an ugly one, when you consider that someone will die, most folks prefer it to be the citizens of the foreign nation than their own. The children of a fanatical, corrupt, theological jihad will become adult jihadists. It would be wonderful if some great diplomatic mission could find the words to prevent that, but they won’t because idealism or fanaticism doesn’t respond to diplomacy except to use it as a stalling mechanism to build strength.

    So what is your solution? Stay isolated and hope that they never figure out how to access our civilian population? How would you accomplish that? Close the borders? That won’t happen because we have been unwilling to do that for decades and decades….better to kill them where they live than let them take their sweet time to figure out how to kill us where we live.

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