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  1. #141
    Sniffles
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    I generally support a military system comparable to that of Switzerland's: where there's universal service, but is aimed more towards local defense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruthie View Post
    I don't know. It was proposed a few years ago by Charlie Rangel, who has been a staunch opponent of most wars of the past generation. He reasoned that we would be involved in far fewer conflicts if the draft were still in place, because there would be a great public outcry about the use of force that doesn't exist when there's an all-volunteer military. That way, the only wars we would fight would be those that are absolutely necessary and have extremely broad public support.

    I already believe that some sort of national service should be mandatory, so I can't oppose this on principle. Why do you think it's wrong in principle?
    It's a serious infringement on people's rights. Drafting people who have absolutely no interest in combat into the military is also stupid. I don't care what "bigger ideological cause" it might serve - the reality is that it would adversely affect the lives of individuals. "National service" can also include working in a government position, not necessarily being drafted into the military.

    It creeps me the fuck out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    I generally support a military system comparable to that of Switzerland's: where there's universal service, but is aimed more towards local defense.
    Took the words right out of my mouth.

  4. #144
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    It's a serious infringement on people's rights. Drafting people who have absolutely no interest in combat into the military is also stupid. I don't care what "bigger ideological cause" it might serve - the reality is that it would adversely affect the lives of individuals. "National service" can also include working in a government position, not necessarily being drafted into the military.

    It creeps me the fuck out.
    The German Jurist Carl Schmitt noted that the long-term survival of any political system depends upon its ability to call upon its citizens to sacrifice their lives in time of need. Yet Liberal individualism undermines this concept, which claims a person shouldn't have to fight if they don't want to. The problem then becomes that in such a case, the system becomes vunerable and ultimately defenseless.

    As he warned: "If a people no longer posseses the energy or the will to maintain itself in the sphere of politics, the latter will not thereby vanish from the world. Only a weak people will disappear."(Concept of the Political pg. 53)

    Americans can somewhat afford this luxury for now, since there's no real major threat to our national security at the moment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    The German Jurist Carl Schmitt noted that the long-term survival of any political system depends upon its ability to call upon its citizens to sacrifice their lives in time of need. Yet Liberal individualism undermines this concept, which claims a person shouldn't have to fight if they don't want to. The problem then becomes that in such a case, the system becomes vunerable and ultimately defenseless.

    As he warned: "If a people no longer posseses the energy or the will to maintain itself in the sphere of politics, the latter will not thereby vanish from the world. Only a weak people will disappear."(Concept of the Political pg. 53)

    Americans can somewhat afford this luxury for now, since there's no real major threat to our national security at the moment.

    The irony here is that I'm the liberal, and you sound like a communist.

  6. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmalade.sunrise View Post
    The irony here is that I'm the liberal, and you sound like a communist.
    Communitarian would be more accurate. Although what I advocate is in full accordance with Civic Republicanism, which often upheld the close relationship between military service and citizenship. In fact it was because of conscription that the right to vote became so widespread, for example.

  7. #147
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    I like the for local defense part, not the mandatory service part.

    Just thought I'd clear that up.

  8. #148
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    This might interest some here, from Andrew J. Bacevich, author of The New American Militarism, How Americans Are Seduced by War:
    The Moral Superiority of the Soldier

    This new aesthetic has contributed, in turn, to an appreciable boost in the status of military institutions and soldiers themselves, a fourth manifestation of the new American militarism.

    Since the end of the Cold War, opinion polls surveying public attitudes toward national institutions have regularly ranked the armed services first. While confidence in the executive branch, the Congress, the media, and even organized religion is diminishing, confidence in the military continues to climb. Otherwise acutely wary of having their pockets picked, Americans count on men and women in uniform to do the right thing in the right way for the right reasons. Americans fearful that the rest of society may be teetering on the brink of moral collapse console themselves with the thought that the armed services remain a repository of traditional values and old-fashioned virtue.

    Confidence in the military has found further expression in a tendency to elevate the soldier to the status of national icon, the apotheosis of all that is great and good about contemporary America.
    The men and women of the armed services, gushed Newsweek in the aftermath of Operation Desert Storm, "looked like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life. They were young, confident, and hardworking, and they went about their business with poise and lan." A writer for Rolling Stone reported after a more recent and extended immersion in military life that "the Army was not the awful thing that my [anti-military] father had imagined"; it was instead "the sort of America he always pictured when he explained his best hopes for the country."

    According to the old post-Vietnam-era political correctness, the armed services had been a refuge for louts and mediocrities who probably couldn't make it in the real world. By the turn of the 21st century, a different view had taken hold. Now the United States military was "a place where everyone tried their hardest. A place where everybody looked out for each other. A place where people intelligent, talented people said honestly that money wasn't what drove them. A place where people spoke openly about their feelings." Soldiers, it turned out, were not only more virtuous than the rest of us, but also more sensitive and even happier. Contemplating the GIs advancing on Baghdad in March 2003, the classicist and military historian Victor Davis Hanson saw something more than soldiers in battle. He ascertained "transcendence at work." According to Hanson, the armed services had "somehow distilled from the rest of us an elite cohort" in which virtues cherished by earlier generations of Americans continued to flourish.

    Soldiers have tended to concur with this evaluation of their own moral superiority. In a 2003 survey of military personnel, "two-thirds [of those polled] said they think military members have higher moral standards than the nation they serve. Once in the military, many said, members are wrapped in a culture that values honor and morality." Such attitudes leave even some senior officers more than a little uncomfortable. Noting with regret that "the armed forces are no longer representative of the people they serve," retired admiral Stanley Arthur has expressed concern that "more and more, enlisted as well as officers are beginning to feel that they are special, better than the society they serve." Such tendencies, concluded Arthur, are "not healthy in an armed force serving a democracy."

    In public life today, paying homage to those in uniform has become obligatory and the one unforgivable sin is to be found guilty of failing to "support the troops." In the realm of partisan politics, the political Right has shown considerable skill in exploiting this dynamic, shamelessly pandering to the military itself and by extension to those members of the public laboring under the misconception, a residue from Vietnam, that the armed services are under siege from a rabidly anti-military Left.

    In fact, the Democratic mainstream if only to save itself from extinction has long since purged itself of any dovish inclinations. "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about," Madeleine Albright demanded of General Colin Powell, "if we can't use it?" As Albright's question famously attests, when it comes to advocating the use of force, Democrats can be positively gung ho. Moreover, in comparison to their Republican counterparts, they are at least as deferential to military leaders and probably more reluctant to question claims of military expertise.

    Even among Left-liberal activists, the reflexive anti-militarism of the 1960s has given way to a more nuanced view. Although hard-pressed to match self-aggrandizing conservative claims of being one with the troops, progressives have come to appreciate the potential for using the armed services to advance their own agenda. Do-gooders want to harness military power to their efforts to do good. Thus, the most persistent calls for U.S. intervention abroad to relieve the plight of the abused and persecuted come from the militant Left.
    In the present moment, writes Michael Ignatieff, "empire has become a precondition for democracy." Ignatieff, a prominent human rights advocate, summons the United States to "use imperial power to strengthen respect for self-determination [and] to give states back to abused, oppressed people who deserve to rule them for themselves."

    The New American Militarism - by Andrew J. Bacevich and Tom Engelhardt
    We do need to make the important distinction between proper respect for soldiers and idolatry of the military and its power. Hence my earlier remark being critical of the whole "Support the Troops" sentiment expressed nowadays.

  9. #149
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    The German Jurist Carl Schmitt noted that the long-term survival of any political system depends upon its ability to call upon its citizens to sacrifice their lives in time of need. Yet Liberal individualism undermines this concept, which claims a person shouldn't have to fight if they don't want to. The problem then becomes that in such a case, the system becomes vunerable and ultimately defenseless.

    As he warned: "If a people no longer posseses the energy or the will to maintain itself in the sphere of politics, the latter will not thereby vanish from the world. Only a weak people will disappear."(Concept of the Political pg. 53)

    Americans can somewhat afford this luxury for now, since there's no real major threat to our national security at the moment.
    I'd be careful with Carl Schmitt. Even if I accept some of his arguments, his mindset was essentially an authoritarian one.
    Concerning Liberal Individualism: If a person refuses to fight for whatever reasons, they have to face the consequences for not doing so as well.
    If I understand correctly, Liberal Individualism assumes that people in general know by themselves how to act in such a case.
    I might be wrong of course, and if I'm right that assumption remains debatable.
    IN SERIO FATVITAS.

    -τὸ γὰρ γράμμα ἀποκτέννει, τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ζῳοποιεῖ-

  10. #150
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    The fact that the service is voluntary, makes it much more heroic in my eyes.

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