"I was on active duty as a reservist, not for very long but long enough for the Army to have lost all its mystery. I found the Army to be no better and no worse than other large institutions. Some of its leaders were fools, and some soldiers were thieves, and everyone wasted money like there was no tomorrow. This is the truth and everyone once knew it.Yep.
No more. The military of today is removed from society in general. It is a majority white and, according to a Heritage Foundation study, disproportionately Southern. This is a military conscripted by culture and class - induced, not coerced, indoctrinated in all the proper cliches about serving one's country, honored and romanticized by those of us who would not, for a moment, think of doing the same."
Like this or hate it, this is why a republic needs to have some way to connect its citizens with its Army. The only practical way this has ever been accomplished is through universal conscription. Yes, it's involuntary servitude. Yes, it's often cheated on and often unfair. Yes, it makes things more complicated for the professionals within the Army.
But Cohen makes some good points here. For all the "garsh, what a great Army we have now those cranky draftees are gone!" rhetoric (to which I would merely observe; really? Where are the heavyweight enemies this great Army has dispatched? The Panamanian Defense Force? The Republican Guard (I guarentee nobody calls those fuckers "elite" anymore)? The Somalian militias?) the only real difference I can see between the mass army of WW2, Korea, and Vietnam and the VolAr of Grenada and beyond is that the latter is "virtually worshipped for its admirable qualities while its less admirable ones are hardly mentioned or known."
The Founders and Framers were quite explicit in their antipathy towards a standing Army. In their opinion, an opinion formed not from airy philosophy but from having been in the impact area of Great Britain's last "little war" with France, a standing professional force made that sort of cabinet war, the same sort of cabinet wars we've been fighting in southwest and central Asia for the past eight years, much more likely.
And why is this a problem?
Because in a republic the law is supposed to be king. We're a "government of laws, not of men", remember?
But in wartime the civil law is nullified. The day of battle is a legal dies non in the common law; the only law that applies is the Law of War, and that law takes no notice of things like personal liberties or property rights beyond what is required to fulfill the minimal requirements of civilian safety. And as the great wars of the 20th Century showed, these requirements are disregarded as often as not; ask any civilian resident of Coventry, Dresden, or Hiroshima.
So when the military is worshipped and ignored, when the business of killing and dying is offshored like an automobile plant, when every President becomes a War President, and every day becomes just another day in the War on (Insert Name Here)...what becomes of the law?
What does this mean for the long term health of the Republic?