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  1. #1
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Who Will Sound The Call to Service?

    2 July Washington Post commentary - Who Will Sound The Call to Service? By Jeff McCausland.

    ... Our nation has been in a state of war for nearly six years. American forces have been in Iraq for more than four years, a longer commitment than during World War II. A new generation has risen to defend us once again, but strangely this time there has been no bugle call. No leader has made a broad appeal for service in a time of need, and no real request has been made for most Americans to sacrifice in any way. Most of us go about our daily lives unaffected by the trauma and tragedy that occur daily in Iraq and Afghanistan, whether we support the war or oppose it...

    This account is not pro-war or anti-war. It is simply about war and the terrible tragedy that it is. The people I had the privilege to meet had several things in common. They all believed they had responded to the bugle call, no matter how faint. None spoke of politics or party. They came even though they did not have to -- no one really asked them to -- and they represent but a small fraction of their generation...

    If we are to survive as a nation with our values intact, then we must find leaders willing to make the call. Leaders who will call us to serve each other, to serve in our towns and cities, churches and schools and, if needed, in the military -- leaders who will urge us to care for these young veterans and their families in need of our help for many years to come.

    This coming together to meet a challenge has always been one of our nation's greatest strengths, and we need that strength now.

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    Default Confronting Threats

    Our young men and women will meet the need. We see it every day, all around us. In the first flood I ever fought standing next to me in line heaving sand bags was a scrawny woman, a Librarian, who lasted almost as long as me. In the first brush fire I ever helped fight, out of nowhere came this little kid running up to the line with a squirt gun. The sounds of the cheers that went up when this little guy made his contribution are stronger than any sounds in memory from my time in Viet Nam. They will be there when needed.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default And I'll gladly return to duty

    with Goesh, RTK, Slapout and...Tom in Command

    Count my dead Alpha in for The United States !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    with Goesh, RTK, Slapout and...Tom in Command

    Count my dead Alpha in for The United States !

    Yep...badges...we don't need no stinking badges...

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
    Yep...badges...we don't need no stinking badges...
    We have one badge. Each of us would carry a leather wallet that had, embroidered on the side of it, "One Bad Motherf#@Ker"
    Example is better than precept.

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    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Unlike the baby boomers I've worked with the youngsters (15 to 25) I've worked with are hard working, hard living, and intensely interested in the world around them. In many ways they remind me of my grand parents with a steel will to survive. The youngsters don't fall all over themselves following blindly down paths of illogical discourse. The youngsters dress different, act different, have different tastes and for that are ridiculed by older generations. What generation hasn't made it's mark similarly?

    The youngsters question authority and yet respect while working and bending it to their purposes. They understand freedom. They don't believe what they read on the Internet, Television, or hear in school and critically or cynically consider before accepting. Sure we can point at the polarized factions, the instances of wild craziness found in the younger generation and prove that we can't accept the world without polarizing it or thinking lazily in the face of things we don't understand.

    Will they come? Yes. When the case is made sans rhetoric and hyperbole and not with speeches made to surround sound bites. This isn't the hyper selfish hypocritical generation that gave us "Sex, drugs, Rock & Roll" in the 1960's and "Just say no!" in the 1980's. Though if we treat them bad enough I guess we can probably create that cycle again.
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    Stan, when I told my wife I was thinking about getting a facelift, fake ID and enlisting again, she alternated between weeping and yelling. I figured I could pass off some of the sagging body parts to rapid weight loss and over exposure to the sun and the rest of me could pass the physical though admittedly they might have nailed me on the psych tests.

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    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goesh View Post
    Stan, when I told my wife I was thinking about getting a facelift, fake ID and enlisting again, she alternated between weeping and yelling. I figured I could pass off some of the sagging body parts to rapid weight loss and over exposure to the sun and the rest of me could pass the physical though admittedly they might have nailed me on the psych tests.
    No worries mate, nothing a quick haircut won't fix

    I won't need a PSYCH test...probably don't want to see if you've exceeded my levels

    Slapout's got it, no Foxtroting badges needed. Let's show them how old soldiers take on Bravo Sierra. Leave the politics at the door when entering

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    no real request has been made for most Americans to sacrifice in any way
    Ain't that the truth?!? I always think of that. What have we (ordinary citizens) had to sacrifice? Other than sending one of your kids (IF you did) off to Iraq/Afghanistan, the answer is nothing.

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    The upper middle class and upper class is not serving in the military today. It’s interesting to remember that all of FDR’s children served. All the Kennedy brothers served. Winston Churchill’s son was a behind-the-lines commando. That’s when you get the people willing to sacrifice. It is when their leaders are willing to sacrifice. It’s a scandal, for example, that only a half dozen members of our Senate and Congress have children in the military yet they vote to go to war.

    A recurring theme on these threads involves how to sustain American public support in an extended war. My own theory is that if you don’t have all classes of American society involved in the war effort, support will weaken if the fight drags on. Because basically there’s this unspoken idea (which I will speak up about), that if the sons and daughters of the leadership and well off aren’t paying a price, then this can’t be that terribly important. It’s not a matter of national survival. It’s optional, or we’d ALL be out there. So it is viewed as some kind of cabinet war not worth the mounting cost.

    Our generals seem to think they can only fight wars with a recruited force. Well, our citizen soldier army got it done in previous wars. Our armed forces are at war, but America as a nation is not at war. If you want to get the people as a whole involved in this conflict, that means everyone having some skin in this game.

    The Left won’t go along with this because they are suspicious of the military, in general. The Right has an “every man for himself attitude” and I’m sure they’d argue it would be bad for business (that’s the Right’s objection for everything it doesn’t like). We’ll be hiring foreigners to serve in the U.S. military before there is a stateside draft, however. I’ll let you make any suitable comparisons to the Roman legions on that, and what it might mean for us down the road.
    Last edited by Tacitus; 07-02-2007 at 08:18 PM. Reason: grammar
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    Actually, most people seem to forget that a volunteer, mostly foreign-born military has been the historical norm for the United States, not a recent development. There was a time when military service was considered a sort of pre-requisite for a political career (hence the Kennedys and others serving), but that was mainly in the officer corps. I'd say that was a direct outgrowth of the Civil War and the surplus of men who held general ranks in the various Volunteer forces...we saw the same thing during the Spanish-American War and its aftermath and before that with Mexico.

    The wars that used citizen-soldiers (draftees) were for the most part full-scale conflicts (the Civil War, World War I, and World War II...there were draftees in Korea and Vietnam, but the creation of a "Vietnam-only" draftee force did more than anything else to end the draft). They had uneven records for the most part in the early stages of each conflict (Vietnam being the only exception).
    "On the plains and mountains of the American West, the United States Army had once learned everything there was to learn about hit-and-run tactics and guerrilla warfare."
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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Don't forget that the last time the west defeated Islam, it was because of trade expansion, not military force of arms. I don't think a large military will be the strategic CoG in this particular fight.

    Though I'm a big fan of an extremely limited form of Universal Service, in order to imprint central values on as many folks as possible.

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    The real problem is people see service tied directly to the military. This enables both side os the political spectrum to dismiss the concept (pointed out in earlier post). The real question is why is the government not asking for people to join in other areas or least create incentives and programs perhaps tied to college loan forgiveness in areas like education, community medicine, international development (peace corps), etc. I know the reasons why people don't currently go into those fields. My question is why doesn't the government do something about it. For too long the politicians have defined the burden of being an american as being a tax rate. Perhaps it is time for the political leadership in this country to define the burdern of being an American being some type of personal action other than filling out a tax form and writing a check to the IRS, especially since those that do serve in these areas, and he military, do this as well. My half-wit thought of the afternoon.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Jimbo - spot on. I am convinced that low voter turnout and "citizen apathy" is directly related to lack of other low-level participation. Once citizens can hire others to do "citizen-work", their level of citizenship is reduced to "writing a check" and even then, they cheat.

    Directing traffic as a police reservist, once a month at a community event, should be good enough, one would think.

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