Maybe it is not such a good idea to enlist people to fight for a cause rather than each other or "the regiment." Disillusionment comes eventually to those who have illusions about causes.
The words of Colonel Pat Lang, of Sic Semper Tyrannis went off like a bombshell when I read them. He had posted about Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the NCO who killed 16 Afghan civilians.
His insight is both correct and disturbing. Bales was ten years younger upon enlistment. Maybe he just needed a job, but as it was just after 911 so patriotic fervor might have been at work. Ten years later, the men who came in to right the nations wrongs have to be disillusioned. One would guess that to have stayed so long, he would have transferred his feelings for the country to his comrades, but who knows? Analyzing the soldier is not the purpose here.
What needs to be looked at is the nature of our force and do we want a military of patriots or mercenaries? Our army is a mixed force. Some do join do for love of country. Others, because some opportunity exists. the patriot may end up a time server or the mercenary, a devoted soldier. the truth is, the long serving man will leave if the pay benefits are not adequate. Get rid of the pension and put a 401k in place and see the rush for the exits.
Gibbon is often mentioning the “donatives” necessary to keep the army compliant. the Neutralist has always thought that the semi-mercenary nature of our armed forces would be a contradiction that could not be resolved. An imperial forces, all over the globe will have to be completely mercenary even if the patriotic fig leaf persists for a while. You don’t really want zealots for what is just a job.
That is, if we don’t go bankrupt first.