Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Thank you for your service, while your here.

Retired Admiral Mike Mullen has noted that the servimen killed in action are quickly forgotten by his countrymen and women.  I cannot say I disagree with him, but we generally tend to forget all our dead.  I will be going to a memorial service for a relative gone several years now.  He was close and is in my memory often.  Others, it's harder, that's why we have memorial services, not to mention Memorial day.  Like most American holidays, Memorial Day is now just another have fun day.

I applaud the Admiral, to a point.  Granted, fellow feeling for those who follow your trade is natural, but the lads and some lasses who lose their lives in war are a bit different from cousin Sid who died of an infected paper cut suffered in his cubicle as he was struggling to get out the monthly cafeteria usage report.

Our forces overseas are either the first line of defense in a vital world historic conflict, or their lives are being wantonly put at risk.  A short perusal of the Neutralist should leave no one to wonder long where we stand.

According to the Admiral,

"When you get to these wars, I worry that America has paid us very well, the compensation's good, [so the culture says] 'please go off and fight our dirty little wars and let us get on with our lives,'" he said. "We need to figure a way to get America to buy into those, into them."
Interesting words.  Yeah, the people like to be vaguely reminded someone is out there, so you have fine organizations like Fisher House and, after some recent media exposure, lesser outfits like Wounded Warrior.  So, does he have any ideas?  If he wants to drag the citizenry through the hospitals, maybe clean a bedpan or two, support for the war will last for nanoseconds.  It is only the detachment from reality keeps it from being unpalatable.
Another paragraph and quote struck us as a bit weird,
He proposed some sort of universal national service program (although not a draft), perhaps two years of service for all people between the age of 18 and 24, to bridge the gap between the military and the civilian communities.
"The military becoming more and more isolated from the American people is a disaster for America," Mullen said.
Now how is putting the kids in some non-draft situation going to bridge the gap?  
Actually, The Neutralist may be the only one in the country who finds such proposals bizarre.  It seems mandatory community service requirements in high schools and colleges can only make the students cynical.  Even the slow student gets that forcing someone to do good does not make them good.
He singles out The Northeast for special treatment.
The problem is worse in the Northeast than other regions. "The people in the Northeast don't know us anymore, for example," Mullen said, given that the Base Realignment and Closure process has led to the closure of so many military installations in the region.
Now as someone who has lived here all my life, except for an inglorious period as a soldier, to a degree I believe him correct.  The political class is not enamored of  the military and does not enlist.  The base closures have been many and without people with jobs at the bases, there is less paycheck loyalty.
For all that there is a pervasive support the troops sentiment.  Hardly a professional sports event happens without remembering the troops.  Of course, there has been some substitution of Marathon Bombing memorialization  the closer one gets to Boston.  ROTC may not be big at Harvard or Yale, but many of the private and state colleges offer it.
The national service idea is not without supporters regionally.  In the upper reaches of academia and commerce, they see their kids teaching the benighted and closing some gap, while the lower orders have the grunt jobs.  Another reason to oppose it.
We have addressed this in other posts, but what kind of military does the Neutralist envision?  Ideally, we would wish everyone would rush to the colors and serve long term in the reserves.  I expect to be signed as a pitcher by the Red Sox before that happens.
Next idea?  The Neutralist wants a miltary that can defend the country, but not be tempted to foreign adventures.  Obviously, that is not a large standing army.
We are not optimists, but there is a system that is an effective fighting force and does not go abroad to save the world or markets.  That would be Switzerland.
Now this can work only if everyone goes.  As soon as war comes, the senator and rep, not to mention their staff head as well as the college president and ceo move out to their units.
The training of the new soldiers would mean everyone at age of induction goes to learn together the joys of low crawling.  The professors kid mixes with the lower orders.  He may find a few Billy Bobs from south of the Mason-Dixon who can outsmart him*.  Also, he can get to meet the inner city youth he has shed tears of blood over while personally avoiding.  Sexual orientation, who cares?  In basic, it should be all training all the time such that if someone still has energy to get into another bunk, they've probably earned it.
The grand establishment that is the military will no longer exist.  We won't need Pxs, Golf courses, enlisted clubs and all the paraphernalia that bribes people into long service.
It won't be fun, and like the Swiss, as everyone goes, the people will not tolerate frivoulous deployments to save the world or bring democracy or something.
I know this has no chance of happening.

*Be assured, there is no one of this class who thinks anyone outside it his or her equal.

No comments: