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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

How Do We Exist Without Compulsion?

photo: (TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)

National Journal
How to Defeat ISIS With Millennial Spirit and Service
Terrorism and other 21st-century challenges require sacrifice shared by all Americans.
By Ron Fournier

June 16, 2015 I know a better way to fight ISIS. It starts with an idea that should appeal the better angels of both hawks and doves: National service for all 18- to 28-year-olds.

Require virtually every young American—the civic-minded millennial generation—to complete a year of service through programs such as Teach for America, AmeriCorps, the Peace Corps, or the U.S. military, and two things will happen:

1. Virtually every American family will become intimately invested in the nation's biggest challenges, including poverty, education, income inequality, and America's place in a world afire.

2. Military recruiting will rise to meet threats posed by ISIS and other terrorist networks, giving more people skin in a very dangerous game.

This may seem like a radical plan until you compare it with two alternatives: the status quo, which clearly isn't working, or a military draft, which might be the boldest and fairest way to wage the long war against Islamic extremists.


I spoke about the concept with retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who commanded forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and now chairs the Franklin Project, part of the Aspen Institute that is trying to position a year of full-time national service—a service year—as a "cultural expectation, a common opportunity, and a civic rite of passage for every young American." His logic tracks with mine.

First, he's not sure Obama is fully committed to the goal of destroying ISIS.  Note A

Second, if this president or his successor gets serious about ISIS, McChrystal said the effort would require an international coalition and more U.S. troops. "Even if we didn't need a draft" to drum up the required troops, McChrystal said, "I would argue we need a draft, because it forces national commitment."  Note B

He knows a draft isn't in the cards. A national commitment to "service years" would prime the pump of an all-voluntary military, McChrystal said, while uniting the country in sacrifice.

It's not a draft, but it's not nothing.

"A problem in America is we've let the concept of citizenship diminish into a series of gripes," McChrystal told me. "One of the ways we can rebuild that sense of ownership, sense of shared ownership, is through experience, and so I believe that every young person deserves—I don't think this is an onerous thing—deserves the experience of being part of something bigger than themselves."  Note C

Bowing to political realities in risk-averse Washington, the Franklin Project aims to make a service year a social expectation rather than a legal requirement. I would mandate it. So would McChrystal—if he had his way.  Note D

While ISIS and other terrorist groups are having no trouble recruiting suicide bombers, McChrystal said, Americans are struggling to redefine their national identity for the 21st century. "A year of service for young Americans would be a step," he said. "Not a panacea, a step."

I think we should take it.

This is one of the worst thought out articles I have ever read.

That judgement may surprise you, since it appears that the writer agrees with my view of the situation: that the success of IS may have a  psychological side that adds greatly to its success. Mr. Fournier - and his amigo, General McChrystal -  want to inspire a similar psychological fire in the hearts of US citizens to fight against the fire of IS.

The big difference is this: IS relies on supporters who freely flock to their banner;  Fournier, McChrystal et al. want to compel support.
This whole idea of forcing  (Note B)  people to become psychologically inspired is not even worth spit.

Since when is IS the event which defines our lives? IS is the ghastly effluent of the river of lies and treachery of the Iraq War. IS is the karma we are burdened with for an unjust war. We are already spiritually burdened by our guilt, so does it make sense to double, triple, or quadruple down with more and more military effort --- let's be clear" MISGUIDED military effort! because nothing we have since 2001 when we drove the Taliban from Afghanistan has been guided by any strategy other than "Let's get them boots on tha ground!"

Note A  is nothing more than implicit criticism of President Obama, and has no place in this post.

Note C  is absolute crap.  I do not believe in being part of something "bigger" than myself, especially when "bigger" than is defined as a bunch of schlubs drafted into ill-defined organizations.

Note D  is interesting, in that it shows the role of force and compulsion in the minds of those who believe that persuasion is a dish best served like a force-fed meal in Guantanamo.

What does Mr. Fournier make of the history of the USA before the introduction of the compulsory draft temporarily in the Civil War, World War I, and the third incarnation from 1940 to 1973 during World War II and the Cold War?

How did the USA function without compulsion?

It had a dream.

It had a psychological and a spiritual reality that it now lacks, and this lack is very much in evidence in the insipid imaginations of Mr. Fournier and General McChrystal.

 Unconscripted Citizen Soldiers Fighting for Ideals


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