Friday, August 03, 2007

How to Why Not Just Enlist?

Here it is direct from, with OYE Comments as indicated.

Why Not Just Enlist Right Away?

At a time of war, this is an essential question for Americans to ask themselves seriously and regularly. The question is especially urgent now, when it is clear that we lack sufficient troops in Iraq and in the military generally. The Pentagon has said that it will have difficulty maintaining the “surge” just for a year. Many commentators, including Frederick Kagan, one of the architects of the new strategy, have indicated that 30,000 additional troops is the bare minimum required to effect progress. Kagan and many others of various political persuasions have been pointing out for years that we do not have enough troops to respond to another conflict. If North Korea attacked Japan or South Korea, if China invaded Taiwan, if radical Islamists in Pakistan took over the government, we might be unable to mobilize enough soldiers to push back the aggressors. We should have the choice to intervene rather than being forced to respond weakly - or not at all - because we lack the resources.

Are there good reasons not to sign up right away?

Yes. In fact, there are several reasons.

Some eligible Americans should be excused indefinitely from enlisting. Most eligible Americans should be excused only temporarily. Each American should consider honestly which reasons apply to his case.

OYE Comment: Americans must volunteer to serve in our military, so all Americans are already "excused." [We're otherwise not certain exactly what you mean.] This blog seeks to Ask The Question of anyone apparently eligible to serve who publicly supports the war, "Have you considered volunteering for military service?" We trust the American people to evaluate their responses in making their own decision whether specific war supporters should be "excused," and whether their opinions deserve the respect of the American people.

But none of the reasons justifies inaction! We are all obliged to help America win its military engagements. If we will not help by carrying a gun, we must actively lend a hand in other ways.

The most effective way to increase the military is to change national policy.

In the 1980s, we had a 16-division, all-volunteer army. Now we have a 10-division army. If we persuaded the legislative branch to increase funding for the military, and we persuaded the executive branch to call for greater enlistment, we could rapidly gain the servicemen we need. Without this change in policy, there simply would not be enough slots to accept as many volunteers as are needed.

Many eligible citizens are not joining the military simply because they have not been asked. The thought does not cross their minds, or, if it does, they tell themselves that there must be enough troops already. Others are not joining because they fear being forced to do three and four tours in Iraq while their friends continue to enjoy private careers and the company of their families.

Persuading and pressuring our government to change its military policy will do the most to promote victory and support our current troops. It will also rally popular support for persevering in Iraq. Some citizens do not think it is terribly important to persevere because the government’s policies, military and otherwise, do not demonstrate that it is terribly important.

OYE Comment: That's precisely why we have encouraged Our President's strongest supporters, the College and Young Republicans, to demonstrate their national leadership responsibility to set a good example for the rest of us. We have also urged President Bush and Our Nation's civilian political leaders to encourage "greater enlistment." One cannot help but wonder why our national leaders have yet to do what you recommend. Isn't that why the American people elected them - to Lead Our Nation?

The war must be fought on the home front as well as in Iraq

Sustaining the will to fight is at least as crucial as doing the actual fighting. Wars are contests of will as well as of armies, and the American will is slackening.

Many members of the anti-war crowd on the right and the left know this well. They have been working for years to reduce the American will to persevere, and they have had the help of the headlines in most major newspapers and news programs across the country. Furthermore, there has been relatively little response to their attacks. The Bush Administration has defended the war effort inadequately and infrequently. Pro-victory congressmen have generally remained silent and left the work to the President. Pro-victory citizens groups, while not entirely ineffective, have failed to organize a concerted national and grassroots effort to counter much of the major media and groups like Add to these factors that Americans dislike war, especially when it drags on without significant progress, and it is not surprising that support is falling.

Now approximately 40% of Americans want to fight on, while 40% more want to retreat right away, and 20% in the middle want, paradoxically, to leave without losing (i.e., want to retreat but without suffering defeat). The country wavers, and very soon it may give in.

Rallying and building upon existing support for the war will be as important to winning as conquering the enemy on the battlefield. Indeed, at this point, it is more important.

OYE Comment: Other than encouraging war supporters eligible-to-serve [healthy heterosexuals 41 and under] to Be A Man! Enlist!, given the stated absence of such initiative from Our Nation's civilian political leadership, how do you expect to do this effectively?

Certain citizens serve the country better in other ways

Some Americans, right, left and center, will serve the country much better as teachers, entrepreneurs, scientists, scholars, fundraisers, engineers, organizers, artists, doctors, and even lawyers (perhaps). The needs of the military at this time are great, but not nearly so great that every able-bodied man between the ages of 18 and 41 [corrected from 45] must join. Citizens of high talent in non-military fields should consider remaining in those fields, even if they want to fight instead.

This does not entail a broad deferment program, which would only cause national resentment and division. There are few Americans who are so talented that the country would suffer from their absence. The military may be able to recognize some of them and prevent them from joining if they attempt to. Others might have to apply for individual exemptions.

OYE Comment: This is theoretical right now; absent a draft, Americans must volunteer to serve in our military.

Not every American would make a competent serviceman

Some Americans would make poor or even incompetent servicemen. It may be a question of personal temperament or of physical meekness. It may be a question of pacifist principle.

We must scrutinize ourselves not only to see if we are making up excuses not to serve, but also to decide if we would help further victory more as a military member or a civilian.

OYE Comment: We agree. A responsive answer to The Question, "Have you considered volunteering for military service," is all we ask of those eligible to serve who support the war.

Some have overriding duties to their families

Parents are not in this category simply because they are parents. But those who are obliged to take care of ailing, infirm, handicapped, retarded or otherwise dependent family members should be able to continue to do so.

OYE Comment: We agree. A responsive answer to Our Question can cover such situations.

Americans should still act for victory even if they do not enlist

Even if someone has good cause not to enlist, he should still take his part in helping the country to support its troops and reach victory. Americans can give money, conserve energy, volunteer, write letters to elected officials and to newspapers, call radio programs, and form local action groups to encourage others to take similar steps.

Most of these things would not require more than an hour or two per week. Hardly a high price for victory.

OYE Comment: We agree. There are many good ways in which those either ineligible or unable [for reasons stated in response to Our Question] to serve, can Support Our Troops. The easiest is to encourage one's own eligible relatives and friends, or circles of influence, to consider military service.

Most eligible Americans should eventually volunteer for the military

Most would not be accepted, of course. Even if our military were 16 divisions instead of 10, there would not be nearly enough slots for 20 or 30 million volunteers. But, in the end, eligible Americans should make themselves available to the military.

Especially if the government agrees to increase the military sufficiently and if popular support for victory grows to 55% or more, eligible Americans should volunteer. Some would have to continue working in the U.S. to sustain popular support, but most of that work could be done by those unable to serve in the military.

Even if the government does not expand the military, and if popular support does not rise, eligible Americans should eventually volunteer in order to relieve our current soldiers from their additional and extended tours. Some have chosen such tours, others have not.

Most of us have enjoyed the fruits of peaceful, free existence at home while our brave and selfless compatriots have sacrificed in myriad ways to protect us. They deserve the chance to enjoy what they have fought for.

And those of us who are turned away by the military should continue to work for victory on the home front.

OYE Comment: We basically agree. With respect to our topic, please let us know how we can work with you to make this a reality.


Posted on Thursday, July 26, 2007 at 03:56PM by Josh Levy

UPDATE: Hat tip also to Sarpedon on Daily Kos. Great comments!


At 03 August, 2007 17:42, Anonymous blogenfreude said...

Sustaining the will to fight is at least as crucial as doing the actual fighting.

Blogging from your mother's basement is sure going to capture a lot of terrorists.

At 03 August, 2007 21:19, Anonymous Mr. Stagger Lee said...

[i]There are few Americans who are so talented that the country would suffer from their absence.[/i]

Question from the cheap seats, How would the country collapse if Josh Levy enlisted and how is he so talented?

[i]The military may be able to recognize some of them and prevent them from joining if they attempt to.[/i] Nice try Josh, they will take your a@@ and make you man a .50 on top of a humvee.

At 04 August, 2007 08:31, Blogger Grung_e_Gene said...

It is my opinion, from my correspondence with the creator of Win-the-War, he is a man who has read several "war" books.

Most likely, Clauswitz, some BH Liddel Hart and other abstracts and has ignored any which deals with the human cost; The Things They Carried, The Price of Glory, Johnny Got His Gun, Slaughterhouse Five and so on.

This is a common failing amongst many today, espeically when those who have had their LIFE WASTED in Iraq are referred to as just a number or a historically small number of casualities.

Thus, when discussing the "War" in Iraq, Win-the-War is woefully lacking in understanding. I would contend this is due to having never EXPERINCED the horrors in person.


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