The American Foreign Legion

A while back, I read an article about how the US could increase the number of troops we have by offering citizenship to people who served in the military. The Washington Post recently had an editorial arguing for the idea. Now Arts and Letters Daily has pointed me to an article that succinctly sums up the concept for me - an American Foreign Legion.

America was once able to promise young men pensions, access to higher education and lifelong health care in exchange for military service. But today, every American enjoys Social Security and Medicare as a matter of right, and college is no longer an upper-class game preserve. Military service has become an evaporating social duty unsupported by economic incentives. And with family sizes decreasing, parents are becoming more sentimental toward children and less likely to urge them toward the profession of arms. To put it bluntly, military recruitment is easiest where human life is held less dear.
The article calls this strategy "one of the defining policies of late empire", and draws comparisons to both the Romans and the French. It's a very thought-provoking read.
Nikki commented:
I wish I would remember where I read it, but I've seen it proposed that education should not be considered a right and notmade as easily accessible. I chucked it off as rubbage, but your post reminded me of it. I think in areas where there is still a lot of economic impoverishment and the college education isn't seen as achievable because the high schools buy football uniforms rather than provide AP classes the recruitment is still at a prime. Of course, that really isn't the point you are making, but it made me think of it. I've been hoping for a change in regime; and I don't mean another election year. If you need me, I will be off reading some Che... ;)
on Fri Jan 5 21:17:53 2007

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