The 21st Century Military

The 21st Century Military

E-mail debates of newsworthy topics.
July 30 1998 3:30 AM

The 21st Century Military

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Gary,

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       Thanks for your July 21 reply. The points you make certainly help clarify my thinking on the issue. Let me continue to probe some of your arguments.
       You assert that a "direct linkage exists between engagement of the greatest number of citizens in the nation's defense and concern for the nation's overall well-being." Even if we adopt the Minuteman proposal, the size of the total force will increase only slightly (from 1.4 million to 1.5 million). This would still be a very small percentage of the overall population and would require a total recruiting effort of only 250,000 men and women each year. And if this Minuteman total force is composed entirely of volunteers, where is the link with the rest of society? Will not the vast majority still be "detached" from the "duties of citizenship (as ... in the late Roman republic)"? Logically, if you believe that responsibility for service cannot be delegated to full- or part-time professionals, then you must argue for universal military training.
       You are correct in asserting that someone must define our role in the world, and we should not continue to justify a Cold War-like military on the grounds that there is always trouble in the world and we have a responsibility for fixing it. But you never tell us explicitly what your view is. You define the 21st century threats as cultural. Are you accepting the Huntington "Clash of Civilizations" thesis, which you discuss early in the book, in whole or in part? Perhaps a good way to conclude our dialogue is for you to define the role that the army of the people will support.

Larry