Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

“Over the past decade, this all-volunteer force has been put to the test and has succeeded,” wrote Thomas E. Ricks, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, in Sunday’s Washington Post.

But Ricks argues that this success is “precisely the reason” that now is the “time to get rid of the all-volunteer force. It has been too successful.”

Scrap success! Instead, Ricks raves we should “[resume] conscription . . . to reconnect the people with the armed forces” even though, admittedly, a draft “would cause problems for the military.”

Though on this latter point I catch a whiff of understatement, Ricks has a legitimate concern. “Our relatively small and highly adept military” makes “it all too easy for our nation to go to war,” he wrote, “and to ignore the consequences.” America now takes to war far too easily. Only one man (the president) decides, really, where and when the U.S. goes to war, and he puts it all on the national credit card.

So the answer is giving the Commander-in-Chief more resources? What Ricks risks is giving the president and his back-room boys a blank check on the manpower of our children.

The only effective check (as in check-and-balance) would be, I guess, a vote every four years. Oh, and the presidential term limit.

You are probably thinking: What about Congress? Unfortunately, it’s congressional dereliction of duty that’s got us here in the first place.

Which brings us back to first principles. And here the case is clear: Ricks’s prescription is wrong because conscription is wrong. Dictators conscript “their” subjects; a free society finds voluntary defenders.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Jim says:

    You are completely wrong. If we had a draft, the Iraq war may never have happened and we wouldn’t be in Afghanistan.

    You know that but deny it. Why?

  2. Sheldon says:

    You say, “Dictators conscript “their” subjects; a free society finds voluntary defenders.”

    I’m 78 years old. In my lifetime (and certainly since 1913) we have not had a “free society.” What makes you think we have one, especially since the president’s last edict (executive order), allowing him to take control of the entire country as dictator?

  3. Jeff Daiell says:

    The draft makes possible even larger and even riskier instances of imperialism (i.e., Korean, Viet-Nam).

    Jeff Daiell

  4. Drik says:

    The security of the free states is duly relegated to the responsibility of the state’s militia. Not a national army.

  5. Ken Morgan says:

    The Swiss Republic, one 300 years older than our own, requires every fit male to serve in its Army. To them, soldier and citizen are synonymos. That was the assumption behind our own second amendment–“a well regulated militia”. History has shown that an army of the people is the only safeguard against the King’s army. Ironically, the Swiss have not been involved in a war for 200 years. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the people who would have to fight are identical to the people who vote.

  6. Pat says:

    I would ask Ken Morgan: what would the Swiss do if their land was invaded? What would they do if Geneva or Zurich experienced an attack on the scale of 9/11? The Swiss have not been involved in a war for 200 years? They’re lucky!

  7. Jay says:

    I disagree with you, Mr. Jacob.

    I was in the US Army ( I admit, as a member of an Army Reserve unit) during the Viet Nam war.

    On active service, I (and my fellow soldiers) met people from all over the country, from every walk of life. People who never –in a civilian life–ever be comfortable with, or mingle with.

    Color was never an issue–in fact, go back to the harry Truman Adminsitration ( which you have -in my opinion- smeared on an occasion or two) and you will see that THE ARMED FORCES WERE THE FIRST PART OF AMERICAN SOCIETY TO BE PEACEFULLY INTEGRATED. (True, there were, and probably still are, instances of racial fighting- but, from my experiences and those of people I knwo and knew, fewer then in the civilian world).


    In my opinion, one of the tradgedies of the Viet Nam War ( and to a lesser extent Korea–IE. pat Robertson, whose father was a Senator goes to Japan, hsi unti goes to Korea) was that the sons of the influential did not serve, or got sinecure jobs in the states (in a National Guard or Reserve unit).

    Note, also, in Israel, almsot everybody serves, and there is now, an outcry of sorts, of the exemptions for some people. And their army is one of the best. Considering how outnumbered they are.

    Bring back the draft, but make it equitable, as in WW2.


    You seem to think all should pay taxes, including the poor. Well, they make up a disproportunate slice of the enlisted personnel. Let the affluent serve also, and get dirty.

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