GEN McChrystal on a draft

Retired GEN McChrystal was recently asked what he thought of a return to the draft.

When asked about his thoughts on implementing a draft on CBS’s Face the Nation, General Stanley A. McChrystal said national service would have a positive impact because it would “bind people to their nation” and “pull people together in shared experiences.”

The only legitimate purpose for a draft is to provide sufficient soldiers for an army.  Congress specifically has the power to raise armies.  Given the forthcoming budget cuts for DoD, the services primary personnel problem will be trimming its ranks, not expanding them.

As for “national service” I’m highly dubious of any supposed benefits of binding people to their nation or pulling people together in shared experiences.  I’ve read the Constitution a time or two, and don’t seem to recall  that ever being one of the roles of the government.  I suspect also that any attempt at compulsory national service would also run afoul of the 13th Amendment prohibition of involuntary servitude.

Any program of national service would be immense. Already the federal government is spending vastly more money than it is raising through revenues. Just how would such a program be paid for? Where would these multitudes be housed? How many tens of thousands of bureaucrats would be needed to manage and lead this national service mob?

Just how “national” would this service be? Let’s face it, there’s a certain percentage of any population that is simply unsuited for employment, either by physical handicap, mental issues, or just because they are so ill educated that they cannot effectively contribute to any workforce.  So what screening would be in place to exclude this tranche of unsuitables? And given that there will be a screening process, I can assure you that it will become rife with loopholes and temptations to graft to be exploited by those who wish to avoid compulsory service.  Will teenagers with felony records be required to serve? How about people with drug convictions? Does anyone realistically expect Congress to institute a system of service where they couldn’t find a way to exclude their own children or the children of wealthy campaign donors?

And just what would all these people be doing?  Virtually any large infrastructure project would be dead on arrival, both because of the costs of the project itself, and the inevitable, interminable lawsuits to stop projects by the environmental lobby. There’s only so many small projects to go around.  You say, “they can clean parks!” I say, why not have non-violent prisoners at the county jail clean the park? Or people sentenced to community service.  You say, “they can teach in inner city schools!”  I say, we already have teachers in inner city schools. And the teachers lobby certainly doesn’t want anyone to get the idea that kids can be taught by anyone without extensive credentials.

Just about any tasking that any notional national service corps would be asked to perform would also tend to crowd out private companies already in the market. Is that what we really want? For the federal government to crowd out private business, especially in these weak economic times?

GEN McChrystal is a smart guy. Probably smarter than me. But he’s certainly not put any deep thought into the ramifications of any scheme of national service. And given his fall from grace after the Rolling Stone piece on him, you’d think he’d have learned to be a tad more circumspect about answering questions outside his area of expertise.

If GEN McChrystal really want to rehabilitate his reputation, he’d do well to keep his mouth shut, and let other folks say stupid things.


12 thoughts on “GEN McChrystal on a draft”

  1. General McChrystal may be smart, even smarter than you, but he is nowhere near as smart as he thinks he is. Which makes him pretty typical of the left to far-left of which he is a part. I would like to buy him for what he is worth and sell him for what he thinks he is worth.

    You are correct. National service for the purpose of “binding the people to the nation” is anathema to the Constitution. Not that McChrystal has perused it lately.

    And the bureaucratic overhead for “administration” of this national service? Gargantuan. Also typical of the statist philosophy of how to govern a country. A super place to further indoctrinate. See: KOMSOMOL, Hitlerjugend, and The Communist Youth League.

  2. Don’t forgot how good ole Mister Mussolini put all the unemployed back to work building railways and train stations. He even got the trains to run on time! That it was followed by disastrous foreign adventures, a war and devastation of the countryside is merely coincidental.

    Everyone who evers utters the idea has never thought it through, even to this cursory level of detail.

  3. ” For the federal government to crowd out private business, especially in these weak economic times?”

    Yes, haven’t you been paying attention? At least for those businesses that cannot or will not contribute to the campaign fund for whatever politician controls this force. Cf. Shawshank Redemption.

    McCrystal has also shown he’s spent too much time at rarified ranks surrounded by selected personnel. In the real world most people get resentful when they’re forced to do think and begin to take measures, both passive and active, to reassert control over their lives (My inability to get my RDMC and RO to understand this was a major contributor to my leaving active duty). The end result is that any cadre is going to have to spend a great deal of their time trying to outsmart the conscripts, and I guarantee they aren’t going to be totally successful.

  4. Service in the defense of your country is a duty of citizenship. Every able bodied male should be inducted for military training and required to maintain a weapon suitable for service. We used to require such things, until we got on a slippery, lazy slope to where we are now. The Swiss maintain such a system and they have not had to fight a war in 400 years, and haven’t been invaded either. The Germans left the Swiss alone because they knew they would not have an Army at the end, even assuming the Swiss lost.

    There is a lot of criticism of the concept, some of it from you Brad, but, such service goes a long way to binding a country together, and also maintains a pool of basically trained men that could be called up, given short refresher training and then sent out. IT’s not beyond us, and a lot of the libtard stuff would get shortstopped very quickly when everyone realizes there are no deferments and Senator Joe Blow’s little Johnny may find himself getting shot at.

    1. Given that the US Government *already* feels that the vast majority of us here – as trained veterans – are potential terrorists, do you *really* think they’d endorse a program where they increase that pool of trained and “dangerous” people?

    2. You cannot legislate duty any more than you can legislate morality or belief. Any attempt to do so is an affront to Liberty. By all means, include drill and basic infantry techniques in the high school curriculum, and require all adults own a military grade rifle and ammunition for it, but leave conscription to those countries who are either grossly outnumbered or are infatuated with tyranny.

      I would warn you against comparing us to Switzerland. For one thing their culture tends to hew closer to order on the liberty-order spectrum than we do. For another, Hitler could have conquered Switzerland at extremely low cost. Simply barricade the mountainous country surrounded by him and his clients. Within a year he could have easily taken over, if they didn’t surrender first. His failure to do so indicates that Hitler saw more value in an independant, neutral Switzerland than he did in adding on to the Reich.

    3. Melvin Laird’s AVF was implemented precisely to prevent that which it brought on. A means of national service, if voluntary, is fine. We have those. Mandatory? Not on your life.

    1. “We” get to hear about his incessant opining because the mainstream media has figured out he is an uber-liberal fresh out of a uniform who can’t keep his mouth shut. Wesley Clark II. With a dash of Colin Powell.

  5. Sorry… I should care what Stan McChrystal thinks… why? Last I checked, he’s just another dude with an opinion. And nothing makes his any more valuable that anyone else’s opinion. He’s not an elected official, he’s not a public servant. He’s just a guy now. So unless and until he asks me for my opinion, as far as I’m concerned he can keep his suckhole shut. Stop giving this attention whore what he wants.

  6. Put your self in the shoes of the draftees if you havn’t already been there, drafted by lottery, conscripted into duty you did not nor do not want to do.
    Sent someplace you never heard of to be shot at and shoot at people you never had any beef against.
    Returning home to your country men who spit on you and call you bay killers who could not hold down a civilian job nor evade the draft by other means at best and maimed, blinded or have traumatic injuries that cannot be healed dogging you the rest of your life at worst.
    McCrystal?He is a floggin’ ticket punching lifer looking for some lucrative position by kissing liberal ass.

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