America and its Western allies should either reinstate the military draft or put down their arms, because their way of going to war these days is too unjust, too inequitable to abide.
Whenever I read or hear somebody say that America, the West, the world must intervene militarily in Syria, I think, very cynically, that if such an intervention were to get messy, as military interventions have been known to do, it’s not America, the West, or the world that will be risking its life – it will be Bill Jones of Omaha and Jane Smith of Denver and lots of other young people who’ve been ordered to Syria by their commander in chief (and lifelong non-combatant) Barack Obama.
So beyond whatever specific objections I have to a U.S. or Western military move in Syria, or in any other conflict where innocents are being killed en masse and where the world supposedly “cannot stand idly by,” I have a fundamental problem with all of these “humanitarian” uses of force, these “responsibility to protect” operations – because who am I, who is anybody with immunity to the danger and whose family is similarly immune, to urge other people, invariably young people, to do what we and our families have no intention of doing?
But that’s the way the West goes to war these days. That’s the situation in the United States, Britain, France and every other country whose leaders and opinion-makers are apt to consider it a matter of national responsibility to use force in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Bosnia or any other strategic spot (which leaves out Africa, ironically) where major crimes against humanity are taking place.
In the United States, less than a half of one percent of the population – fewer than one out of every 200 citizens – serve in the military, which has been all-volunteer since 1973. I imagine the figures are similar in Britain, France, Italy, Australia, Canada and other American-allied countries where military service is voluntary, and whose leaders and opinion-makers are expected to at least sound interested when a “coalition of the willing” is being gotten up to go fight somewhere.
And I imagine that like in the United States, the volunteer ranks of the armed forces of America’s Western allies are rather thin, shall we say, on the sons and daughters of...Read More