Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Volunteer Army?

Shouldn't you have the right to quit a volunteer army? I was thinking about that for a while today. There is the problem of bonuses paid for enlistment, but what if they simply restructured the system to be more like a civilian company. You get bonuses for how long you actually stay for, not how long you promise to stay for. This would avoid problems such as debt to the government as well (I was medically discharged and had to pay back the 9 months worth of my bonus that I didn't serve even though my discharge was of a full honorable status). This would also mean that the people in the army would actually want to be there. When I was in I always enjoyed working more with the people who loved the job. I myself may have had some problems with the occupation and what not, but I loved my job and would have gladly stayed on for some time longer if given the chance. People who don't really want to be there generally wind up getting in a lot of trouble and getting discharged anyways.

A guy I met who was in my brigade kept getting busted for smoking pot. When he was asked why he kept smoking it his reply was that he knew that at some point that would get tired of it and throw him out. This was his solution to avoid going back to Iraq. It worked. They eventually threw him out. But what if they hadn't? I would not want to be in combat with someone who really didn't want to be there. It could be literally bad for my health.

I have to think then, that the reason you can still get charged with desertion and awol and what not, and have that threat of jail time over your head is that officials know that very few actually want to fight this war. Especially more then once. So they have to force them into it, through stop loss, and threats of charges that could lead to capital punishment like desertion. If we are to be a decent society and treat our soldiers like they are still human beings, then these policies have to end. It is telling when a nation has to coerce and force it's military into combat. If we were truly fighting for freedom and justice these actions would not be necessary as many more people would gladly go and fight to defend these principles.

A volunteer army ought to mean that you can leave at will. Of course this would mean that you don't get paid and if you did it more then once then certainly I see a good reason to not allow that person back in to the service. Other then that as far as I see this could only benefit the military as those remaining would be more dedicated to the cause while those who would be a detriment to the mission wouldn't be there to get in the way. There would be no lengthy paperwork and appeals process so people who strongly disagreed with the reasons to combat could simply leave instead. Everybody wins. Well, everybody except those that beat the drum of nationalism above all other concepts like freedom. They would lose here, but I'm sure most of us wouldn't mind.

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