Military Decline with Middle-Class Mercenary Economic Draft

Who do you think will most likely suffer PTSD? An unmarried, 19-year old who thinks he is going to live forever that finds the thrill of battle to be life-affirming. Or, the middle-class husband with two kids, mortgage and debt?

America has a draft. An economic draft of too many (not all) who find better job security in the military than the uncertainties of the marketplace. This is a situation simililar to the military in the 1930's which suffered management shock in the early days of WWII. Many of those Depression-era economic draftees were not mentally up to wartime stress and challenges. Old timers often resented drafted reserve officers being promoted over career officers. Why the promotions? Performance. Loaded dice can be winners ... or losers.

It is well-documented during the economic boomtimes of the 80's and 90's that the U.S. military scraped the bottom of the barrel. Recruiters fudged academic achievement and mental evaluations in order to meet the recruiting quotas. Which would be a better military with a higher rate of performance? A million draftees drawn from across the whole social, economic and political spectrum of America? Or, a million economic draftees drawn from those who thought the military was a gravy train compared to civilian life? (I'm stating statistical probabilities not univeralities.)

The U.S. is the only country with an "all-volunteer" military. Of its military money, China spends less on personnel and more on equipment and training than does the U.S. The U.S. is painting itself into a nuclear-only option in any confrontation with China. Israel, with a universal draft in a much smaller country than the U.S., can field thirty divisions while the U.S. Army has about ten.

Of patriotism, how patriotic is the service person who says, "I'm doing my time till I get my twenty." The moment a military member claims "You owe me!" it is the moment any claim to patriotism disappears. For a true patriot, the act of defending one's country is both means and ends for a noble character. And, fortunately, America has had more than its fair share of patriots in all the ranks, e.g., Geo. C. Marshall.

In Rumsfeld's and Cheney's orchestrating the "volunteeer" military after Vietnam, they not only set in motion the US military pricing itself out of the market like the merchant marine, steel, automobiles, etc., but they metastasized a country-club mercenary military less able to cope with the stress of battle compared to a draft-based frontline army. Thus,

  1. given America becoming a nation of ribbon-patriots who want something for nothing,
  2. given our re-election addicted habitual politicians who cater to their bases, and
  3. given parents who want someone else's kid to fight and die for America,

    we will have neither a draft-based military nor a dollar-based military to defend America.

Of the funds the U.S. can budget for military defense, Republicans have front-loaded the compensation package so that the downwind needs are underfunded, e.g., veteran benefits and support. It is no longer an issue of butter or bullets but billets or bullets. There is a reason for Republicans wanting a middle-class military: sell more expensive vehicles, homes, etc.

One of the contributing factors to the rate of PTSD is the "volunteer" military of middle-age, middle-class fighters who enlisted for the money as a de facto economic draft of the poor. (Again, I'm talking proportions, not 100%).