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Big Topics, Bonus – America's Army?

March 28, 2011 | Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Grimes

 

Ok, so I forgot to mention in my original Week 3 re-cap that my ILE group also had a great, multi-day discussion about what the Army's role (or, more generally, the military's role) might be vis-a-vis our democratic society. Some of our readings discussed the two classic theories of the role an army plays in its society: the 'liberal' theory (which focuses on the army's responsibility to protect the democratic ideals in society) or the 'civic republican' theory (which describes the army as having a role to play in sustaining those ideals).

Though our society favors the former view, I think I'm much more an advocate of the latter. I think the Army – and, more broadly, all of our bodies of government – has the potential to develop powerful civic ideals that might more tightly bind our society. It's the same idea behind AmeriCorps and other government initiatives: by giving some period of service to the government, citizens are rewarded with something (loan forgiveness, training, etc.) and at the same time (hopefully) develop a commitment to our form of civil society. The idea is not to form particular loyalty to a given administration or set of leaders, but rather to our system of government, which we believe to be fair, representative, etc. If we focus only on the Army's responsibility to protect our society and do nothing to encourage the many ways it can develop and sustain it, we are simply leaving some of its potential on the curb.

Other countries (many of them our closest allies) require their citizens to provide some period of service to the nation. This service might be done in the military, but it might also be done in other government agencies (such as education, medicine, emergency services, etc.). While conscription – a draft – isn't something we're likely to see on our shores any time soon, I'd personally like to see some sort of service requirement implemented. I'd hope this would equalize the socio-economic representation of Soldiers in our Army, but it might also help to develop some of the cultural traits that help define us (like equality of opportunity and responsibility). There would still be room in my vision for an all-volunteer core (corps?) of professional Soldiers, just as there would be a similar professional backbone in other participating agencies.

So, is this a crazy idea? Would you sign up for such a service obligation? Would you sign up your kids? Would it even be worth it?


2 Comments

  • POWELL
    3/29/2011 5:51 PM
    YOU ARE WHERE I SHOULD OF BEEN:

    POWELL HAS BEEN TESTED BY THOSE HE HATH MET WHO LACK FAITH IN OUR POLITICS, MILITARY, AND WORLD, BUT SOME BELIEVE IN US UNWAVERINGLY. I LIVED AMONG THEM ON THE STREETS IN THEIR BARS, THEIR HOMES FROM DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS TO THEIR SKIN COLOR, AND CULTURES TO THEIR BELIEFS. I WILL BE WHAT I ALWAYS WILL BE A WARRIOR, LEADER, WITH SCARS, BUT INFUSED WITH POWER AND ABILITY.

    Fredrick Eli Powell:

    SOME HATH TALKED DOWN ON US, AND CIVILIANS TREAT MOST OF US AS IF WE ARE CONVICTS, BUT POWELL NEVER LET THEM AND PUT THEM IN THEIR PLACE. I'LL LET PRIDE AND HONOR BE FIRST AND FOREMOST, THAN DISRESPECT AND DISDAIN. I HAVE HELPED VETS WHO WERE TOO WEAK TO SURVIVE OUT HERE AND SEE SOME DISRESPECTED BUT PEOPLE TRIED WITH POWELL, BUT APOLOGIZED. SOON MONEY WILL BE A THING OF THE PAST AND CREDIT IS JUST AS USEFUL AS MONEY.
    35 minutes ago · Like

    Fredrick Eli Powell:

    I USED MY INTELLECT, MY WILL, MY STRENGTH AND FIGHTING ABILITY IN WHETHER THE NEED FOR FORCE ON THE STREET WAS REQUIRED. I FEAR NO ONE OR ANYTHING. I HAD NICE THINGS BEFORE, WOMEN, PRECIOUS METALS, VEHICLES, MONEY, YOU NAME IT AT ONE POINT I HAD IT. MY WORDS ARE FEW ACCEPT WHEN I TYPED MY WORDS.
    30 minutes ago · Like

    Fredrick Eli Powell:

    MY VOICE ECHOES WITH AUTHORITY I SEE PEOPLE HIDE BEHIND THIS OR THAT AND DISRESPECT THOSE THEY PROTECT AND THE PEOPLE THEY PROTECT DISRESPECT THEM. WAR CRIMES ARE HIGH AMONGST OUR SOLDIERS AND IN REALITY I KNOW IT WILL NEVER CHANGE. OUR MORALS HAS TO BE HIGHER THAN OTHER NATIONS IF WE ARE TO SET THE TONE FOR OTHERS TO FOLLOW OUR BANNER.
    26 minutes ago · Like

    Fredrick Eli Powell:

    COWARDS ARE IN POSITIONS THEY DID NOT REALLY EARN THEY LACK THE WILL TO LEAD. TO A MAN LIKE ME I KNOW YOU CAN REACH ANYONE AND NO ONE IS UNTOUCHABLE. THIS WAR AND ECONOMY AND WORLD CONFLICTS TAUGHT ME THAT HISTORY WILL JUDGE US ACCORDINGLY TO WHAT WE DO AND HOW WE TREAT OUR PEOPLE. THOSE WE COMMAND MUST BELIEVE IN THEIR LEADERS AND THEMSELVES AND OUR FIGHT IS JUST.
    21 minutes ago · Like

    Fredrick Eli Powell:

    POWELL ONLY NEED THE ESSENTIALS, AND TO KNOW I WILL NEVER WAIVER IN ANY CONFLICTS PRESENTLY AND IN THE FUTURE. THERE IS NO AMOUNT OF PAIN I HAD NOT ALREADY ENDURED IN BATTLE WITH LIFE AND DEATH EACH WILLING TO DRAG ME TO HELL. I AM NOT DONE YET AND HELL IS TRYING ITS DAMNEDEST TO REACH EARTH.
    14 minutes ago · Like

    Fredrick Eli Powell:

    MY VISION OF HOW THE MILITARY SHOULD BE IS NOW COMING TO PASS, AND IT IS NOT IRONCLAD YET EXCEPT IN SPECIAL PROGRAMS TO THEIR AGENCIES. THE OLDER BIG WIGS ARE CLOSER TO DEATH DOOR AND WILL BE PRESENTED WITH THE HIGHEST OF FUNERALS. WE MUST NOT LET THEIR LEGACY DIE OUT. ONCE THESE DEGREES OUR IN HAND I SWEAR IT ON MY BLOOD OATH AS A POWELL.
  • Antelfine
    7/10/2011 3:59 AM
    I keep listening to the newscast talk about getting boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the finest site to get one. Could you tell me please, where could i get some?

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