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Starting your Military

Home Forums Community Dreaming / Crazy Ideas / Speculation Starting your Military

This topic contains 142 replies, has 28 voices, and was last updated by Avatar of elspru elspru 3 years, 9 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 143 total)
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  • #1065
    Avatar of xns
    xns
    Participant

    It’s an important consideration is it not? How do we avoid the strange military sub-culture that America has? Or those coups that constantly seem to be happening in 3rd world countries? How about the strange incompetence that comes with mandatory drafting like Singapore?(Speaking from experience here…)

    I find myself drawn to a “volunteer army” system. Where everyone spends 1 day a week training after a 2 month basic and 2 month intermediate training course. It seems to solve the problem of military losing touch with the rest of society, as well as things like military gay-bashing and command rape. But I get the feeling it’ll be hell for military commanders who find themselves working for their subordinates in civilian life.

    Ideas? Thoughts?

    #7748
    Avatar of Jeff-Chan
    Jeff-Chan
    Participant

    See Switzerland.

    It has a popular militia, which means most of its military (99+%) are civilians. It has a relatively tiny professional officer corps, and more than a million machine guns in those private hands. It also has had centuries of peace, prosperity, freedom stability.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_of_Switzerland

    #7759
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    I don’t know…I don’t think there is anything that can compete with a professional military force. Conscription and volunteer soldiers just don’t seem like they would have the same work ethic. There is a reason why expensive lawyers represent people better than free public attorneys.

    With a professional military force you can have levels of cohesion and training that you cannot hope to see in a volunteer militia. My military would be professional…a full-time job just like any other with highly-trained soldiers working day-after-day with the same people.

    EDIT: I will say that I like the idea of some period of mandatory military service being a requirement for citizenship. But these forced positions could be done in non-combat, non-critical areas such as supply, maintenance, administration, communication, etc.

    #7760
    Avatar of horton
    horton
    Participant

    I think Switzerland’s model is pretty good. I was doing a business deal with someone who had to spend a month of mandetory service. It wasn’t any big deal and time he seemed to enjoy to just hang out with a bunch of guys, almost like a vacation. Apparently they purposely put people from different cultural backgrounds together.

    A standing professional military is a disaster for any country. It’s been that way forever. It was for Nazi Germany, for Iraq with its Republican guard, and it is for the United States.

    #7762
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    The one thing I like about the Swiss model is the sense of community and mutual defense that exist in the population. Firearms are treated there like wine is treated in Italy or Spain. It is just a natural part of everyday life, and therefore you see less abuse.

    I disagree with your statement about standing militaries being the downfall of a society. It is how that military is used that matters. If spending is kept under control, and the military is used in a strict defense-only mentality, then there should be no problem. It’s only when politics gets involved that things get nasty.

    A militia made up of men who spend one year out of their 30-year career in actual military service cannot compete against a professional military force whose soldiers spend every single day in training. I don’t care how much time you spend cleaning your weapon and competing in target shooting matches…there is MUCH more to combat than that. It requires constant, complex, and intensive training that you don’t get with a militia.

    There is a reason why their Air Force is made up of full-time professionals. I’ve been looking into how the tank corp is run, but I believe that is mostly professional as well. Anyone have any information on that branch?

    #7763
    Avatar of libertariandoc
    libertariandoc
    Participant

    In the years between WWI and WWII, the US had a very, very small standing army – the army of Portugal was larger than the US’ which ranked 18th or so in the world.

    Because of that, the US was unable to respond effectively immediately following the start of WWII. The naval battle of Midway (June 1942) was about the first military victory the US enjoyed (the earlier battle of the Coral Sea was a tatical victory for Japan, arguably a strategic victory for the allies). In the ETO, the invasion of North Africa didn’t happen until November, and the result was the defeat (for the US) at Kasserine pass in Feb ’43.

    Had the US a larger standing army things might have been different. Or not, the British and Soviets fared even more poorly despite very large standing armies. They did not, however, have professional officer corps, at least not competent leadership, or the defeats the british suffered in Asia (Singapor, Hong Kong) or Dunkirk wouldn’t have happened. Of course the british leadership learned nothing from WWI or the intervening years.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a-hand on. I don’t do these things to other people, and I require the same from them.

    #7765
    Avatar of horton
    horton
    Participant

    “Professional military” is an oxymoron on the scale of “military intelligence.” There’s nothing professional about pointing a gun and shooting. Any moron can do it. US military propaganda has tried to paint it as a science, but it’s obviously not. In Iraq the only thing that’s calming things down is a promiss to withdraw. Same thing will happen in Afghanistan once the US makes the commitment.

    Build whatever military you want. Just don’t ask me to pay for it. As far as threatening me to cough up money for “protection,” we all know what that’s about.

    Read the thread about mlitary, police, & firefighters. It’s amazing that people claiming to be “libertarians” are demanding other people pay for their military obsessions.

    #7766
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    Yes, I am not debating about the size of the military, but the level of training, coordination, and leadership. World War I isn’t a great example, because soldiers were nothing but monkeys with guns told to run from trench to trench. World War II began to show how highly trained and motivated troops, coupled with good leadership (and more advanced weaponry), could prove more valuable than poorly trained conscripts forced to fight at gunpoint. Vietnam is another perfect example of what can happen when you rely on an army of conscripts.

    As for spending, I looked up some numbers. In 2006 Switzerland spent $3.5B on defense in a country of 7.5M people. In the same year, the US spend $442B on defense in a country of 300M people. But those US numbers include all the Department of Energy nuclear programs, which is VERY expensive. So if you take a conservative guess and take half of the US defense budget as being for nuclear weapons (which the Swiss do not have) then you can have a better comparison between the two.

    So now you are comparing Switzerland with $3.5B spent for 7.5M people ($466.67/person) to the US with $221B spent for 300M people ($736.67/person). Not so different, are they? No wonder lots of Swiss people are trying to get the military cut back!

    #7767
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    There’s nothing professional about pointing a gun and shooting. Any moron can do it.

    I disagree very strongly. I could make several other statements about how wrong you are, but I want to keep things civil.

    #7768
    Avatar of Jeff-Chan
    Jeff-Chan
    Participant

    i_is_j_smith wrote:
    I don’t know…I don’t think there is anything that can compete with a professional military force. Conscription and volunteer soldiers just don’t seem like they would have the same work ethic. There is a reason why expensive lawyers represent people better than free public attorneys.

    With a professional military force you can have levels of cohesion and training that you cannot hope to see in a volunteer militia. My military would be professional…a full-time job just like any other with highly-trained soldiers working day-after-day with the same people.

    EDIT: I will say that I like the idea of some period of mandatory military service being a requirement for citizenship. But these forced positions could be done in non-combat, non-critical areas such as supply, maintenance, administration, communication, etc.

    Let’s take a look at militias such as the Swiss and militia theory such as the history of the U.S. Second Amendment, which was in essence a half-baked scheme to copy Switzerland. Standing armies are a potential coup threat, they don’t always bow to civilian control, and America’s founders considered a standing army to be a major threat to liberty.

    Like Switzerland, the Roman Republic had a popular militia. As a result, if a foreign invasion/war was unpopular, people in the militia would not go and they could not have their invasion. If the Roman Republilc was being invaded by a foreign enemy, the popular response was much broader. People will defend their home. They’re less willing to invade foreign countries. And that’s a very, very good thing.

    One of the major changes from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire was the establishment of a standing army to replace the popular militia. Ceasars got tired of a militia that would not invade other countries when their whim called for it. (Is any of this sounding familiar?) The end of the Roman Empire arguably started when the standing army was ordered to literally cross the Rubicon in order to invade Rome itself. (That’s where the expression crossing the Rubicon comes from.) Ceasar had ordered the standing army to take over the government; to install a military dictatorship with him in charge. (Previously the army was not allowed into Rome proper in order to guard against the possibility of military takeover.) Rules were meant to be broken it seems, and some people are above the rules.

    “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana

    A popular militia can’t really turn against the people since the bulk of it is made up of the people.

    “The militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves, … all men capable of bearing arms;…” — “Letters from the Federal Farmer to the Republic”, 1788 (either Richard Henry Lee or Melancton Smith).

    “Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress shall have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American … The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the People.” — Tench Coxe, 1788.

    Laws that forbid the carrying of arms… disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. Jefferson’s “Commonplace Book,” 1774_1776, quoting from On Crimes and Punishment, by criminologist Cesare Beccaria, 1764

    “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” Thomas Jefferson, Proposed Virginia Constitution, 1776, Jefferson Papers 344.

    “The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world not destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside … Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them … the weak will become prey to the strong.” Thomas Paine, Thoughts on Defensive War

    “Americans [have] the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust their people with arms.” James Madison

    “The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms . . .” Samuel Adams

    “When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually…I ask, who are the militia? They consist of now of the whole people, except a few public officers. But I cannot say who will be the militia of the future day. If that paper on the table gets no alteration, the militia of the future day may not consist of all classes, high and low, and rich and poor…” George Mason, Virginia Constitution Convention

    #7769
    Avatar of Jeff-Chan
    Jeff-Chan
    Participant

    i_is_j_smith wrote:
    I disagree with your statement about standing militaries being the downfall of a society. It is how that military is used that matters. If spending is kept under control, and the military is used in a strict defense-only mentality, then there should be no problem. It’s only when politics gets involved that things get nasty.

    The U.S. standing army is under civilian control, which by definition means politics is involved. The results aren’t always so good.

    See Iraq.

    See Rome.

    #7772
    Avatar of horton
    horton
    Participant

    i_is_j_smith wrote:

    There’s nothing professional about pointing a gun and shooting. Any moron can do it.

    I disagree very strongly. I could make several other statements about how wrong you are, but I want to keep things civil.

    I’m sorry, but the there’s a technical definition of a “moron,” although a bit politically incorrect nowadays. It has to do with IQ levels as determined by an IQ test. I have no doubt that people scoring moron level IQs could perform most of the duties of the average military foot soldier.

    Getting away from name calling, it’s definitely not a “profession” as in something that needs a high degree of training and shouldn’t be done part time. We have military reserves, part time soldiers, and historically armies have mostly been part time militas. Military is not a “profession” under any reasonable definition.

    Something that requires a high degree of training and shouldn’t be done part time? Brain surgery is a good example. There’s something. Military aircraft pilots, maybe, but those are pilots, what makes them military is not part of the profession. Same goes for military doctors, etc.

    #7773
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    The U.S. standing army is under civilian control, which by definition means politics is involved. The results aren’t always so good.

    That’s what I said. I’m not defending the current state of the US military…it’s actually exactly what I wouldn’t want. A military needs to be for defense only.

    #7774
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    I have no doubt that people scoring moron level IQs could perform most of the duties of the average military foot soldier.

    I am going to make a few assumtions here, which I wasn’t going to do before but it seems has become necessary. I assume you have never broken down, cleaned, and reassembled an M9, M16, M60, and M249. I assume you have never been in the military, or done anything closer to combat than playing Modern Warfare. I assume you have never gone through any military marksman testing courses.

    I have done all of those things, and I assure you that a “moron” could not. And now do those things while under enemy fire, in the mass confusion of combat, which thankfully I have never had to experience…but know personally people who have.

    They are professionals. They are highly trained to do one thing….kill people. They are as good at their job as the brain surgeon is at theirs. Would you want your brain worked on by somebody who just keeps their scalpel in their house and breaks it out every once in a long while? Would you want to be defended by a lawyer who just dabbles in the law on the weekends? I don’t think so. So I wouldn’t want to be defended by somebody who happens to own an assault rifle and just pops a few rounds off on the range every now and then.

    #7775
    Avatar of i_is_j_smith
    i_is_j_smith
    Participant

    People will defend their home.

    Okay, first of all there were plenty of professional soldiers in the Legion during the Republican era…serving for up to 20 years in some cases. I mean they were using the phalanx long before the Imperial period and that formation required plenty of training and discipline. But prior to Marius’ reforms they all had to supply their own gear so you only had rich landowners who were part of the military. It was Marius, not Jules, who reformed the military and gave every Roman, even the poor, the “job” of the soldier.

    Second of all, I am not talking about a huge military force used to invade other places. I am talking about a small, defensive force used to protect the seastead from pirates, thieves, and other small-scale threats.

    My argument is that the “job” of the soldier is a very complex and difficult one…one that I would not trust to some 42-year-old banker who just happens to keep a shotgun on his mantle that he takes down once in a while to pop cans with in the backyard. History is FULL of examples of untrained conscripts breaking before a smaller but higher trained force. I mean, have you ever watch video of riot police in action? You’ve got a massive crowd of wild people and they are beat back over and over. Why? Because the police are highly trained and practice these situations over and over and over until they are expert. They do not crack, they maintain unit cohesion and morale…even in extreme circumstances. You cannot rely on a militia for that.

    You want to talk about learning from history. In the American Revolutionary War, the British were not defeated by militia hiding in the woods and using cover. They won because Von Steuben trained them to fight like the British…in formation with volley fire. After Valley Forge he put a single standard in place, trained the men over and over in large-scale drill, and turned them into PROFESSIONAL soldiers. They showed how well they had learned at Monmouth.

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