In the decades since the draft ended in 1973, a strange new military has emerged in the United States.
Says it like it is without the ranting and hyperbole. The Neo-Prussian state that will eventually actively resist attempts to dismantle it. All it would take is for the Roman auxiliaries to become the legions for the legions to became led and manned mostly by barbarians to signal the decline.
Even we should fear an independent military which we have allowed to begin. Our auxiliaries become our legions under their own commanders.
For all those who feel the need for a third party… How about a MIC party? Excuse me mister billionaire but you are not supposed to have your own military even if you can afford to have one! What do you mean the other members of the triumvirate all have theirs? No you can’t privatize the aircraft carrier strike force. Hey?
Milo Minderbender is alive and well in the US of A.
It is interesting to note that the British held a similar opinion to what was known as a “standing army” a very long time ago. Then they met Napoleon. After which the volunteer British army was still somewhat amateurish compared with what the dreaded Hun produced at the start of WW1; a fully professional army based on conscription for cannon fodder but run by a professional officer class rather than the local lord of the manor who could take time off for military exercises.
The thing about the Free Companies ( who were invariably expensive and never free) was that when they weren’t needed the lords and ladies simply said we are done, so go away. No having enough frequent flyer miles the mercenaries (and no longer earning money for their services,) - the Free Companies simply ran about pillaging and plundering the country of their former employers who hid behind stout castle walls. When needed the mercenaries would be rehired and so on. They also switched sides if the other side paid them more which was convenient or inconvenient depending! Mercenaries were frequently hired to remove other bands of mercenaries who overstayed their welcome. Something to think about. Large numbers of heavily armed mercenary companies … Usually never end well !!!
Why there was any need to create a highly trained private army military force with everything except it’s own navy is inexplicable to me. Moreover it is paid at two and three times the rate of pay of regular soldiers and usually receives security duties rather than direct combat (after the Iraq debacle) which is bizarre enough. Higher pay for less dangerous cushy jobs behind the lines and given the job to protect American (and British?) officers and diplomats.
But the question is, as always, what do you do after raising a Free Company of Mercs once you no longer need them? You end up with large numbers of heavily armed soldiers who don’t have to follow military or civilian government authority.
In modern times…they go corporate it seems … Now isn’t that comforting?
This is a wonderfully perceptive essay that gives light to many of the issues of US militarization often neglected in either knee-jerk acceptance or knee-jerk rejection. But it doesn’t go far enough in establishing context. When a nation spends a major portion of its national income on the weapons and personal for war, it guarantees a military-legislative-industrial complex that will act to maintain its own existence by any means necessary. Volunteer vs conscripted service has been only a step along the way.