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Does Free College Threaten Our All-Volunteer Military?


Does Free College Threaten Our All-Volunteer Military?

Peter Van Buren

Does free college threaten our all-volunteer military? That is what writer Benjamin Luxenberg, on military blog War on the Rocks says. But the real question goes deeper than Luxenberg’s practical query, striking deep into who we are as a nation.


Van Buren mentions one F-35 jet equals 3,358 years of college. How many years of college does dropping the whole colossal failure F-35 jet program at $1.5 trillion plus, the whole new battle ship failure program trillions of dollars, and Obama's mini-nukes $1 trillion plus failure of a program, etc. would equal in college years? Eliminate the MIC, and everybody's going to school!


Is the assumed predicate of this discussion--that money is real--correct?

I think not. The definitions and denominations of money are quite elastic in nature.


Free college doesn't alter the fact that there still remain few worthwhile jobs to be had.
In many places all a master's degree might get you is employment only incrementally above the poverty threshold.
The United States has transformed itself into something of a modern age Sparta. Our economy is deeply rooted in the profiteering of sickness, death, and militarism for which individuals may be amply rewarded. Beyond those spheres life is a tenuous proposition at best.


Bigger question isn't addressed. Our MIC is constantly placing our troops and military hardware in international policing/war situations. Without the draft our nation rarely has a debate about these mnilitary interventions. While an all-volunteer army sounds good - and while we are using contractors (mercenary sounds so politically incorrect) to supply, enhance, and support our troops, it takes a draft which crosses class/race/economic divisions, that puts the children/grandchildren of our congress - our press - our civic leaders in the responsible position of defending the security of our nation for people to debate the issues - seek better solutions - and once again make war a last ditch possibility when all better options have been tried and failed. With the changes of the last several decades we must understand that this also places our daughters along with our sons at risk. The price of college is important - veteran benefits are critical - support and pay for those who defend our nation should be top notch - and in a prosperous modern society an education that is affordable and available to all as well as health care for all our citizens are also worthy goals - but we dare not lose our soul enticing many of the patrotic youth of this nation into military service without proper nation debate and without them knowing that their service is in defense of our national security and not as some type of empire builders.


Does one have the right to send someone else's kid to kill or die for one's cause?


Van Buren poses an excellent question. It occurred to me a few years ago that we wouldn't have nearly as many 'volunteers' for our endless wars of choice if young people had decent alternatives. Yes, there were patriotic volunteers after 9/11, but since then? It seems to me that escalating education costs and the off-shoring off decent jobs has been calculated to 'fill the ranks' with cannon fodder.

Stein/Baraka 2016


Our tax money pays for K-12, it's never made any sense to me why the next four years, while supposedly so important, are not also worthy, especially in light of what the Military and Intelligence get to syphon off of the top.


I wouldn't make the accusation of "calculated," but it sure is convenient. And let's face it, most of the desperate seekers of college funding, or of just any job for now, are not cannon fodder, but truck drivers/loaders, prep cooks, cannon-cleaners, servants to officers, moppers of blood, ... There's very little glamor or glory for most of them.


I wish you were right, Margarethe, but just look at the recruiting ads. "I am a JAG." "I am a helicopter pilot." "I am a cardiologist." My elder child was hotly pursued by a recruiter, back before 2001, just because of being one of the few in the HS class not bound straight to college. They assumed this kid had no better alternatives and no mind of their own. And they never say how many kids wash out of basic or are otherwise found unfit to serve, and when they don't need you, you are far from "guaranteed" a steady job (that may leave your family on SNAP under the best of circumstances). Neither do most kids realize how life-changing it's going to be, especially boys who hope to be "made men," playing life-sized video games and being seen as heroes for it. No one in the military thinks they benefit from a better educated and humane society.


Unlike most Posters on Common Dreams, these now omnipresent "Flaggers" must be organized in some fashion.
What "community" could possibly be offended by this "flagged " comment?


I wonder how many triggers are needed to be pulled in order to result in a "community" flagging.

I'm under the impression that it takes more than one.

There is also no apparent arbitration possible, just an organized abuse of a technically available tool.


Sparta, yes I think that about once a week


Flagging something pretty much defeats the purpose. I always read flagged comments to see what the hubbub is as it is a form of censorship. I can recall only an instance or two here where bad behavior was actually exhibited in these flagged comments in the form of racist comments, name-calling and personal criticisms. The use of the flag for being off topic is an abuse of others' free speech, IMO.

Jill Stein's positions on the military and free college are related to the content of this article. In what way is that comment off-topic, especially in an election year, when folks have an opportunity to weigh in, in a critical way, as opposed to expressing their opinions here?

This community is at least entitled to know who is doing the flagging and for what reasons.


Right, and the ruling class knows that an educated proletariat is extremely dangerous. To quote Somoza when asked why he didn't provide education to his people, "I don't want men, I want oxen."


I took the comment to be ironic, and for exactly the reasons you raised.


Soon the Trolls will probably flag one of their own for "Plausible Deniability".